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Nikki Haley says North Korea begging for war; Cleanup effort underway in Houston neighborhoods; Brexit negotiators trade barbs after Brussels talks; Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expecting third child. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired September 5, 2017 - 15:00   ET


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're trying to send a very strong, defiant message, an angry message, and they're trying to prove

through a series of different actions, Hala, that they have the capability that they say they do, which is to launch an ICBM toward the mainland

United States with a nuclear-tipped warhead.

That's why you saw the images released on Sunday of Kim Jong-un standing in front of the hydrogen bomb that they said they could put on a missile. And

then, you have the nuclear test, their largest ever, just hours later, and now reports out of South Korea that North Korea may be preparing to launch

an ICBM or a submarine-launched ballistic missile or an intermediate range missile at some point in the coming days, possibly before their big holiday

on Saturday, their Foundation Day, possibly toward the Pacific or even the US territory of Guam.

HALA GORANI, CNN HOST, WORLD RIGHT NOW: Now, when you speak with officials, what would it take for North Korea to suspend or freeze this

program. What would they want in return?

RIPLEY: They give zero indication of a willingness at this point to suspend or freeze the program. But, look, things are always open to


Part of the reason why perhaps they're active at doing all of this at once is because the sanctions haven't really taken noticeably taken effect yet,

at least from what I was able to observe in Pyongyang. Cars are still driving on the street. The lights are on almost 24 hours a day actually

ironically because they can't sell the coal to China, so they're burning it and generating electricity, at least in the capital. And people still have

plenty to eat. They still have their cellphones.

But if things were to get noticeably worse, perhaps North Korea by doing all of this now, is trying to gain leverage for the eventual discussions

that I think North Korea does hope will happen with the United States because their ultimate goal and their goal for years has been recognition,

legitimacy, normalized relations and opportunity to compete in the global marketplace.

Counterintuitive to think that they would achieve this by building and testing weapons of mass destruction, but this is the strategy that Kim

Jong-un has gone all in since he wrote into that country's constitution back in 2013 that North Korea is going to be a nuclear power and, at the

same time, try to grow their economy as well.

GORANI: So, that's what North Korea wants recognition, being at the table with the bigger countries, being treated with respect. OK, we get that.

But are they serious about using some of this military technology? Is it just all talk or is there behind all of that perhaps a real military threat

directed at the US?

RIPLEY: They say that they're not afraid to use these weapons, but that they do not want to use the weapons. They say they want peace, but they

won't beg for peace. This is the government line that we hear over again.

Realistically, North Korea knows that the United States vastly outmatches them in terms of an actual military confrontation, but they also know that

they now have in their arsenal weapons that could be tremendously destructive and deadly.

However, they've had the capability to do a lot of harm for many years with their conventional weapons and they haven't done it even at times of

heightened tension. This is a nuclear deterrent for the North Koreans.

But if they're backed into a corner, Hala, that's the real danger here. What could happen if they felt that they were in a situation in which there

was no way out? Would they push the button and launch a nuclear missile at a major city, whether it be Seoul or Tokyo or somewhere in the United


But they know that that fear exists and that's what gives them the power and leverage against a much more powerful, much more wealthy, much more

influential adversary, which would be the United States.

GORANI: Well, they're getting the world's attention, no doubt, and the US' attention as well. Thanks very much, Will Ripley, where it's 4:33 am in

Tokyo. Thanks for staying up late. Appreciate it.

North Korea is making "rapid progress." That's the concern of the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. He says the danger that North

Korea poses has now vaulted far beyond the borders of East Asia.

Our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is in Vienna, where the IAEA is headquartered with that story. You spoke with the head of the

IAEA. What did he tell you?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. Hala, Yukiya Amano really doesn't mince his words on this particular issue. He wants to

make it very, very clear, in his opinion and this is a guy that knows the region around the Korean Peninsula very well and he knows the issues there

very well, has been head of the IAEA for a long time.

But he says, look, anyone that still thinks that this is a regional issue, think again. This is a global issue. What North Korea has now managed to

do puts the threat at a global scale.

So, by his language, you get the sense that he really wants to galvanize international opinion, policy makers to really focus down on this right now

because the IAEA certainly doesn't have any monitoring inside North Korea right now.

Their inspectors have been thrown out on at least two occasions in the past. And I asked him, I said, look, North Korea saying this is a hydrogen

bomb that they tested, can you know that. He said, look, we can't know that for sure.

I said, North Korea says that they can now miniaturize a nuclear weapon and that they can put that on an ICBM, can you know that from the information

that you have? Again, he said, look, we just can't know that.

[15:35:08] But he said what is very, very clear in the past when North Korea has said something, they generally go ahead and do it.

So, his message here again and it's very, very starkly clear in his answers now, is that they need to be taken seriously because they are

making significant progress. This is what he said.


YUKIYA AMANO, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY: The interval of tests, of the latest one and the previous one is very

short. The yield is much bigger this time compared to that of last one.

So, it is safe to suppose that North Korea is making rapid progress.

ROBERTSON: Is it possible to say or is it right now to say that, in fact, North Korea is now a nuclear armed nation capable of threatening the world?

AMANO: North Korea is not a nuclear weapon state under the treaty. But, no, it is clear that North Korea has some nuclear weapons, nuclear

explosive devices and missiles.

So, in the past, the threat of North Korea was related to nuclear weapons. Now, North Korean threat is related to nuclear weapons combined with



ROBERTSON: So, it's not that the IAEA is without any information. Although they don't have inspectors there, they do monitor very closely the

re-processing, enrichment, the mining of raw materials, the nuclear facilities themselves, they watch those very closely.

And there's no doubt, in all of those assessments that IAEA has that North Korea is going in one direction, committed to going in that direction and

it's very clear what it is, Hala.

GORANI: All right. Thanks very much, our diplomatic editor Nic Robertson in Vienna.

My next guest has tracked North Korea's nuclear program for years. He is a renowned expert in this area Joe Cirincione. Joe is now live from

Washington. Thanks for being with us, Joe.

First of all, how much of a threat is North Korea today after this hydrogen bomb test?

JOE CIRINCIONE, PRESIDENT, PLOUGHSHARES FUND: Oh, they have made a quantum leap in the last couple of years, Hala, just as you were just reporting.

They have gone from a regional military threat and a regional nuclear threat to a global nuclear threat. It's very clear that North Korea has or

soon could have enough fissile material, enough technology to make dozens of nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles that could hit most

cities in the world.

They have a limited ability to do that right now. If this program continues over the next three or four years, you are likely to see a North

Korea with 100 or more nuclear weapons and dozens of long-range missiles.

GORANI: How are they financing this as they've have been under sanctions for so many years?

CIRINCIONE: They still continue to trade with countries all over the world. You heard president Trump say he wants to cut off trade. Well,

thats not just China. That's even Japan, that's Egypt, that's Pakistan. They still continue to make money by the export of commodities and through

the export of laborers around the world.

But this is clearly taking the toll. There is a serious question about how much longer they can continue to divert the tens, maybe even hundreds of

billions of dollars required to finance a program like this.

GORANI: So, would real sanctions in the sense, really painful sanctions put a stop to this or at least make it much harder for North Korea to

develop the program further?

CIRINCIONE: No and no. We've been doing sanctions for years. And their program has not just continued, it's accelerated and grown. So, you have

to pay attention to history. Sanctions have never, never ever anywhere forced a country into collapse or compliance.

GORANI: But so what do you do? If it's not sanctions, then what, military options? Those are practically mutually assured destruction on one side,

terrible damage on the other. What do you do?

CIRINCIONE: Right. You have military options. You could, and we practice drills, and you just saw the South Koreans doing drills, practice hitting

North Korean sites.

The question isn't can we hit them, the question is what happens next. North Korea is not Syria. They hit back and that unleashes a catastrophic

war that

GORANI: Exactly.

CIRINCIONE: as Secretary Mattis says right. So, you don't you have military options, but you don't have a military solution. So, what does

that leave you with? Negotiations. The only thing that has worked to stop North Korea's program in the past.

Remember, we froze their plutonium program for eight years. We froze their missile program for eight years. We were very close in '99 and '00 to put

a permanent end until the Bush administration came in and basically broke off the talks, and we missed that opportunity.

[15:40:00] So, when Ambassador Haley says that negotiations have failed today, look at her statement. She airbrushes out 1993 to 2006 when, in

fact, negotiations stopped. So, that's what you use sanctions for. That's the stick, negotiations are the incentive.

GORANI: That was before the miniaturization of the nuclear warhead, the hydrogen bomb test, the Kim Jong-un leadership. It's a very different

picture now.


GORANI: Do negotiations still look appealing now?

CIRINCIONE: It's the only option we have.

GORANI: Or feasible. Obviously, they're always appealing. Sorry, it's feasible at all at this point.

CIRINCIONE: Yes, there's still a deal to be made there. The price has just risen, however. If you had made this deal 20 years ago, you could

have stopped North Korea from having any of this.

If you had made it a few years ago, you could have kept them before they tested a hydrogen bomb and an intercontinental ballistic missile.

So, now, the price the longer you wait, the more expensive the deal gets. But you heard it from your correspondents. I thought Will was just

terrific on this. What is it they want? He wants security, he wants prestige, he wants recognition. We want to give him some of those things,

but not as much as we want. And in exchange, we want to be able to freeze the program before it becomes completely unstoppable.

GORANI: So, how do you do it then because presumably there are still back channel lower level talks. Those always go on behind the scenes here and

there. Maybe not continuously, but they happen.

Are you suggesting, for instance, the higher-level discussions with the secretary of state traveling or, I don't know, even the president of the

United States.


GORANI: What do you think could work in this case?

CIRINCIONE: There are very low-level discussions. There's basically one guy, Joseph Yun, at the State Department, a career civil servant. He's the

one who negotiated with the North Koreans and who arranged the release, tragically late, of the American student, Warmbier, who of course died.

So, you see there's some in some of those talks, North Korea has indicated that they would be willing to discuss a freeze, if we'd be willing to

freeze our exercises.

Here's your core problem at this point. The Trump administration's policy is completely incoherent. They have bluster. They have tough talk. They

have tweets that threaten all kinds of things that they're not backing up.

And in that incoherence, we start to drift towards war. Each side is taking steps that they believe are tough steps to indicate to deter the

other side from attacking them. But the other side sees each of those steps as a threat that needs a response.

Just today, for example, the South Korean defense minister called for the return of nuclear weapons to South Korea. Just today, the US President

Trump agreed to lift the limits on the payload of South Korean ballistic missiles, so that they could, in fact, carry a nuclear weapon in the


These are the kinds of things that drift towards war. That's my biggest fear. We stumble into a war that neither side really wants.

GORANI: Well, let's really, really hope that doesn't happen. Always a pleasure having you on, Joe Cirincione, and really appreciate your

expertise, just as we're learning from the White House, provided a read-out of the call between President Trump and President Moon of South Korea.

The White House is pledging to strengthen joint military capabilities. We'll have a lot more on this story a bit later in the program. Check out

our Facebook page in the meantime,

Coming up, after one of the worst natural disasters to strike the US in years, the Texas Gulf Coast begins a long, slow road to recovery. We have

that story.

And it's a big week for Brexit. And we're hearing more back and forth from the two lead negotiators and there is, as usual, a bit of war of words

going on there. We'll be right back.


[15:45:53] GORANI: Areas along the Texas Gulf Coast are taking stock of the damage from Harvey's floodwaters. Clean-up efforts are underway and

aid is getting into the region

But with rivers still full, officials say, it will be a long time before the extent of the damage is really known.

One bit of good news in Houston. The mayor says right now the city is more than 95 percent dry. As the region begins to recover, many people owe

their lives to rescuers, who braved the floodwaters to pull those who were trapped to safety.

CNN'S Rosa Flores spoke to a woman who was rescued by a man she didn't know. And during her interview, well, he showed for an emotional reunion.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Authorities say that they connected more than 36,000 rescues. Now, that doesn't include good Samaritans helping

others. We caught up with one woman who was rescued by her neighbor and our cameras were rolling when she reunited with her rescuer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The house right across the street.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those are the people who came and got me out the water. My son couldn't come and get me.

And they don't even know how to speak English, but they came and got me, and I want to thank them because I called for help and they couldn't get to

me. But that young man, he said, don't worry, mommy, I got you. He dont even know me. He didn't even know my name. I didn't even know his name.

He pushed me on the walker from here all the way to lay road five blocks in the water way up to his neck and my neck at the same time.

This is my hero right here. I appreciate you so much. Thank you so much. Because you didn't have to do it, but you did. And I appreciate you so


And when I fell in the water, his baby say, I'm so sorry, she is 4 years old, mommy, we didn't want to hurt you.

So, I want to thank them for looking out for me, and they took me and brought me to my pastor's house. That's the only way I was able to get out

of this water.

FLORES: He says that everyone is family. It doesn't matter what race you are. He says that everyone is family.

FLORES: Take a look at these pictures. This is what that neighborhood looked like during the storm. Now, we should also add that Javier Ramirez

was also trying to take his pregnant wife and three daughters to safety.

Rosa Flores, CNN, Houston.


GORANI: That was a real tear jerker. And you hear so many of these stories of strangers helping strangers. But the long, long road to

recovery, of course, still lies ahead. Tens of thousands of homes in Houston suffered damages from Harvey.

CNN's Stephanie Elam joins me now from a Houston neighborhood where cleanup efforts are underway. So, what's going obviously, on the street behind

you, lots of debris. Things like that. What's been going on today?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, when you take a look at this, Hala, this is what people have been doing since they've been able to

get back into the neighborhood. They've been pulling everything out.

Some of these homes had water that went up some five feet in their house, coming in quickly in the middle of the night. They had to leave in a

hurry. So, they had to leave behind their cars, all of which are ruined now.

And now, since it's dried out here some, they've been pulling everything out the drywall, the furniture, and dropping it here on the street just in

an effort to try to stop the mildew and mold from taking over their homes.

And if you take a look, it's all around here, like you can see over here on this side of the street that you'll see the same thing. And it is

unfathomable what these folks are dealing with.

And just to really paint the picture for you, Hala, of what they're dealing with. Their houses are pretty much destroyed. They can't stay in them for

most of these folks here because we're right at the intersection of two bayous. So, this water just rose up and went through their homes.

[15:50:00] And so, now, their cars are destroyed. And then, they also have to figure out how to get to work, but they also need to work on clean-up

and reaching out to the federal government and FEMA to figure out what their next steps are.

And for some of the people here, they can't even go to family members to stay with them because all of their family owns homes within this

neighborhood, so they're all dealing with flooding at some level in some degree in their homes.

So, when you think about how hard that is for these folks, and these are working class people who do not have the funds to just go find another

place to live, it really paints a picture of how difficult it is for the folks here, Hala.

GORANI: And how widespread is this because these pictures are jaw-dropping honestly? It just looks like every single home has been it looks like

it's been leveled, but it's really all that they've pulled out from inside the structure. How much do you see this type of damage in Houston overall?

ELAM: Well, in this neighborhood, in particular, it is really bad. If you come back here into Miller Street (ph), you see these streets are narrow.

But you can see, it goes all the way down. And it is like that for all the streets in this neighborhood. Everywhere you go, every house is pulling

their destroyed mementos and memories and clothes and everything out.

And that's because the water rose all the way through here through several streets. So, what you're seeing here is indicative of an entire

neighborhood, Hala.

GORANI: Unbelievable. Thanks very much for that report. Appreciate it. Coming up, one of the best-known families in the world is about to get a

little bit bigger. We'll be right back.


GORANI: Well, it's another pivotal week for Britain. There will be many pivotal weeks for Britain going forward as the entire country hurtles

towards the European Union exit door.

Later this week, parliament here in London will debate the legislation that will take the country out of the block. And that is going to be no easy

passage for Prime Minister Theresa May.

After that, another war of words between the two men leading the negotiation teams from both sides. The EU's Michel Barnier was reported as

saying that the UK needs to be educated about the price of Brexit. Britain's David Davis had this response.


DAVID DAVIS, BRITISH BREXIT SECRETARY: Bluntly, I think it looked a bit silly because there plainly were things that we've achieved, plainly things

we've achieved

Unidentified Male: Barnier is looking a bit silly.

DAVIS: The commission, not so much him. I like him. I've known him for 20 years. But the commissions puts itself in a silly position if it says

nothing has been done when these really important things we put people before process. What they're in danger of doing is putting process before



GORANI: Barnier had an update to his comments earlier on Twitter, saying "I said Brexit it as an occasion to explain single market benefits in all

countries, including my own. We do not want to educate or teach lessons."

It was reported some papers even had the headline, the UK must be taught a lesson according to Michel Barnier. So, he wanted to set the record clear

that that's not what he meant, so he tweeted this out.

Now, speaking of Britain, there are few things people in the country find more iconic than the white cliffs of Dover. You see the picture behind me.

And now the National Trust in this country is aiming to buy around 700,000 square meters behind the cliffs when they go on sale. It's prompted fears

of potential redevelopment on the site in the future. The trust is hoping to raise a million pounds in the next three weeks. People are concerned.

What are you going to build on there? Has to remain, the white cliffs of Dover. Leave them alone.

[15:55:10] Staying here in Britain, the Royal Family is getting ready for the pitter patter of tiny feet again. The Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant

with her third child. The Kensington Palace made the announcement, adding that the queen and both families are delighted. The new baby will become

the fifth in line to the throne.

Max Foster has more from Buckingham Palace. Max.

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Hala, the Duchess was due at an engagement first thing on Monday morning. And when rumors started swirling

that she wasn't going to turn up, we were then told that there would be an announcement coming up in Kensington Palace.

And then, we got the announcement that she is due with baby number three. She is not yet 12 weeks pregnant, but the couple said they wanted to bring

the announcement forward because she is suffering from this acute morning sickness.

She is not going to be able to do engagements whilst that's the case, so they wanted to explain why she wasn't out there in public view.

So, they brought the announcements ahead. We are expecting a baby now in the spring. Baby number three for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The

family we're told are delighted. And this was how Prince Harry responded when he did make one of his engagements.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you feeling about the news you're going to be an uncle again?

PRINCE HARRY, BROTHER OF PRINCE WILLIAM: Fantastic. Great. Very, very happy for them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And how is your sister-in-law doing?

HARRY: I haven't seen her for a while, but I think she is OK.


FOSTER: Prince Harry soon to become sixth in line to the throne. He is currently number five. But when this baby is born, he'll be knocked down

the pecking order. He doesn't seem to be too worried about that, though.

People are now their thoughts with the Duchess of Cambridge. She is recuperating at Kensington Palace and we're told as soon as she does feel

better, she will be back out doing engagements again. Hala.

GORANI: Max Foster, thanks very much. This has been the WORLD RIGHT NOW. I am Hala Gorani. Thanks for watching, everyone. I will see you same

time, same place tomorrow.

"Quest Means Business" is up next on CNN.