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tv   North Koreas Nuclear Trump Card -...  BBC News  October 6, 2017 3:30am-4:01am BST

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and have therapy. now on bbc news, panorama. north korea's tested a nuclear bomb believed to be ten times more destructive than hiroshima. rocketman is on a suicide mission. kim jong un versus donald trump is the most dangerous stand—off in detectionades. we will have no choice but to totally destroy north korea. so how did north korea achieve its nuclear ambitions? we show how their spies have been trying to steal blueprints for missiles. of course, they need technology, components, illicit activities to fuel the nuclear missile programmes. insiders who worked for the regime tell panorama how it uses secret front companies to fund its weapons programme. their top priority is building this nuclear arsenal.
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so what can president trump do as kim jong—un threatens the world? north korea is a situation that should have been handled 25 years ago, 20 years ago, 15 years ago, 10 years ago and five years ago, but i'll fix the mess. this is a live fire exercise. mr kim is ready for war. his ultimate target may be america, but it's south korea which will find itself on the frontline first. millions of people in the capital, seoul, just 35 miles away.
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this south korean village is only a couple of miles from the border. now villagers worry they could come under attack from their neighbour. 80—year—old lee ho—yong is in charge of the village's emergency bunker. these doors are so heavy. oh, it's huge. so what, the whole village comes in here, that's the idea? first the air burns in,
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in close support, scorning the place with napalm. korea's been split for the last 70 years. during the korean war of the 1950s, the us bombed the communist north relentlessly after they attacked the south. general chun was, until recently, a top ranking officer in the south korean army. the north koreans had a very hard experience during the korean war. the americans bombed north korea so much that there were no more
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targets to bomb. they remembered the bombings. today the us still maintains 2a,000 troops in south korea. north korea boasts of the fourth largest military in the world, over a million troops. the threat to america and its allies comes not from a superpower like china or russia, but from the kim family, three generations, who have run north korea for nearly seven decades. they're secretive, paranoid, but utterly determined to have nuclear weapons. kim jong—un‘s grandfather, who started the kim dynasty, kicked off the race for nuclear weapons in the 1960s.
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his father carried out the first nuclear test. he's only been in power six years, but kim jong—un‘s carried out many more missile and nuclear tests than they did. former insiders know about kim jong—un‘s obsession with nuclear weapons. a top north korean diplomat in london defected last year. today he lives in south korea under heavy protection. his life is in danger. kim jong—un is very desperate. he still thinks that he lacks the legitimacy of his rule as a new leader in north korea. he wants to deliver to north koreans a sign that he has the ability to lead this country
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for another several decades. in his first televised speech, mr kim declared nuclear weapons would make north korea a formidable world power. general wesley clark had decades of experience of international conflict as a senior us military commander. he's decided that he's going to be the member of the kim family who achieves the three long—term kim objectives. first, the regime must survive. secondly, to get the united states out of south korea and third, to unify the peninsula and all of korea under the kim family leadership. to be a serious nuclear threat
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to america, kim jong—un needed two things, a long range missile and a nuclear warhead small enough to fit onto it. injuly, he oversaw the successful launch of this missile, the hwasong 1a. it has the potential to travel 10,000 kilometres and puts much of america in range. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. since last year, kim jong—un‘s been boasting that he has developed a nuclear weapon small enough to fit on the missile. and last month, north korea took the world by surprise when it tested what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb.
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the blast, announced by the regime's propaganda mouth piece, is believed to be ten times that at hiroshima. north korea is now thought to have more than 30 nuclear warheads. christopher hill made repeated attempts to get the north koreans to abandon their nuclear programme. i don't see how the us can ignore this. the united states has not had a new country pointing a nuclear weapon at the united states since really the 1950s and ‘60s. this is a major situation.
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0lli heinonen, a un weapons inspector, has been inside north korea's nuclear facilities. i think that we have come now to a very serious junction. they have demonstrated with their recent nuclear tests that they have probably got a very powerful, advanced nuclear device. but, ithink, they still need to work. they need to make it perhaps smaller. so, do you think that north korea has the ability to hit the west coast of america with nuclear weapons? most likely. most likely, but not with a big number. so how did north korea develop these weapons? part of the answer may lie in the former soviet union.
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the russians were masters at sending rockets into space, and when the soviet union broke apart, that expertise was suddenly for sale. bruce klingner was a korea intelligence analyst in the 1990s. we have reports back when the soviet union collapsed that a lot of the soviet and russian nuclear scientists, rocket scientists were out ofjobs. they were looking for money, so some travelled to north korea. there were reports of ten former soviet nuclear rocket scientists in north korea. and there was highly prized missile technology in former soviet countries, including in this factory in ukraine. july 2011, two north korean spies have come to ukraine to try and photograph plans in the factory‘s design office. but what they don't know
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is ukrainian security services have set up a covert sting operation. we've protected the identity of one officer, who agreed to speak to us. translation: we knew what was going on. they were interested in scientific documents about solid fuel, which is used in rockets. the north koreans were trying to get their hands on a blueprint for missiles. all part of the regime's determination to get weapons of mass destruction. but the ukrainians foiled the plot. translation: false documents were created for them to see, nothing top secret. they agreed to buy them for a very small amount of money. they'd probably been trying to get this information for some time.
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the two spies are now in prison. since then, the ukrainians have intercepted what they believe to be two more north korean plots to get hold of their missile secrets. russia and ukraine government even acknowledged the fact that north korea tried in the past and they said that ukraine government frustrated all these activities, but who knows? the ukrainians manufactured an engine, the rd250, which powered long range missiles. the only other place it was made was russia. a similar engine, based on the rd250, was spotted on one of kimjong—un‘s hwasong missiles.
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the russian manufacturers deny working with the north koreans. the ukrainians say the engine didn't come from them. translation: it's definitely a different engine according to our experts but has some details which were based on the rd250. i can tell you, it's impossible to steal or take photographs or make copies of the engine, or take any of the special tools used for it. all of this is impossible. but what's certain is that somehow north korea has developed advanced technical know how. i don't think we know very much, what went out from ukraine, ifanything. but for me, at the very end, the most important question is still, is there a scientist
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or couple of scientists from this former soviet missile programme who have been working in north korea? i think to that end, the jury is still out. the kim regime hasn'tjust relied on technical help from abroad. its nuclear achievements are largely home grown. they've been driven by ingenuity and knowledge, built up over decades. kim jong—un treats his nuclear scientists as heroes. they're a privileged elite in a country where many people live in poverty. they've made the most of the limited technology they've managed to acquire to build their own capability. it is a self—reliant society. of course, they need technology, components, but it's an indigenous programme. the result is a network of extensive nuclear
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facilities. in this secretive state one of the best ways to see them is from above. we use this to peer into north korea from the sky because it's really difficult to get information from the ground there. curtis melvin‘s spent years using satellite pictures to study north korea, including its secret nuclear sites. so where are these test explosions actually taking place? the nuclear test site is on the east coast. they've dug several tunnels into these mountains and they've conducted all of their tests here. the nuclear research site is in yongbyon country in north pyongyang province. it also has a large security perimeter around it which i have drawn here in yellow.
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and this is an area where the scientists live. what they have done a lot is what we call a reversed engineering so you buy top notch equipment under false certificates, just one or two, perhaps using your diplomatic missions abroad or some shady companies. get those pieces of equipment to your country and then produce them yourself. the us and the united nations have imposed sanctions, they were supposed to stop north korea getting nuclear weapons. by shutting off the flow of technology and the money to pay for them. but thanks to its main ally, china, the regime's managed to evade those sanctions. china has its own reasons to use north korea, in an effort to reduce america's influence in the region. so there's been a long—term strategy
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on the part of china to use north korea as a the barking dog to create tension which you then — you would be able to say to the south koreans, there's too much tension, why don't you ask the americans to leave your country? as well as trading openly with china, north korea also hides behind chinese front companies. this defector saw first—hand how the deception makes money for the kim regime. north korean banks send representatives to chinese regions and they open accounts at these banks and then they do transactions through these false accounts. the defector says the regime runs a secret system to pay for the weapons. it's controlled by kim jong un himself. we call it second economy, hidden, secret economy. so kim is personally making sure
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the money goes into the missile and nuclear programme? yes, he controls all foreign cash in north korea. and when they need more for this missile and nuclear programme he gives more. their top priority is building this nuclear arsenal. but the west's efforts to stop mr kim have failed. anthony ruggiero tried to enforce us sanctions on north korea. over the last ten years north korea has not been the foreign policy priority. plainly sanctions have not worked. we need to do a lot more. we need to be targeting north korea's international network so they cannot buy things overseas for their missile programme or their nuclear weapons programme.
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north korea's a situation that should have been handled 25 years ago, 20 years ago, 15 years ago, ten years ago and five years ago. you had various administrations, many administrations, which left me a mess. but i'll fix the mess. the mess, as the president puts it, is starting to alarm people in america. seattle, on the west coast, is 5,000 miles from north korea. and now it's in reach of kim jong—un‘s long—range missiles. we are the home of amazon, boeing, microsoft. a state senator, mark miloscia, believes his city could be devastated in a potential nuclear attack. i know seattle would be, for any bad guy, would be top of the target list if they wanted to make a statement and hit the united states.
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senator miloscia flew nuclear—armed bombers for the us air force when america faced down the soviets in the 1980s. what will happen if north korea does launch a missile? are we prepared? are we ready? can we evacuate? can we save lives? those are the issues that i think we haven't thought about since the cold war back in the 90s. president trump has threatened in a tweet that kimjong—un‘s regime may not be around much longer. north korea called that a declaration of war. what's got people even more worried this time is the unpredictability of the personalities on both sides. president trump and kim jong—un. so what's behind their rhetoric and do either of them have a strategy? ‘rocket man‘ is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. after donald trump's rocket man
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taunt, mr kim released a personal statement, relayed by his favourite newsreader. the united states has great strength and patience but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy north korea. president trump has been accused of acting irrationally. i think he's rational. i think he's simply very inexperienced. i always suggest that people read up on a problem as much as they can and i am not sure president trump has accepted that type of advice. i think the consequence of it is if you don't understand the history that came before
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you are often doomed to repeat problems. but could the us president's approach actually be effective? i think one of the advantage we have at this moment is the so—called unpredictability of president trump. that kind of rhetoric is necessary in order to scare kim jong un. kim jong—un has been accused of being a deranged dictator. out of touch with reality. he has absolute power. he thinks that he is invincible so this man is not crazy but he could be delusional, that's really frightening. he is not crazy as many have depicted him, he's not going to wake up some morning and just start a war because he is a lunatic
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or unhinged. i don't think that he may do any kind of suicidal attack on america. you think it's brinkmanship? it's not a death wish, if you like? yes. north korea is actually testing the red line of america's mind and north korea understands well where these red lines. president trump has backed up his fiery rhetoric with an increased show of military might. but where are his options now? the first is a so—called decapitation strike, taking out kim jong un and his circle. south korean forces have even been practising. david maxwell, a us special forces colonel, who's done five tours of
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south korea, doubts it would work. we have to realise that their entire system is designed to protect kim jong un. there are three rings of defence around him and it's likely that he will be in a deeply buried underground facility that will have to be penetrated while there are the military forces counterattacking. the president's second option is to strike kim jong un‘s missile and nuclear facilities. but many of them are hidden. just recently they did a launch from this factory here. but it's largely an underground manufacturing facility. under this hillside covered in trees? yes. so you mean there is a whole factory under there? there is a whole factory under there. of course we can't observe that. and this of course just shows you how difficult it would be for a military strike to take out all the missile sites. i would say most of north korea's important military africa is underground.
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—— military infrastructure. these red dots show mr kim's artillery massed along his border. if the us did opt for a first strike, north korea would be bound to retaliate. one strategy, to use massive conventional firepower against south korea. it is hard to put a numb on the blood and treasure that will be expended but we will have a greater loss of civilian lives than we have seen in any war since world war ii and korea. to avert another war on the korean peninsula, the third option must be diplomacy. combined with the much tougher sanctions, the americans have now persuaded the chinese to implement. i do believe if the us stays
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engaged on it and makes it clear to the north koreans that we're not walking away from this, they will come to understand that a life with nuclear weapons can be very difficult because it will involve the united states coming after them day and night. there's no easy, quick—fix answer. there's no military solution you can snap your fingers and say ok, diplomats, get out of the way, we military guys know how to solve this. it's not going to happen and there's no easy way you can send your best diplomats in and have people say what a genius he is, he's worked everything out. across the water in north korea, there's no sign mr kim is ready for talks on dismantling orfreezing his nuclear arsenal. and though it's been confirmed the us does have lines
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of communication with north korea, donald trump's said trying to negotiate is a waste of time. do you think that kim jong un will give up his nuclear weapons? never. why? why wouldn't he give them up? because their goal of making these weapons is to drive out us troops from south korea. so before that they will never give up. in the south korean village, the farmers have been stopped from going to their fields along the border. they lived through the korean war. now war hangs over them again. how is the weighs here at the moment? translation: when i listen to the radio i feel really horrified. if war breaks out the third world war will take place. and it's going to be a nuclear war. everyone will die if it happens.
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kimjong unis playing his nuclear trump card to stay in power. but will he know when it's time to stop? if you put the kim regime in a position where he sees it, use it or lose it on his nuclear weapons, you actually don't know what decision he is going to make. i think he is intelligent enough to know how much he can get away with but, you know, there's a korean saying, never corner a rat. you leave a little space for that rat to flee. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: four days after the las vegas shooting, the white house, senior republicans and one of america's most powerful lobby groups consider limited changes to us gun laws.
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