tv MSNBC Live MSNBC September 3, 2017 4:00am-4:30am PDT
good morning everyone. i'm dara brown. at msnbc world headquarters in new york with breaking news from north korea. a country that claims it's undertaking it sixth nuclear weapons test. the first word of the test came around midnight. it detected a 6.3 magnitude earthquake explosion. they said they developed a peanut shaped hydrogen bomb that could be blased on an missile.
they said they carried out a successful test saying it was true to the plan of building a nuclear force. south korea's president says the test is disappointing saying his military must prepare a response. we have analysts, and we begin with richard engel in london. richard, tell us, you are -- you've been following this all night and you were as surprised as we were. do you think this caught the u.s. offguard with this nuclear test? >> not really. the exact timing, i think, was a surprise. but people had been expecting a nuclear test to come. i was just in south korea, and officials there had been briefing -- intelligence officials have been giving briefs that a test was coming
they saw excavation at the test site. many experts thought the test would come perhaps in a week or two, but it came now. i think the precise timing, the day and the hour that probably came as a surprise, but no, people had been preparing for this. >> we heard from china and south korea, but the u.s. has yet to offer an official response to this test. why is that? >> i think the u.s. is trying to gather more information. the information that has come in so far has been somewhat contra digs d dig toir or not entirely consistent. there are different readings how powerful the earthquake was, if there was one or two or one led to another, how deep and powerful this device may have been. aircraft have been dispatched from japan to take air samples because that could give you an indication of the fuel source
and perhaps some indication of what type of device this was. so i think the u.s. is trying to gather more information before it comes out and issues a statement. for example, the secretary general of nato issued a written statement condemning the actions taken by north korea. but the statement specifically, which is just two paragraphs long, does not mention a nuclear test. so nato came out issued a condemnation but did not confirm 100% that this was a nuclear test or was it a thermal nuclear test. it just condemned the behavior coming out from north korea. so i think the u.s. is perhaps trying to avoid issuing a statement like this that is -- doesn't have a lot of detail in it. >> richard, there are other players here who could put pressure on north korea to stop the missile tests. and that would be china and russia. as recently as friday, russia's
foreign minister said they are urging the u.s. to take the first step and try diplomacy with the north korea do you think that's too late now? >> i don't see that happening. i don't know how much they would have to talk about. also, president trump tweeted out just a few days ago that he doesn't think talking directly with north korea is worthwhile. if i remember it correctly, he said that the time for talking is not the answer, the u.s. has been talking to north korea for 25 years and paying them extortion money. so -- but there are talks under way and i think these talks are going to escalate, and they are with china and with russia. and i think china and russia want to be involved in this diplomatic process. they want to prevent an escalation and prevent a nuclear war potentially on the korean peninsula and they have their own long-term goals, both russia and china would like to see the u.s. have a i did mirned role,
particularly military, in northeast asia and they might be able to see this as an opportunity to extract concessions from the u.s. because if you ask for help from russia or china, it doesn't come from free. >> we're seeing pictures of putin who was at a meeting. do you think they've had any conversations about the north korean missile test. >> no idea if they've had conversations today. if they meet, i'm sure they will be discussing this because it is -- you cannot ignore this issue. the consequences are so severe, if there's any miscalculation. but i don't know if they've had this before. what we have seen from russia and china, and i think it's revealing, is somewhat muted statements after north korea fired a ballistic missile that went over japan, russia basically said the u.s.
shouldn't push too far. shouldn't try and pressure north korea. that it's futile. today we saw a written statement from china, more or less urging calm, condemning north korea, but not going very far. so those two countries are -- i'm not saying that they are no north korea's side, because they have issued some condemnations in the past. but i think they see themselves as potential diplomatic brokers over the north korea nuclear issue in negotiations with the u.s. but like i said, those negotiations would come at a price. >> richard thank you so much. let's go to ron allen. he's in seoul, south korea with the latest. what do we know about these tests and the possibly nuclear tests that happened in north korea? >> well, we're still waiting for a detailed and accurate and verifiable analysis of what was
detonated. the measurements of it by the usgs in the states put the blast at a scale reading of about 6.3,s which is massive. then there was a second explosion of some sort at about a 4, which appeared to be in the same location. the bottom line is this was a massive event, many times larger than the last confirmed atomic test by the north koreans about a year or so ago. so they have clearly moved their program forward. we know that they have been advancing their missile technology very rapidly during the last couple years and even during the last few months. we know they fired a long range missile over japan for the first time about a week or so ago. one of the steps in what has been an escalating cascading back and forth between united states, north korea, south korea, verbally and
militaritily, in terms of missiles and now tests and, of course, the united states had ongoing military exercises with the south koreans and japanese. and ended that a few days ago with a massive fly over the korean peninsula with the strongest planes they have in the arsenal along with some fighter flaens from south korea and japan. many experts said that was meant to send a message to north korea. but clearly they have shrugged that off in that they conducted this detonation today. condemnation around the world, especially here in south korea, the president saying this provocation will not go unpunished. they've been adamant about negotiating, talking with the north koreas. the united states, through president trump, has struck an aggressive tone at times, saying
talk is not the answer to the problem here als although the defense secretary and secretary of state have said more measured things about the situation. so we have to see what the united states response is going to be. the south koreans also talked about perhaps requesting more military hardware from the united states be placed in south korea as a deterrent to the north. for example those b-1 bombers are in guam, but they are a weapon terrifying to the north koreans while mindful of what happened in the north korean while that country was bombed relentlessly. so we await a response to the white house to this very aggressive steps by the north koreans. >> ron allen reporting to us from seoul. thank you so much for that report. garrett headache is at the white house, any word when we can expect a response from the
white house or do you think it's more likely we'll see a tweet from the president first. >> that's a good question. given the late hour and how this has been developing it's more likely to receive a coordinated message from the white house. we heard from the japanese, chinese, the secretary of nato all condemning this attack. that leaves it to the white house. the president is here at the white house all day today he has no public event oshis schedule so the ball is in his court to respond in the time and manner the white house feels is appropriate. it was just early last month that we heard that threat from president trump of fire and fury that drew so much attention warning the north koreans that any threat by them could be met with fire and fury. and just last week when north korea launched a missile over japan. you heard the president say it showed contempt for north
korea's neighborhoods. so that was kind of the standing threat that the united states keeps all of its options, presuming including military options on the table. >> we know that h.r. mcmaster spoke with his counter part in south korea, what do you think about that conversation? >> the south koreans considered it an emergency call. the national security advisor talking to his counterpart in south korea. the only reason we know about it is because the south koreans did disclose it. this white house not reading out those calls not providing information about this call or the call between h.r. mcmaster and his japanese counter part. all that suggests the white house is preparing a coordinated response to speak with one voice on this as opposed to dripping out information while they assess the situation. >> thank you so much.
ahead of today's reported nuclear test vladimir putin warned on friday that the u.s. and north korea were on the brink of a large scale conflict but what can russia do to help decrease this escalating crisis. that's ahead. ♪ sailin' away on the crest of a wave, it's like magic ♪ ♪ rollin' and ridin' and slippin' and slidin' ♪ ♪ it's magic introducing the all new volkswagen tiguan. ♪ higher and higher, baby the new king of the concrete jungle. when heartburn hits fight back fast with tums chewy bites. fast relief in every bite. crunchy outside. chewy inside. tum tum tum tum tums chewy bites.
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breaking news this morning. north korea claims it successfully carried out its sixth nuclear weapons test. a 6.3 explosion was detected around midnight eastern time near north korea's testing site. they claimed it was a successful hydrogen bomb test adding it was true to the plan for building a nuclear force. china denounced the test but the chinese president made no
mention of north korea when he spoke earlier today at a summit. let's go to china. nbc kir si mons is there. what is the reaction to this test? >> i think everybody suspected that this test was coming. it was fairly widely known that the north koreas were preparing to carry out a sixth nuclear test. i think the optics are stunning to see the chinese president here in the city at the start of a major economic con presence and see president putin flying in for that and see their conference overshadowed by the test. that will deeply annoy them. the two leaders have made clear they're against u.s.
intervening. that's because china shares a border and so does russia. they're worried about it escalating to the a nuclear conflict. that could clearly affect their territoriries it might lead to a major refugee crisis. one of the arguments in washington is that if washington was prepared to put deep economic pressure on china, china would be able to intervene and stop the north korean missile program. whether that's true or not, is unclear. the leader of china has never met with the leader of north korea. there's tensions in that relationship too. >> do you think this test is going to put a different pressure on u.s.-china relations? >> i think that's a very important question. the issue is, it's clear that the u.s. could bring in sanctions, particularly for example against a chinese bank that would deeply damage china.
then you have to wonder how beijing would respond and if it did respond with its own sanctions that could lead to a trade war that would have deeply damaging implications. this is the way the chinese and russians see it. keep in mind they have their own diplomatic interests at play here. they don't want to see the u.s. strongner this region. but they see this as a provocation on both sides. they're saying to the u.s. and its allies, you need to the ratchet down this tension. >> let's bring in a chief k correspondent for the u.s. news. >> what options are left for the president? nothing seems to work. >> i think they have to weigh what specific actions they're going to take next. we've heard aggressive rhetoric
from president trump about north korea's previous provocations, talking about fire and fury and language similar to that. but the question is what does he do mow? does he call today for some kind of specific economic sanctions, some specific increase in the pressure that the united states, china, russia, and all of its allies try to escalate against north korea in response to this. >> kevin is there a senior level u.s. official who can reach out to pyongyang? >> aps been reported that there are some back channel conversations between the administration and north korea that are going on. make no mistake. this hydrogen testing that just went on over the past 24 hours is six times larger than the last test the dictator kim jong-un did in september of 2016 and the sixth test they've done
as a country as a whole since 2006. there's two points i would make, the administration has tried to pressure china particular and we know their relationship is very, very large. nearly 80% of thenorth korea's exports and imports come from china. that's why the treasurer secretary announced sanctions on china. you have a major economic summit with russia and china having as we speak when this latest provocation happened in north korea. is t second point i would make we're more than a week away from the u.n. general assembly and nikki hailey is going to have a big role to play her. her relationship with rex tillerson that relationship is
going to be one to watch, especially as the united states weighs additional sanctions on financial institutions not just in china but also in russia. >> let's talk about the sanctions, sean just hours ahead of the test your colleagues put out a report warning president trump from withdrawing from a free trade deal with south korea. he told reporters yesterday pulling out of the deal is on his mind. so is there a sense he would scrap the idea altogether. >> it's very risky. you're talking about a delicate alliance at a time when you're in the white house, you want the united states and south korea to be on the same page. it's not surprising that the president would want to withdraw from the trade agreement, it's in line with the campaigner that
he was. he railed against these multinational trade agreements, these big one-on-one sweeping trade agreements. but now the question is does he reconsider it, rework it so that we don't screw up the alliance with south korea at such a critical moment. >> great to have you both here this morning. one week after hurricane harvey slammed into texas the high water rescues are being conducted and the death toll continues to rise. we'll have the latest from houston coming up
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these are some of the nonperishables they are starting to distribute. it's a massive warehouse. they started distributing about a million pounds of food every day. already 2 hnt 4 million pounds have been donated just since wednesday through friday. but at this point they're looking for cash donations because they can make money go so much farther than donating water or canned goods. they're trying to get these two agencies that will then distribute them to the ground level, to the people in need. the need is great. thousands upon thousands of people in need of this kiepd of assistance, dara. that'll do it for me. i'm dara brown. we're awaiting reaction from the white house to this claim of a north korea hydrogen bomb test. is the president choosing his reaction carefully? we'll bring you updates throughout the morning and
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