tv On Assignment with Richard Engel MSNBCW March 4, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
he's got a powerful relationship with the united states. but how closely will trump embrace him. >> we will see. i am watching this week we have a little noticed bill in congress that will actually make major changes to our finance systems potentially. it's something that's gone as we've talked about under the radar because of everything else that's going on. i also want to say thank you to kirsten's dog xena watching our show tonight. that is our dog watching "kasie dc" tonight. that does it for us tonight on "kasie dc." we will be back with you next week from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. eastern. for now, good night from washington. this has been a wild week of news, particularly from our nation's capital. you can go snow blind trying to look at any given piece of what's been happening inside the beltway and swirling around the white house these past few dayd.
while we are following the chaos at the white house and the russia investigation and the gun controversy and all the rest of it, very different and every bit as urgent news has continued to develop halfway around the world. north korea and the kim dynasty have been a national security headache for america and american's presidents since the end of the korean war. but north korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons means they are now on the verge of not being just a headache but a real global threat. it is not clear that any american president has had a terrific answer for this problem. over the past couple of weeks we've seen this current president impose yet more sanctions, which he then followed by sending his daughter to personally brief the south korean president about those sanctions. just a day later we learned that his daughter had just been stripped of her security clearance. as i say, nobody's had the perfect response. tonight i'm excited to say we've got the perfect person to show us what is actually going on
inside the american standoff with north korea and crucially how the north was able to get as far as they did with their nuclear ambitions. some of what you're about to see is going to surprise you. nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel spent his career reporting on intrigue around the world and tonight he's got something. he's reporting from south korea. here now is "on assignment" with richard engel. ♪ welcome, it's saturday morning in seoul, south korea. i spent a lot of time covering conflicts but one thing i didn't expect to be reporting on is the possibility, remote possibility of a nuclear conflict but here i am and that's what we're doing, talking about rising tensions with a nuclear armed north korea. now, north korea is a small, poor, isolated country with very limited resources, but in my
hotel room the other day, i watched vladimir putin, the president of the world's second largest nuclear power make a presentation that included a slide showing a nuclear strike on florida. experts say he may well be bluffing to whip up supporters but it doesn't take a concerned scientists to say the threat of nuclear war is back and with a vengeance. we'll have a concerned scientist or two on the show and the story of a very brave young woman that escaped from north korea when she was just 13. first, we have a story that shows how these two threats from russia and forth korea are connected. we got our hands on a partial copy of a report due to be released by the u.n. later this month. it was prepared by a team of experts who monitor north korea to see if it's compiling with the sanctions. you won't be surprised to hear that the short answer is no. the full report is more than 200 pages long and details a whole
litany of allegations that the north koreans are helping the syrian government's missile and chemical weapons program, that they're selling missiles to the military in myanmar and are engaged in all kind of dirty business. the north koreans smuggled out nearly $200 million worth of goods in nine months last year. this money is helping immensely to keep the regime in power and its weapons program going. the report specifically mentions several cases where coal was smuggled out of north korea through russia. that got our attention because we've been investigating elicit trade from north korea for awhile. we just got back from a reporting trip in the far eastern corner of russia. >> late night at moscow's station, calling all passengers for the legendary trans-siberian
railway. this train is not the fastest way to get to russia's far east, but it is the most dramatic. it runs over 5700 miles of track it runs over 5700 miles of track across eight time zones, 16 rivers and more than 80 cities and towns before arriving final finally in vladivosik. we were welcomed by a professor from the local state kbrufruniv. i asked him the question that brought us here. we've heard reports that russia is helping north korea evade sanctions. is that true? >> i've seen such reports but they are just allegations. what sense does it make for russia to help north korea violate the sanctions? >> he doesn't officially speak for the government but rarely disagrees with the kremlin, he said the last one shook his
apartment building. this is a part of russia, the world rarely sees. it still feels very soviet. it's gritty and this time of year freezing cold. >> this is the far eastern edge of russia where the asian continent ends and the frozen sea begins and although this area may look completely blocked off right now by the ice, this is actually an essential shipping route. ports are the main engine of the economy here. cars, timber, scrap metal, seafood. there are ships being loaded and off loaded everywhere. we have been tracking a russian ship called the vitaz. it started heading out to sea and then disappeared, probably
by turning off its transponder. >> it is very unusual for this beacon to be turned off. that in itself is a powerful indicator of criminal activity or sanctions busting activity. >> norman rule spent more than 30 years in intelligence gathering. now he works for an organization that tracks sanctions violations. >> the activities had some common characteristics. first, they turned off the transponder. they left traditional shipping lanes. they went to an area of water near north korea where ships don't usually go. when you put this data together, this is so undwrushl that these two ships certainly deserve more investigation. >> the tracking data doesn't reveal the nature of the cargo
it was carrying. but officials said the ship transfers 1600 tons of oil to the north korean ship. whatever the cargo was, rule says these maps tell a familiar story. >> it is very likely this was a ship to ship transfer, similar ships, similar size, approximately same time, going to a very unusual area. >> a few days after it disappeared, it reappeared in russia. we wanted to see if it was still here. we're looking for a ship. >> she will check. >> she'll check? wonderful. the guard remembered seeing the ship come into port but when she checked the records, the ship's name wasn't on them. >> is there someone we can reach out to talk to who owns the ship? do you know who brought it here? is there a registered name of the owner or something like that? can we go in and see it?
so we couldn't get in but at least we did confirm the ship is in fact here. now we have to find a way to get to it. we did eventually find a way to get to it and capture these images. neither the company that owns it nor russian authorities responded when we asked why the ghost ship wasn't recorded on the port's books. next, we set off to search for two more ships. both chinese owned. this satellite image from this past summer shows one of them, the sun union at a local port. nothing unusual about that except that it looks like it made a secret stop on the way there. >> according to the manifest, the ship once it left the last commercial stop was going to the port of the hodka but somewhere it took on additional cargo because the ship was lower in the water and draft changed. it's proof, evidence the ship took on additional cargo, almost certainly from north korea. >> another chinese ship, great
spring, in the same port at the same time. >> they are next too each other, literally next to each other for one day. the profile would fit the story line of a ship under taking commercial activity as a cover, stops in north korea, picks up a cargo and then looks for a buyer, finds a buyer, and the buyer takes the good onto china. >> that cargo according to the u.s. treasury department was coal. the department presented evidence to a house committee in september. >> it's highly suspicious. this is exactly the type of activity you would look for if you were seeking to identify sanctions busting. >> and yet, great spring was not sanctioned and we found it and filmed it here in russia ready for the next load. no russian official is willing to discuss our findings so we
went to see artian. when we last met, i asked you whether russia his helping north korea evade sanctions. you said absolutely not. you said there's no evidence, no proof, correct? >> yeah. >> we went out and saw some of these ships sitting in russian harbors, the same ships allegedly going back and forth bringing goods illegally into north korea. >> well, how could you know? have you looked inside the ship? i have not personally seen any credible evidence. >> rule, who's looked at the evidence closely, says it's very credible. >> no onturns off their chance ponder for routine activity. no one leaves an international shipping lane for routine activity. >> the question is whether they transport prohibited banned goods and substances. >> our understanding is they
were shipping coal and oil. >> coal and oil? >> coal coming from north korea, oil going back. under the new sanctions, those would be prohibited items. >> so richard, even if what you're saying is real true, do you think they would make huge difference to north korea? >> there is, of course, no way of knowing the answer to that question, but north korea is starved for cash and weapons parts, which means any prescribed trade whether it's imports or exports that can raise foreign currency could help the regime's weapon's program. >> it's a good thing to remember ships go in two directions and north koreans have a long history of seeking whenever possible western technology to support their weapons program. >> if there is evidence, if we've seen evidence that there is smuggling of at least fuel between russia and north korea,
isn't it possible that other things like weapons components could be smuggled? >> well, richard, frankly, no offense to you but you're a journalist. you're not a sanctions expert. >> rule, of course, is a sanctions expert. >> when you have a gain, similar ships of a similar size in a similar period of time leaving shipping lanes, going to an unusual part of the nearby waters, turning off transponders, these entities deserve serious and significant monitoring and investigation. >> there was one more ship we wanted to find, a north korean ferry but it wasn't there. russian authorities stopped it and sent it back to north korea on suspicion it was carrying illegal goods including ones that could have military use.
we want to see the ferry's russian operator. has this ship, your ship, ever moved weapons? weapons components? >> you say no way, no way, no way but you say you don't inspect the cargo. so h so how do you know what they're carrying? he admitted they didn't, but claimed that american agents with cameras were watching the port closely. if we were really doing something wrong he said, our ferry would be on the sanction list. everyone we spoke to was convinced that the americans were watching everything and yet, none of the ships had been sanctioned. >> i think it's impossible to deal with the north korean problem without addressing the russian aspects of this issue and looking at russian firms, ports, facilities that aid these ships, companies that own them and placing them under the same scrutiny.
>> he insisted russia has no interest in helping north korea develop the weapons program but says russia also doesn't want to help the u.s. bring north korea to its knees. >> the problem is to my mind that the u.s. would like to impose a total blockade on north korea just to strangle the country and of course, russia would never agree to this both for humanitarian reasons and for political reasons. >> unfortunately, russia has a rich history of often being an obstacle to sanctions against some of the darkest characters the -- in the international sphere. i'm confident that the russians can be moved to a position where they can undertake that activity if that pressure is applied. >> last friday, the president did raise the pressure but not on russia.
>> north korea, we impose today the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before. >> specifically, administration was targeting those who trade with north korea, sanctioning one individual 27 companies and 28 ships tied to eight countries including north korea and all its neighbors except for one, russia. and there is another question we want answered, how did the north koreans make the leap and build a rocket that could reach the u.s.? next, we meet an expert that says the answer could be well, russia. plus, nuclear missiles and bad haircuts are almost all people know about the hermit kingdom. the reality is far stranger. >> i thought kim jong-un was a god that could read my mind. >> could read your thoughts? >> yes. >> that young woman's harrowing story up next. stay with us.
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and welcome back to "on assignment." russia and north korea, that relationship goes all the way back to the early days of the cold war and those ties run deep, which is why making sure there are no holes in the fence between russia and north korea is not just about a few tons of oil and coal, it's a vital american interest and here is why. those new intercontinental missiles north korea tested are powered by russian technology, literally.
>> as far as i can tell, the engines, the most sophisticated part of a missile comes from russia or the former soviet union. this is part of the guidance system. >> michael is an expert on missiles and specifically on russia's stockpiles. in the 1990s after the soviet union, he spent a lot of time working for the u.s. government to keep them out of the wrong hands. what did you think when you saw the latest missile test from north korea? did you think, this is different? >> my worst-case scenarios began to emerge. there had long been rumors that technology leaked from russia and suddenly in september of 2016 they tested this engine that nobody knew was in north korea. >> he's talking about a high-performance engine that since it was first spotted appears to have been something of a game changer. north korea's line is equipped
with those engines and with their power according to most experts in the field, the missiles can reach the united states. >> so you think they actually got one of these engines we're talking about? >> no, they would have had to acquired dozens and there is a question as to whether it's one, two, three, four or five dozen. >> the original engine was called an rd 250 designed in 1960 and manufactured in ukraine until the early '90s. >> these engines are laying around under tarps in old factories? >> these facilities have bone yards where you have old engines no longer in service that are stored. you can go to any rocket facility in the world and you'll find spare parts lying around. it's not surprising there would be dozens available. >> but you're certain that they got to north korea or used in north korea in the last two years? >> i think it's more likely they
arrived in north korea in the last two years as opposed to being transferred in the 1990s. >> many weapons experts and north korea watchers think it's entirely possible the regime reverse engineered the designs with help from rogue russian scientists. he disagrees and points out that process would require lots of engine testing, which would be easily detected from a satellite. >> couldn't they have built these engines locally? >> it's a possibility. but if they did develop it locally, they would have done dozens, if not hundreds of ground tests to prove out the system. you would expect the engine to perform differently and look different. it doesn't. >> he believes that the transfer could have gone through what he calls elicit networks operating along the north korean border and all it would have taken is a few corrupt officials. >> there is a lot of corruption. it's not surprising that it
occurs how far up in the government it goes is impossible to say. >> it's hard to know what is going on inside north korea but sometimes it turns out one of the best ways to find out is actually by looking at north korean propaganda, if you know what you're looking for. when the north koreans do a missile launch, they release a ton of images and videos. >> can you learn that much from open source material. >> it's incredible what you can learn. >> that story next, stay with us. patients that i see that complain about dry mouth they feel that they have to drink a lot of water. medications seem to be the number one cause for dry mouth. dry mouth can cause increased cavities, bad breath, oral irritation. i like to recommend biotene. biotene has a full array of products that replenishes the moisture in your mouth. biotene definitely works. it makes patients so much happier. [heartbeat]
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welcome back, we're on assignment in seoul, south korea where we've been spending a lot of time lately trying to figure out what's going to happen next. on the one hand, the president of south korea called the white house yesterday to say he was sending an envoy to lay the groundwork for direct talks. on the other hand, our president is back to talking tough warning that sanctions are just phase one and that phase two could be worse. what is going on inside the mind of the north korean leader kim jong-un is pretty much anyone's guess. so we traveled to california to meet a grown up of americans who watched north korea obsessively trying to separate truth from propaganda. they are not spies or government employees, they are just a grown
-- group of academics following a situation that could only be described as one thing. >> it's crazy, it's absurd this incredibly poor backwards country run by this crazy-looking guy should have the ability to strike the united states with nuclear weapons. >> jeffrey lewis is an advocate for nuclear nonproliferation. but in the case of north korea, he says that ship has sailed. >> do you think north korea has the capability to strike the u.s.? >> oh, yeah. they can hit the united states with a nuclear weapon. >> monterray, california is home to the middlebury institute where lewis is a professor. it's not a secret department of the cia or nsa, it's part of a liberal arts college. there are no spies here, just a team of researchers working what is known as open source intelligence. >> we can function sort of like a parallel intelligence
community and analyze photographs, videos, build computer models to understand foreign nuclear weapons and missile programs. >> can you learn that much from open source material? >> it's incredible. the open source has way more information than intelligence communities had, say, 40 or 50 years ago. you can learn a ton. when the north koreans do a missile launch, they release images and videos and we can figure out where the missile was launched, how big the missile is, how fast it's taking off and if you know how big it is and how quickly it's moving, you know how powerful the engine is. this thing, this is the real deal. >> this thing is the launch on november 29th of 2017 of north korea's most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile to date. this is the hwasong 15. it's been described as a giant cold war style missile. >> it's big. the missile is very heavy and needs to be moved by a crane and lowered onto the truck. >> anyone watching the news saw the video but jeffrey looks
at things differently. he paused the video and zoomed in to find a clue hidden in plain sight. >> you can see the crane lifting the missile and it says zoom lion and has the model number. >> the model number of a chinese crane. jeffrey and the team went online and dug up everything they could find about it. >> when we can see the crane and we can figure out the length and position of the arm, we can use that to estimate how large the missile is and project out if it can hit new york or los angeles. >> that's when another member of the team took over armed with the real weight of the rocket, she figured out how fast it was traveling. >> this is acceleration and i can see how far it advances in each frame. i'm seeing how quickly it accelerates off the pad. this tells me about the trust of the rocket. i take gravity into account. the diameter, the length, the weight of the rocket to model how far the rocket could actually fly.
>> those calculations allow her to answer the most important question of all, can this rocket reach us? >> this particular rocket could reach not just the west coast but all of the united states. >> american officials seem surprised by how quickly north korea developed a missile with that kind of range. >> i think for the trump administration, it's embarrassing. you seen with this administration, when something is embarrassing, they say it's not true. >> do you think president trump won't acknowledge this because it's embarrassing to him? >> yeah, the president said this would not happen. it's happened three times. >> that's three test launches of long-range missiles which we didn't see coming. now administration is considering a limited strike on north korea based on what lewis believes is outdates information. >> there is a huge discussion shouldn't we attack them now before we have this capability. it's done, it's over. they have this capability.
it's not a preventive war. if you go to war with them now, it's a plain old nuclear war. >> lewis' only job in government was a brief summer job he describes as a glorified internship. he's basing this strategic assessment on his team's own home brewed intelligence findings. what are we looking at? >> north korea's nuclear test site. they have done a series of tests in this mountain. each of these black spheres is the size of the cavity that would be created by that nuclear explosion. >> he layers two radar images before and after and toggles back and forth, tiny changes are suddenly animated. >> some of the movement is the trees moving, but if you look over here which is where the nuclear test is, you see how the mountain seems to breathe? it shrunk a little. >> so the mountain collapsed a little bit? >> yeah. so you can tell this is a very large nuclear explosion that shook the mountain. >> the team may be using relatively simple tools but they
are using them in creative ways. david is the team's geolocation whiz. looking at video, he identified feature everies, a road, a grassy courtyard or building. >> from that information i can figure out where the launch took place. >> how? the same way any of us would, with google earth. >> so if i changed my point of view, what we have now is a tree line, road going off to the right and a building. these are starting to match up so i'm fairly confident if not 100% the event took place here. >> in the game of spy versus spy, the north koreans are evolving methods, too. >> this location will be a lot harder. there is nothing to geo locate this event using the imagery. >> newer images give fewer clues but this is where the team's open source methods pay off when they get stuck, they crowd source. >> when i go online and use social media and twitter to engage the larger public, then i find out that there are
scientists all over the world who are nerding out doing this. >> those armchair spies sent in videos of this all girl north korean pop group, which seems strange until you look at the background. those images of the missiles, no one had seen them before. >> it confirmed many of the things we had been guessing for years about how their missile system worked. >> some of lewis' many critics believe he's relying too heavily on propaganda. >> north korea is such a controlled society. how do you know they are not just giving you clues to lead you down the wrong path. >> we know they are giving us clues to lead us down the wrong path. they digitally at other photographs all the time. in other cases they try to hide things but nobody is perfect and they slip up and we catch them with interesting things all the time. >> this is footage of a north korean launch with kim jong-un on a boat. for anyone just watching this,
there might not be anything wrong that footage. but i stare at north korean missile propaganda all the time. when i saw this scene, i knew there was something funny going on. that's a really famous video from 2014. >> obviously, the north koreans manipulated the video to make a failure look like a giant success. but some of the changes are more, well, cosmetic. >> if we look at it in the noise filter, it's bright red. his ear is red. they always change his ear for some reason. we don't know why. >> they change his ear? >> yeah, i don't think he likes his ears. >> they shrink them? >> i think his ears are perfect but they shrink them. it doesn't matter except for it's kind of fun. >> in korean the missile's name hwasong means mars, as in the god of war. lewis watched them grow more powerful with each generation. he worries that war is coming for all the wrong reasons. >> why are you doing this? isn't this duplicating the work
that is already in the intelligence community? >> you know, i lived through the leadup to the iraq war and there was a lot of intelligence information that turned out to be bunk. i think the intelligence community is much closer to where we are and the reason you see the leaks because people are trying to make the case that it's too late to go to war. >> too late because whether we like it or not, the north koreans now have their gods of war. the question is how to stop them from being unleashed. those missiles and the nuclear warheads they can carry are the true legacy of the kim dynasty and american foreign policy. it's a story more complicated than you think and we'll have it for you after the break. i'm worried i can't find a safe used car. you could start your search at the all-new carfax.com
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a long range missile that can be armed with a nuclear war head is what kim jong-un has been striving for from the moment he rose to power. he believes that's the only insurance policy that can protect him from an american invasion. he believes that because his father and his grandfather before him believed it, too. these weapons have been in the making for decades. since the 1950s, north korean scientists have been trying to develop a nuclear weapon. and a missile that can carry it across the world. now they appear to have achieved both of those goals. how? the regime has been ruthless at willing to sacrifice anything, including the well being of its own people and that ruthlessness was underestimated by the united states time after time. it started in the spring of 1993 when north korea announced it
would withdraw from the international non-proliferation treaty that bars non-nuclear states from starting nuclear weapons programs. that sent the clinton administration into a tail spin. >> president clinton gave the order to aggressively pursue economic sanctions against north korea which north korea said will mean war. >> they were weighing military options but also had diplomatic card to play. >> in an effort to head off a war, former president jimmy carter crossed the dmz today. >> carter got them to freeze the program and resume high-level talks. >> this is a good deal for the united states. >> it was a good deal for the north koreans, at least. they got free fuel but it was only a matter of time until the regime started cheating on the agreement. as early as november 2001, intelligence agency flagged the bush administration that pyongyang was trying to use highly enriched uranium to
develop nuclear weapons. but it was right after 9/11 and the administration didn't get around to actually doing anything until 2002. it sent an envoy to north korea to confront the regime, which finally admitted to the secret program. so we ended our 1994 agreement. north korea openly restarted its nuclear program. president george w. bush included north korea in his famous axis of evil. >> constitute an axis of evil arming to threaten the peace of the world. >> in 2006 it came as a total surprise when north korea conducted its very first nuclear test. when president obama took office, north korea tested its second nuclear device but when kim jong-un came to power, many within the intelligence committee under estimated how long the new young leader would stay in power and how far he would push the nuclear program.
in 2013, two years after kim took office, north korea conducted its third nuclear test. president obama launched cyber sabotage attacks that may have slowed the progress of the north korea program but failed to stop it because once again, the north koreans were able to out smart us all shifting to a new more successful kind of missile. during the presidential transition, president obama warned donald trump that the most urgent national security threat would be north korea. since then, north korea tested more than a dozen missiles and the most powerful nuclear bomb yet, a hydrogen bomb this past september. the question now is whether president trump will find a way to succeed where previous american presidents failed and put a lid on north korea's nuclear ambitions. the kim regime is so obsessed with the nuclear program that
it's even more of a priority than feeding its own people. most of them live in extreme poverty, leading thousands to defect and escape. for north koreans, escaping to freedom is worth almost any price. >> my mother and i crossed the frozen river to china. >> what would have happened if you had been caught? >> they shoot you. >> her harrowing story when we return after the break. oh, that's lovely... so graceful. the corkscrew spin, flawless... ...his signature move, the flying dutchman. poetry in motion. and there it is, the "baby bird". breathtaking. a sumo wrestler figure skating? surprising. what's not surprising? how much money heather saved by switching to geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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we've talked a lot today about the military side of the north korea but there is another side that is just as dark. for generations, the regime has controlled not just every facet of daily life but the minds and thoughts of millions of people. opposition is not just forbidden but unthinkable. very few have ever escaped and even fewer dared to speak out, when is why five years ago when a soft spoken young woman took to the stage we had to listen. >> i thought nobody in this world cared. but you have listened to my story. you have cared. >> that tearful speech broke the world's heart. >> thank you very much. >> we met with her in chicago.
she lives with her husband. she was still pregnant then with her baby boy james, who was born last week. her long journey to freedom meant that james was going to have all the things she didn't when she was when she was growing up. >> what was requeyour childhood in north korea? >> i slept on the floor. we go to the river and wash our clothes. i ate grasshoppers and dragon flies. >> you ate the dragon flies? >> you roast the head. >> a regime can't feed its people. but it can put on a parade. the constant brainwashing works. >> i believed everything they said. i thought kim jong un was a god who created. who could read my mind. i was afraid to think anything bad of him. >> she wasn't entirely isolated.
she fwru up across the river from the chinese border. so contraband trickled into the small town. including pirated copies of hollywood block busters. >> i watched those movies. i really wondered like why they are making movies. is not about revolution and not about the brainwashing. it's just about a human story. >> was there a movie in particular? >> it was a movie titanic. >> titanic? >> yeah. >> that was your window into the outside world? >> that movie gave me a taste of freedom. >> it wasn't the ship that got her thinking. it was the love story. >> we don't know the word of love is. i never heard my father tell my mother he loves her. my parents never told me they love me. we only allowed to use the word
love for the leader. >> the dear leader had no love for them. the parents tried to risk an escape. >> my mother and i crossed the frozen river to china. there's a guard with a gun. so. >> what would have happened? if you were caught? >> they shoot you. once we cross the river the guard actually tried to rape me. my mother said she's 13 you cannot do that. and offered herself instead. >> don't rape my daughter. you can have me. >> she was rained. in front of me. >> the sexual violence that was her welcome to china only ended years later. when she and her mother trekked across the desert to the steps of mongolia. and eventually to south korea. by the time she was 19, she was an activist. fighting for the freedom of the people she left behind in the
north. then, she made that speech. >> we aren't free to sing, say, wear or think what you want. >> the speech went viral. the north koreans tried to fight back posting clips of her relatives denouncing her. she says they were forced to do it. and regrets the danger she put them in. >> i never knew the price of my activism here meant that more than 30 peoples lives. i thought i was risking my own life. >> her life was indeed at risk. and still is. once she started speaking up, she wasn't going to stop. >> please fight with me. >> this woman is unbreakable. and she is a survivor. >> thor, one of her biggest fans. and an internationally renowned human rights activist. >> north korea doesn't have internet.
it doesn't allow mail or phone calls. they're only allowed to have a diet from the propaganda from the regime itself. the best weapon is information. >> thor invited her to join him in a group of volunteers on the border between north and south korea. they sent balloons carrying leaflets. dvds and flash drives. hoping they would land in the right hands. >> these campaigns matter? the balloons and the leaflets. >> yes. empower them. they can get freedom. they have to fight for their freedom. >> she hopes somewhere in the north korea, another little girl is watching a love story. and freeing her mind. next. we hear from another young mother. a south korean friend of mine. about what life is like here in seoul.
it's easy for us living as we do these days through a wave of major news to forget how high the stakes are. there are gas masks and hazmat suits in every public place. and a whole city hidden under the city. i got a tour from my friend. >> one of the things i am always struck by when ever i come here to seoul. is there's two cities. this city aboveground and like this labyrinth of bunkers and malls down below. >> these are all over the place. there are i think 123 suits here. a couple helmets and gas masks. >> there's a war. there's nowhere for us to hide it. we're dying. even we have like one mask or
the gown. whatever. that's not going to help us anyway. most people consider this as a shopping center. not a shelter. >> it is also a shopping center. >> you don't want war. we want peace. we are more afraid of is kim jong un. >> more afraid of trump. than kim jong un. >> the first son asked me there's a war going on between the north korea and america. i said it's not war. north korea wants to do something and america wants to stop something. it's not a war. but if america attacks north korea, we are the most victim. >> there are u.s. troops here. what do people think about it? >> young people don't know about the korean war. they hate the u.s. war. and think korea is strong enough to protect the country. actually that's not true. we need american armies help. because what north korea is afraid of is notorea.
it's america. >> i think about of the divide. east and west germany. the iron curtain. does it feel that way to you? >> it's not a separated country. it's been 17 years we have been divided. we have 5,000 years of history. same language and culture. >> should the government go to korea. >> of course. we have to do something. maybe we can get something. maybe we can make north korea to give up the nuclear weapon. maybe. we need to try. we can't do nothing and wait. >> finally. let's remember what happened in this country over the last few weeks. the olympics were here. and if nothing else, they bought us some breathing space. to assess how to go forward. the south korea government is pushing hard to use this moment for dialogue. the trump administration seems to go back and forth. sometimes appearing to favor a military strike. they have taken to calling a bloody nose or some sort of
engagement. the olympic window isn't big. but it is still open. at least for now. that's all from us at on assignment. follow our team on twitter. @oa richard engel. thank you for watching. this sunday, crisis, chaos and confusion at the white house. one of president trump's closest aides out. his son-in-law, under fire. his attorney general, defying the president. now mr. trump is reportedly feeling increasingly isolated and under siege by special counsel robert mueller. >> the president is very frustrated about this entire what he calls witch hunt and hoax. >> is a white house built on chaos now being consumed by it? plus, president trump promise its tariffs to help american businesses. >> 25% for steel. it will be 10% for aluminum.