North Korea fuels missile
Thom Shanker on the latest intel.
- Duration 7:36
- Date Apr 11, 2012
Thom Shanker on the latest intel.
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Dan first of -- time -- political and national security correspondent for the New York Times and time joins me from Washington.
Good afternoon delighted to have you with us now.
Think you KT honored to be here with you today thank you I want to also point out that you're the author of a best selling book called.
Counter strike and -- book that talks about the last ten years and they history.
The United States counterterrorism actions since September 11.
So you're the guy that I wanted to ask about today though with North Korea.
-- -- set to launch a satellite.
In the space.
Are they gonna six seat what do we make of it.
Well it's a very -- -- the latest development today is North Korea has announced it's actually started fueling.
On the -- it on television it's a good -- a propaganda.
Plan for them this is part of festivities to.
Honor of one of the deceased North Korean -- is the grandfather of the current leader.
North Korea has said -- they're putting a satellite into orbit on top of this rocket however North Korea is under United Nations sanctions.
Not to develop long range missiles because it is feared they could be used to carry -- nuclear warhead so even though nations do have the right to put satellites into orbit.
North Korea does not under this UN resolution because of its record of nuclear weapons development and missile proliferation.
Or do we think that this launch might be successful.
I think people or treating it as if it could be I know also just today.
All of the Asian airline commercial airline companies in commercial -- Our re routing their air and sea traffic around North Korea so they certainly believe the dismissals going to go up.
And they talked about the nuclear weapons that they might put it right -- to put a nuclear weapon on top of this missile and some kind of subsequent launch where are they on their new clear.
Well for the past several days the big concern Kati was over this missile launch.
But just in the last few hours of the last day or so.
And the intelligence community has begun picking up telltale signs the North Korea also might be preparing.
For its fourth test of a nuclear device again this would be a violation of international sanctions on North Korea.
And the intelligence community sees these things by satellite imagery and signals intercept.
Nobody knows for sure but it appears that North Korea is really pushing the envelope here by trying to launch this missile and perhaps prepare for -- nuclear test.
I tell I didn't insist on with -- that you see North Korea test a missile called the Taepodong missile and had a few months later shows up in Iran and Iran test the same missile.
Although they painted this side -- it over and now they -- bishop Bob.
Miss the show how missile on the what is the connection between Iran and North Korea in their missile -- in their nuclear weapons programs.
Well there's long been reports of this you know black market underground.
Agreement sometimes with Pakistani technology perhaps not.
Iran North Korea all of these so called out liar states would have reason to to to share technology.
The really interesting link between Iran and North Korea -- is not necessarily technological.
But -- plays out in the diplomatic world.
Because the US and its allies are trying to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions while they're also trying to contain North Korea's.
And so the US in the Europeans are lined on both.
But where Russia and China fall.
At the Security Council's very interesting so one of the US diplomatic challenges figure out how much to push on North Korea.
When in the end they might need Russia and China more on Iran so that's the interest and linkage not one of technology but the level of diplomacy and politics.
Let's go a little bit further to that President Bush and -- to have sanctions on North Korea because of its.
Missile and nuclear programs and then lifted those sanctions and 2007.
Are there any options we have with North Korea right now -- some people are saying we should shoot down that missile by the people are saying we should have.
Sanctions but everybody talks about it interestingly is not making the connection you're making that Iran -- watching what we do with North Korea.
Well -- there's a bit of a cliche about North Korea and it tries to sell the same carpet to the west over and over and over again as you know doubt know the Obama administration had a bit of -- diplomatic breakthrough just in recent weeks.
Wind the United States agreed to send thousands of tons of food aid.
To the starving North Korean people in exchange the new leader of the north so that they would not do any of these tests well now some weeks later.
The world can see what North Korea is up to.
And the Obama administration of course is not going to go ahead.
With those food shipments the problem is they're simply aren't a lot of options left because North Korea is already so isolated.
-- about Iran and its address the switch every two to be -- and -- of the world into the Persian gulf.
What is Iran attempting to do we can see -- North -- trying to do they're trying to test missiles that you said they may sell those weapons systems that they're developing.
To Iran -- -- -- weren't what's the -- objective nuclear weapons or is it more than that.
Yeah Iran is such a complicated and fascinating in terrifying situation.
The best guess of the American intelligence community KT is that Iran wants to develop the capability.
To produce a nuclear weapon.
But the best minds in the government are not yet convinced.
That Iran has decided to actually do.
Build that weapon.
So was it for deterrence is it for regional standing is it as a diplomatic negotiating tool.
Nobody is really really sure and that adds to kind of the complexity.
And also unlike North Korea.
Iran has a much more organized government structure much more organized intelligence.
And sort of you know both over and and -- so I think most people would say that North Korea is worrisome.
As just an absolutely unpredictable rogue state.
But Iran is probably more worrisome.
-- -- both the technological know how the economy and the global intelligence reach to actually do harm should it decide to pursue that path.
Okay well -- tell me how would -- if if you're around if you're in charge of Iran iron turn Iran's weapons program how would you be acting differently.
By then people say well they haven't made the decision -- to do it.
Well aren't they doing the same things that they would be if they had made the decision if they hadn't made the decision.
And that at some point in the future they'll say thumbs up thumbs down but imagine anything differently now.
Whether or not they've made the decision.
That's -- that's absolutely right and there's all key.
As of war gaming in red teaming going on in if you were to put yourselves.
Inside the minds of the Iranian leadership.
To the extent that we can and -- getting knowledge and that it's not a unified state either you probably would be seeking with the US calls.
-- playing the ambiguity.
About its program and so from their point of view Iran is actually pursuing a rather coherent and Cogent strategy by continuing the development.
But not yet crossing the line to make a weapon which of course would prompt even -- international response.
Okay we've been talking to Tom Shanker.
New York Times pentagon and national security correspondent author of the bestselling book counter strike again.
Someone who was with me thirty years ago where graduate students MIT a long way Tom and you are really Smart guy.
Just like you were thirty years ago.
Yeah I'm a little more bald now but thank you so much country I appreciate that very -- pleasure having you on again -- -- was a really treat and care.