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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  April 6, 2013 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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the korean crisis. the world is watching. what will the 30-year-old leader do? how will president obama respond? piers brings you the latest. monday night at 9:00 on cnn. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting. this is "the situation room," special report, north korean crisis. we're tracking developments that could push the region closer to war. he's armed and dangerous. we'll take a closer look at what may be driving kim jong-un to make brazen threats and defy the
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world. and dialing it down. the obama administration addresses concerns that its response to this crisis has only made matters worse. one of the most dangerous regimes in the world and now north korea says it's on the brink of war. u.s. officials fear it may be planning a missile launch soon. the threats have been amping up every day from a nation under the thumb of a young and unpredictable leader. kim jong-un is armed with a huge military, powerful conventional we papons and a nuclear program. this hour, our correspondents take a look at the threat to the united states and the world and president obama's response. christiane amanpour and fareed zakaria will give us the global view of the crisis. but we begin with barbara starr. barbara, after days of aggressive behavior from north korea, what should we be looking for right now? >> reporter: right now it continues to be a watching and
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waiting game by the obama administration to see what north korea does next. will they and when will they test launch these ballistic missiles, mobile missiles that they have moved to their eastern coastline? all eyes on that area to see what they plan next. two mobile missiles send there by u.s. intelligence. when could this happen? nobody knows, but there's two dates on the calendar being watched. april 15th, the 101st birthday of kim il-sung, the founder of north korea, the grandfather of the current leader. and also the end of the month. essentially april 30, because that's when the ongoing u.s.-south korean military exercise ends, and the concern is the north may feel a little more emboldened at that time. wolf? >> as you know, barbara, pyongyang has been warning foreign embassies in the north korean capital maybe this is a good time to pull out their
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diplomats. what do you know about that? >> reporter: they oar saying this, and there's some sense that they're saying it again for public consumption. we can't protect your diplomats. no indication of any kind of movement of north korean forces, troops, artillery, large-scale movements that would indicate any move towards combat operations on their part. not to say the u.s. isn't worried about some sort of low-scale provocation. but no movement towards large-scale combat, and very interestingly, for some hours at the end of the week, north korean tv itself was ratcheting back a little bit, just like the pentagon, not being so militaristic in its broadcasting, showing more about farmers and that sort of thing. a sense that maybe everybody might be getting ready to step back, but u.s. intelligence still carefully watch thing.
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>> everybody watching it very carefully, because the stakes are enormous. barbara, thank you very much. let's get the administration's reaction. our white house correspondent breanna keeler is working this part of the story. how worried are they at the white house? >> reporter: white house officials are down playing there's any level of real concern here. they say north korea has been on the radar for a while, particularly since december with that ballistic missile test that was successful. but i'll tell you, the discussions here on north korea are on overdrive, one official telling me that top officials from the defense department have been meeting for really much more frequently here in the last week and a half in the situation room. so north korea becoming the most pressing issue for the administration at this moment. >> you can certainly bet pentagon officials are gaming
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out north korea's next moves right now. we're doing the same thing in our virtual studio. cnn's tom foreman is there with retired u.s. army general james "spider" marks. >> all eyes are on the east coast of north korea. why, general, would they do this missile placement there? >> the east coast is closer to the united states presence in the region, and its allies. they didn't put it on the west coast because they're not trying to threaten china. >> let's bring in the model of the type of missile we're talking about. this is really designed to be used by soviet submarines. the iranians have a version of this. let's talk about it, because one of the real keys is the mobility. why does that matter so very much? >> this is a mobile missile
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system. it can launch from any location. all it needs is a piece of level terrain. >> let's talk about the capability of this, as well. fairly big and a lot of different ways which it can be presented. >> this is about 40 to 60 feet length, a payload of 2 1/2 tons. but what's important is the warhead. we do not anticipate that it has a nuclear warhead at all. we think it's high explosive. >> so he high explosive is the concern right there. when you talk about a high explosive weapon like this, the question becomes range and what it can hit. as barbara pointed out, you're talking about maybe 2,500 miles, possibly a one or two-stage missile. if it's two stages, it might be able to get that far. and it becomes somewhat less reliability. but best case scenario, they launch this, california has nothing to worry about? >> the mainland united states is not at risk. hawaii is not at risk.
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possibly the west coast of alaska. but what is at risk is korea, japan and certainly down in guam, very much so underneath that umbrella. >> and guam really matters. >> that's why the united states air force has a very large b-52 bomber presence. those bombers are used in the defense of the peninsula. so it's critical they stay protected. >> one last question about all of this. if in fact this launches, one of these missiles, two of these missiles launch there, whether or not north korea says it's a test, what happens immediately with all of our forces? >> when that missile launches, it sends off an infrared signature that's tracked by sea, land and air-based radar. it will determine that totally automated system will determine the attitude, the azmuth and the location. >> this is an inertia guided
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missile. so they'll know where it's going and if it's headed towards any u.s. or allied target. a ship, land, anything. >> that missile will be taken out by an anti-ballistic missile system. >> the response, no matter what they say, would largely be the same. wolf? >> guys, thank you very much. let's bring in our chief international correspondent christiane amanpour. she's also the global affairs anchor for abc news. also joining us, cnn's fareed zakaria, the anchor of "fareed zakaria gps." what is motivating all this tough talk from kim jong-un and his generals? >> it's anybody's guess and anybody have tried to psycho analyze him since he's come in. some people are saying he's trying to prove himself to his people and hardliners, who
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knows? what we also know, and i spoke to the last american who have gone into the nuclear plant that they have. he said, and he's very confident that they do not have the nuclear capability, as the general says, to threaten either south korea or the united states. they could perhaps deliver some kind of warhead to south korea, but not on a missile. maybe by plane or ship or truck, but they don't have that delivery capability. if they restart the nuclear facility, as they said they would, it could take six months to a year. remember, we went in there. i went in there in 2008. i watched them disable it. that was sort of a honeymoon period between north korea and the west, as they disabled it. then it sort of comes to where it is now. they said it could restart within six months to a year. >> those were the good old days.
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fareed, the fear is there could be a miscalculation. even though no one thinks north korea is suicidal, they know they would be destroyed if they did something drastic. but if there was an incident and the new government in south korea responded, who knows what would happen? >> that's right, wolf. the problem is, imagine one of these missiles is launched. the km-8 missiles. they don't have nuclear warheads small enough to put on them, so they would be high explosive. but they launch into the sky. we have destroyers that have egis radars rack them. we fire our own intercept missiles. then the north koreans feel they've lost face. they have to do something. they start attacking south korean patrol boats. that's the danger. nobody wants this to happen. i think the obama administration is playing this just right, which is this is at some level bluster. what you don't want to do is
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overreact, which then forces them to show that they're serious, and then you go for a t tit for tat game. you have to deter the north koreans, but you can't play into this game. because they're somewhat irrational. they don't have very good command and control, and there could be some kind of miscalculation. >> does he really think he can get money from china, south korea, the united states by this tough talk? >> wolf, it's a pattern that's happened over the last decades with this regime. they do believe that they can, and they've been able to do this sort of extortion policy in this regard. nobody wants to let that happen right now. the united states is now saying, and you heard barbara starr say it, they want to dial back. they want to perhaps give some kind of diplomacy an outlet. what they probably will not be
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doing over the next several weeks is these joint military games continue between the south koreans and the u.s. they probably woman be showing some of the more demonstrable shows of force, and if they do, that also could be an issue. but i think the diplomacy is the problem and they haven't had real diplomacy between the obama administration or the bush administration and this is what's having a major problem. >> is it time to send a diplomatic envoy to pyongyang on behalf of the united states? >> the bush administration did try, they signed two agreements. the problem is, they cheat on them. they've cheated on every one of these. there's only one country with whom diplomacy would and these china. there are people in china who open the taps and allow north korea to survive. if problem is the chinese have
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never thought that they could put the real pressure on the north koreaens without danger of the regime collapsing. so the chinese, they don't like the unpredictability of this regime, but they don't want to see north korea collapse. that would mean millions of refugees into china and almost inevitably, the unification of the koreas, north and south on south korean terms. so you would have a very large korea with seoul as the capital, with 40,000 american troops, a treaty alliance with the united states and nuclear weapons. >> it's a complex situation, but it's perilous right now. we'll continue this conversation. a broader look at north korea's military and massive firepower. the danger goes much deeper than simply one missile test. [bell] ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,
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the north korean leader kim jong-un is a big reason why this crisis is so uncertain and dangerous. he's young, virtually unknown and this is his first big test in the global arena. >> reporter: he's the third of the kim dynasty. a man not yet 30, in command of a nuclear arsenal, ballistic missiles, and the world's fourth largest army. but kim jong-un is in many ways
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an enigma, and a dangerous at that. he had a privileged upbringing, attending an elite boarding school in switzerland. a brazilian classmate remembers him as a shy teenager. >> he was very quiet. he didn't speak with anyone. he was competitive at the sports. for him, he didn't like to lose. >> reporter: he liked basketball and football, and video games. his father had served a long apprenticeship before taking over the kingdom. but kim jong-un was catapulted into the leadership suddenly becoming a general in his mid 20s without serving a day in the military. when his father died in december of 2011, kim jong-un became supreme leader and the state propaganda machine went into overdrive. >> they've been trying to establish this myth regarding his expertise, he speeds eight languages, he's a military genius, technical genius.
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>> and a lead we are the complete backing of the military. in his first public remarks, he spoke of the heartbreak of a divided korea. but there was also a warning. >> translator: our military has become a powerful military, able to handle any kind of modern warfare with complete offensive and defensive capabilities. the foreign powers are not the only ones with monopoly on military supremacy. >> reporter: but he also promised no more famine. >> translator: it is our party's firmest resolve not to let our citizens go hungry again. >> reporter: as he's consolidated his rule, kim has tried to promote his youthful side, attending a concert with disney characters, and a youth festival. watching basketball with dennis rodman. kim jong-un has also married. his young, attractive wife was announced by state media. but he's also reenforced north korea's military first policy.
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with the successful launch of a ballistic missile in december and another underground nuclear test in february. >> we've all seen pictures of north korea's military parading its weapons and troops through the streets of pyongyang. we'll give you a closer look at what it has and the deadly capabilities there. my doctor and i went with axiron, the only underarm low t treatment. axiron can restore t levels to normal in about 2 weeks in most men. axiron is not for use in women or anyone younger than 18 or men with prostate or breast cancer. women, especially those who are or who may become pregnant and children should avoid contact where axiron is applied as unexpected signs of puberty in children or changes in body hair or increased acne in women may occur. report these symptoms to your doctor. tell your doctor about all medical conditions and medications. serious side effects could include increased risk of prostate cancer; worsening prostate symptoms; decreased sperm count; ankle, feet or body swelling;
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north korea's nuclear capabilities are an open question. their conventional military is capable of inflicting mass
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casualties on millions of people. let's go back to tom foreman and spider marks for more on this. >> there's a tremendous amount of power in the hands of this young man. spider, let's talk about this nuclear capability first. what do we really think they have right now? >> tom, we think they have eight bombs. they probably have the materiel for 12. but we don't think these are weaponized. >> so they are weapons, but they're not weaponized. >> correct, correct. >> they have a tremendous amount of artillery and rockets, missiles. talk about that some. >> the north korean military was trained by the soviets and chinese communists. so they rely on volumes and volumes of artillery fire. so they have a massive amount of artillery and surface-to-surface missiles. >> a lot of this artillery has been dug in since the end of the
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korean conflict. >> completely where the armistice was signed, when the cease-fire was signed back in '53, 1953, is where a lot of those units remain today. >> and beyond that, there is the question of the sheer number of people that they have. >> they have the fifth largest military in the world. over 1 million men under arms. that's on the active component. the reserve component has about 8 million folks. that's about the largest reserve military component in the world and they can be mobilized at a moment's notice. >> are they considered to be well trained? >> the active component very well trained. when you compare the military to the population, the military has a much higher level of nutrition, training. >> they have a navy, so to speak. they have an air force. they have submarines. but we don't think of those in the traditional way. >> let me talk about the air
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force. the primary force is for the insertion of their special operation forces. the navy can also insert special operation forces and they would activate sleeper agents in the south. they would go after targets to disrupt the decision making capability of the united nations command. >> so the simple truth is, even if you get past the nuclear question, there is a formidable military force in north korea right now. >> it's huge indeed. could cause enormous destruction and disaster. guys, thanks for that report. still ahead, an administration insider on president obama's north korea playbook and what's worrying him most right now. and life in north korea. as i saw it when i was there during another time of crisis in the region. you can pick where to get your car fixed, we can cut you a check,
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happening now, north korea's dangerous new military moves.
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one miscalculation by either side could be a disaster. national security insiders tell us what they're learning about the u.s. response. thousands of americans are at risk on the korean peninsula right now. we're going to explore america's stake in a region that could explode at any moment. and kim jong-un's new path. did the former nba star dennis rodman have any influence at all on the north korean leader? i'm wolf blitzer. this is "the situation room" special report, the north korean crisis. the obama administration is struggling right now to calm an explosive situation in north korea. as we reported, kim jong-un may be gearing up for a new missile launch soon. after weeks of warmongering. take a look at how he's been ramping up tensions in the region. tensions began to skyrocket in mid february when north korea
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went ahead with its third nuclear test. a furious u.n. security council hit back a few weeks later, imposing punishing new sanctions. the u.s. began planned war games with south korea and the north said it was pulling out of the agreement that ended the korean war. direct threats against america intensified. north korean tv aired a video simulating an attack on the white house and the capital building. in a show of force, the u.s. added nuclear capable b-2 stealth bombers. then kim jong-un put his forces onldz stand by to strike the u.s. mainland, guam and hawaii and declared a state of war with the south. u.s. stealth fighter jets joined those war games in the region and the threats went nuclear. north korea said it would restart a closed plutonium reactor. and the regime claimed plans for a nuclear attack on the u.s. were ready to go.
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the u.s. has ordered missile defenses to guam, as fears grow that north korea may be planning a launch soon. we've assembled our own security council here in "the situation room," including some of the more knowledgeable folks about north korea to try to break all of this down for you. joining us now is tommy vietor, he served in the obama white house. he's a former spokesman for the national security council. also joining us, christopher hill, the former u.s. ambassador to south korea. he's now dean of the school of international studies at the university of denver. and retired u.s. navy admiral william fallon. he served as the head of the u.s. pacific command and u.s. central command. admiral fallon, what worries me the most is a miscalculation that could trigger all-out war. are you concerned about that, as well? >> wolf, i think it's prudent to be concerned and certainly pay close attention to this. but i believe this thing may be
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a little bit overhyped right now. >> tell us why, tell us why. >> well, the first thing is his ability to strike the u.s. i think is mostly talk. there's a possibility that some of his missiles might be able to range alaska or possibly a u.s. territory or bases closer in. but unlikely. they've never demonstrated an ability to get anything to fly as far as the u.s. it took them many years to get that one missile to fly th. it's not helpful, of course, all the rhetoric. this is the same old stuff out of the playbook that his father and grand father used. it's unfortunate. you've got to wonder what he's up to and what the real motivation is, whether he's just trying to act strong in front of his military people, or again, what's worked in the past in some instances is to act outrageously and then demand
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some kind of concession and move on. but sit a time to be very attentive. i think the u.s. has made some very prudent moves. we have a significant missile defense capability. from what i can see, i don't get any daily intel reports, but it looks like we've taken the appropriate precautions. >> where does diplomacy, ambassador hill, fit into this? the u.s. does have indirect contacts with north korea. the south koreans do. japan, china. but where should the u.s. be engaged right now, trying to ease this crisis? >> i think there are basically two tracks. one is with our allies, south korea and japan. it's important that we assure them and not hold back on these exercises. we need to really assure them, so that's one track. the second track is with china.
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china may deny they have a lot of leverage with the north koreans, but they do. and there's a lot more that they can do. a third possible track might be with the north koreans. but they kind of started this dance. i'm not sure it would be in our interest to be kind of approaching them. i think you would leave in your mind that we're worried or afraid or somehow blinking. i think we need to be very careful how we will deal with the north koreans. i would rather see much more of an effort with china. >> tommy vietor, you know that back when he was a candidate in 2007, 2008, president obama at that point made it clear. he's willing to talk to these kind of despots without preconditions. dennis rodman came back from north korea saying, call him, kim jong-un. do you think that's the president would each consider? >> huge thank you to dennis rodman for delivering that message. i think the president has
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expressed a willingness to have direct conversations with north korea. but those need to be constructive and they can't be in the context of these absurd threats and this propaganda and continued nuclear development, continued test of ballistic missile technology. whenever you combine long-range missile technology and efforts to develop nuclear capabilities, that's something to take seriously. the administration recently announced they'll put 14 more ground based interceptors on the west coast and additional radar capability in the region. there are additional military ships in the region. so this is something we're well prepared for. i don't think your viewers should worry there's an immediate homeland threat. because the north koreans haven't tested some of the weapons to give them that capability. >> everybody stand by. i want to go to the white house
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right now. our correspondent once again is standing by. so are they worried at the white house about this escalation that's been going on now for the past few weeks and whether it's gone too far? >> reporter: well, certainly, wolf, there's a lot of talk among white house officials that they want to see things deescalate and they also insist, though, that this sort of show of force has been necessary to show that if kim jong-un makes good on his threats there will be consequences. officials say that they're afraid they may have amped up the rhetoric. worried that muscular displays of u.s. military might may have pushed north korea to door, the obama administration says it's changing its tone. >> we've been saying all the way
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through that this does not need to get hotter, that it can -- we can change course here if the dprk will begin to come back into compliance with its international obligations, will begin to cool things down. >> reporter: secretary of state john kerry is leading the effort to dial back the discord, sources tell cnn. while behind the scenes at the white house, attention to north korea is in overdrive. top officials have been meeting more frequently in the situation room for the last week and a half. and the defense and state departments, the cia, and the joint chiefs of staff, among others, are at the table. victor chau was a top adviser to president george bush. >> they're watching the situation and watching to see if
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there are military maneuvers of military alert in north korea that is accompanying this rhetoric. >> reporter: don't expect north korea to be leaving the headlines any time soon, wolf. the new president, park l be here next month visiting president obama. and it's expected, i would say, that north korea, as it does at times, may act up and try to steal some of the attention during that time, as well. >> thank you very much. let's go back to our guests for some further analysis right now. there is a new government, ambassador hill, in south korea. and president park, she's tough. if there is provocation, i suspect she might respond right away and that could escalate a dangerous situation. >> well, she's tough but the times have changed somewhat. this north korean bluster is pretty serious. so i think the problem is the north koreans might feel they
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can get away with some incident, whereas you suggest, i think the south koreans would hit them back pretty hard. there does appear to be some shift in their rules of engagement as local commanders seem to be empowered to use right back at them. so i think it is a dangerous situation. as we look at the paths of this crisis, i think this kind of inadvertent conflict is the most serious. >> as you know, admiral fallon, the north koreans did bomb an island, they killed a bunch of south koreans and attacked a south korean warship that killed a lot of sailors. the south koreans at that point did not retaliate. but i suspect if they did those kinds of things again, the situation could explode. >> wolf, i think it's noteworthy that within the last week or ten days there was an agreement reached between the u.s. and the republic of korea. i don't know the details of it,
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but it sounds to me like it was a heightened effort to consult very closely. in the event of some untoward incident or unpredictable activity on part of the dprk. we work very closely with our south korean allies. there's a well integrated plan. lots of discussion and exercises for many years. we work very well together. there's a high level of confidence between the two militaries. i think this is a time to certainly be very attentive to take prudent precautions, and to consult very closely with our allies in the region, because this is fundamentally a regional issue. >> tommy, you worked with the president for a long time when you were at the national security council. give us a little flavor how he deals with an emerging crisis like this. >> well, the first thing i would say, wolf, is these problems
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with north korea didn't emerge just recently. this is something he's been working on for a long time. but when there is an incident like this, the tempo picks up. the deputy's committee will meet more regularly and the president will receive regular briefings about the issue in his pdb and other venues. i don't think that the white house is on high alert right now as a result of the actions. it's something they've been working on for a long time. in the long game, i think it whether be conversations can the chinese. the united states can do a variety of other efforts to increase diplomatic pressure. but if the chinese would turn the screws a little more, they could have a real impact with north korea and they need to stop letting them get away with these temper tantrums. >> guys, we'll continue this conversation. thank you very much. if cooler heads can't
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prevail and shooting begins, many important u.s. targets could be within range of north korea's guns. and tens of thousands of u.s. troops. also coming up, pictures from my own rare visit to north korea. more often, but they live so far away. i've been thinking about moving in with my daughter and her family. it's been pretty tough since jack passed away. it's a good thing you had life insurance through the colonial penn program. you're right. it was affordable, and we were guaranteed acceptance. guaranteed acceptance? it means you can't be turned down because of your health. you don't have to take a physical or answer any health questions. they don't care about your aches and pains. well, how do you know? did you speak to alex trebek? because i have a policy myself. it costs just $9.95 a month per unit. it's perfect for my budget. my rate will never go up. and my coverage will never go down
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north korea isn't the only country doing some serious military muscle flexing right now. a pair of u.s. stealth bombers has made a trip from missouri to south korea and back. plenty of u.s. firepower is deployed much closer to north korea and could become targets.
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cnn's pentagon correspondent chris lawrence is joining us with more. what are you seeing, what are you learning, chris? >> reporter: wolf, you've got thousands of american troops stationed just about 15 miles south of the dmz, and all of north korea's heavy armor and artillery aimed right at them. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: 25 miles, it's the magic number as far as american troops are concerned. some of north korea's massive military can fire up to four mortar rounds a minute, 25 miles away. >> u.s. forces near the front are probably going to be within range of the artillery. >> reporter: about 10,000 american troops are deployed to bases around camp casey, just 15 miles from the dmz. others are concentrated at osan air base. but the risk to troops deployed
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closest to the dmz will change. over the next few years, the u.s. will move them to another base south of seoul. >> that means that the bulk of u.s. military forces in korea are not going to necessarily be within range of the artillery strikes. >> further out, the navy deployed two ships armed with a sophisticated radar system to detect north korean missiles and then launch rockets to intercept and destroy them. the first reenforcements could come from one of the many american bases in japan. home to the navy's 7th fleet and more than 100 aircraft. and some 2,000 miles away, north korea threatened a nuclear strike on guam. now the u.s. is deploying a land-based missile defense system, somewhat easing fears of an attack on the u.s. territory. >> so i am harkened to see these improvements in the defense
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posture, i am concerned, not only as a governor, but as a man who has a wife and children and grandchildren here. >> reporter: those are some of the same concerns that husbands, wives and children here in the u.s. have for their service members who are stationed over there in south korea. one of the big advantages that the u.s. has is how quickly they can reinforce troops. within two weeks, wolf, they can double the size of their combat aircraft and triple the size of u.s. ground troops in the area. >> and guam there is almost 6,000 u.s. troops based there at any one time. not very far away indeed. chris, thank you very much. north korea only has two direct neighbors right now. south korea and china. the saber rattling has nerves on edge in both countries. let's get the collatest from our correspondents, starting with cnn's jim clancy in seoul. >> reporter: the south korean capital could become ground zero
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if there was a conflict here on the korean peninsula. and the people here know it's not the nuclear arms but the conventional weapons possessed by the north that could reduce this city or parts of it to ashes within a short period of time. older people tell me this is the most sense time they can remember since the end of the korean war some 60 years ago. younger people say, we can't relate to it. we're postwar. they do not believe that kim jong-un is going to attack the south. they believe instead that what he wants to do is to blackmail south korea, to get the money, to get the food aid in order to keep his dictatorship afloat. jim clancy, cnn, seoul. >> let's go to david mckenzie right now in beijing. what's going on over there? everyone seems to think china could play a critically important role if the government in beijing decided to. >> reporter: well, wolf, it's a
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smoggy day here in beijing, and the mood is darkening here in china, with its close neighbor north korea ratcheting up the rhetoric and making moves potentially for a miss potentiay for missiles. the key may be china with china having a lot of influence, they could literally close the taps, the fuel taps, the food taps and those conventional ties between the two countries. a lot of frustration here with north korea in recent months particularly with that missile test and nuclear test, the frustrations might be boiling over and they could be pushing for north korea to get to the negotiating table. >> david ma ken zi for us. thank you. i was in north korea just two years ago. stand by for a rare look. [ male announcer ] this is kevin.
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threats and its military power, its people don't have much. they live under difficult conditions. i got a rare look unside the secret tif nation when i traveled there at the end of 2010. >> thank you so much. >> during my six days in north korea i didn't see a whole lot of color unless you count the propaganda posters. we visited in the winter when buildings often go unheated. in this school it's so cold you could see their breath. even thoed kim jong-un and his generals often wear coats indoor. so much of their money goes to the military.
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north korean industry is crippled and there are shortages. >> it's overall always where are better food, where is something to eat. >> starvation reportedly killed up to 2 million people in the 1990s. this 24-year-old defected from north korea two years ago. >> translator: you can see dead people everywhere in the streets. >> in this satellite photo south korea is blazing with lights at night but north korea is pitch black except for the capital. that capital is the home of top government officials with good salaries and impressive offices. we're on top of the world's tallest stone tower. it really is majestic to see what's going on. you see the river, you see the bitter cold freezing now. the builds are really impressive to see what's going on in the north korean capital. one thing we noticed, not a lot
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of people with cars. >> the streets are icy, it's snowy. you see a lot of people shoveling and there you see the hammer and sickle of this economy, the government, manifestations of the come nis philosophy. >> the subway is clean and orderly although the lights don't always stay on. it doubles as a bomb shelter and it's got propaganda music and music. the population may be getting other glim. s of the world. >> they're huge in the internet and gain the momentum and finding the information and they're finaling asking, north korea is not paradise on earth. it's actually hell on earth. why are we living like this? tough situation right now. we'll stay on top of it for you
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our viewers around the states and around the world. you can follow what's going on in "the situation room." you can like us on facebook. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room". situation room". the nusz continues next on cnn. -- captions by vitac -- jimmy: happier than paul revere with a cell phone. ronny: why not? anncr: get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. and every day since, two years ago, the people of bp made a commitment to the gulf. we've worked hard to keep it. bp has paid over twenty-three billion dollars to help people and businesses who were affected, and to cover cleanup costs.
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