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North Korea Off.: Satellite Successfully Launched Into Space; GOP Candidates Slam President Obama in Debate Over the Weekend; Poll:



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[01:00:16] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And to everyone, live from Atlanta, I'm Natalie Allen. And our breaking news is from North Korea. The secretive country creates an international fear over its rocket launch within just the past six hours.

The official announcement from North Korea says that they have successfully launched a satellite into space. This is what they claim. But the U.S, South Korea and Japan says, it was actually a long-range ballistic missile test. It's not clear if a satellite actually made it into orbit.

Parts of the rocket splash into the waters of the Yellow Sea and further south in the Pacific. The rocket launch comes just one month after North Korea tested what it says was a hydrogen bomb.

Well, covering the story from many aspects, all across the world, CNN's Alexandra Field is in Beijing for us and Paula Hancocks is live.

Let's start with you Paula, because you said just a short time ago was interesting that Pyongyang has already released photographs of what it did just a few hours ago.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Natalie. And to be honest, this is the quackiest turn around I've ever seen on North Korea state-run media. They already have those photos a couple of hours ago that were broadcast for the first time. And that, the photo is of the launch itself and you can see a clearly delighted Kim Jong- un watching from the control center, the North Korean leader has then put a premium on his space program, and that this is a big for him.

As far as Pyongyang is concern, this was a great success. They say that they launch this satellite at 9:00 a.m. local time. It's about six hours ago now. And they say, within 9 minutes and 46 second, the satellites went into orbit.

Now, we don't have official confirmation from South Korea or from Japan, they're obviously working very hard to see if they can detect what actually went into orbit. We know from one senior U.S. defense official that a launch vehicle appears to have reached space.

And we'll also hearing some conflicting reports from South Korean defense ministry, saying they believe there may have been an explosion from the first stage, from the booster and it went to 270 pieces. With hearing, it's not clear what exactly a course that this point.

But obviously, there will a rational to see if they can find any of those fragments obviously with 270 pieces. It's going to be a lot harder than to find anything meaningful to be able to tell what kind of capability North Korea has.

But according to that announcement from KCTV, they say that they will be launching more satellites. And so, despite its internation condemnation that we are hearing and we will hear a lot more of incoming days, Kim Jong-un himself will be very please today. Natalie?

ALLEN: It will be interesting to see when the world finds out if, indeed, there is a new satellite in orbit, in space. What are the changes, Paula, if this had been or perhaps was a failure launch that Kim Jung-un would step up and admit that?

HANCOCKS: Its simple possible. We've seen a difference in Kim Jung- un to his father, that late Kim Jung-il. There were two previous satellite launches in 1998 and 2009, neither of those were believe to have been successful. But Kim Jung-il finds success to both of them.

But then in April 2012, for Kim Jung-un first attempt, it wasn't successful. It was a failure and Kim Jung-un admitted to that. It took everybody by surprise at that time. It certainly wasn't North Korea's usual state of (inaudible). But, of course, bear in mind, they have invited the international media to come and watch that one as well, so maybe felt under pressure to admit that it was a failure.

But that one, I believe it exploded about 90 seconds into the flight. So potentially, if this was a failure, we would expect Kim Jung-un to actually say it was a failure.

Now, we know that defense ministry here in South Korea is holding a briefing at this moment. An interesting point that they have just come out with is that, they are discussing THAAD with the United States.

Now, this is a missile defense system which we have been hearing about recently. It is a missile defense system which the South Koreans and the Americans would mostly like to see here in South Korea, to be able to defend against this kind of threats from North Korea. It's a missile defense system that China does not want in the region.

This is been a contentious issue over recent months, in fact further back and that China putting pressure on South Korea not to allow the U.S. to install this THAAD, this missile defense system here in South Korea.

[01:05:04] So that certainly a very interesting development because of this launched we have seen today that now they are being honest and saying, "This is on the table, the U.S and South Korea may actually decide this missile defense system has to be stationed here".


ALLEN: All right. We thank you, Paula Hancocks. We'll continue to gage the reaction from around the world, from different government.

Let's go now to Alexandra Field. She is live for us in Beijing there. And we have heard response from the government there. Alexandra, what can you tell us?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORESPONDENT: And that's right, Natalie. There is an official statement in which Beijing expressing regret that North Korea has chose and fused ballistic missile technology to launch this rocket, in violation of current U.N. sanctions against North Korea.

But even in the fact of that, the Chinese statement goes to say that the Chinese government is calling fro common, from restraint from all parties and that the Chinese believe the path to peace and stability is through dialog, conversation, negotiation, and that out speaks directly of course to the call for greater sanctions on North Korea, greater efforts to choke off the North Korean economy.

The Chinese have been very clear in saying that, they don't believe in sanctions just for the sake of sanctions. That after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travel to China to put greater pressure on China to exact more of its influence over North Korea. This is the country that has more leverage than anyone else when it comes to relations with North Korea. They share a border. Of course, China is the main tree partner for North Korea so they are in the position to clamp down further on the North Korean economy.

However, the Chinese had been resistant to do that. And you got to look at the geography here. They're certainly balancing their concerns about destabilizing the neighbor next door. That would, of course, settle the risk of refugee crisis that China would potentially have to deal with.

So again, China has been pretty clear is saying that they are watching the situation in North Korea that they will not be swayed by events as they unfold, that they are laying a policy, instead with which they deal with North Korea. And, again, they have said that they don't believe in sanctions just for the sake of sanctions, Natalie.

ALLEN: All right. We know that you've been on the Chinese New Year. And all of the millions of people who are on holiday, there is though interesting timing that North Korea takes this action right now. Thank you, Alexandra Field, watching things for us from Beijing.

Let's get more on that from Mike Chinoy, a former senior Asia correspondent for CNN, now a senior fellow with the U.S.-China Institute from University of Southern California. He's on the line from Hong Kong.

Mike, talk to that and the timing with China being on holiday, and North Korea taking this action just weeks after its alleged H-bomb test.

MIKE CHINOY, A FORMER SENIOR ASIA CORRESPONDENT FOR CNN: So this is another slap in the face of China from the North Korean to do this launch on potentially New Year's Eve, the biggest holiday of the year at time. The only time of the year really with the Chinese system, political system really slows down everybody is off, everyone is on holiday.

Now, the foreign ministry and the military and the government people going to called back into work. So, it's a small point in the big scheme of things but people in Beijing must be serious on top of a broader anger that Kim Jung-un has yet again defied international pressure, defied urging from China.

And taken the step, and when you look around the region, you see that Beijing point of view, there are potentially very worrisome consequences, the South Koreas and the Americans are now seriously taking about it, installing this THAAD anti-missile defense system, China worries about that because it feels that this would increase American deterrent power as China builds up a tone military and to display a prominent role in the region.

So that's bad news. It's going to give further emphasis to Japanese Prime Minister Abe's efforts to buildup and modernize Japan's military. And yet, it appears in spite of all of this negative fallout. At the end of the day, China's bottom line is, it still more concern about keeping a viable North Korea as a buffer against the pro-Western South Korea than about nuclear test, missile test, THAAD system missile system, deployment Japanese rearmament.

So I think this is one consequence of this is, that the world is going to see very clearly, you know, the bottom line from China's point of view, where China's priorities why and they lie in propping North Korea up.

ALLEN: And I want to ask you though, what will this do as far as tensions then between the U.S. and China if China continues it stands to prop North Korea up. But certainly, someone is helping fund this program which must cost this impoverished country just billion of dollars.

[01:10:02] CHINOY: Well, the North Korea make (ph) their own decision to that how they allocate resources. The Chinese don't like the North Korea nuclear program. They would certainly prefer for North Korea not to have it.

But at the same time, the Chinese feel that they have an important interesting in ensuring stability in North Korea. They don't want to see a collapse in North Korea. They worry about refugees from imploded North Korea pouring across the Chinese border. And that's why they are very, very reluctant to impose really, really harsh sanctions.

This is become a point of contention between the United States and China when Secretary of State Kerry was in Beijing recently. His differences with the Chinese leadership on this point were very publicly clear.

And I think what is now stumbling to watch very closely, how much will the United States now decide to impose unilateral sanctions beyond whatever the United Nations Security Council may impose. There is a bill that's going through the U.S. Congress that will authorize much tougher sanctions. And this could include targeting Chinese businesses, Chinese banks, Chinese companies that are doing business in North Korea, investing in North Korea.

And if that happens, then the contention over this question between the U.S. and China will increase. And meanwhile, Kim Jung-un will be shooting there with smug satisfaction, seeing that in his provocative acts of led, not to united international condemnation but the height in tensions between Beijing and Washington.

ALLEN: Mike Chinoy for us there in Hong Kong. Thank you for you expertise, Mike.

Well, Japan says, its analysis of the rocket launched indicates that parts of the rockets fell into at least four locations in the sea after take off. And we've been showing video that Japan took of this launch.

I want to bring now Daniel Pinkston. He is a Professor Internation Relation at Troy University and he is joining us from Seoul, South Korea.

Daniel, thank you for joining us, and what do you make of this action by North Korea, and our correspondent in Seoul also saying that it's very interesting how quickly North Korea made available the pictures of the launch and Kim Jung-un responding and clapping even signing the order before it happen?

DANIEL PINKSTON, PROFESSOR INTERNATION RELATION, TROY UNIVERSITY: Right. They did respond very quickly. I think this was very predictable was to be expected. This is part of the North Korea regime's identity. They place a lot of importance on the nuclear program, and on the delivery systems, the missiles and, of course, the space launched vehicles.

So they continue to do this. They will continue to do it. And so, we should expect to see more in the future. It's moving towards more dangerous region.

ALLEN: Yes. So, I mean, how much of this is posturing on the part of the Kim Jung-un, how much of it is, as you say, a very, very serious threat?

PINKSTON: Well, there are two parts of it. North Korea does have legitimate interest in peaceful access to other space. They do have a satellite program. They do have a space program. This is dubious technology. It's difficult if not impossible to separate it from the militray applications.

So for weather forecasting, telecommunications, broadcasting, scientific research, they do have this legitimate interest. But they can also use the same technology to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles. And wetted with their nuclear warheads, they could strike the United States potentially.

So that is worrisome, it makes it more difficult or complicated for the United States to fulfill its mutual security, treaty obligations with the Republic of Korea and with other allies in the region. So the deterrence response, the military posture, the assets that have to be deployed to the region and so fort. There have been discussions here on about THAAD and other things. That's going to be horizon. You're going to have to manage this emerging threat.

And as North Korea enhances its capabilities, they will continue to use it for course of purposes to try to achieve their political objectives.

ALLEN: Right. And it come to the time went the United States force is very much engage, and electing a new president, and a new administration will be taking over. So does that signal as far as the tension between China and the United States? We just heard Mike Chinoy, it will be interesting to see if they United States takes unilateral sanction that could affect more of China's business institutions.


[01:14:58] I think there's a broad internation consensus against the North Korean programs. But as far as reaching any agreement in how to deal with it, that's where we diverge in their many different opinions. I don't think China is going to support the types of actions that the U.S. South Korea, Japan and other personalities would like to see.

And in my personal view, I think the only thing that would stop these space launches, missile test, nuclear test, would be this force, which probably means war and that's very unattractive or some revolutionary change within North Korea. So those two possibilities are very destabilizing right on China's border, and they're not going to take any policy initiatives that would make that more likely.

ALLEN: Daniel Pinkston joining us there from Seoul. Professor, thank you for your comments.

We'll now turn to Tokyo. Michael Firn is a journalist there. He joins us from outside of Japan's Ministry of Defense. And, Michael, Japan's tracking this launch very closely, what is the reaction there and the belief on whether this was successful as North Korea claims?

MICHAEL FIRN, JOURNALIST: We'll primary session, so Abe called this toughly unacceptable he said. They clearly went against resolutions by the U.N. Security Council. We also heard from Yoshihide Suga, the Chief Cabinet Secretary saying that this was a threat to international peace.

And I know you can see behind me but there's a group of people gathered there. This is the Defense Ministry Gen Nakatani who is visiting self-defense forces here at the Defense Ministry.

Japan deployed as of Wednesday on the Defense Ministry's orders, seven Patriot PAC-3 defense systems to defend against this rocker launch. One is here, folks, behind me. And it also deploys (inaudible) battleships completes with Sm-2 anti-ballistic missile systems as well, so that it could shoot down those missiles.

Now, there was concern ion Japan that the rockets have split into various parts. And although it is a very stage rocket with the various stages expected to full off. One of those parts have gone somewhere that North Korea haven't said it would, which is 2,000 kilometers south of Japan. So there was concern about that.

Suga, the Chief Cabinet Secretary say Japan continues to check, to see if any debris fell on the line, continues to check if there was any damage to ships or to aircraft. We did have (inaudible) on for the airlines redirecting some flights because they didn't want to be in the path of this rocket launch. So flights from Narita Airport in Tokyo to Jakarta in Indonesia and to Manila in the Philippines were redirected today to avoid any problems.

ALLEN: So, they are certainly affecting air travel there. And can we assume that Japan is working to perhaps locate and bring in some of the debris from this rocket?

FIRN: Well, guess, they say that this threat is around (ph) and obviously, if would be a benefit to Japan and it could get some of this debris because then they could analyze, it maybe gets some hints as to want technology North Korea has developed.

They humping some suggestions that this fragmenting of the parts of the rocket was deliver, that there was maybe some explosive devices in the first parts of the first portion that would cause it disintegrate so that, people couldn't retrieve them and get information from them.

ALLEN: Thank you so much. Michael Firn there live for us in Tokyo. We appreciate your reporting for us.

Will news of this launch by North Korea came as U.S. Republican presidential candidates were taking this stage to debate in New Hampshire. We'll hear their reaction to the launch and a solution Donald proposing. Next.


[01:21:20] ALLEN: Welcome back to our live coverage and the breaking news from North Korea. The U.S. Republican presidential candidates were quick to use North Korea's missile launch to slam President Obama and his administration.

During their debate, Saturday night, Ted Cruz argued that recent nuclear deal with Iran would lead to a similar outcome from Tehran as in Pyongyang that we have seen. Donald Trump on the other hand said, "Let China handle North Korea."


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have tremendous -- has been just sucked out of our country by China. China says, they don't have that good of control over North Korea. They have tremendous control. I deal with the Chinese all of the time, I do tremendous, these are largest bank in the world, is in one of my buildings in Manhattan.

I deal with them, they tell me. They have total, absolute control practically of North Korea. They are sucking trillions of dollars out of our country. They're rebuilding China with the money they take out of our country.

I would get on with China. Let China solve that problem can do it quickly and surgically, that's what we should do with North Korea.


ALLEN: Well, candidate Marco Rubio was the focus of more pointed attacks on his level of experience during Saturday's Republican presidential debate.

Earlier, I spoke with CNN's Political Commentator Jeffrey Lord about the debate and who he thins came out on top.


JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think Donald Trump did very well. I mean, at this point he's been through, what, five six debates, whatever it is. All he had to do basically is be there and expresses point of view, everybody knows pretty much where he is on these issues.

What's interesting, I thought, was that the governors, former Governor Bush, Governor Kasick, Governor Christie seemed to be the one having a good night in Marco Rubio's expense.

So I think that Donald Trump did well. I think he is still on the lead here in New Hampshire although, you know, New Hampshire voters are notoriously independent. I'm New Englander myself and I couldn't attest to that independence.

The question is, whether somebody will come in second to Donald Trump who is one of the so-called lower card from the earlier debates. But, you know, could Governor Kasick grab second or former Governor Bush or Governor Christie. If that did, that would do real damage to Marco Rubio and Senator Cruz as well.


ALLEN: We appreciate his analysis. We do want to point out, Jeffrey Lord is a Trump supporter.

But the latest CNN/WMUR poll shows Donald Trump is coming out on top of his rival there in New Hampshire holding an 11-point lead over Marco Rubio ahead of the primary on Tuesday there.

One the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders is leading Hillary Clinton by a two to one margin.

To find out more on the race for the White House including the latest pool numbers and debate performances, be sure to check out our website at

In Taiwan, we will you the moment of powerful earthquake hit, and we'll tell you about a little boy pulled alive from the rubble. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:26:01] ALLEN: Now, welcome back. We want to, again, reiterate our top story. North Korea saying it has successfully launched a long- range rocket into space.

Pyongyang announced plans for the launch earlier this month, claiming it intends to send an observation satellite into orbit but experts worry, this is just cover for testing the countries ballistic missile technology. South Korea's president has condemned the launch calling it, "A challenge to world peace."

North Korea state television says, the country has plans to launch more satellites.

And now, we turn to Taiwan where more than 70 people remained unaccounted for after 6.4 magnitude earthquake, at least 20 people have been including a 10-day-old girl. Emergency crews are still digging to the debris from this building right here at (inaudible) looking for survivor.

And we have this surveillance video that shows the moment the earthquake hit. Smoke rises and then, chunks of cement come crashing down onto to that road.

And elderly Australian woman has been freed after she and her doctor husband were kidnapped by an al-Qaeda linked group in Burkina Faso. Dr. Ken Elliot and his wife Jocelyn were saved by militant in the northern two of Djibo last month.

The couple has worked at the clinic there for more than four decades. The terror group claim responsibility for the abduction and said they would released Jocelyn because they do not target woman in times of war. Authorities are trying to get Dr. Elliot release.

That concludes our news this half hour, I'm Natalie Allen. Our headlines are right after a quick break.


(Byline: Natalie Allen, Paula Hancocks, Alexandra Field)

(Guest: Mike Chinoy, Daniel Pinkston, Michael Firn)

(High: Breaking news from North Korea: the secretive country creates an international fear over its rocket launch within just the past six hours. The official announcement from North Korea says that they have successfully launched a satellite into space, this is what they claim. The U.S. Republican presidential candidates were quick to use North Korea's missile launch to slam President Obama and his administration in the debate over the weekend. But the latest CNN/WMUR poll shows Donald Trump is coming out on top of his rival there in New Hampshire holding an 11-point lead over Marco Rubio ahead of the primary on Tuesday there.)

(Spec: North Korea; World Affairs; Foreign Relations; Astronautics and Space; Elections; Politics; Policies; Barack Obama; Polls; New Hampshire; Donald Trump; Marco Rubio; Technology)