Skip to main content

tv   Frontline  PBS  January 30, 2018 10:00pm-11:01pm PST

10:00 pm
>> narrator: tonight. >> if the united states is forced to defend itsf or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy north korea. (rocket engine hiss and roars) >> narrator: as tensions between north korea and the united stees continue, a rare glim inside the regime... >> the half-brother of north korea's leader was assassinated using the most toxic nerve agent ever created. >> narrator: the story of a murder that leads back to pyongyang... >> people that say that a this botched job are not thinking like north korean telligence operatives. they're not thinking like killers. >> narrator: what it reveals about kim jong-un...
10:01 pm
>> in order to surve, he had to conduct politics inside t regime.cs and politinside north korea is a blood sport. >> kim jong-un is ruthless, he's brutal, but he's not suicidal. he's not irrationa he's very shrewd and calculating. i think he has a plan, he has a goal, which is to complete thepr nuclearam. >> narrator: and the capabilities of his regime. >> he's managed to generate enough precision, technical acuity, and money in order to build a nuclear missile progm that poses a genuine threat to the united states. >> we're truly in some uncharted territory. the game that they're playing has incredibly high stakes. >> narrator: tonight on "frontline:" "north korea's deadly dictator." >> "frontline" is madess le by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you-- thank you. and by the corporation for public broadcasting. major support is provided by the
10:02 pm
john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, commitd to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. more information is available at macfound.org. additional support is provided by the ford foundation, working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwidt at fordfoun.org. the park foundation, dedicated to heitening public awareness of critical issues. the john and helen glessner family trust, supporting trustworthjournalism that informs and inspires. and byhe frontline journalism fund, with major support from jon and jo ann hagler. ♪ >> he was always like in a plane
10:03 pm
going one place and the other. i was even surprised that he was going to kuala lumpur. because at the time i thought that he was in... in paris. ♪ >> narrator: it's 9:00 on the morning of february 13, 2017. (plane whirring) an ordinary-looking man arrives at kuala lumpur airport, terminal two. >> i mean basically it's a huge terminal. once you're inside it's like a maze. there's so many types of people from all walks of life. >> narrator: the man is checking in for an air asia flight to tht chinese tey of macau. >> he went to one of those self check-in kiosks to get his boarding pass. that's when he was approached by the two ladies, they sort of flanked him from left and right.
10:04 pm
>> narrator: two women appear to bump into hi one appears to put a cloth over his mouth. then the women walk calmly off and no one else seems to notice. thsswhole thing has taken le than five seconds. >> i think he immediately felt the effect. probably less than a minute after he was attacked. that's why when you secctv in front of the entrance where he first made contact with the policeman, he was, rushing through something. but, since it happened so fa, they didn't know that this is a serious matter. >> by the time he was walking towards the clinic, he wasy alreagging his feet. he was sweating profusely. hi coordination went haywire. he had a minor seizure and then
10:05 pm
defecated. he died in the ambulance, by 11:05 i ink, he was pronounced dead. >> narrator: the dead n was travelling on a north korean passport with the name kim chol. but as the pictures went around the world, it soon became clear who he really was: kim jong-nam, the half-brother of north korea's dictator, kim jong-un. >> the assassination of kim jong-nam was n only a surprising event, it was carried out in such a bizarre manner, that it's hard to imagine any other country on earth other n thorth korea carrying this thing out. the way that i see nor korea
10:06 pm
is an elaborate soap opera. it is ruled by individuals, it is not ruled by institutions, and i think the asssination of kim jong-nam is a very personal thing inside north korea and inside the heart of kim jong-un. in arth korea is livi world unto itself. s the last few mof the u.s. north korean relationship have been some of the most tense in the entire history, going back to 1953, the end of the korean war. if you want to understand what's actually going on in pyongyang, if you want to know why make the decisions they make, one of the things you have to understand are these rare moments when the palace opens its doors inadvertently and lets omu in. and one of those mts, perhaps its most spectacular moment, was the assassination of kim jong-nam. >> narrator: north korea has been ruled for seven decades byi the kily dynasty.
10:07 pm
they have created a fearsome police state accused of systematic human rights abuses. kim jong-nam was the oldest son- of kimil, who ruled northfo kore17 years. >> narrator: his mother was kim jong-il's mistss, a famous north korean actress. >> his mother was number one film star in my generation. and his mother was a married woman with a daughter. every north korean people knew his mother's name, sung hae-rim, very popular lady. so kim jong-nam was not the sony fficial marriage. to >> nar the boy's existence was kept a secret in north
10:08 pm
korea. but he was brought up in luxury, like a prince. >> kim jong-nam's childhood was very, very cloistered. the ceilings in the house were so high they needed to bring in scaffolding to dust the lights. there was always the off chance that kim jong-il would be dining with kim jong-nam, and so somebody literally goes through a sack of rice and pulls out any irregular, any broken piece of rice.ki you're t perfect bag of rice sent to kim jong-nam's house. >> he was a bit like his father. artistic, i think. and kim jong-il doted on kim jong-nam. h and wh family, his mother, aung, et cetera was-was plan to send him away for education in foreign country, we know that kim jong-il cried. he wept and he remonstrated,
10:09 pm
protested against their plan. >> narrator: despite the dictator's objections, the women prevailed. kim jong-nam was sent off to school in moscow, and then geneva. >> my earliest memories of kim we were, i think, around 15. one day we entered in class and we saw that guy who looked like an adult for us. we didn't know at the time that he was the son of-of kim jong-il. we... i think we didn't even kn he was korean. i mean, we didn't really care at the time, but we saw him arrive with his little attaché case, a black suit, his hair done just like his dad, you know. >> back then i called him lee. i called him lee, that's what he told us his name was, lee. i think that's what he showed us on his driver's license, i'm noe because we loved the fact he had a fake driver's license, wegh thit was fake because he was obviously 15 in our class, but his license said he was 18, and he was driving, and we loved that.
10:10 pm
very, very jealous at the time, you know, as all young boys would be.to >> nar released from his secretive existence inside north korea, kim jong-nam got his first taste of life in the west. >> i remember too it was the beginning of, like, cameras. and he was always taking his camera to school and filming everybody. today your phone has a camera, but at the time it-it was something special to have your own camera. >> i think he was just happy to take glimpses of life, you know, to photograp so maybe it was interesting for him to film us carefree. >> narrator: but in 1988, that carefree life came to an end. the 17-year-old was summoned back to north korea. his father revealehim to the rest of the family, and analysts believe he was prepared for
10:11 pm
leadership, and exposed to the s,gime's brutality. >> during the 19s north korea's economy starts to sort of deteriorate, the partyit auths start to crack down on what's called asset stripping, or the selling of scrap metal tohina and to enher people. buses of security would arrive in a town, a factory town, overnight. they would sit there and then they would start picking people to execute publicly. kim jong-nam was involved in that, and he was involved in attending public executions of party and economic officials. >> i don't think he had the ice in his veins necessary to do d at it took to-to... you know, it's not easy to hcountry together the way they're holding a country together, you know. it's a certain skillset you need that he didn't have. he was a nice bo >> he's got different ideas and , starts to become a rebellious, you knenager or rebellious 20-year-old.
10:12 pm
and this does not really sit well with kim jong-il. >> you're a prisoner in a gilded cage, you have everything but you ve no freedom, and he wasn't happy, he wanted to ldave. and he distinctly e he had to ask his father to leave. >> narrator: eventually, his father letim go, but only as far as neighboring china. >> strange reports that thelf estranged rother of kim jong-un is dead and possiblyrd ed. >> it looks like something straight out of the pages of a spy novel. north korean royalty, kim jong-nam, the estranged exiled half-brother of leader kim jong-un, falls ill... >> narrator: within days of the murder, malaysian police captured the two womenho carried out the attack in the airport. >> both women, police say, practiced the attack several times before last monday's assault. >> narrator: it was becoming a huge international story.
10:13 pm
>> there was an adrenalineush to it, it was quite addictive, i have to admit. as far as the police are concerned, it was pretty clear cut, everything was v camera, they had done the act, that was for sur >> narrator: but the story was about to take its first sensational twist. one of the killers, 25-year-old indonesian siti aisyah, now gave her version of what happened. she claimed that six weeks earlier she had met a japanese man called james. he'd offered her a job on a hidden camera prank show for youtube. >> when she met this so-called james, sheas asked to watch another lady to see how the prank was being played. and thereafter she was asked to play about three pranks, and after the prank she was paid a certain sum of money. e and xt day again she was
10:14 pm
taken to the airport where, again, they ayed about three pranks on-- at the arrival area. > arrator: with james, siti thid she carried out more 20 filmed pranks on people she thought were unsuspecting members of the public. siti posted this video on facebook.>> hen we go... >> narrator: the man she knew as james seemed a little camera shy. >> now siti was a social escort, and she was also a masseuse, and her income wasn't very high, and she didn't quite like the job that she was doing. and wh she was introduced to play these pranks, she was quitu excited abthe whole thing. ieshe even told all her frnds about the pranks that she played because she actually believed that this could have been her
10:15 pm
new career. >> narrator: the second woman involved in thattack was 28- year-old doan thi huong.me she rom over a thousand miles away in vietnam. doan also sa that she had been rehearsing pranks. narrator: siti claims s never met doan before that day in kuala lumpur airport. in custody, they were charged with murder, which in malaysia is punishable with the death penalty. >> now siti did not know that kim jong-nam died on the day of the incident. she only realized after the police came to her. we told her what actuay happened now that she had been charged for a case, which issh pule with death, and then she realized how serious the matter was, and then she broke
10:16 pm
down, yeah. >> the representatives of the two ladies are standing firm on the fact that these ladies were deceived. on the other hand, somebody has to be held accountable f the murder. you nnot plead ignorance in your defense. were they victims? were they tricked into believi that they were part of a show? or were they willing participants in the plot? that the court will have to decide. we will just wait and see. ♪ >> narrator: by the te 1990s, kim jong-nam appeared to be living the life of an international playboy. tsed in macau-- known as the las vegas of chinare were reports that he had more than n.e wife and several child >> on the whole, he was more like a tycoon thout taste for
10:17 pm
hard work of aypical tycoon. he was a kind of playboy, typil bourgeoisie playboy mentality. and heever lacked the money. lots of money to spend. lots of money, but hl seemed to be wanting more money. >> narrator: so how did kim jong-nam fund this lifesyle? there are clues in kuala lumpur, malaysia.e whenwas here, kim jong-nam would often eat at thikorean restaurant. >> (speaking korean): >> (speaking korean):
10:18 pm
>> narrator: though he'd been living abroad, kim jong-nam hadn't cut ties to north korea. analystsuspect he was running an international business network, generating funds for the family. >> (speaking korean): >> kim jong-nam was involved ino a whole hoillicit businesses that north korea conducted. ar could have been involved in the nuclear missil trade, he could have been involved in currency counterfeiting, he could've been involved wh some drug smuggling. so it was unclear exactly what he did for a living, but we know
10:19 pm
that he was involved in this whole host of things that... particularly that involved money and currency that goes back to nortkorea. >> narrator: by 2007, kim jong-nam was a wealthy wheeler-dealer, believed to playing a key role in his father's regime. nearly week after the killing, the malaysian police announced a major breakthrough. >> as investigation progresses, four suspects has been identified, which could assist us very much on the investigation. and i n confirm today that they have left our country the very same day the incint happened. yeah.ry thank you uch. >> narrator: the two foreign women hadn't been operating alt.e in kuala lumpur airpor this came as no surprise to kim dong-sik, a former north kean
10:20 pm
intelligence officer who defected to south korea. >> (speaking korean): >> (speaking korean): >> narrator: the cctv footage from the airport showed at least four men whom authorities believed were north korean operatives. >> narrator: the key figure was
10:21 pm
a man in a gray-striped shirt identified by police as 57-year-old ri jae-nam. >> ri jae-nam is a long-timeh norean intelligence operative, somebody that's got extensive contact overseas. >> narrator: ri jae-naappears to coordinate the operation from beside a pillar. as kim jong-nam looks at the departure board, he couldn't have known he was now surrounded by north korean agents. then the two young women separately approach their target. >> (speaking korean): -namarrator: as kim jo enters the clinic, another man suspected of being a north korean agent follows close behind.
10:22 pm
>> (speaking korean): >> narrator: before kim jong-nam was confmed dead, the suspected north korean agents had already made their escape. according to immigration officials, they boarded a plane and flew to jakarta, then dubai antimately onto pyongyang, the capital of north korea. it looked like the perfect hit. e >> the recruit of two foreigners was done so that they could remove their fingerprints from this assassination, and essentially point the finger in another direction. i suspect they were expecting these women, because they didn't use gloves, to die of chemical. but the womewent to the bathroom very quickly, washed off the chemical, and were able to survi. (cameras clicking)
10:23 pm
>> narrato but within days, the malaysian police were pointing the finger firmly at north korea. it brought complete denial. >> it has been seven days sinceu the incidentthere is no clear evidence on the cause of the death. and at the moment we cannot trust the investigation by the malaysian police. they pinned the suspicion on us and targeted the investigationns agus. tw there are so many rumors spread to the publdefame the image of the democratic peele's republic of korea, malaysian police should bear the full responsibility for that. thank you. this is my all comment. thank you. (reporters clamoring)
10:24 pm
>> narrator: the killing in kuala lumpur was the lt chapter in the bloody history of the north korean regime. it traces back to 2008, when the dictator kim jong-il sufferea debilitating stroke. he hado choose a successor from among his children. he had at least two daughters, but they were ruled because they were women. he once reportedly complained that all his sons were "idle blockheads." kim jong-nam-- his oldest-- was now seen by many as tooni westzed. >> how's your relationship with your brother? >> narrator: there was a mysterus second son. lithle is known about him, oer than that he is an eric clapton
10:25 pm
fan who pops up at concerts around the world. there was one more option. >> there's this younger guy, he's 23, 24 years old, his name's kim jong-un, starts to get the similar kind of jobs that kim jong-nam got, because this is a family business, and so you're gonna get a job. the kim family-- they trust you, they trust family members, andg- so kim j's career kind of starts, and that's the best optionbecause that's all they know, that's the life they know, is the strongman dictator. ar rator: with kim jong-il's healthailing, the youthful kim jong-un s anointed successor. he now needed a crasse in dictatorship. (weeping) but this training was cut short. in december 2011, kim jong-il
10:26 pm
died. still in his 20s, kim jong-un was now declared sreme leader. >> there's a lot of mystery gorrounding how kim jong-u the job; i mean, there's a lot of mystery around a lot in north korea. but one of the things that's become clear is that kim jong-un sentially won a battle f succession, and he won it on the basis partly of attitude andgr sion. (cheers and applause) when kim jong-un became the successor to kim jong-il, that came with it a tremendous amount of expectation and responsibility. there had never been a third generation communist dictatorship.of a loeople predicted it wouldn't last.>> im jong-un did not have decades to build his power base within the regime. he has only had a few years to do something that it took his father 30 years to do.
10:27 pm
id order to survive, he had to conduct politics ithe regime. and politics inside north koreas is a blort. it is not something for the weak of heart. >> narrator: within months ofng assumiower he began a brutalen purge ofr officials-- anyone who might have challenged him. the second most powerful man in north korea was kim's uncle jang song-thaek. december 2013, he was executed. kim jong-nam was anoer threat to the new leader's lecy. he had gone public with his critism of the succession. >> (speaking japanese):
10:28 pm
>> narrator: between 2010 and 12, kim jong-nam exchang almost 150 emails with japanese journalist yoji gomi. in them he criticized the decision to transfer power to a third generation of the kim family. and he suggested that the new leader lacked experience and would end up as a "mere gurehead." he also criticized howhe country was being run. kim jong-nam's experience of living in china had persuaded him that north korea should open up and introduce chinese-style reforms. >> (speaking japanese):
10:29 pm
>> (speaking japanese): s >> narrator: lesan a month after kim jong-un came to power, yoji gomi puished the emails. it was a stunning public insultn to north korea dictator. >> kim jong-un has to make a decision whether he let his half-brother, wandering around the world fromime to time meeting foreign journalist and saying native, you know,
10:30 pm
words against kim jong-un's leadership, or he shou eliminate the physical existence of kim jong-nam. >> according to some decent intelligence sourcing, there was standing order as of 2011 or 2012 to take out undesired members of the rulinly. and so this is when people in noh korea's intelligence services get a little creative. kim jong-nam was living on borrowed time. this was on a narrow list of possibilities as to how kim jong-nam's life was gonna turn out for him after his half-brother succeeded in north rea. >> narrator: kim jong-nam began to keep a lower profile. it was becoming harder for him to travel to and from north korea and make money. ♪ by early 2017, he'd had enough.
10:31 pm
>> three or four days before he died, he text me a message saying, "il see you in geneva. i'll be back in three days." he was, like, coming back to geneva to search back all hisar youth, like,of a time where we had nothing to think about, nothing to be aof. m >> narrator: kim jong-natold his friends that he wanted to move to europe and change his citizenship-- in essence, defecting to the wes >> i think he let his guard dowi somewheurope, he felt more safe and more secure here, especially in switzerland. was he worried? heah, would he be talking about moving to europe iasn't slightly worried? probably. >> it's not easy to live thee lifeved. okay, maybe he had a bit of money, we don't even know how much he had. he was very secret about it, but money's not everything. i mean, if you cannot liver kseely yfe, then i'm sure, like, something brnside of you.
10:32 pm
>> narrator: moving to europe and defecting could pose a major threat to kim jong-un's regime. >> from foreign intelligence services' perspective, this isbo so that you want to get to know. so, i'm sure cia would have tried very hd to recruit him. ultimately, i think kim jong-un was afraid that should hostile powers like united states, or maybe even china, one day want to have a change in regime, that they could put kim jong-nam as head of that new leadership in north korea, because of course kim jong-nam has legitimacy. >> (speaking japanese):
10:33 pm
>> (speaking japanese): >> last week at kuala lumpurne airport, somhose to attack kim jong-nam. today, we leard what killed him. and it's even more shocking. >> ...now determined that awa chemical weapoused to assassinate north korean leader kim jong-un's half-brother. >> narrator: the next revelaon om the malaysian police took the story to a new level. >> a press release was sent out to media outlets from the usspector general of police, saying that his of death was due to something known as vs agent, whichompletely new to us.
10:34 pm
it sounded like something ouof a spy novel. >> the chemical that we discovered which caused the death is vx... which is a lethal weapon registered under the... registered as a chemical weapon. >> i recall that on monday morning i got a call from our director general's office. apparently we had received a note verbale from the malaysian abassy here, asking for the opcw's assistanc they wanted some technical assistance, they wante advice from me, some reference materials and whatnot. >> narrator: the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons confmed the findings about what killed kim jong-nam. >> vx is a nerve agent. it's actually the most powerful nerve agent that's knowno date. it's about ten times more
10:35 pm
powerful than sarin, about 3 times more powerful than mustard gas, and about 5,000 times mor potent than chlorine, so it's really toxic. it takes about ten milligrams to kill an average adult person. now, ten milligrams is just a fraction of a drop, so it doesn't take very much. it looks like a horrible way to die. you basically suffocate, you-you convulse, you're jerking aroundn it pleasant at all. >> why use a chemical vx nerve agent, in a public international airport? so manthings could have gone wrong. one of the ladies could have kind of just done it wrong with somebody else, just by tripping. so many accidental possibilities. >> you needed something that would kill him, but that you would have the lag time or the delay in the death that would allow the north koreans to get out of the country. if you slit his throat, you, one, can't do it in a public place, two, you can't use foreign agents tt you have
10:36 pm
shped into thinking that this is some sort of a gam. >> and i think kim jong-un wanted to make a point tany would-be rivals, potential opponents, defectors out there, saying, "i can kill you in any manner." so, i think he wanteo be public, he wanted the whole world to know. >> narrator: vx is banned undert the intenal chemical weapons convention. but analysts have long been convinced that north korea is manufacturing it. >> north korea has a long- standing chemical weapons program. they've had this program for a number of decades, it's quite large, it's on a military scale, it was desned for war fighting. north korea's likely the onlytl country currin the world today that has active chemical,n biologicalnuclear weapons programs, and possibly even thet abto deploy all three. that really puts them in a
10:37 pm
league of their own, in terms of current capabilities. >> big story here, keep an eye on it. north korea firing four onllistic missiles toward the sea of japan earlyy morning. >> tonight, kim jong-un could be one step closer tohreatening america with a nuclear-tipped missile. the ballistic missiles his regime just test-fired... >> narrator: three weeks after the assassination, kim jong-un had another point to make. >> (speaking korean): >> narrator: he began the most intense period of missile testing in north korea's history. (explosions) th in the msince the assassination, kim jong-un has launched more miiles than his father launched during his entire reign, developing north korea's ability to reach farther and farther distances.
10:38 pm
>> north korea is now very close to completing their program, nuclear program, perfectingr their nuclsenal, having an ability to attack united statese with n-tipped icbm. and now kim jong-un is trying to hcomplete this program, as very, very close to doing that. so we are at the final stages and this is why we're uniquely in aery dangerous time perio >> what we're seeing now istr north koreng to break out. what do we mean by that? to go from a country that simply has the ability to produce a nuclear weapon, to a country that can field a nuclear weapon, that can deliver it,has a stockpile, a reasonable sized stockpile-- we believe anywhere by public estimates 30 to 60r nuclapons. they're clearly very close to the delivery capability, their actual weaponization and miniaturization of their nuclear warheads has progressed substantially.
10:39 pm
can they put all that together perfectly yet? we don't know, but nobody real wants to test the proposition. >> narrator: in early 2017, president trump had informed the world on twitter that he would not allow north korea to complete its nuclear program. (explosion) but on the fourth of july, kim jong-un took a significant step forward. he launched a missile which could have reached alaska, a so-called independence day "gift" for the quote "americanba ards." >> (speaking korean): >> on the fourth of july, northi korea ed a major milestone in the development of its missile capability. what they did was that they fired an icbm, an
10:40 pm
intercontinental ballistic missile, that was capable of reaching the united states. they fed it way up into the atmosphere and it came down, so it actually only fell into the pacific.y but what tscovered as a result of that was that they now had the ability to menace the united states with a weapon. that was a threshold that, frankly, the american intelligence community never thought they were going to reach as soon as they did, and certainly a lot of analysts were surprised. from that point on, the united states had many fewer options that they had before; they were tnow dealing with adversat was capable, in theory, of putting a nuclear weapon on the continental united states. >> nth korea best not make a more threats to the united states. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. he has beevery threatening, beyond a normal statement. and as i said, they will be met with fire, fury, and, frankl power, the likes of which thisr world has neen before.
10:41 pm
thank you. >> i arrived in north korea a little over a week after donald trump began to escalate the rhetoric from the united states. and when i arrived, i was spending time with nor korean government officials whose job it was was to try to assess, and analyze, and underand the united states. and they were mystified, frany; they were just befuddled. this was not the united states they'd dealt with before, they couldn't figure out what he was saying, they couldn't figure ouf e was trustworthy, and they couldn't figure out if he was serious. (man shouting on loudspeaker) >> narrator: the day after prident trump's threat to unleash fire and fury, north korea staged a show of defiance in pyongyang. (crowd chanting) >> north koreans have themselves told me that they are willing to use nuclear weapon, but only t when they feelly threatened. what i'm concerned about is foro norta to miscalculate and misunderstand our intentions and think an attack is coming, or regime change is coming when
10:42 pm
we're-we're not doing that. lud this is a problem when there's a lot ofer with very heightened rhetoric of "fire and fury" and "locked and loaded" and so on, because it could lead north koreans to miscalculate. >> nrator: in this propagand video released two weeks later, lanorth korea threatened tch a strike on america's pacific base of guam. >> one of the biggest, hardest ouestions facing the united states and otherries is why, why does north korea want a nuclear weapon so desperately,d y is it willing to give up so much in order to achieve it? there is one school of thought,a whic that they fundamentally just want self-defense. they looked at what happened tod hussein, muammar gaddafi and they decided that will never nd us, we will never give up our weapons program,herefore nobody will be able to attack us. her view, andn that view is that ultimately they want nuclear weapons in order to achieve what has always been north korea's objective,
10:43 pm
which is to bring south korea to its ees, and to drive the united states off the peninsula. >> i think kim jong-un wants to prove that he's a legitimate leader. and nucleaweapons program is certainly part of that. hid by perfecting and completing this program thafather and grandfather have pursued for the course of many years, he will prove to the koreans that he's a true leader, a strong leader who can be defiant against the united states. (beeping) ♪ narrator: but then, north korea toned down its rhetoric, announcing it was putting s plans to hit guam on hold. for president trump, this was a sign that his approach was working. >> and you see what's going on in north korea. all a sudden, i don't know,
10:44 pm
who knows, but i can tell you, what i said, that's not strong enough. some people said it was too strong; it's not strong enough. but kim jong-un, i respect the fact that i believe he's starting to respect us, i respect that fact very much. respect that fact. (beeping) (rocket fires) >> narrator: within days, north korea launched one of its most provocative missiles yet. it passed over japan's populated island of hokkaido, flying for about 1,700 miles,lmost the same distance as it would takech to ruam. >> the trump administration has what we would coider sort of a classic dilemma. they have only choicbad
10:45 pm
options. wehean dramatically increase pressure, economic and otherwise, to see if we can pressure north korea to the negotiating table. or we can choose to treat north tirea as a country that has nuclear capabilies and try to develop a more effective and more stable deterrence relationship with them. or we can consider military options, to try to pre-emptively degrade their nuclear capability. of course that's profoundly risky, and would likely trigger a broader-scale war, which would bring considerable destruction. >> if the u.s. were to launch military strikes against north korea, to try to take out the nuclear program, this could cause north korea then to react towards south korea-- bombing
10:46 pm
seoul, artillery strikes against seoul-- which then could unleash an escalatory ladder that no one could find an it ramp off of. and you could then devolve into a war on the peninsula, which potentially could go nuclear. (maring band playing) the way that i see north korea is whatever decision is made, when they decide to test another nuclear weapon, test an icbm, it's all in service of regim survival operpetuation of kim family rule. they will not make a decision at will violate those. and that gets back to the decision to assassinate kim jong-n. those decisions were taken because of the need for kim jong-un to perpetuate his own power. ♪ n >>rator: to this day, north kohea remains adamant that t man who was killed in kuala
10:47 pm
lumpur airport wasot kim jong-nam but a citizen calledki chol, who died of natural causes. few are convinced. >> it was like more sort of a dramatic and ingenious than james bond film. of cours that was not completely successful. they left behind so many traces of north korean involvement. >> 100% kim jong-un gave the order. there is no way, i would say zero possibility a north rean agent can kill kim jong-nam, the supreme leader'swi half brotherout direct guidance and order andal appry kim jong-un himself. >> the mission was a success in the fact that they killed kim jong-nam. none of the north korean nationals implicated in this assassination has been brought for criminal charges.
10:48 pm
people that say that this was a botched job are not thinking like north korean intelligence operatives, they're noking like killers. >> the operation by no means was perfect, but at the end end of the day, kim jong-nam is dead, and kim jong-un made a point that no one safe. the way in which kim jong-un chose to kill kim jong-nam, most brul most ruthless, most painful way possible. i think this says a lot aboutan the charactetemperment of kim jong-un himself. >> the present leader eliminated one possible sources of a threat to his throne, b i do not believe that makes his throne more stable or secure. one of the curses of-of the tyrant is that he or she never feels secure in the position of power. >> btality, which is such a fundamental fact of an
10:49 pm
authoritarian regime, is a very tricky instrument to play. (applause) kim jong-un has tried to use brutality very publicly, very aggressively. he's purged a huge number of senior officials, he has had them executed in very public ways. and onof the questions is whether he's gone too far, and in so doing, has he begun the process of ultimately his own undoing. because that would become the ammunition that a challenge somewhere thin the system would use to decide it may be time for another member of theta kim family t over. >> narrator: although kim jong-un has moved the threat from his older brother, the kim family tree still has many branches. >> my name is kim han-sol, from north korea, part of the kim family. here my passport. 's narrator: just three weeks
10:50 pm
after kim jong-neath, this mysterious video was posted by a previously unown group. it shows kim han-sol, kim jong-nam's oldest son. >> it shows that he's safe and that he's alive. you know, he could be a shadow ordarkening kim jong-un's y at some point. he could prove to be troublesoma to north kown the line as a public figure, as a member of e kim family, he-he could prove to be a nuisance to kim jong-un. >> (speaking korean): f >> narrato now, north korea continues to raise the bclear stakes, claiming to have developed a hydrogb. >> (speaking korean):
10:51 pm
>> if you study kim jong-un it's impossible not to be impressed, ic some degree, by his ability to fend off the cr the threats, the people who said itn was to be impossible for him to do what he did. this is a country that has a gdp that's one-third the level of ethiopia, and yet he managed to generate enough precision, technical acuity, and money in order to build a nucle missile program that poses a genuine threat to the united states.ea by anyre that's an achievement. it is also one, however, that has probably undermined the lono term stabilihis own regime. >> rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. >> from north korea unique threat vowing to make president alump "pay dearly", calling him a me deranged
10:52 pm
dotard. president trump tweeted that the north korean leadership won't be around much longer. >> ...very, very dangerous accusations, a top north korean official now says president trump has declared war on north korea. over the weekend... >> president trump took to twitter sunday, appearing toca doubt on the idea that diplomacy could resolve thert crisis over korea's nuclear program. >> ...the tension between nort korea and the u.s. is escalating. >> ...as the risks of miscalculation rise. >> at the end of the day, north korea doesn't want to use these nuclear weapons, but they probably will if they believe the regime is at stake, that survival's at risk, and they have no other choice. kied of call that getting ba up into a corner. if they're in the corner, they t may well use iy might know that the response would be overwhelming, but that point it won't matter to them because
10:53 pm
they care most about the regime. >> ...the violent ms-13 gang for machete attacks. >> ...police have uncovered human remains... >> if you're an ms-13 gang member, take a look behind me. h for every perse, there is 10 more. >> ...a major crackdown... >> they said, "we're taking the boy. uh, we're government." >> we have seen a significant number of ms-13 gang members who entered the united states as unaccompand minors. >> anyone can be labeled and cause them to be detained, and their civil rights to be violated, and these are children. >> go to pbs.org/frontline to learn more about u.s. efforts tn stth korea's nuclear progress. >> the last few months of the u.s. nor korean relationship have been some of the most tense in the entire history.ut >> read more ahina's struggles to contain kim jong un.
10:54 pm
visit our films page where you can watch more than 200 frontline documentaries. connect tohe frontline community on facebook and twitter. and sign up for our newsletterrg at/frontline. >> "frontline" is made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you-- thank you. and by the corporation for blic broadcasting. major support is provided by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, committed to building a more just, verdant, a peaceful world. more information is available at macfound.org. additional support is provided by the ford foundation, working with visionaries on tht lines of social change worldwide at fordfoundation.org. the park foundatn, dedicated to heightening public awareness of critical issues.nd the johnelen glessner family trust, supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. and by the frontline journalism fund, with major support from
10:55 pm
jon and jo ann hagler. >> for more on this and other "frontline" progms, visit our website at pbs.org/frontline. "frontline's" "north korea's deadly dictator" is available on dvd. to order, visit shoppbs.oror call 1-800-play-pbs. "frontline" is also available for download on itunes.
10:56 pm
you're watching pbs ann curry: you're 10 years old aterrib circumstance. man 1: hitler invalidated our passports. vo: events that chged the world. curry: how did you first see gary ferguson? man 2: crazy american cowboy. vo: people who changed each hers' lives. man 3: there's nobody that had a bigger impact on my life. curry: mary francis was standing up for you. s woman 1: i need her. it gets more urgent the older i get. look at you! woman 2: it's been a lifetime, hasn't it. vo: we'll meet again tuesdays at 8, 7 central only on s.
10:57 pm
10:58 pm
10:59 pm
11:00 pm
>> the asbury park music & film festival, where music and film come together at the jersey shore to raise money to keepmu sic in asbury schools. >> student transportation inc. is a proud sponsor of "front and center," focusing one safetyrity, andnd environmentally frly fuels.or student transptation inc. --in vators leading the way. >> citi is a proudponsor of the "front and center" music series. for access to live music, sports, dining, family entertainment, and more, visit citiprivatepass.com. [ instments tuning ] >> check. check 1, 2. check.

89 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on