Meet the Press | April 07, 2013
>>> me republican senator from south carolina , lindsey graham . senator, with welcome back to the program. you're just back to the u.s. from being in the middle east . i want to ask you about syria as well in just a couple of minutes. let me start with north korea and what we're dealing with. a couple of headlines in the magazines caught my attention in "the economist" and in "the week week" magazine. is can kim crazy? korean roulette. this war of words escalation, are we heading to a conflict with north korea ?
>> i think what bothers me the most the tolerance in south korea for this kind of provocation is greatly -- they're not going to put up with this anymore. if there were a south korean naval vessel sunk this year, anytime soon, or a shelling by nor north korea , i think the new president of south korea would be compelled to act. i think the north koreans are overplaying their hands. i'm glad we're not doing the ballistic missile test. i'm glad we're telling our allies south korea and gentlemjapan, we literally have your back. and the north koreans need to understand if they attack an american interest or an ally of this country they're going to pay a heavy price.
>> let's talk about u.s. interests and they're quite real in the region. look at the map, first of all, to give our viewers some perspective. you have japan , you have guam where we had missile batteries placed, moving to north korea and south korea . in the south and the southern part of that peninsula you have over 28,000 u.s. troops . so the danger is real, some kind of conflict breaks out between the north and the south. we are literally right there in the middle.
>> we're in the middle. i'm glad we're there with our allies. but the big difference to me the politics in south korea are changing by the day regarding north korea . so if there's some provocation, it won't be business as usual by south korea . i could can see a major war happening if the north koreans overplay their hands this time because south korea , the united states , the whole region is fed up with this guy.
>> but what happens if there is some kind of conflict between the north and the south? that becomes a conflict with the you stays, doesn't it?
>> the north loses and the south wins with our help, that's what happens.
>> and what about the rest of the region in you're talking about japan ? talking more nuclear weapons ?
>> japan and south korea have not gone nuclear unlike the middle east , because they trust us . as long as south korea and japan trust us to be in the fight, they won't go down the nuclear road. it's important they always believe we have their back, and it's important north korea knows what happens if they engage anybody in the region associated with us, including our own troops, they lose.
>> before i ask you a little bit more about the u.s. response, who is kim jong -un? we put together some facts. his father kim jong -il ran the country. we don't know his actual age. he's about 29 years old. he came to power in december 2011 . educated in the west. i know from talking to people at the white house one of the big fears is miscalculation here. we don't really talk to the north.
>> if you sold this as a movie script, a 30-year-old guy whose father was born out of a mountain, who had nine holes in one the first time he played golf, this is a surreal place. they're afraid of reunification. they don't want a democratic korea next to china, so they're propping up this crazy regime, and they could determine the fate of north korea better than anybody on the planet. we up our game regarding china.