Sen. Ted Cruz on North Korea: "Next Theater Where This Is Going To Play Out Is In Space"

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Sen. Ted Cruz joins ABC's Martha Raddatz for a conversation about North Korea, missile defense, and

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: Well listen, North Korea, right now, is the most dangerous place on the face of the planet. Kim Jong-un, who is the dictator there, he is radical. He is unpredictable. He is extreme. And he is getting more and more dangerous weapons.

This step, if it is right that they have now developed a hydrogen bomb, is a serious escalation in their ability to commit mass acts of murder. And it is going to call for further serious steps to prevent North Korea from using those weapons.

RADDATZ: And what kind of steps are you talking about? Again, President Trump said one thing. That certainly sounded -- made it sound like military action.

CRUZ: Well, I think the president is right that Kim Jong-un and other bullies only understand and respect strength, that weakness, that appeasement, encourages this action.

But in term of what happens, listen, no rational person wants to see a military conflict with North Korea, with the nuclear weapons, there almost any scenario, you're looking at tens or thousands or hundreds of thousands of casualties in a matter of days.

It is very dangerous. That's why un wants those nuclear weapons, is precisely to make military conflict exceptionally costly.

RADDATZ: Is there anything you could do militarily that wouldn't cause -- the U.S. could do militarily that would not cause major conflict? I'm talking about something like striking a missile that they fire out, a medium range or...

CRUZ: Yes. There is. And so what I have advocated for some time is a three-part strategy to deal with North Korea. The first focuses on exactly what you're talking about, which is missile defense, enhancing our missile defense. We have some missile defense capacity, increasing THAAD missile intercepters, but also increasing our land-based, our air-based, and our space-space missile intercept capability. This is something on the Senate Armed Services Committee I've been pushing for a long time to enhance our capacity and take to the next level the ability to take out an ICBM from North Korea that is targeting the United States.

But if they continue on this path, the risks of their sending a missile that could murder millions of Americans, it's growing every day.

RADDATZ: Senator Cruz, I know you have been working on it a long time, and it would take a long time. This is an urgent problem. If he keeps firing missiles -- as you saw, I was just over there, they're ready to fight tonight. It doesn't mean they want to. But this is an you urgent problem that will have to be dealt with very rapidly.

CRUZ: No doubt. But what we need to plan also for the immediate and the long-term, you look at long-term planning. You look at, for example, what Israel has been able to do with missile defense, you look at the incredible success of Iron Dome and David Sling. Missile technology and missile interception technology has increased dramatically.

And the next arena, the next theater where much of this is going to play out is in space. China is enhancing its ability to take out satellites in space. And we need to do the investment now so that in years to come, we have intercept capability.

But the second part of what we need to do is use economic leverage to go against not only North Korea, but every financial institution, every company that does business with North Korea, almost all of them rely on the U.S. financial system. And so cutting off their money is another critical part. And then the third piece is delegitimatizing the oppression of the regime, following Reagan's successful strategy for delegitimatizing the Soviet Union.

And I would note, one step of that, just last month congress passed and the president signed into law a big sanctions bill that included legislation that I drafted directing the State Department to move forward with...

RADDATZ: With sanctions, which he clearly is not listening to.

CRUZ: But to move forward with designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. And I think that's important as well, approaching all three aspects of the problem.

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