Texas lawmaker on nuclear threat: 'This is not the time to get into a big trade fight with South Korea'

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, speaks to Martha Raddatz about North Korea, and more.
5:20 | 09/03/17

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Transcript for Texas lawmaker on nuclear threat: 'This is not the time to get into a big trade fight with South Korea'
We are back lye now with congress Nan Joaquin Castro. Congressman Castro, we heard what you said before the break there about what thort Korea might be capable of doing and what we have to watch out for. You know they had this overnight nuclear test. You have seen the pictures of Kim Jong-un with what looks like a miniaturized nuclear weapon on an icbm. Is there that's right. If the reports are to be believed, it's quite possible they've achieved the capability to send a missile to the mainland United States. At this point, anybody advocating for military action is advocating for the power Bo made threats against the united States. Think the best course of action for Donald Trump now and the United States is to use the significant sanctions passed in the united nations three weeks ago. The strictest ever. And use those sanctions to work with China, our allies, and to choke the ability of them. You have Kim Jong-un blasting off missiles. You have this nuclear test. He hadn't tested a nuclear weapon for a year. We had a show of force. I saw them over there flying jets around. Whatever they could do to show that we're tough. It hasn't worked. No, that's right, Martha. Look. We tried a basically an approach of isolation. Nonengagement after the failure of the six-party talks. They've been developing this nuclear technology. Part of the challenge for the United States is is that the intelligence has not been perfect. We were not exactly sure how far along their nuclear capacity has evolved. There's always been a risk involved. At the same time, we've not gone all out. In term of secondary sanctions in terms of Chinese and Russian institutions still doing business with North Korea. You have to choke their economy and bring them to the table. How long do you think that will take? To choke the economy. If we get the cooperation from others? A lot of that depends on China. Because most of the economy of North Korea has left, that exists, has to do with China. It depends on China's willingness to be helpful. As the president noted they have gotten better about. And our willingness to sanction Chinese institutions that still do business with north kree E Ya. There are reports that president trump is considering withdrawing from a trade pac with South Korea, who we need. That's right. First of all, the president -- president Obama back then. President trump, have reiterated our commitments to South Korea and Japan. So those are rock solid. But remember, there's also hundreds of thousands of Americans who live in south Korea and Japan who would be directly in harm's way if there was military action happening there. We have to make sure we Marshall all of our resources. This has to be a time when the president puts aside any other big dips like a trade agreement with South Korea. And is on the same page with the leaders of South Korea and Japan. So we're all working on this together. This is not the time to get into a big trade fight with south Korea. Senator Cruz talks about building up capabilities. Do you agree? It would be a time to possibly test our defensive systems, like the Thad missile defense system. Part of it is based in south Korea. Don't get me wrong. Look, if they strike our allies, they have to know that we'll strike back. Do you think Kim would actually do a first strike? Do you think he's crazy enough to do something like this? Or is this all about negotiations and power? I believe it's probably about negotiations and power. But because North Korea is such an isolated nation in the world, it's hard to answer with complete positivity. You heard the president's comments. Also his comments about fire and fury. What do you think that did to this equation? I don't think it's helpful 0 get in a Twitter shouting match with a 32-year-old dictator in North Korea. I think it's escalated the tension and the the situation. He needs to let his diplomats, military generals, otherses, handle this situation. Quickly, what do you see happening in the next month? The next two months? What would you like to see happen in terms the language coming from the white house and in terms of what the white house does? Number one, I think they have to continue to it rate our support for our allies in the region. Secondly, we're going to have to continue to pursue secondary saxs against the institutions in whatever country they find themselves, propping up the economy of North Korea. And then an earnest effort to get them to the table a. Fthank you for joining us. Thank you for what you did this week to help people. When we come back, from rescue to recovery, we're on the

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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