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Will the Standoff With China Turn Into an International Crisis?

Aired April 9, 2001 - 21:00   ET



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every day that goes by increases the potential that our relations with China could be damaged.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, U.S. troops still in Chinese hands: Is Washington's patience running thin?

Joining us from the nation's Capitol, former Defense Secretary William Cohen; then in Little Rock, Republican Senator Tim Hutchinson, member of the Senate Armed Services Committee; back in the nation's capital, Democratic Senator John Edwards, member of the Select Committee on Intelligence; plus Bill Plante, CBS News White House correspondent and former U.S. Ambassador to China James Lilley; and in Seattle, presidential historian Richard Shenkman.

And then behind the headlines with an "a" list couple, Connie Chung of ABC News "20/20" and Maury Povich, host of the syndicate show that bears his name.

They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We start with former senator and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen. His last trip to China, by the way, was in July of 2000. Is this now way beyond an incident?

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, it certainly has the capacity go well beyond an incident. I think it's important that this be resolved as quickly as possible, as President Bush has said, and it's important that there be some compromise on the part the Chinese as well.

For the Chinese president to insist there can be absolutely no substitute for a formal apology is simply unacceptable because we don't really know what the full facts are yet, and what we need to do we had -- we need to have a full exchange of information, as has been proposed, and then we can allocate fault as it is determined. But to insist upon the fault before the facts are known is totally inconsistent and really unacceptable.

KING: And at this point, no facts are known?

COHEN: Well, we have, you know, surmised. We know what the probabilities are. We know that we have a slow-flying reconnaissance aircraft that was performing its mission. We know that there were high-flying supersonic jets that were either trailing it or surrounding it.

The probability is that the jets were at fault, but let's wait and see what the facts are. But to make a determination or insist that we have an allocation of blame before we know what the facts are simply is unacceptable.

And I would propose, for example, that we make a proposition, that if we are at fault -- and we have been at fault in the past; we've made our declarations of fault, made compensation as we did during the accidental bombing two years ago, and made compensation to the Chinese government and to the individuals involved, the families of the individuals involved -- that we also ask the Chinese government that if the facts show that the jets were at fault in causing this aircraft of ours to have to plummet some 6,000 to 8,000 feet and put at risk the 24 crew members, that perhaps an apology is in order from them.

Now probably unacceptable to them, but I think the American people say let's be fair about this. If we are at fault, we'll say we're at fault, but don't demand that we have an apology before the facts are known.

KING: And what do we do if it stays intractable? I mean, what's the end game here? Do we start taking -- taking actions against them? Economic actions? Diplomatic actions?

COHEN: Well, I think there's an inevitability to hardening of the attitudes both on the Chinese side and the United States side. To the extent that this goes on, as the president has indicated, then there's a likelihood that both sides will get rigid, inflexible, and that can lead to long-term consequences which are adverse to our interests and to the interests of the Chinese.

So it's imperative that we find a formula that allows both sides to avoid any kind of a collision of interests here.

KING: Mr. Secretary, are they hostages?

COHEN: I think it's premature to say they are hostages. We still have access to them on a regular basis. They're being certainly well-cared-for.

But the longer this goes on without their release, then I think they -- they have the potential to move from a status of detainees to hostages. But at this point, it's premature.

KING: Any additional to arms sale to Taiwan: Good idea or bad?

COHEN: Any arms sales to Taiwan ought to be judged on their own merits. Congress reviews this as does the administration each year. When Taiwan makes a request for a variety of arms, that is put through a review process and a determination is made as to what Taiwan needs for its defensive requirements, and that should be a separate issue.

But obviously, if this extends to any prolonged period of time, then that will insert itself into the -- the debate on this issue.

KING: Do you miss being part of the inner circle? You know, the secretary of defense got the day-to-day right on his desk. He's part of the discussions. Do you miss it?

COHEN: I miss being with the men and women who serve us, and I just want to say a word to the families of those who are waiting for their loved ones to come home, that the men and women who serve us are truly dedicated patriots who put their lives on the line every single day. And we ought to thank them and embrace them on each and every occasion that we can. I miss being with them and serving with them, but I must say, I'm delighted that Secretary Rumsfeld now has the position to bear the burden of that job.

KING: Thank you very much. It's always good seeing you.

COHEN: Thank you.

KING: Senator William Cohen, former secretary of defense.

Now let's meet our panel. Senator Tim Hutchinson is in Little Rock, Arkansas. Senator John Edwards is in Washington. Bill Plante of CBS News in Washington. Also in Washington, James Lilley, former U.S. ambassador to China. And in Seattle, presidential historian Richard Shenkman.

Senator Hutchinson, there are some on the right wing in your party calling them hostages. "The Weekly Standard" has an editorial saying this is a "profound national humiliation." Do you agree with that?

SEN. TIM HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS: No, I don't, and I -- I -- I think Secretary Cohen said it well. To call them hostages right now is an overstatement. But they certainly are being held against their will. And to the extent that they're being held with conditions that they're not going to be released until there's an apology, they're certainly on the road to being hostages.

But I think that we need to avoid inflammatory language, and I think the president deserves great credit for -- for keeping the tone in such a way that the hope of getting their release soon is still -- is still there.

KING: Senator Edwards, is the United States on the right road here?

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Oh, I think we're moving in the right direction. One thing I should say, Larry, is whether we're Democrats or Republicans, we speak with one voice on this issue. And the Chinese government needs to hear loudly and clearly that we stand with our president. I think that they've been measured in their response. I think they've been thoughtful. I think so far, at least, they've taken the right steps. But we support the president, period. And I think we're moving in the right direction.

The one thing we have to remember is that we don't know exactly where the negotiation process is. There's a lot of public rhetoric, but we don't know whether that public rhetoric, in fact, matches the substance of the negotiations that are going on.

I think what the administration has done is focus on the most important thing, which the former secretary mentioned just a moment ago, which is getting our service men and women home safely, while always keeping an eye on our long-term relationship with China.

KING: Bill Plante, is this a tough story to cover?

BILL PLANTE, CBS NEWS: It is a tough story to cover, Larry, because the White House only wants to go so far. They've done their level best to keep this pretty well below the radar.

KING: Yeah.

PLANTE: The president, as you've noticed, has gone off and traveled, just as he has before this broke. They've resisted attempts from Congress to say what they might do to the Chinese if this continues. They've tried very hard to hold it down, and they've resisted the criticisms which have from what the president said a week ago, when he demanded the release of the crew and the plane, by saying, "Look, we didn't know then what was going on. We had no idea because we couldn't communicate with the Chinese."

So they're doing their best to contain this, and the diplomats are working on the solution, which is all about words.

KING: James Lilley, you were ambassador to China in the first Bush -- in the -- in the senior administration, George W. Bush's father. How's he handling it, the younger man?

JAMES LILLEY, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: I think I would agree with my colleagues. He's done a good job. He's kept the decibel level down. He's been firm. He's been polite. He's used negotiations to try to get to the fine points. It goes on quietly, relentlessly, every day. And he's put up with all of the Chinese purple rhetoric, strident invective that have poured on him. And when he's attacked by this widow, poor lady, for being a coward, he writes a very nice letter back to her.

And I think this sort of thing shows a -- a sense of civilization. We don't sound like Fidel Castro, they do. And it's a -- it's a question of getting to the Chinese that are the real Chinese, that go beyond the ideas of sovereignty and dignity and "You violated our airspace" and "You've done all these awful things." Talk to the people that have real common sense. And the Chinese have it, and my hope is that they'll be able to weigh in and solve this soon.

KING: We'll get Richard Shenkman's thoughts as a historian for some perspective on this, bring the panel back together, as well. This is LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.


BUSH: We're working behind the scenes. We've got every diplomatic channel open. We're in discussions with the Chinese. It is now time for our troops to come home so that our relationship does not become damaged.



KING: The other member of our panel is Richard Shenkman, the presidential historian, and he is in Seattle, Washington. Any perspective on this from history? Any president faced with a similar set of circumstances?

RICHARD SHENKMAN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, let's just look at George Bush's father, what he did in his presidency. By March in his presidency, he had already gone and visited China. So, one thing that we know is that George Bush Jr. has not been as involved in foreign policy as, perhaps, he should have, and this blindsided him a little bit, because he has tried to be so unlike his father. His father was criticized for being too involved with foreign affairs, and this Bush has tried to be the un-Bush Bush, so I think that is part of the problem.

Also, you've got a little bit of a problem with him not having the experience in foreign policy that his father did, so he couldn't pick up the phone, like his father could have, call Jiang Zemin and try to work something out personally. I certainly hope that he has had maybe the thought that he should send some private emissary directly to China to represent him to talk to these officials the same way that his father, right after Tiananmen Square, sent Scowcroft and Eagleburger over to China.

KING: Senator Hutchinson, is that a good point?

HUTCHINSON: Well, I think George W. Bush has handled this very well. He's surrounded by people who had experience in foreign policy and are respected around the world, whether it's Colin Powell, or Condy Rice or Dick Cheney. The fact that the president doesn't have necessarily a personal relationship with some of these leaders I don't think is a detriment in his handling of this crisis.

He deserves very high marks. He has been very -- I think discrete, very careful in what he said. And I agree with Senator Edwards, I mean, we speak with one voice, and China should realize that we stand behind our president, as he seeks to bring these 24 Americans home, and I think he will succeed in that.

But every day that goes by, my colleagues, who have argued that engagement will bring China into a position of esteem in the community of nations, that argument gets harder to make, it even those who have been the great champions of China in the Senate, are having second thoughts, because of the way China is handling this. They have a lot at stake just in their own image in the world.

KING: Senator Edwards, do you expect public opinion to go on a little pendulum here the longer this goes on?

EDWARDS: Oh, I'm sure it will. I don't think any doubt of that. In fact, I suspect this changing literally on an hour-by hour-basis.

One important thing, Larry, and Tim just made reference to it, is that the Chinese have an awful lot at stake, and I'm sure our negotiators are bringing this to their attention every time they meet. You know, whether it is investment in China, whether it is access to our markets, you know, they have an awful lot at stake in this process.

And they say they want to be a respected member of the international community. Well, an awful lot of that is in their hands. And you know, we are concerned about a lot of things they have done in the past, and they're continuing to do, such as human rights violations, proliferation activities, and now the way they have responded to this situation. China has to step to the plate and be responsible if they want to be treated as a respected member of the international community.

KING: Bill, is the media a player here? With satellites, everyone sees everything.

PLANTE: Well, we are players to the extent that everybody does know what's going on all the time. And of course, the Chinese watch every broadcast on CNN, and on the other cable networks, anything they can see.

They know what's going on. They see the exchange of messages, messages are -- that we are delivering, reflect what the administration is doing. And perhaps, give the Chinese an insight into where the administration is.

What they may or may not understand is that there is probably a limit to public opinion's tolerance of what's going on. Right now, you have these 24 Americans and the reports that we get every day say, well, they are happy, they are healthy, they are being fed from outside. We have visions of these great Chinese menus that they get every day. And in fact, senior administration official told me today that they told the general today during their meeting that they were happy, they knew they would be coming home, they said, don't worry about us, don't sell out for us, make sure that there are no apologies. So, morale is obviously good.

But at some point, you are going to have the American people say, wait a minute. This has gone on long enough. And the administration just hopes that they can get this over with before we get there.

KING: Ambassador Lilley had quite a bit of praise for the Chinese people. We will ask him to elaborate on that a little when we come back, right after this. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are clearly in a situation, and I hope the Chinese understand as well, too, that every day that goes by without having it resolved raises the risk to the long-term relationship. There is clearly a significant interest on the part of both nations in getting this resolved, and not have it have a lasting impact. And we are working hard to try to achieve that.



KING: Ambassador Lilley, you had quite a bit of praise for the Chinese people, but don't you think they care a lot about the -- the only loss of life here has been their pilot, who is somewhat of a national figure.

LILLEY: Well, I think that one of the real problems here is the Chinese are hoisted on their own petard. They reported this incident immediately, right to the top, and they had blamed it on us, and they said it was a deliberate attempt by the Americans to smack into the airplane, and the pilot was killed as a result of this.

If leadership then takes this and runs with it, and the decisions are made by the political leadership in Beijing, then you have them getting into a position where the infallible emperor has pronounced, we are right and you are wrong. And this goes back thousands of years, and it is very hard to turn around once they take a position.

I mean, like in the Belgrade accidental bombing. They said immediately before any facts came in that it was deliberate. And they never changed that line. So what you have to do is to try to get to the top leadership, because the information fed to them is very often inaccurate. They get caught in a trap, and then you have to get to them and explain what the real case is and what the stakes are if they persist in this.

KING: Richard Shenkman -- I'm sorry go ahead.

LILLEY: But I...

KING: Richard Shenkman, are you fairly confident this -- there is a light at end of the tunnel here or not?

SHENKMAN: Yes, I think there's a light at end of the tunnel. I think that Bush has two challenges, and one challenge I think he's been meeting OK, which over the last week he has been making about the right kinds of statements, maybe a little too harsh at the beginning, maybe not.

But the other challenge he hasn't been meeting, and that's very important, and that's the domestic challenge. He has to convince the American people that it is important for us to have an ongoing relationship with China. Seventy-four percent in a recent weekend poll said that we ought to pile on economic sanctions, we really ought to get tough with the Chinese. Bush needs to be going in to the American people and explaining just what's at stake here, and he hasn't done that convincingly yet.

KING: Senator Hutchinson, do you see a light?

HUTCHINSON: I do see light. I think the president's on the right course. I think he's been calm and persistent and resolute and he needs to continue to do that, keep the negotiations going and impress upon the Chinese that they've got more to lose by following this course than they have to gain, and I think there is light at end of the tunnel.

KING: Senator Edwards, do you see it?

EDWARDS: Well, I think there's a great chance of getting this thing resolved, but I think it is very important for the American people, and for all of us in leadership positions to stand with the president so we do speak with one voice on this issue, and the reality is that you mentioned this earlier, Larry, most of the American people see this fairly simply. They are keeping our servicemen and women against their will and illegally, and it's time for them to come home, and that's a perfectly reasonable response for the American people to have, and China has an awful lot at stake here, and that's the reason we need to get this thing resolved.

KING: Bill Plante, though in this age of instant news, we do get tired rather quickly of a story that lingers, do we not?

PLANTE: Well, we do, and we also can get a little premature here because administration officials thought that this weekend that -- this past weekend -- that this would be over. They were prepared to put those people out on Sunday talk shows yesterday to declare victory and it didn't happen, and I think it will happen. but may not happen on our timetable.

KING: Richard Shenkman, do you feel confident?

SHENKMAN: I feel confident. There would have to be an awful lot of blundering on both sides for this to turn from a tempest into a tornado. We don't have the kinds of dynamic present where I think it is going to spin out of control. You don't have an Ayatollah Khomeini here who, for his ends, really wants to blow up the relationship with the United States.

But you do have the military in China, who for their agenda probably do want to act maybe more tough than they ought to in this circumstance and you have some right-wingers in this country who, for their own agenda, want to make hay and create problems.

KING: Ambassador Lilley, are you confident?

LILLEY: Well, I think we're in the short strokes now: What have they got that we want; what do we got that they want? The rhetoric goes on on top, but the quiet negotiations go on. I understand we've exchanged three letters already. We're beginning to quibble over particular expressions. This is a healthy sign.

But the other aspect of it is the stirring up of hate in China against us, and the administration has done this. And we saw it happen in May of 1999. It was horrible thing to watch. The crowds going out there, and we see this happening under more controlled circumstances this time.

But still, it's just bubbling up, and I think this is something that the Chinese have to work hard because they're riding a tiger, in some ways, this could turn against them. But I do see chances. Yes, I do.

KING: Senators Hutchinson, Edwards, Bill Plante, James Lilley and Richard Shenkman, we thank you all very much.

We'll take a break, and when we come back, it's interesting that Connie Chung was booked tonight because her father was a diplomat in the administration of Chiang Kai-shek, and she might have some interesting thoughts, as might her husband, Maury Povich. Don't go away.


KING: You may know them as America's sweethearts, but they are first and foremost journalists and they are Connie Chung, co-anchor and correspondent of ABC News "20/20" and Maury Povich, the host of his own TV syndicate showed, very successful show, "Maury."

Connie, you were born in Washington, but five of your oldest siblings died in China during World War II. Your father was the diplomat in the government of Chiang Kai-shek. What's your read on all this?

CONNIE CHUNG, ABC NEWS' "20/20": You know, what interests me is this demand for an apology. Where does its stem from? And it's actually a Confucius tradition that that ruler takes the morally high ground and to create that morally superior ground, it must cause the other person to apologize.

And so what China is obviously trying to do is not be bullied by the United States, and wants instead to the take moral superiority position and demand...

KING: So, it's cultural.

CHUNG: It's cultural. It also stems from communism as well, that part of -- part of communism to demand an apology. One other thing that I think so is interesting is the subtleties in the language. In English, you have regret, the differences between regret, sorry and apologize. Well, in Chinese, there is that same subtle difference. Dao chi'en (ph) would be the most extreme, profuse apology. That's what the Chinese want.

There is a next level, which is bao chi'en (ph), and that's slightly less, and what the United States has given Chinese so far is just one step below that, and that's regret.

KING: And they're negotiating this tricky little language? CHUNG: That's right. Exactly, and if both sides can come together and find that exact word that will be acceptable and can be interpreted as an apology on the Chinese side and simply regret on the United States side.

MAURY POVICH, TV TALK SHOW HOST: It's no problem in my family because I give full apology...

KING: All the time.

POVICH: At all times. There's no degree of apology in my house.

KING: Aren't there times like this you miss being what you used to do?


POVICH: This is -- particularly since a lot of it is coming out of Washington in terms of how we are posturing ourselves and what we want and the nuances involved, and the fact that hey, there are 24 of our people there and we want them back, and America has always demanded its people back.

KING: Connie, are you conflicted at all?

CHUNG: No. No.

KING: From your -- no heart there at all.

CHUNG: No. No. No, Larry. I mean my...

KING: Like the American Jew might face a problem when Israel is involved with something. I mean, it's logical to think that.

CHUNG: I know what you mean. I know what you mean, but I think -- I think that -- you know, I wish my father were alive today because then I could ask him what he thinks because I think, you know, he could give me a real sort of diplomatic perspective, an objective perspective and I think he might be torn. For me, no. I mean, I'm an American and that's it.

KING: We'll be right back with Connie Chung and Maury Povich. They're with us the rest of the way. Don't go away.


KING: We are back with Connie Chung and Maury Povich. I asked this of Bill Plante -- the media is more and more involved now on diplomacy, aren't they?

POVICH: Yeah, I think, it's a shame too, because for a long time, you were you able to do things behind closed doors, get it done then announce it. And now, one day, we are moving forward to some kind of resolution and the next day, no, we have to move back. It's like this back and forth and they don't seem to have much breathing room, the diplomats, any more. KING: When the cultures are this far apart, Connie, isn't it tougher?

CHUNG: It is. I don't think you could find more polar cultures in terms of an understanding. It's difficult. It's going to be difficult because the Chinese are so intransigent; they just will not move.

KING: So, this will not end tomorrow.

CHUNG: No. Not at all. We could be surprised, I think it's a matter of that language.

KING: Let's touch some other basis. The Dan Rather controversy. Rather goes to a meeting where they raise money for a democratic cause. What did you make of that story?

POVICH: Well, I mean, obviously, it was a mistake. There was a family member involved that was Dan's daughter. She asked her father to come down there and appear, and I think he said at the last minute, he found out it was a fund-raiser. I think there is regret and apology on his part right now. But, you know...

KING: Could that have happened to you?

POVICH: No. First of all, I don't think my children would have done that to me and secondly if they had invited me to a fund-raiser, I would have known it.

KING: Connie, you know Dan very well.

CHUNG: Do you really want me to...


CHUNG: former co-anchor, my dear friend, do you really want me to do that? No.


KING: You are going to give me a no comment, you, a journalist no comment?


POVICH: She didn't even want me -- see, George W. Bush is a friend of mine. I dragged here to the inauguration and she says, I don't want to go.

KING: You didn't go as a guest?

POVICH: Nobody paid for our way or anything like that.

CHUNG: He plays golf with him.

POVICH: I never seen a friend of mine inaugurated as president. KING: So you go.

POVICH: We went the night before and he came back.

CHUNG: Yes. Being a supportive wife, I said why do you want to go to this? You have always gone to the inaugurations. What's the big deal?

POVICH: I wanted to go. I wanted to go like this, hi George. How are you, Mr. President?

KING: Some dispute over the success of your boot camp shows.

POVICH: You know, I think we have done a really good job with those. And we have done them in a way where we are trying to point kids in the right direction, teenagers especially, who have just, you know -- so uncivil, so angry, so unruly, so maybe this is a way.

I don't want to call it tough love, but it's a way to maybe straighten them out and get them back in a direction where they can respond to their parents.

KING: You don't understand some of the criticism of it?

POVICH: Not really, tell me.

KING: I don't know...

POVICH: I mean.

KING: ...too rough?

POVICH: Oh, no. We have -- we have a lot of measures that are put in place where nothing untoward happens no child with disability or sickness or any child...


POVICH: Yes, sure. But these are kids -- I mean, this is their parent's last resort when they bring them to us and they know what the payoff is, they know they will go to boot camp.

And by the way, now it seems to be fancied by a lot of people because FOX has come on with this big boot camp reality show.

KING: On your show, every time I watch it, you're feeling pain.

POVICH: Yes, I do.

KING: That's a tough show to do.

POVICH: I find -- see, I think what people watch the show respond to is, I feel there is a goodness in everybody. Even if it's -- yelling and screaming at their parents or a young woman with a husband who is angry and abusive, I think there's some good in everything here, and if we just can tap it, maybe it can work out for the best. Who knows?

KING: Connie, why are you...

POVICH: Why are we married?


KING: No. Why are you two so much the subject of tabloids, do you think?

CHUNG: I don't know.

KING: You are a very ordinary couple; I mean, you have a wonderful child that you adopted.

CHUNG: And they keep saying that we are having problems. You know, and I'm...

POVICH: She is throwing me out of the bedroom because she hates the topics I do, and the next week, I'm back in the bedroom.

CHUNG: That's right. It's so crazy. We're actually both sleeping in the spare room.


KING: When you read them, though, how do you react? Is it (UNINTELLIGIBLE) already?

POVICH: I think.

CHUNG: What are you going to do? They call us.

POVICH: The only time Connie gets upset is, by chance, if they get a picture of our son and we have been -- we have always said -- I don't mind -- if you take your son out in public and they snap his picture, that's fine. But if you don't do that, you know, just give us some space.

KING: When we come back, we will talk to Connie about a piece she's doing about a female schoolteacher and we'll talk about something Maury is irate about and it deals with Tiger Woods. Don't go away.



CHUNG: Did you want to harm Kimberly Marchese?


CHUNG: Did you the gun at her?

E. BUSH: Yes, I did.

CHUNG: Did you pull the trigger as it was pointed at her?

E. BUSH: Yes, I did.

CHUNG: Did you intend to do that?

E. BUSH: Yes, I did. I did.


KING: That has not shown yet, has it?

CHUNG: No, it will be on this Friday on "20/20" at 10:00.

KING: What is it the story of?

CHUNG: It is the most incredible thing, Larry. We have the first interview -- it was this wonderful field producer I worked with. Her name is Santina Lucci, and she was able to convince this young girl, who is the first shooter in a school shooting to sit down and do an interview. And we talked to the victim as well.

It's the most extraordinary thing, because she is quite articulate. Her name is Elizabeth Bush. And she brought a gun to school, her father's gun. She said she meant to commit suicide, but she shot this girl in the shoulder that she really had a problem with. This girl -- she says teased and taunted her, and a lot of kids at school teased her and taunted her, tortured her in many ways verbally.

At a previous school, she had been stoned. So -- people threw stones at her. Yes. So, she was so depressed, so suicidal she even cut -- self-mutilated herself. She says she had told this girl, the victim, secrets about herself, and that the girl spread that information out.

KING: Was that a difficult story, when you do this?

CHUNG: Oh, yes, because I think of -- you know, because I think of our son. I think of all the kids and the parents and what they should do. This is, I believe, such an instructive piece.

KING: We will learn.

CHUNG: Yes, I think parents and kids who are teased, or how have problems, will learn so much.

KING: When she gets a story like that, are you envious?


KING: Good, solid answer.

CHUNG: In fact, I think you tried to get this story.

KING: See.

POVICH: You see, we have two lines in the house. There's a bunch of whispering going on, she's whispering over here, I'm whispering over there.

KING: And there are times you would collide. This is an example of...

POVICH: And the theme of this: the teasing, the bullying, these are questions I deal with all the time on our show, and it is an epidemic in this country.

KING: But hasn't it always gone on?

CHUNG: Sure.


POVICH: ... not to this.

CHUNG: That's right.

KING: Why more now? Just more people?

CHUNG: It's ratcheted up, and these kids come to school with more baggage. They -- it has reached this level, at which guns are accessible. I asked her, I said, if your father's gun had not been accessible to you, do you think it would have made a difference? And she said yes.

I asked her if music, violent music and violence on television she thinks makes a difference? She said yes, but not in her case. The victim, you know, says that she believes music and television violence actually made a difference. She says they all say that it has all ratcheted up.

POVICH: But you know, Larry...

KING: This is Friday night, right?

CHUNG: Yes, this Friday night.

POVICH: But you know as well as I do, Larry, when we were kids, what was the worst thing that could have happened to us? A bloody nose, maybe.

KING: Maybe.

POVICH: Maybe a bloody nose, that would be the biggest incident in school.

KING: No. Ever hear of a gun in school?

POVICH: Never.

KING: All right, so what do you make of this?

POVICH: Well, I think it has to -- I think it has to do with the sanctity of life. I think it has a lot to do with the way young people think about life today. It's not as precious as we grew up thinking it was. To them, it's not.

CHUNG: Another thing you have always said is the respect between parent and child.

POVICH: Absolutely.

KING: That's less?


POVICH: Oh, it's terrible.

CHUNG: And according to these two girls, it has to do with respect for each other as well. You know, the kids respecting each other.

KING: Do you fell sorry for this girl?

CHUNG: Do I? I feel sorry for both of them. You know, I mean, a horrible thing happened. The shooter realizes how horrible it was. She believes she should receive the punishment she's going to get, and that is juvenile detention.

KING: Let's take a call. Aliso Viejo of California for Connie Chung and Maury Povich, hello. Hello? Go ahead, speak up.

ALISO VIEJO, CALIFORNIA: Good evening, Larry, Connie and Maury.


VIEJO: Hi. I'm very interested in Connie Chung's understanding of the language and cultural differences between the United States and China. She has defined for me what seems to be a semantics issue, given the profound level of apology, the middle ground, and the regret being the lowest ground. My question is, being particularly of Chinese decent, would she consider being a diplomatic ambassador from the United States?

CHUNG: Oh my gosh!

VIEJO: Under these circumstances.

CHUNG: Aren't you nice to even say something like that. I know -- I only know what I know how to do, and that is be a journalist. But I think I was picking out only one aspect. I mean, there are several levels that are involved in this particular issue.

POVICH: And you don't know how extensive the Chinese have asked the Americans to be. You don't know for instance, about the...

CHUNG: No, I don't know the inside story.

POVICH: You can't have anymore flights. You can't do this. We want you tie in what you didn't do with Belgrade. And you never know all the...

CHUNG: Or trade, or World Trade Organization issues...

KING: But as a journalist, would you turn them...

CHUNG: But there are so many other issues relating to this particular issue...

KING: As a journalist...

CHUNG: ... a new president, how they deal with a new president, you know, getting into the World Trade Organization, how Congress is going to vote on that. So, there are so many other issues.

KING: Would you turn down the government if they asked you?

CHUNG: Oh my heavens...

KING: Yes?

CHUNG: Larry, you know it wouldn't happen.

POVICH: I just want to see you get past the check!

CHUNG: What do you mean? The confidential security check?

POVICH: I'm just kidding.

CHUNG: What's in your background that would prevent me from getting through?

POVICH: No, that's why I do what Larry does.

KING: Look for it in the next issue of "Star," folks. Look for -- this could be cover! We will be right back. Don't go away.



POVICH: Your mother is on this show, and that's your mother right there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's tearing me up too. Talk to your momma.

POVICH: Tell me what it does to you when you see your mom?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to see here like that.

POVICH: I know you don't want to see her like that. And you know why she has come on here? Because she is afraid, just like your grandma, that that's where you are going to end up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please don't. I want you to do something with your life. I don't want you to turn out like me.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: And it's very dramatic, and the -- are you using them there, Maury?

POVICH: Yeah, I mean -- what has happened there, is that this is a young kid, who has become sexually promiscuous, who has become unruly, who cannot be managed by her grandmother who's taking care of her, because her mother had walked down that same path, and is now in jail because of everything that she had done, and gotten into drugs, and ended up in jail.

And for that granddaughter to see -- that daughter to see her mother in jail in that uniform, while we are talking about the kid's problem, kind of brought it all together, and it helped, I think, jolt her in into the fact that she has to change her life. Now, what we have do, and we haven't done it yet -- this happened about three months ago -- I have to go back and find that girl, and see what her life has been like since we sent her to see her mother.

CHUNG: He said: "Are you using her?" And you said, "yeah," but you don't mean "yeah."

POVICH: What do you mean?

KING: I said, are you -- in other words, is this...

POVICH: Oh, am I exploiting her?

KING: Yeah.

POVICH: No way. Her grandmother brought her on show because she -- it was her last resort. She couldn't -- she had no other place to turn. That's not to say we've got the answers, but we are going to try to do some things that maybe haven't been tried before.

KING: Isn't, Connie, that the purest of reality television?

CHUNG: Oh, yes. It's real life. But Maury has said...


CHUNG: It's real-life soap opera.

POVICH: But are we using them? Sure. But we're -- I don't think we're using them any more than politicians use the press, and press use the politicians. Everybody is using everybody.

CHUNG: It's a symbiotic relationship, always, in our business, you know? The interviewer uses the interviewee, and the interviewee uses the interviewer.

KING: That's the story of every...

CHUNG: News story.

KING: Dunmore, Pennsylvania, take another call for the Poviches.


KING: Hello.

CALLER: Hi, yes, Larry.

KING: Yeah.

CALLER: OK, I wasn't sure.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: I kind of caught the tail end of the conversation on school violence, and it is my opinion, and I wanted to hear some feedback from all of you, that now that we see the rise of women in the work force, that are spending most of their time away from their children, and have less access to what they are doing and how they are feeling, I feel as though that has had a great bearing on the rise in the violence among the children of today. What would be...

KING: Connie, you're a working woman.

CHUNG: Well, we all struggle with that every day. I mean, I really do. I think all working mothers who have jobs outside of the home struggle with that. But I think it's probably both parents. You know, both parents have to spend a lot time with their children. I think it makes a world of difference.

KING: You don't feel like you should be home?

CHUNG: Sure, all the time. All the time. Guilt is my most favorite emotion. So you could make me feel guilty about anything. Yeah, sure.

KING: Oh, she's right at home with us.

POVICH: I'm telling you, the Chinese culture, Larry, just like the Jew.

KING: Yeah, we invented it.


KING: We'll be back -- you can't take credit for that.


KING: Think about it. We'll be right back with our remaining moments with Connie Chung and Maury Povich. Don't go away.


KING: All right. Maury is mad about something with Tiger Woods.

POVICH: Well, this is what is upsetting. What Tiger did yesterday is as great a feat as there is. Now I see a poll on ESPN tonight: "Which is the greatest feat? Was it Dimaggio's 56-game hitting streak, was it the Dolphin's 17-and-0 run, was it the Celtics, 11 out of 13 championships? Was it Tiger's -- why do people have to sit there and have a poll over -- they are so dissimilar. Why don't they stand on their own? If I had a poll, I'd vote for every one of those things.

KING: Apples and oranges.

POVICH: Tiger's feat is an individual feat. 17-and-0 is a team effort. Dimaggio is a single feat...

KING: Marciano unbeaten.

POVICH: Marciano, unbeaten boxing champion. Heavyweight champion.

KING: How do you compare them, even?

POVICH: You can't.

KING: Good point.

CHUNG: I'm with you.

KING: And you're on Thursday night and Friday. This is "Chung" week.


KING: What do you do on Thursday?

CHUNG: I'm prime-time Thursday. Got a story on a couple that -- through in vitro fertilization, ended up with 23 extra embryos. They have four children, so they decided they didn't want to have anymore, so they decided to do this really unique thing, and that is embryo adoption. They selected another couple so that that couple can adopt their embryos, and actually have their embryos implanted in the wife. So that has happened.

Tomorrow we will find out whether or not this women is pregnant, that she and her husband will have one of these babies. And the program will be on on Thursday. If -- and they want a relationship. The two couples want a relationship. If the other couple does not use up all the 23 embryos...

KING: Then what?

CHUNG: They will give them to yet another family. So it will be like three extended families.

POVICH: You're just a guest here. Honey, I mean, you sound so -- what are you upset about?

KING: Are you rooting for this?

CHUNG: No, but isn't it extraordinary?


CHUNG: No, it's just extraordinary. There are so many ethical and moral questions that are great.

KING: What is going on with this whole -- you adopted, but this whole birth situation now...

CHUNG: I'm sorry, I did get a little excited, didn't I?

KING: You can control the gender of the child now?


KING: You can do that.

POVICH: Yeah, now they can control the gender. I mean, you can freeze the embryos, use them with other people. You can -- and all I think is we do a show every single year on adoption, where we try to adopt out the most difficult adoptions, which are families, kids who are trying to stay together, and older children. And I see all of these kids and I know all they are looking for is loving home. And we go to all of these, you know -- the year 2040, this "Brave New World" kind of way to get babies, when there are so many around.

KING: Are you trying to get kids adopted who are of ages 8, 9, 10? That's hardest to do, right?

POVICH: And brothers and sisters.

KING: Everybody wants babies, right?

POVICH: Yeah, and we have been indirectly responsible for about 1,500 adoptions over the last six years, so...

CHUNG: Isn't that wonderful?

KING: Wow.

POVICH: So we are very concerned about this.

CHUNG: Maury's program.

KING: I'm know. I said, "Wow." Just looking at you, adopted mother. And more and more of them.

CHUNG: Yeah, it's great.

POVICH: And I'll tell you something. It takes you about 30 seconds to bond with one of these kids.

KING: Bob Considine, great line in the "Chicago Daily News" many years ago. "I have four children, two are adopted. I forget which two."


KING: Thank you.

POVICH: And one of my father's best friends, Bob Considine.

KING: Hey, for more information on upcoming guests, just log on to my Web site -- I got a Web site -- My problem with it is, I don't know how to reach it, I don't know how to do the computer. But you can. Just log on to my Web site, Watch Connie Thursday and Friday on her various appearances -- Connie Chung week on ABC. And we'll see you again tomorrow night.

Stay tuned for "CNN TONIGHT" as we follow the situation in China around the clock. Thanks for joining us and good night.



4:30pm ET, 4/16

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