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Korean Officials Negotiating To Resolve Conflict; CNN Goes Inside The DMZ On Korean Peninsula; French Media: Suspect Is Ayoub El Khazzani; Three Americans Killed In Kabul Suicide Attack. Aired 6- 6:30a ET
Aired August 23, 2015 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking this morning, North Korea doubling its artillery forces on the front lines and this is happening as North and South Korea are going back to the negotiating table. Can the two sides stop a full scale military confrontation?
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: New details this morning about the man behind the train attack in Paris. Why authorities think he may be connected to a terrorist group.
BLACKWELL: Cameras capture a fatal plane crash at a London air show. You see here the moment of impact. Police now continuing the search for victims this morning.
PAUL: Good to have you with us. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: Good morning. I'm Victor Blackwell.
PAUL: We want to begin with this breaking news in the Korean Peninsula where North and South Korea are trying to diffuse what's become the most serious confrontation in years within the last 24 hours.
We've learned the North has doubled its artillery forces on the front lines and an estimated 70 percent of their submarine units have left their bases.
In the meantime, six South Korean fighter jets are back home ahead of schedule from their military drills. Now at this moment, top officials from both sides are back at the negotiating table, we know, after the two sides traded fire on Thursday.
They are about three and a half hours in right now. I want to bring in CNN correspondent, Kathy Novak, from Seoul, South Korea. They negotiated for 10 hours yesterday. The fact that they've been at it so long, Kathy, what does that tell you about any possible progress at all?
KATHY NOVAK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it tells you they're still talking, right, Christi. That has to be at least a good thing. These are very important people on both side of the fence including from North Korea, the head of the political bureau of the army, someone said to have Kim Jong Un's right hand man, someone very close him, very much in the inner circle and someone able to speak on Kim Jong- Un's behalf in these talks.
These are very important talks. They very rarely happen. It's good they've come back and are continuing to talk. But at the same time we're seeing this buildup of military capabilities. We South Korea remaining on high alert and we're hearing from the South Korean Defense Ministry about all these troops they're sending to the border, both sides getting ready for the possibility of war.
Some small signs of hope were coming out of even the way that the news agency of North Korea was talking. KCNA was referring to South Korea for the first time in many, many years, by its official name, the Republic of Korea.
Well, today, it's gone back to its old ways. This is what KCNA saying today, "Never to be pardoned are the South Korean puppet group of traitors going busy with igniting a war of aggression while swimming against the unanimous desire of all of the compatriots for peace."
So that conciliatory language has definitely gone today -- Christi.
PAUL: We see this buildup again at the lines and hear how long they've been negotiating. This is no longer just about propaganda blurring from loud speakers. What do we know could be the issues on the table?
NOVAK: What we were told yesterday was very brief from the South Korean side and the briefing that they gave journalists. We are told they were talking about resolving the recent situation and the future development of the relationship.
I talked about the importance of the people who are in that room, including this man who is very close to Kim Jong Un. But the other people who are there are the unification minister from South Korea.
These are people who talk broadly on the problems that are always plaguing this peninsula and the relationship between North and South Korea. Not just the landmines, not just the propaganda speakers, but big issues such as family reunions, such as the sanctions that South Korea has against North Korea that makes Pyongyang very angry.
Now that all of these people are finally in a room talking to one another, they may very well be going overall those other issues as well.
PAUL: All right, Kathy Novak, really appreciate it this morning. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: The Korean demilitarized zone is a strip of land dividing North and South Korea. It was created at the end of the Korean War. CNN correspondent, Will Ripley got a firsthand look at that highly fortified area and here is part of what he saw.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) [06:05:02] WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now, we are now on the main road heading south from Pyongyang towards the border between North and South Korea, the DMZ, the demilitarized zone.
(voice-over): The DMZ is anything but demilitarized. This baron road takes us to the ceasefire line that ended the brutal fighting of the Korean War in 1953. Today a heavily fortified border with both side constantly prepared for war.
Junior Lt. Col. Nan Dong-ho is part of North Korea's standing army of more than one million. Nearly three quarters stationed close to the DMZ. Nan calls it the most tense place on the planet. More than 60 years after the ceasefire, North and South Korea are still technically at war.
(on camera): This is where you used to negotiate with the Americans?
Most western historians say North Korea started the war. Here they teach a different version of history. America is the real culprit he says, but still the Americans deny the truth. The tension is palpable as we approach the border.
(on camera): Is there a real danger here of something breaking out?
(voice-over): Armed soldiers stand just feet from the border, the scene of occasional deadly violence in the years since the ceasefire. As we enter a building straddling the line between North and South, an ominous warning of even bigger danger.
BLACKWELL: That was Will Ripley inside the DMZ earlier this year. That's part of his report. If you'd like to see the full report, just head to CNN.com.
That was some context. Let's get more now and bring in CNN military analyst, Lt. General Mark Hertling, and Gordon Chang, author of "Nuclear Showdown, North Korea Takes On The World." Good to have both of you back.
I want to start with General Hertling. So we have North Korea doubling its artillery forces on the frontlines, an estimated 70 percent of their submarines have left their bases, and this morning, we've learned that six fighter jets from South Korea are headed back ahead of schedule from drills in Alaska.
Is this expected flexing from each country or does this suggest to you something else?
LT. COL. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Most definitely, Victor. It's flexing and this is what happens every time one of these provocative actions takes place. It's challenging to know about the artillery on the northern side where it's going to do and what their missions are, but they always deploy whenever these kinds of provocations occur. When you're talking about the submarine force that's also part of the provocation, you'll remember a few months ago, Kim Jong-Un had PhotoShopped photos of him standing next to a ballistic missile launch. There are no indicators that they have that capability, but these submarines are very old.
They are what they call whiskey class and they are part of a brown water navy, which means they don't go outside of the boundary of North Korean waters, but they can still be very dangerous and it's all part of the flexing as well as the changing of the naming convention that the north is using for South Korea.
BLACKWELL: Gordon, do you see a contradiction here between the continuing talks, ten hours yesterday, we're at about three and a half hours now and the return of North Korea from calling South Korea the Republic of South Korea to as they wrote this morning, the puppet group of traitors.
GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN NORTH KOREA TAKES ON THE WORLD": There is a contradiction, but this is standard North Korean tactics. They're going to have hard and soft tactics at the same time. The reality here though is there are powerful incentives to have agreements.
Yes, there are obstacles and they will be important, but nonetheless, I think both sides need to have certain things they'd like to get from these negotiations. So I suspect maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but there will be some sort of accommodation.
BLACKWELL: Do you expect it will be more than just an end to the propaganda messages considering its gone on for a collective of 13 and a half hours now?
CHANG: I think it might be a little bit more, but really what they need to do is start a series of discussions. They're not going to settle all the important issues. They are not even going to settle most of the important issues during these sessions of talks.
This is something that is going to take a long period of time. It's good that you have the general who is considered to be the second most powerful leader in North Korea.
But the important point is at least they are discussing this because from South Korea's perspective, as long as there's peace, it's good because South Korea overtime is getting stronger and the regime is getting weaker.
BLACKWELL: Gordon Chang, General Hertling, you're both with us all morning. We of course have more questions and we'll talk a little more throughout the broadcast. Thank you so much.
PAUL: New details this is morning about the gunman. This man who tried to commit a massacre aboard high speed train in France allegedly that was the motive. We have a live report from Paris coming up next.
Plus, cameras capturing an air show. It's horrible. The plane suddenly crashes in London. We have the latest on the search for the cause.
[06:10:11] Also ahead what's behind a private meeting between Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren? Some say it's the best indication yet that he may run for the presidency. That conversation ahead.
BLACKWELL: There is a race right now to get more information in Paris. Anti-terror officials are investigating this man, Ayoub El Khazzani. He's accused of trying to attack a European train packed with travelers, but he was taken down by three Americans, a Brit and an unidentified French national.
Investigators are trying to figure out how he moved around before this attack, all his movement and determine how he became so heavily armed. Nic Robertson is live in Paris for us.
Nic, I understand there are reports that El Khazzani is saying he found these weapons and this incident is not what it appears to be. What can you tell us about that?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's what local media are quoting their sources inside the security services here in France as saying this Ayoub El Khazzani is telling authorities here that really he just got on this train with all this weaponry and robbed people and happened to find the weaponry.
This is not going to wash here. This is a man who had ties to radical Islamists in Spain. The Spanish authorities helped identify him.
[06:15:07] He was also under the eye, if you will, of the counterterrorism services in Belgium. The Belgians were investigating a group of radical Islamist that he had ties to. In fact, he is known to have gone to Turkey this year to connect with a group of French ISIS there in Turkey.
Concerns is did he go to Syria? A couple of months later he comes back to Europe. And this group of French ISIS are known to have tried to perpetrate through another young attacker, tried to perpetrate another attack here in France just a couple of months ago in April.
So this notion that he was on the train to rob people is not something that investigators are going to stand at face value. There's a lot of evidence across Europe south to north that this man was involved in something much more apparent to what everyone believed which was going to happen, which was mass murder on the train.
BLACKWELL: We know there are several countries involve in that investigation as you are reporting. Let's talk about these three Americans who helped to stop this attack. We've heard from the president. We've heard from Secretary Kerry, members of the Congress, we've heard from the military. We understand they have a pretty big day ahead in France there.
ROBERTSON: You know, their day tomorrow is going to be something out of a dream for many Frenchmen. They're going to go meet with the French president here, Francois Hollande, at the French presidential palace. But not just the president, the prime minister is going to be there, the foreign minister, the interior minister, the transport minister. They're rolling out a massive diplomatic red carpet.
Why, because these men are seen as heroes. Spencer Stone released from a French medical clinic where he was getting surgery on his thumb almost on his thumb almost detached we are told by box cutter the killer was wielding.
He was the first to charge to bring the attacker down. He left hospital yesterday afternoon. His two friends, Anthony Sadler and Alex Skarlatos, they were at a police station yesterday afternoon. We were there when they left too.
When they saw who was coming out, these young Americans, they cheered them. They're heroes here. Everyone here knows had it not been for their brave actions, a lot of people could have died and there's no one here that that hasn't touched.
BLACKWELL: No question they deserve all of the accolades and the cheers they're getting. No question they prevented a massacre on that train. Nic Robertson for us in Paris. Nic, thank you so much.
As Nic mentioned the French President Francois Hollande plans this meeting with three Americans including top government ministers, but back in the states, their families, they are reacting obviously with pride. The brother of Spencer Stone called him a warrior.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EVERETT STONE, BROTHER OF SPENCER STONE: He took the guy down. There was a fight for the gun and the man also had another side arm on him and a box cutter and he ended up getting cut up pretty badly during the fight for the box cutter. He pretty much sums up the definition of being a warrior.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: We also know that the Stone family is working on plans to visit Spencer Stone there in France.
PAUL: Meanwhile getting word this morning that three Americans are among a dozen people killed in Afghanistan by a suicide car bomber. We have a live report for you ahead.
We continue monitoring the breaking developments between North and South Korea as leaders are meeting right now and this includes an increase in military presence on both sides happening this morning as well.
PAUL: It's 22 minutes past the hour right now. Three Americans were among those killed when a suicide bomber blew up his car during Kabul's busy afternoon rush hour. This happened yesterday. It was in front of a health clinic where people gathered to see doctors.
Police say a convoy of U.S. contractors and Afghan civilians were targeted. Now the Taliban is denying responsibility. We want to get to CNN's Anna Coren right now who is following the story from Hong Kong. What have you learned?
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, still no claim of responsibility, which is really unusual. A spokesperson for the Taliban saying that it certainly wasn't them so questions being raised as to who was responsible for this massive suicide car bombing in the center of Kabul, which as you say has claimed the lives of 12 people, three of those being U.S. contractors who were working for the coalition forces over there in Afghanistan.
Remember, there are only 10,000 U.S. forces still in country at the moment and U.S. contractors are still working with the coalition. This is the biggest loss of American life in one incident in Afghanistan this year and I should also mention that more than 60 for wounded.
And as you say it took place outside a clinic, this private hospital where people go to see doctors. They were queuing up outside. Also it was rush hour, so hence the number of casualties, the number of civilians so Christi, real concerns about this latest attack in what is a wave of violence sweeping across the capital of Afghanistan.
Earlier this month the Taliban did claim responsibility for an attack at the entrance to the airport of Kabul. These attacks are increasing in Afghanistan and serious questions being raised over whether the government and the Afghan Security Forces that have been trained up to protect the people can actually do that job.
PAUL: Well, and who may really be behind that because as you point out, the Taliban will usually claim responsibility if they have perpetrated it. So Anna Coren, thank you so much. We'll keep you posted on that as we go throughout the morning here.
A private meeting between the vice president and Senator Elizabeth Warren, what would it mean to the 2016 election if he jumps into the race. We are going to explore that.
Plus, brand new twin pandas. They're getting an awful lot of attention this morning.
[06:25:08] BLACKWELL: Let's go from that to this. This week's Culinary Journey takes us to Atlanta, Georgia. We are going to meet chef and television personality, Kevin Gillespie. He has a reputation of creating refined food with a southern flair. Take a look at what separates his cooking style from other top chefs.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Gunshow. For Chef Kevin Gillespie, it's a centerpiece in his 18 years in the industry. That includes four nominations at the prestigious James Beard Awards.
KEVIN GILLESPIE, CHEF: I wanted to build a restaurant that did not feel exclusive in any way or didn't make one class or one type of person saying I don't know if this place is meant for people like me. I wanted to build a restaurant that was 100 percent transparent that there was no mystery as to what we were doing.
You could see every piece of the work from where we store our pots and pans to the final dish. A restaurant where the cooks actually create their own menus, hey order, prep, cook and serve their own food table side.
When a person comes to you and says I have this thing, that's the person who made it. Gunshow stimulates a lot of senses and it's exciting and you get into it. It's a show almost. It's like going to the theater.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: The theatrical experience lies in witnessing Kevin and his colleagues artfully prepare, plate, and present their dishes to an awaiting audience. For frequent patrons of Gunshow, it's clear the chef feels most at home in the America south.
GILLESPIE: Chicken and waffles is not a very difficult dish to sell in the Deep South. Even when we add the little Vietnamese spin it still makes it pretty popular. It's a lot of fun.
I live in a city, Atlanta, where you're rooted in the traditions of the Deep South yet you have people from all over the world every single day here and it fields like the cuisine prepared in a city like this is one that embraces that world view.
BLACKWELL: Chef Kevin Gillespie. Watch the full show at CNN.com/journey.