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Pakistan International Airlines Flight Crashes Outside Abbottabad; Donald Trump Named Time Person of the Year; Syrian Government Forces Continues Push Into Aleppo; A Look at Potential Asian Winners and Losers Under Trump Administration; Aceh Province, Indonesia Hit With 6.5 Magnitude Earthquake. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired December 7, 2016 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:15] KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're wtaching News Stream. And breaking news just in to CNN.
Pakistani officials say a passenger plane has crashed in Pakistan. Pakistani International Airlines says that the aircraft was carrying 40
passengers. It was operating as flight PK-661.
It lost contact shortly after taking off from Chitral, that's in the northern part of the country and
was on its way to Islamabad.
Now, CNN producer Sophia Saifi joins us now now on the line from Islamabad. And Sophia, give us the timeline here, the flight path, when the plane lost
contact, and what ultimately happened.
SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Kristie, we know that the plane, which was flying out from the town of Chitral, it lost contact around 4:40 in the
This is a very short flight. It takes around 45 minutes to get from the city of Chitral to the capital which is Islamabad. It's about 6:00 right
now and we started getting reports of this around an hour ago, so pretty soon after it took off.
These flights that, you know, go on from Chitral to Islamabad, they're hampered by bac weather. It's a small plane and these flights are often
delayed for this very reason -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: What do we know about the passengers who were onboard? This was a domestic flight?
SAIFI: This was a domestic flight. Chitral is a very mountainous region, which is why it's a very popular tourist destination, as well.
We are getting reports that (inaudible), who is a very famous local pop star, one of the first main pop stars of Pakistan, a huge figure in
Pakistan popular culture was also on this flight. It's full of tourists. You know, the plane's capacity at 80 yards, the plane that was carrying
these passengers, it has a capacity of around 50 people, so there were 40 passengers on this
plane. It looks it was fully packed, full of tourists visiting Chitral in this heavy tourist season.
LU STOUT: And after the crash, we know that rescue personnel are en route. They're trying to get to the scene of the crash, which as I understand it
is near the town Havelian (ph). Could you tell us more about the scene of the crash? Is this a very remote region. You know, how long will it take
for the rescue workers to get there?
SAIFI: It's not a remote region at all. Havelian (ph) is a small village close to a city of Abbottabad. Abbottabad is a very prominent garrison
city, which is close to Islamabad. It's 40 kilometers away, a two hour drive normally. But we know that the army has deployed helicopters and it
would only take them around 20 minutes to half an hour to get from Islamabad to this location of where the crash has taken place.
LU STOUT: OK, Sophia Saifi our producer joining us live on the line from Islamabad with the latest on this plane crash. Thank you, Sophia.
Now meanwhile, rescue crews in Indonesia. They are racing to find survivors after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake killed more than 90 people.
Now, the quake hit Aceh Province, an area that was devastated by that powerful earthquake and tsunami back in 2004. And Wednesday's quake, it
struck just before morning prayers. You could see buildings were completely destroyed. Rescuers are digging through the rubble to search
Now, Kathy Quiano is following the situation from Jakarta. She joins us now on the line. And Kathy, it has been just so distressing and grim to
watch the death toll steadily rise during the day. What is your understanding of the devastation caused by this quake?
KATHY QUIANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, we're now getting a better idea of how much -- how destructive and how damaging this earthquake was.
As you said, the death toll almost doubled in just a few hours, and I think that's because rescue teams were able to reach the area. They were able to
bring in heavy equipment to try to look for more survivors under the rubble of shop houses, homes, buildings, and finding that there were more victims
than originally were counted.
So now officials are saying they are still working to find possible survivors, but it is now 8:00 p.m., almost 13 hours after the quake hit
early Wednesday morning. They are racing against time.
Hundreds were also seriously injured in the quake. They are being treated in several hospitals. They are all working in full capacity now.
We know at least one hospital was also badly damaged. We are seeing some patients being (inaudible).
Now, many residents have fled their homes in panic, chose to stay on the streets for most of
the day. Officials say they are working very hard to provide shelter, food, medical supplies, fresh water to those who are now displaced by the
quake, and also the governor of Aceh declared an emergency in the province, which means more resources and funds will be made available to agencies so
that they can deliver services and assistance to those who need it the most -- Kristie.
[08:05:23] LU STOUT: Yeah, you are reporting that many residents right after the quake they fled for shelter, some of them heading for the hills
for safety. Is this evidence of the memory of what happened in 2004, the Indian Ocean quake and tsunami that is still very real and very raw for the
people of Aceh even today?
QUIANO: Absolutely, Kristie. Although, PD Jaya (ph), and this is area -- the PD district, is
further east from Banda Aceh and Malabo, they were the hardest hit areas by the 2004 earthquake and tsunami, it's quite far away. It wasn't one of the
hardest hit areas during that time, but the memory is still there. For sure there are -- people are more prepared for disasters like this one.
Indonesia is no stranger to disaster by earthquakes, tsunamis. And, you know, the infrastructure, the training is there, there are drills that
happen almost every year. And people know how to respond.
And the first response is usually to run to the hills, because they expect the tsunami to come, but this quake happened inland, and that's why we're
seeing more destruction in the infrastructure than in the towns.
What we're seeing now is that perhaps, you know, the buildings couldn't withstand the tremor, 6.5 magnitude quake that hit Aceh again this morning.
LU STOUT: Yeah, and after this latest quake, the priority is search and rescue. And they have to move fast, even now, it is nightfall.
Kathy Quiano reporting for us on the line from Jakarta. Thank you. Now, let's get more details on the earthquake and its impact from our
meteorologist Chad Myers. He joins us now. And Chad, how common are these large earthquakes around Indonesia?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Very common, unfortunately. In fact, common around the world. A 6 to a 6.5, that happens about ten times a
Now, the problem with this earthquake is that it happened along the ring of fire, it happened
along the Indian plate, it happened on the same collision, the same tectonic plate that had the 9.1 in 2004, just a little farther inland. And
it was that inland shaking only about eight kilometers deep was where the rupture happened.
And think about if this would have been 200 kilometers deep, they would have been 200 kilometers away from the earthquake, but they were only eight
kilometers away from the epicenter of the earthquake and that's why it shook so hard and that's why so many are in trouble trying to get rescued
134 earthquakes about this size on average every year. That's a lot of earthquakes. Aand most of them happen in the ocean or under the ocean or
under the ocean, or along that ring of fire that goes all the way really from about South America all the way around Alaska and then down through
Japan and down to almost Papua New Guinea, and Papua Iteh (ph), that's where the areas here that have seen so much.
The shaking that happened today is not where the tsunami happened. The tsunami was here on this side of Indonesia island right here, not on the
north side. Now, there were still some swells from that quake, of course, but not the swell that we had when you have so much water getting pushed up
by a 9.1 earthquake. Those people, remember, and know what happened to their neighbors just over the other side of the mountains.
Let me take you to where it really happened. Here's, obviously, Indonesia. There is a 6,000-kilometer tectonic boundary all the way from here all the
way down to the south. And that boundary is what ruptured again.
There was the 9.1. There is the rupture that we had today. So there are towns, there are many villages around here, there's the epicenter of the
earthquake and as we get right back down you see towns and cities, especially Sigly City (ph), these towns that shook so hard, a violent
rattle rather than just a rumble. This was a rattle that just rattled buildings apart, Kristie.
LU STOUT: Yeah. And the latest earthquake was a major one, the full picture of devastation still unfolding. Chad Myers reporting for us.
Thank you so much, Chad.
Now to Syria where we're told that rebels now control only 25 percent of eastern Aleppo in the face of a punishing assault by Russian-backed Syrian
forces. Rebels are now asking for a five-day humanitarian cease-fire. They say hundreds of people need urgent help.
Now, meanwhile, to the southwest, at least 36 people have been killed in air strikes in Idlib Province, that's according to the volunteer group the
CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in Aleppo, the epicenter of Syria's war. He is the first western TV reporter inside the old city of Aleppo. He joins us now
live. And Fred, I mean, given the pace of the offensive, is Aleppo on the verge of falling?
[08:10:01] FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I would certainly say it seems to be very close, Kristie. What we've seen
over the past couple of days is some major advances by the Syrian forces here on the ground. We got here about four days ago, and since then, the
rebel-held area went to being from about 60 percent of what they used to control to
only about 25 percent. And just last night the Syrian military managed to take most of the old town of Aleppo, which, of course, is very significant
symbolically, but also very significant on the battlefield, as well, as it's right in the heart of this very large Syrian town.
Now, we were out there earlier today. We went into the old town where there were Syrian forces. They were clearing out some areas trying to get
to safety, many of them to us seemed to be malnourished, seemed to be very weak. Many of them also very happy to be out of the line of fire.
Let's have a look at some of the districts also a lot of civilians fleeing those areas trying to get to safety, many seemed to be malnourished and
weak, many also happy to be out of the line of fire.
Let's have a look at some of the districts we've been looking at where the Syrian government has been taking back. Here's what we saw.
PLEITGEN: This is Aleppo 24/7. Shelling and air strikes raining down mostly on rebel- held areas. Near the frontline it's not just Syrian
troops, Russians and Iranians battling on the government side.
We meet these Syrian/Palestinian fighters who show us what they claim was a former Jabhat al-Nusra field hospital they found when they advanced into
"Every injured rebel would be taken here," he says. "You see the medicine and blankets. This is one of their instruments they used."
Syrian pro-government forces have brought heavy weapons to the frontline as they continue to push the opposition back. They showed us these homemade
mortars and accused rebels of lacing them with chemicals the army says it discovered in this room close by.
This alleged weapons facility is inside what used to be an elementary school in this former rebel-held district. And the Syrian army says it
found this place when it was sweeping the area as rebels were retreating.
The battles show no sign of letting up as Syrian forces continue to pound rebel-held districts. Killing hundreds in the past days and leaving
thousands of civilians trapped and at risk.
In an interview with CNN, a Syrian general says government forces will not stop unless opposition fighters withdraw.
FAWAZ MUSTAFA, SYRIAN ARMY: If he insisted to go on fighting and bombing of our people in Aleppo and the civilians or the army, we have to continue our
mission to get the city back to its people.
PLEITGEN: And what that means is plain for everyone in Aleppo to see and to hear.
PLEITGEN: And there is also more of that going on today, Kristie. We've heard a lot air strikes, we've seen planes in the air, also a lot of
shelling all in these areas that are still held by the rebels.
And you know, one of the things that we've been hearing from people who have come out of the old town of Aleppo is they tell us that the morale of
the rebels is waning, the morale of the civilians that are still trapped inside is waning, as well. And that, of course, is one of the reasons why
now the opposition forces that are still inside those districts they control have now called for that five-day humanitarian cease-fire, which
they want to see implemented immediately -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Civilians are losing hope. Rebels are losing morale. As you mentioned, rebels are now calling for that immediate five-day humanitarian
cease-fire, but can that happen? Can there be a truce?
PLEITGEN: You know what, I think that's going to be very difficult, you know, the Syrian military right now clearly has the initiative and the
Russians do, as well. They are very confident. They believe they can take back all of the rest of the districts very, very quickly. There are
some say it could happen by Christmas, there's others who say that it could take up to two months, but certainly they feel that right now they are on
the winning side.
Now, the Syrian military has said that the only option for the opposition forces is to leave the areas that they currently hold, get on buses, go
somewhere else to rebel-held areas. As long as the rebels aren't willing to do that, the Syrian military says it's not going to stop the battle.
And so therefore, any sort of humanitarian cease-fire that would not meet that condition is
something that would be very, very difficult for the Syrian army going for that, Kristie.
And Fred, you've been reporting on the conflict in Syria for years now. Is this it? You know, the armed rebellion in eastern Aleppo is unraveling.
Is this the beginning of the end of the overall conflict?
PLEITGEN: You know, it's very difficult to say. And we've seen a tide of Syria's civil war sway in so many different directions over the year as it
was going on. And, you know, a little over a year ago it virtually looked like the Syrian military was on the verge of collapse. And that's, of
course, then when Russia entered the scene and really changed the entire equation here on the ground.
Right now, if the rebels do lose all of Aleppo and the coming days, the coming weeks, the coming months, it would certainly drastically weaken them
and it would seem to indicate right now there is a pivot that could see the Assad government winning the Syrian civil war.
But, of course, there is still a lot that's left on the table. There's the entire Idlib Province, which still has a lot of rebel-controlled areas in
it. There's other places, pockets in other parts of Syria, as well. And then, of course, there's still that very large swath of land that's
controlled by ISIS, Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa and that's something that, of course, will remain on the table even if the Syrian military manages to
take back most of the rest of the country. But that's still a long way down the road.
Nevertheless, very, very significant because Aleppo is, of course, the last real urban stronghold that the rebels have. So this would be a drastic
defeat if, indeed, the Syrian government manages to take back all of Aleppo.
[08:15:48] LU STOUT: This is a significant moment in the Syrian civil war, and we have you reporting live on the ground from the epicenter of the old
town of Aleppo.
Fred Pleitgen, thank you.
You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, Trump on tour. He says thank you in North
Carolina, but not all his words are positive.
And a timely announcement for Trump as he is named person of the year by Time magazine. We have got the details ahead.
LU STOUT: All right, coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching News Stream. And I want to bring you the latest on the crash of
Pakistan International Airlines flight 661 that lost contact with the control tower after taking off from Chitral in the north headed for
Islamabad. And rescuers are trying to get to the scene of the crash. It's close to the city Abbottabad. Officials
officials say that there were around 40 people on board. All resources are being mobilized to locate
And we have learned a Pakistani pop star turned preacher was Junai Jamshed (ph) was on board, that's according to his manager who spoke with CNN.
Again, that's Pakistan International Airlines flight PK-661. And we will bring you the latest as
soon as it comes into us.
Now, turning now to U.S. politics and Donald Trump is back on his thank you tour. The latest stop: North Carolina. He introduced the man he wants as
defense secretary, retired marine general James Mattis, while targeting one of America's biggest exporters: Boeing. Now, Jessica Schneider joins us
now from outside Trump Tower in New York.
And Jessica, in a message that seemed to come out of nowhere, Trump, of course he took to Twitter to slam Boeing and plans for an upgraded Air
Force One. Do we know why?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, you know, Donald Trump has pledged to cut the fat from government spending. Could this be
his latest project? Perhaps, planning to cancel the order. Whether he'll make good on that or not remains to be seen. But
Boeing officials acknowledge that they were quite taken aback by the announcement on Twitter, and then in person in Trump Tower yesterday
Boeing officials, though, say they can work with the government. They can modify specifications to cut some of the cost, although doing so could be
unsafe and risky. B ut this morning Donald Trump is back here in New York City after one of his thank you tour rallies in Fayetteville, North
Carolina where he stuck to his message of America first, stressing things like military
strength and American jobs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: We will have two simple rules when it comes to rebuilding this country. Buy American and hire American.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Taking his "America first" message to North Carolina, the president-elect vowing to protect American jobs.
TRUMP: We will defeat the enemy on jobs, and we have to look at it almost as a war.
SCHNEIDER: Donald Trump, once again, taking aim at corporate America. The president-elect spent much of Tuesday criticizing a government contract
with Boeing to build a new Air Force One. Trump tweeting, "Costs are out of control. More than $4 billion. Cancel order."
It's unclear why Trump attacked Boeing, America's largest exporter, or where Trump even got that hefty price tag. Boeing says it currently has a
$170 million development deal to study the new aircraft.
TRUMP: I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number.
SCHNEIDER: Trump also touting his deal-making skills, claiming credit for a months-old pledge by Japanese telecom giant SoftBank to invest $50 billion
in the United States aimed at creating jobs. Details of the deal have not been released.
TRUMP: Masa, great guy of Japan. He's pledged that he's going to put $50 billion into the United States because of our victory. He wasn't investing
in our country. Fifty billion, 50,000 jobs.
SCHNEIDER: Staying largely on message, a more controlled Trump promising to fight terror and increase military spending.
TRUMP: In my first budget report to Congress, I am going to ask for the elimination of the defense sequester.
SCHNEIDER: Trump officially announcing his secretary of defense pick, General James Mattis.
TRUMP: Mad Dog plays no games.
SCHNEIDER: Touting his credentials as a four-star general, NATO commander and his leadership during Desert Storm.
MATTIS: I look forward to being a civilian leader, so long as the Congress gives me the waiver and the Senate votes to consent.
SCHNEIDER: All this coming on the heels of a shakeup in the Trump transition team. Trump firing the son of national security aide, retired
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn for pushing a baseless conspiracy theory that led a man to fire a rifle inside a Washington pizza shop. Jake Tapper
grilling the vice-president-elect over security clearances requested for Flynn's son.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You're downplaying his role, but you must be aware that the transition team put in for security clearance for Michael G.
Flynn, the son of Lieutenant General Flynn. PENCE: Well, I'm aware in talking to General Flynn that -- that his son was
helping the scheduling, Jake.
TAPPER: No, but you put in for security clearances for him.
PENCE: He's helping his dad arrange for meetings and provide meetings. But that's no longer the case.
TAPPER: But do you need security clearance just to do scheduling?
PENCE: I think that's the appropriate decision for us to move forward.
SCHNEIDER: And Donald Trump not just president-elect, but Kristie, also just named Time
magazine's person of the year. He was named by the magazine the president of the divided states
Donald Trump saying that he is honored, taking a bit of an issue with the divided term, saying he did not divide the country. He acknowledges the
country is divided, but he claims that the country will heal under his presidency -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: That's right. That announcement just happening in the last hour. We're going to get additional analysis from our senior media
correspondent Brian Stelter about Donald Trump being named person of the year by Time magazine.
But as you reported just then Donald Trump is assembling his cabinet. We know who his economic team is, he's introduced formally General Mad Dog
Mattis as his pick for U.S. defense secretary. But we're still waiting for any movement, any sign on who's going to be the secretary of state. So
when is that announcement going to happen and who could it be?
SCHNEIDER: Right, the top diplomatic post that we've been waiting to hear an announcement on for quite some time. Every time we think an
announcement might be imminent, we get more names added to that list, but interestingly Donald Trump did talk on TV this
morning and said that he will be announcing his pick next week.
Of course, we've heard things like that before, so I won't hold him to that. But he says the former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is still
very much at the top of that list or one of the leading contenders.
Of course, as you'll remember, Mitt Romney and Donald Trump having a very contentious
relationship. It was back in March at the height of the primary season when Mitt Romney called Donald Trump a phony and a fraud, but since Donald Trump
has been elected, Romney has met with Trump twice, once in Bedminster at Donald Trump's golf club, andthe other
time about a week ago at the famous John George Restaurant just a few blocks from Trump Tower, so a lot remains to be seen.
But Donald Trump promising that we could hear more on the Secretary of State pick next week.
[08:25:05] LU STOUT: All right, thank you for that. Jessica Schneider reporting live from New York, take care.
Now here on News Stream we have been following reaction to Trump's recent phone call with
the leader of Taiwan. We've heard from officials and media in China, so negative, but what about the people in Taiwan? Now, one of our producers
went there to find out.
Now, Freddy Lim, a progressive lawmaker, says that he hopes Trump would be continued to be
outspoken to create a breakthrough in Taiwan/U.S. relations.
And on the streets of Taipei, Housewife Yang Lo-hsia says that she thinks it could lead to closer ties with the U.S. and stronger protection for
While this student welcomes Peng Yu-Chuen welcomes the call but thinks Trump is using Taiwan as a stake for negotiation with Beijing.
Now, as just mentioned, Time magazine has named its person of the year and it is Donald Trump. Trump has responded saying it is a great honor. It
means a lot.
Now, Time says it singles out the person who's had the greatest influence for better or worse on
the events of the year.
Now, let's get more now with CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter.
And Brian, as expected, it's Donald Trump, but tell us more about the thinking behind it. Why did the editors pick him?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I think Nancy Gibbs, editor-in- chief put it into really smart perspective by saying it is hard to measure the scale of Donald Trump's disruption. Who would have thought one year
ago that Donald Trump would be man of the year on Time magazine's cover, specifically because he became the president of the United states.
Now, Time goes into detail talking about the power of the internet age, the super computers that we all have in our hands thanks to smartphones and how
that also influenced the outcome of the election.
Donald Trump's Twitter account, of course, and the rise of fake news stories all over Facebook
Ultimately, though, this was about a single individual. You know, I thought maybe Time would pick the Trump voter as person of the year or the
nationalists around the world, but, no, the magazine ended up going with just the single individual Donald Trump, who has
transformed the country in ways that we're just starting to reckon with.
LU STOUT: Yeah, and what do you think Donald Trump makes of this announcement?
do you think he likes being named person of the year? I mean, especially given his war with the media.
STELTER: Last year, this time last year, person of the year was Angela Merkel, and Trump
complained about it on Twitter. He said of course they weren't going to choose me, and so he was complaining when he wasn't chosen as person of the
This time around, you know, we know Donald Trump cares enormously about media coverage, about what is being said about him. In some ways he's the
ultimate example of someone who wants to always win the popularity contest. The fact that he did not win the popular vote in the U.S. is something he
has repeatedly come at and pointed out and seems uncomfortable with.
So to be on the cover of the magazine, to get that kind of prestige and attention, it is something that he both courts and craves and cares a lot
LU STOUT: And do you think it's going to change attitudes in America. You know by putting Donald Trump on the cover, person of the year, is it going
to change attitudes towards him there? Is it going to move the needle at all?
STELTER: I think we are more in a divided states of America today than we were a month ago.
You know, this election was held 29 days ago. The outcome was shocking to most Americans. Let's remember, even a lot of Trump voters thought Clinton
There continues to be profound anxiety and confusion about the election results. And, frankly,
still a lot of fear in the United States, especially in liberal communities, about what's going to happen once he's actually inaugurated.
So, I think the short answer to your question, Kristie, is no. I think it's going to take a lot more time before people start to come to grips
with what that inauguration day is going to look like. Even people that supported Trump are really curious to find out what's it going to be like
after January 20th.
LU STOUT: Yeah, absolutely.
Brian Stelter reporting. Thank you.
Now, President Obama pivoted U.S. foreign policy towards Asia, but with Washington changing we look at the potential winners and losers under the
Trump administration. We have got that story coming up.
[08:32:50] LU STOUT: Now, on this day 75 years ago, Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, a date that President Franklin
Roosevelt famously declared will live in infamy.
It was a turning point that drew the U.S. into World War II. More than 2,400 Americans were
killed in the attack, that's according to the U.S. National Parks Service. 21 American ships and 188 aircraft were destroyed. And the site of the USS
Arizona now serves as a memorial visited by more 1.6 million people each year. And flags across the U.S. are still lowered to half-staff every
And this reminder, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make a historic trip to Pearl Harbor later this month. He will be the first sitting
Japanese prime minister to visit.
Now, in his final weeks, the Obama administration is working to consolidate U.S. ties with
global allies. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is in Tokyo trying to reassure Japan about U.S. commitments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHTON CARTER, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: The United States has important interests in this region. And, therefore, because many of those interests
are shared with Japan, we have a common interest in strengthening and in the capabilities of the alliance.
LU STOUT: Now, despite those assurances, the incoming administration may change the military relationship between the U.S. and some Asian nations.
Ivan Watson shows us which countries could stand to win and lose in the next four years.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In his campaign to become president, Donald Trump raised some serious questions about the
future of U.S. defense cooperation in Asia. So let's take a look at the security umbrella that the U.S. has spread over this sprawling region ever
since World War II.
The U.S. has signed collective defense agreements with six regional allies -- Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, and South
Korea. The treaties say an attack on one of these countries would be a direct threat against the U.S. and it would be obliged to respond.
To support these treaties, U.S. Pacific command has some 380,000 troops and civilian personnel, around 2,400 aircraft, and approximately 200 war ships.
They are deployed across a network of forward bases to better respond to potential crises including the Island of Guam, which is home to 30
different military commands.
For more than half a century the U.S. has also deployed troops at bases in Japan as well as in South Korea.
But in his campaign Trump suggested this might be about to change.
[10:35:43] TRUMP: At some point we have to say you know what, we're better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea, we're
better off frankly if South Korea is going to start to protect itself.
WATSON: So, who stands to gain if the U.S. pulls back on its commitments in Asia? First of all, North Korea with its massive army. It periodically
tests nuclear weapons. And its frequent long-range missile launch tests, which are a direct threat to the U.S. and its allies.
And then there's North Korea's traditional ally China, which has a standing military of more than 2 million active service members. In recent years it
laid claim to virtually all of the South China Sea, and it has expanded its military presence there.
And don't forget Russia. With its Pacific navy fleet headquartered in the port of Vladivostok. For decades the U.S. has provided security guarantees
across this vast region. Now both allies and rivals will be closely watching to see if that's about to change.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Washington.
LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, can they change his mind on climate change? We hear from two astronauts who have a warning
for the U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
LU STOUT: Welcome back.
Now with just weeks to go before Donald Trump is sworn in as U.S. president, scientists and researchers are speaking out to make sure that
their voices are heard. Now, Rachel Crane sat down with former NASA astronauts Scott and Mark UNIDENITIFIED MALE to talk about climate change
and the future of science and technology under Trump.
RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At least 97 percent of researchers say that global warming is the result of human activity, and yet some people in
Washington right now -- and it seems like the incoming administration, it's not exactly going to be
proactive when it comes to putting policy into place to prevent climate change.
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: Obviously, that's a big concern of ours. Having been in space for a whole year, I saw the amount of pollution that we dump into
the atmosphere. It's not pretty. So, it's definitely something about, because this is the only planet we have.
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: I mean not believing in science is dangerous. I mean, it really is. I mean, these are people that have devoted their entire
careers to studying the climate and nearly all of them agree that, you know, it's human activity that is a huge contributor to the, you know,
changes that are going on on this planet.
CRANE: Do you think that there's something at risk here if we have people in Washington not believing data?
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: It's really dangerous. I mean, long-term, you know, the prospect of what life is going
to be like on earth for humans on on this planet will change drastically if we don't figure out how to get a handle on the rising temperatures.
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: And especially for a country like the United States. If we do something, generally we
can get the people in other countries to follow along, so it's even more important for us to be the leader in this.
CRANE: What is your message for the incoming administration about scientific research?
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: Well, I think trust the scientists. You know, when 97 percent of scientists
are telling you something, you should believe them. But if you don't, go out and do your own research. Science is an investment in our future.
Everything we have is due to science. I mean, if it wasn't for mad physics engineering, people studying that, you know, developing technology, we
wouldn't have anything.
CRANE: With the political climate in Washington, do you worry that funding available for scientific research is at risk?
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: You know, I think it's always at risk, and, you know, we're going to have to, you know, see what the new administration in the
White House and the next congress, how they really feel about this. I know members of congress, and I've seen what they've said.
Some of them, some individuals that don't seem to believe in science as much as they should.
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: And hopefully, the new administration or whatever administration is going to recognize that it's really an investment in our
future and it's why we have the quality of life we have in this country now, is because of science.
CRANE: Seeing the publicity and the enthusiasm for your mission has given me a lot of hope in regards to the American public and our interests and
dedication to science, to space exploration, because you guys are really rock stars.
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: We're just happy to play a small role, and if we can, you know, increase people's interest in science, that's great. You know,
we've both had very privileged careers at NASA, and are just really a small part of a larger team.
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: And it's not only the reward to us personally, but it's what is the reward to our country, you know, how does that affect our
country over a long period of time, for us to be the leaders in space exploration. And, you know, I would argue that it really benefits all of
LU STOUT: Such an important message there. That was Rachel Crane speaking with NASA astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly.
Now, anyone who has ever taken a ride to the streets of Karachi in Pakistan knows taht there are things you cannot avoid -- beautifully decorated
buses, the endless honking of horns, and often male drivers. But this woman is breaking new ground. Now, meet 46-year-old Asia Abdul Aziz (ph).
Now, she has become the first female driver at the multinational transport company Kareem. Now like Uber, Kareem uses apps to let users book their
journeys, and the company wants to change perceptions, as well as give women an additional source of income and that is important for someone like
Asia (ph), who is a widowed mom of two.
And that is News Stream. I'm Kristie Lu Stout, but don't go anywhere. World Sport with Amanda Davies is next.