Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

North Korea Missile Launch; China Welcomes World Leaders to Trade Forum; Battle for Mosul; Emmanuel Macron to Become French President. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired May 14, 2017 - 03:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[03:00:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): North Korea test fires yet another ballistic missile. We'll get reactions from all across the region.

Street by street and house by house. Iraqi forces battle to retake Mosul. Our correspondent is on the front line.

And Emmanuel Macron will have to hit the ground running. He's hours away from becoming France's next president but he already has another campaign on his mind.

Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining us. I'm Cyril Vanier, live from the CNN NEWSROOM.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

VANIER: North Korea appears to be testing the new South Korean government. Pyongyang launched a ballistic missile early on Sunday that landed in the sea after flying about 700 kilometers. It's the first missile test since a new South Korean president was sworn in a few days ago.

During the campaign, President Moon Jae-in favored a moderate approach to the North Korean nuclear crisis. But Mr. Moon now says that talks with Pyongyang are only possible if the regime of Kim Jong-un changes its attitude. CNN's Alexandra Field has more from Seoul.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The latest missile launch from North Korea didn't threaten the continental United States, it was not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile, according to U.S. defense officials.

But they are still trying to determine exactly what type of missile was launched. They say it traveled several hundred miles before landing in the waters east of the Korean Peninsula.

This launch comes just days after South Koreans elected a new president, President Moon Jae-in, the Democratic Party candidate on the campaign trail had advocated for greater engagement with North Korea, a return to the previous sunshine policy with North Korea.

That marks a strong change from the Conservative Party's line toward North Korea, which argues for stricter sanctions and less engagement. Conservative Party has been in power here in South Korea for the last 10 years. This election of a new president certainly marks a shift in attitude potentially toward North Korea.

A meeting of the National Security Council was convened immediately after the launch. The new president sitting in on that meeting. Security officials in Japan also met to discuss the security situation. They are now condemning the latest launch.

This is the seventh date since the start of the year that North Korea has attempted a ballistic missile launch -- in Seoul, Alexandra Field, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: And Washington is also criticizing the launch. No surprise there except this time Washington involved Russia. U.S. officials tell CNN that the missile landed in the water less than 100 kilometers south of Russia's Vladivostok region, home to the Russian Pacific fleet.

The U.S. press secretary's statement says this, "With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil, in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan, the president cannot imagine that Russia is pleased with this."

All right. Let's find out. Matthew Chance is in Moscow.

Matthew, is this something that the Kremlin is deeply concerned about?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think President Trump's instincts were correct on this issue in the sense that in the past few minutes, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who is currently on a visit to Beijing in China, has expressed concern about this.

According to his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, there is concern that has been expressed -- I'm reading from the statement now -- about the escalation of tension, including in connection with the launch of the missile from North Korea.

That's the brief statement that's been issued by the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, during a visit of Vladimir Putin to North Korea's main economic support and main ally, of course, China.

Now, of course, this is an area where Russia has a long history of engaging in diplomacy to try and work out a solution, for instance, to the North Korean nuclear program, has engaged in six-party talks that came to an end about a decade ago and it has continually spoken to the United States and to Donald Trump, in fact, about the possible and the need for the U.S. and Russia to coordinate on this issue.

And clearly, from this statement from the White House, it looks like Washington also sees and the White House of President Trump also sees Russia as an ally on this issue.

And that will be music to the Kremlin's ears because this is a matter of big international global diplomacy. And Putin, the Russian president loves the idea of being a dealmaker, a key player in those big, key diplomatic problems in the world.

VANIER: Matthew Chance, reporting live from Moscow, thank you very much.

So let's keep connecting the dots. We went from Pyongyang to Seoul to Moscow. Let find out now about Beijing's reaction. David McKenzie is covering from there.

David, the timing of this missile --

[03:05:00]

VANIER: -- test is really not great for China, which is currently hosting an array of world leaders and heads of government.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It is embarrassing for China on this day, where Xi Jinping, the president, is really highlighting this massive infrastructure and trade plan with all these leaders, including Vladimir Putin and the president of Turkey and others are here at the same time.

The minister of foreign affairs saying that they are against and opposed to any move by North Korea -- in this case, launching a missile -- that breaks the U.N. sanctions hold on North Korea. And they say all sides should work together to try and ease the tension.

Particularly embarrassing, of course, is because North Korea received a late invite to this particular meeting. And that, certainly, is yet again a thumb in the eye of China's Xi Jinping, that shows that North Korea is willing to stop at nothing to continue this program -- Cyril.

VANIER: The Chinese president showcasing his ambitious trade initiative, which is being described as a new version of the Silk Route (sic).

Why is that so important to him?

Why is he staking so much on that?

MCKENZIE: All Chinese leaders since the Communist Party came into power each wanted their big idea and this appears to be Xi Jinping's big idea, the One Belt, One Road initiative.

Really what it is, as you say, is this infrastructure and trade program shifting west from China to Central Asia and Europe and in the maritime routes to Africa. Billions and billions of dollars of investment have been targeted toward this and many billions more will come.

Some have criticized it, though, as a way for China to really push its own agenda, almost like a new colonialism. And today that was directly addressed by the Chinese president.

XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT (through translator): We are ready to share practices of development with other countries. But we have no intention to interfere with other countries' internal affairs, export our own social system and model of development or impose our own will on others.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCKENZIE: Certainly no major -- well, only a few major Western leaders here in Beijing for the summit. Donald Trump of course is not here. Some leaders are wary of China's plans, though they do promise to potentially get involved in some of those joint investment programs across the world, really.

China's ambition, if what is on paper is put into practice, could be a major, major plan and an expansion of China's aims globally.

VANIER: So David, what kind of impact do you anticipate?

Because China is already exporting to many countries, manufacturing to many countries across the world. It doesn't strike me that there's really a problem for China to get its products sold across the global stage.

MCKENZIE: Well, no, there isn't. But this is slightly different and slightly new, is that what it is trying to do, or what China is trying to do, is increase its expertise in logistics and infrastructure in the countries, specifically of Central Asia.

That means building railways and transportation hubs, not just exporting, which China has obviously become very good at, it's really getting deeply involved in those local economies in these massive infrastructure plans.

And one reason they're doing this, say economists, is to continue the rapid growth of China, just exporting what they've been doing here in the country to other countries.

But it might be that those countries aren't ready for that level of expansion because of the smaller populations, the lower GDP and not necessarily the readiness for this -- China's infrastructure plan.

There are already some projects that are being called white elephant projects. But certainly what it does seem to be is that China is trying to aggressively push its trade agenda beyond things like export and import.

VANIER: All right, David McKenzie, reporting live from Beijing in China. Thank you so much.

After locking down thousands of computers, the spread of a global cyber attack has finally been stopped -- at least for now. A security expert in the U.K. was able to shut down the malicious software that demanded a ransom from users. This is the kind of screen that those users saw on Friday. It hit 99

countries and it forced some hospitals in the U.K. to cancel appointments, even to divert patients away from emergency wards.

Now it's not clear yet who is behind the attack. But experts warn that a similar one may come as soon as Monday. Our Phil Black is following the story in London and joins us from Downing Street.

Phil, before we get to the political --

[03:10:00]

VANIER: -- reaction, how are the hospitals doing, the hospitals that were affected?

Do we know if they've been able to retrieve the data, especially the sensitive patient data?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cyril, they're improving, we're told. The most recent update says that some 97 percent of the National Health Service hospitals and organizations are now operating normally.

Initially, the percentage affected was around 20 percent. So the system is recovering. But it's also likely that the consequences of all this will be felt by the National Health Service and of course by its patients for time to come.

Because of all the appointments and surgeries that had to be cancelled and postponed, they will now have to be rescheduled. There's going to have to be a process of that. A lot of those patients were already waiting a long time for those procedures to be carried out.

Because of the nature of the hospital waiting lists here, this could very well be knock-on effects that affect other patients further down the track as well. So the consequences, particularly for the patients whose health care has been disrupted, that's soon going to be pretty significant.

As I said, the computer systems here are recovering. The British government is not paying to get that information back. It's relying upon backups. And so it says, as long as everyone has been backing up the way they're supposed, then patient data shouldn't be lost. But they can't say definitively yet whether or not there are any holes now as a result of any interrelational data that may have been lost through this -- Cyril.

VANIER: So, Phil, what is the British government doing?

Or what can it do?

BLACK: They say they're doing everything they possibly can. They believe the staff had worked incredibly hard to fix this, to help patients as much as they can while also getting the I.T. systems back on track. There has been a lot of criticism here, a lot of questions asked about how this was able to happen. Why weren't the I.T. systems within the health service protected

against this?

And there have been reports about obsolete operating systems, I.T. systems that were simply not up to scratch.

Now the government is pushing back on that, saying that they were prepared. This was a global event that governments and companies around the world were affected. And the NHS was simply part of that.

But we also know that the patch that was released to cover this particular security vulnerability was released back in March, so clearly not all the computers across the health system had been updated in that sense.

There are going to be more questions about this because, of course, this is all happening in the middle of a general election campaign. And anything related to the National Health Service is often a very delicate and it's often a passionate political issue here.

VANIER: All right, Phil Black, reporting from London, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Now let me take you to Iraq, where officials say ISIS now controls just 10 percent of the city of Mosul after months of fighting there. However, the most difficult part of the battle still lies ahead. CNN's Ben Wedeman is following this. He has more from inside Mosul.

Now a word of warning: we want to tell you that the images in his report may be disturbing to some viewers. But we do feel it's important to show you the realities on the ground at this time.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From a rooftop, soldiers fire towards ISIS positions. The struggle to liberate the city from ISIS is now well into its seventh grueling month of street by street, house by house fighting.

The end is near, but not near enough. Iraqi soldiers drag two dead ISIS fighters over the hood of their Humvees like hunting trophies, taking selfies to mark the occasion. This is what has become of their so-called caliphate. The one they swore was here to stay and destined to expand.

Locally made bazookas litter the streets. ISIS ran dozens of workshops in residential areas to manufacture these and other weapons.

"It's a complete factory, making anti-tank and anti-personnel rockets," this officer tells me.

Only 10 percent of Mosul remains under ISIS control, but taking the last 10 percent won't be easy.

WEDEMAN: Where that black smoke is rising is the 17 Tammouz, the 17th of July neighborhood. It's that neighborhood that ISIS entered first in June of 2014. They renamed the neighborhood Fatah to commemorate the early conquest of the Islamic Empire.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Commanders here say the battle for 17 Tammouz is going to be the hardest one.

Lieutenant Colonel Abu Fatima (ph) has been speaking by phone with residents inside the neighborhood. "Tragic" is how he describes their plight.

"They have no food, no water, no medical care. They're just waiting for our forces to free them."

Some could wait no longer, risking death to escape.

"We left early this morning, after taking cover for days in the bathroom" --

[03:15:00]

WEDEMAN (voice-over): -- says Sina (ph). "Our menfolk told us, 'Go, go.'

"We said, 'We can't because of the shelling.' But then we put our faith in God and we left."

Abu Said (ph) never fled the adjacent district of Mushairfa, hiding with his family under a stairwell, waiting for Iraqi forces to move in. Now he's leading them from one abandoned ISIS house to another.

"I gathered information for the past three years," he says. "I watched them. I wrote down their names. I kept an eye on what they were doing and now I'm sharing everything with the officers."

Senior commanders inspecting weapons seized from ISIS are confident victory will be achieved before the end of May.

"God willing," says Iraqi chief of staff Othman al-Ghanimi, "we will triumph before Ramadan and declare the liberation of Mosul and its people from the filthy scum of ISIS."

Those "filthy scum," as he calls them, haven't given up yet, however, as this incoming sniper round inches from our camera shows -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, Western Mosul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: All right. Fantastic reporting there by Ben in Mosul. We're going to take a very short break. When we come back, France will soon have a new president. We'll be going live to Paris. These are live pictures right now.

The Elysee Palace in Central Paris, about 40 minutes from now, Emmanuel Macron will be walking up the red carpet himself to be inaugurated. We'll see you after the break.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

VANIER: Welcome back.

Donald Trump delivered his first commencement address as U.S. president on Saturday. He spoke to graduating students at Liberty University in Virginia. After days of controversy following the firing of FBI director James Comey, Mr. Trump told the students that they should stand firm in their beliefs, even if they face criticism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: No one has ever achieved anything significant without a chorus of critics standing on the sidelines, explaining why it can't be done. Nothing is easier or more pathetic than being a critic because they're people that can't get the job done.

But the future belongs to the dreamers, not to the critics. The future belongs to the people who follow their heart, no matter what the critics say because they truly believe in their vision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: Mr. Trump also told the students that they should embrace the label of outsider and never fear challenging the status quo.

Meanwhile in Washington, the search has begun for a new FBI chief. The person who will take over could be among these eight candidates who were interviewed on Saturday. More interviews could come on Sunday.

And Mr. Trump predicted that he may pick a new director by next Friday. Now if that's true, it would be a lightning-fast process. The president did get a lot of criticism --

[03:20:00]

VANIER: -- this week after abruptly firing James Comey and adding to that controversy were the conflicting accounts of why Mr. Trump decided to sack him.

A new political era is about to begin in France. Preparations are underway in Paris for the presidential inauguration of Emmanuel Macron. You're looking at a live shot of the Elysee Palace. That's the French presidency.

Now voters chose the former economy minister over the far right's Marine Le Pen just a week ago. Mr. Macron is set to arrive at the Elysee in under an hour and take over from French President Francois Hollande, who will leave the Elysee after five years in power.

Our Paris correspondent, Melissa Bell, is in the French capital. She's covering this for us.

Melissa, it's a really peculiar situation that Emmanuel Macron finds himself in. Normally, when you're elected president in France, you arrive on your Inauguration Day, having a fairly clear idea of who your allies are and who your enemies are and, therefore, what you hope to achieve on the basis of where your support is.

But for Mr. Macron, it's not clear, is it?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, it's not clear. This is really, as you put it a moment ago, Cyril, the beginning of a new political era in France. These occasions are very solemn, the handover of power from an outgoing president to an incoming one, if for no other reason than that the president in France holds a lot of power in his hands, much more than in many other Western democracies.

So there is a solemn note to this occasion. It is full of protocols and rules. We know exactly how the thing is going to function. And it is very closely watched.

For instance, the last time this happened in 2012, a great deal of controversy had been caused by the fact that the incoming president, Francois Hollande, had not seen the outgoing president, Nicolas Sarkozy, all the way back to his car. That's how closely these things are watched, Cyril.

This time, though, it has a whole new significance to it, a whole new weight because Emmanuel Macron is coming in, having never been elected to anything before, with no established party behind him, only the movement that he created a year ago, having promised to do away with the political elites that have dominated French politics for decades, having seen off the two mainstream parties that have essentially shared power in this country since 1958.

And so he comes in with everyone guessing who his prime minister might be and who the members of his government might be with everything to do in June's parliamentary elections he doesn't have a single MP to his name, Cyril.

So we are really stepping into something, into a sort of -- something that no one quite understands or no one can quite grasp. And this is why this particular occasion at the Elysee Palace will be watched all the more closely -- Cyril.

VANIER: Melissa, is it possible that he might announce his choice of prime minister today?

Other presidents in the past have done that, on the same day as they were inaugurated and that will be a key decision for Mr. Macron.

BELL: It will be a key decision and it will signal whether he is planning to reconcile parts of say the Republican Party, the right wing mainstream party that was seen off in the first round of votings. That is one of the big question marks and would give a big, strong indication really of what's to follow.

We could find out today, he could also leave it until tomorrow, Cyril. By Wednesday, though, which will be the first meeting of his cabinet, he will have had to name 15 ministers that he said he would put in place. He wants a smaller government than the one we've had in France before, which is 15 key ministers. He will have had to have named all of them by Wednesday.

So this is a man who really has his work cut out for him. It could be that the prime minister's nomination is put off until tomorrow. After all, Emmanuel Macron has an incredibly busy day. After being handed the keys to the Elysee Palace in just under an hour's time and the nuclear codes and having had that meeting with Francois Hollande and said goodbye to him, he then has a number of engagements.

He will make his way up the Champs-Elysees here to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He'll then make himself -- make his way to the town hall of Paris later today to meet the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo. It could be that he puts it off until tomorrow. But clearly this is one of the big questions that the country is holding it breath to find out the answer to.

He's kept absolutely quiet all week. There's so much speculation in the French press about who he might choose and we should find out at the latest by tomorrow evening -- Cyril.

VANIER: All right, Melissa Bell with one of the best vantage points in Paris, breaking it down for us. Thank you very much.

Of course, we'll hear a lot more from her throughout the morning Paris time. Thank you very much.

Let us turn now to Derek Van Dam from the CNN International Weather Center with a rare and spectacular tornadic event from Southwestern China.

(CROSSTALK)

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We have the footage to show you as well. Check this out. This is something that hasn't been documented in the Hunan (ph) province, specifically in this part of the Hunan (ph) province, that's southwestern China, in well over 30 years.

In fact --

[03:25:00]

VAN DAM: -- cell phone footage wasn't even available the last time a tornado was documented in this part of the world. You can see many cell phone angles of this tornado that occurred. It's extremely rare to come out of this region.

We think in the United States, in the central U.S., May is the peak month for tornadic development. But we have to remember that other countries across the world, Germany to France to China, even all of the continent of South America experiences tornadoes.

(WEATHER REPORT)

VANIER: Now this week, "Saturday Night Live" had White House press secretary Sean Spicer getting a little personal with President Donald Trump and the show, of course, skewered Spicer over how much truth he is telling during his infamous press briefings. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELISSA MCCARTHY, COMEDIAN, "SEAN SPICER": Have you ever told me to say things that aren't true?

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR, "DONALD TRUMP": Only since you started working here.

(LAUGHTER)

"SPICER" I don't think I can do this anymore, Mr. Trump. They're saying that you're going to replace me with Sarah.

"TRUMP": Sean, come on, I would never do that. She doesn't have your special spice, salt and pepper, a little bit of sugar.

"SPICER": No, Mr. President, stop.

"TRUMP" You like when I do that, Sean?

"SPICER": No, it just tickles a little.

"TRUMP": Yes.

"SPICER": No, I'm married.

"TRUMP": Sean, kiss me.

"SPICER": I can't. I have a wife. I took vows.

"TRUMP": No, I'm famous, it's OK.

"SPICER" What do you mean?

This is like "The Godfather," when you kiss me and no one ever sees me again?

"TRUMP": Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: Was that funny?

You decide.

Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. I'm back with the headlines in just a moment.