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Donald Trump Warns North Korea; Monster Storm Barreling Through The Caribbean; Myanmar's Leader Finally Broke Her Silence. Aired 11:15-Noon

Aired September 19, 2017 - 11:14   ET

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


[00:00:16] ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Robyn Curnow at the United Nations in New York,

where U.S. President Donald Trump has just wrapped up his speech to the assembly telling the gathered leaders and the world, I will always put

America first.

Now, we have full coverage, a full lineup to break down this very key speech from the American president. We'll get there in just a moment, but

there's another major story we're following this hour, a new category five hurricane which is causing havoc in the Caribbean, Maria is barreling

towards Puerto Rico as we speak. We'll take you there live this hour, so stay with us.

So, Donald Trump says we're living in a time of immense promise, but also great peril, warning the world that if the righteous many do not confront

the wicked few, then evil will triumph.

Well, the U.S. president delivered that message just a short time ago in his day of his speech before the U.N. General Assembly and all of these

world leaders, and in front of them, he laid out his vision for his so- called new world or (ph) emphasizing security in respect for the sovereignty of all nations.

Mr. Trump says "rogue regimes are a dangerous threat", singling out North Korea, with some pretty extraordinary words. Take a listen.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself for its allies,

we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is

ready, willing and able. But hopefully, this will not be necessary.

CURNOW: OK, Michelle Kosinski is with me here right outside the United Nations, all these flags are flying, diplomats, world leaders have just

heard that language --

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: It's all out there.

CURNOW: It's all out there, and Donald Trump called the leader of another country a rogue state that doesn't matter, Rocket Man, in front of all of

those leaders. It's just a language that is slightly got -- or inspiring in many ways.

KOSINSKI: Are you surprised though?

CURNOW: No, no, we're not.

KOSINSKI: You'd say, yes.

CURNOW: That's towards a diplomacy clearing out in the halls of diplomacy's high castle.

KOSINSKI: And I -- but I think this is the way that he and his administration also want to operate when they are hit by something they've

said prior, they don't want to back away from it, necessarily. They want to reinforce that. And we saw that with some of the language he used after

the Charlottesville attack and unrest there.

Remember when he was, you know, accused of equating white supremacists with protesters, he sort of walked back a little. But then he reinforced that

language and I think this is what he was doing here too even with diplomacy if he takes a little criticism for something he wants to, in this way

today, say, I stand by what I said and I'm going to say it louder this time and even more appointed way.

CURNOW: Yes, I mean, it's interesting. So let's also then talk about another word that struck at. I mean, I lost count. Someone's going to

count how many times he used the world sovereignty. Rather than self-peace as many conservatives here in the U.S., but there's also a contradiction

inherent in that argument about U.S. sovereignty, isn't it?

KOSINSKI: I think there always is, because I think the U.S. feels at times that it needs to get involved and this administration wants to frame those

potential times as is it in the best interest of the United States.

So, this was kind of the inherent confusion going in from world leaders. I mean, the administration wants to say, oh, no, we've had this foreign

policy all along, principled realism. It's just piecing that out into the real world, that's the difficult thing. How do you give a highly

nationalistic speech, which is so unusual coming from the United States to the global body? How do you do that? And this is what we saw today. We

saw him using the word sovereignty over and over again saying, you know, at the end, let's have a real wakening of nations, or reawakening of cultures.

Are we patriots?

So, it's sort of everybody for themselves but the U.N. still needs to work together. And by the way, thank you, U.N., for helping so much. So, you

have it both ways and you can only really try to put it together into those big like massive speech that we saw right here today.

CURNOW: OK. We'll talk more about this in the coming hours. Michelle Kosinski, thanks so much.

KOSINSKI: Thank you.

CURNOW: Right. So the fiery rhetoric wasn't just for North Korea. President Trump also had a lot to say on Iran criticizing it for what he

called it's "destabilizing behavior". Well, have a listen to what he said about the future of the country's nuclear deal. This is important, listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[00:05:07] TRUMP: The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions, the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal

is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it, believe me. It is time for the entire world to join us in

demanding that Iran's government and its pursuit of death and destruction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: So meanwhile, Iraq is warning the U.S. not to pull out of a joint nuclear deal. On the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, CNN's

Christiane Amanpour sat down with the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for an exclusive interview. And he warned that a withdrawal would cause the

U.S. greatly and could damage attempts to also reign in North Korea. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): North Korea was on track of toxin dialogue and those roads were blocked and both sides chose

non-dialogue actions. And I think what the Iranian experience shows is a good experience that can be replicated elsewhere and executed elsewhere.

But keep in mind please that if the United States wishes to withdraw from the joint JCP0A, why would the North Koreans waste their time in order to

sit around the table of dialogue with the United States? Because they will think that perhaps after years of talks and a potential agreement, the next

year's administration could step over or pull out of the agreement achieved.

So, the Trump administration, such action -- such potential action by the Trump administration will block such potential roads to success in

resolution of regional problems around the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: So there's a lot to cover there, and no one dares to break it down for us than our very own Christiane Amanpour.

Christiane, great to speak to you again. And I know we've spoken about that interview, fascinating interview with Hassan Rouhani. But now within

the context of what President Trump has just said, what do you think is going to happen next?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, that is the all-important question. And I'm actually sitting here

not too far away from you at the French mission to the U.N. Why? Because I've just had an exclusive interview with the French President Emmanuel

Macron, who really is almost the leader of Europe these days and the leader of the Western Alliance, in that he represents something new and a new

globalized, you know, defender of globalization and multilateralism and trying to really combat these great problems like nuclear proliferation, et

cetera, in a multilateral forum.

So you can imagine, I asked him precisely to react to what President Trump had said just there in the building behind you. And he said on no account

should the United States pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, because while it is not, in his words, the alpha and the omega of all deals, in other

word, it's not perhaps the best of all deals, it is not perfect but it is good. And it reigns in Iran's nuclear program.

And unlike what President Trump said that this is the worst and most one- sided deal against the United States, in fact, it's quite the reverse. The international community has managed to get Iran to start its pace of

enrichment of uranium and to undergo a complete bracketing of its nuclear program. This in response for some sanctions and some access to the

international market.

And so, really the world gets a huge dollop of security, nuclear security, out of this deal at a time when we can see what's happening with the North

Korean situation.

So President Macron said on no account should the president of the United States pull out of this deal multilateralism, the deal that we all signed

together, it is not a U.S deal. It's a deal that was signed with the Europeans, with the U.N., with the U.N. Security Council, with all the

major countries that need to do this and it has been vouched for by the IAEA, the U.N. nuclear monitoring agency.

So, that was very clear. He also said in response to what President Trump has said many times, and he said it again at the U.N. today, this idea of

sovereignty, patriotism, nationalism. I said to President Macron, listen, you were the anti-nationalist candidate. You were the anti-populist

candidate and you won. Why did you bag (ph) that trend? And he said, because I believe nationalism leads to war, and he was very, very strong

about that in our interview. And he's very concerned about provocative statements and an idea that there's a military solution to North Korea or

anything else being presented by the president of the United States.

So again, he said, he will talk to President Trump. He said he has a good relationship with President Trump, they discuss all these issues. And that

he has many areas of agreement including these areas of disagreement.

[00:10:05] And then furthermore, he talked about disagreeing on President Trump pulling out of the climate accord. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: I think the very first disagreement is very well known, is about climate. And as President Trump decided to

leave Paris agreement, I mean, that's his choice and I do respect his choice. And he was elected on the basis of such a decision.

But I do regret the decision. And I do want to convince him to come back to this agreement because, for me, that's core agreements for climate. And

I do believe that, especially after these hurricanes we just had, both in the U.S. and in France, we do see the direct consequences of CO2 emissions

and all this climate change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: So as you can see, President Macron very politely but firmly saying that he is hoping to convince President Trump, again, to reconsider

on these major issues. And again, you know, is hoping that the president will decide to engage in real multilateralism. Because in all the major

crises that the world faces right now, whether it's nuclear, whether it's cyber, whether it's climate, whether it's migration and immigration,

whatever it is, and terrorism, of course, none of that can be sold by individual nation states, none of it.

The world is absolutely incapable of dealing with that alone. So there must be, you know, certainly the United States staying in a multilateral

framework which the U.N represents, of course.

CURNOW: But what's very clear, Christiane, is that that's -- is not in many ways the world view of this current U.S. president. He's just

outlined a very dark nationalistic world view. That is certainly going to draw (ph) with the likes of Mr. Macron.

What can Mr. Macron and others do to convince him?

AMANPOUR: Well, keep trying to convince, keep trying to put the facts out there and explaining why, you know, one route may be more productive than

another. But I think also, world leaders have got a measure of President Trump in the years since he's been elected almost a year now and in the

nine months since he's actually been president after his inauguration.

And they have seen, you know, certain different forms of speeches, they have seen, you know, the Twitter diplomacy, they've seen what his ministers

and cabinet secretaries have said. So they tend to take it all as a whole. And I think that you will probably see everybody trying to pass through the

speech and putting their own spin on the speech and trying to see the best out of this speech. And they do, you know hope that President Trump leads

enough ambiguity. For instance, let's see what happens with the Iran nuclear, the alleged -- this -- let's -- you know, this sometimes a wiggle

room in what he says that potentially might cause, you know, less of a dramatic break with some of these deals that are underaway right now.

But of course, don't underestimate, President Trump has met with Prime Minister Netanyahu on the Iran deal. As you know, the Israeli Prime

Minister is flatly against the deal, wants it to be scrapped, so do many of the Middle East like Saudi Arabia and others. But, again, to reiterate on

the nuclear issue, this deal buys the world time, and safety, and security from a country that they had worried was going to race towards a nuclear

weapons program.

CURNOW: Christiane Amanpour there, thanks so much. And absolutely, do tune in to Christiane's full interview with Emmanuel Macron on her show,

"AMANPOUR", less than just a few hours time at 7:00 p.m. if you're in London, 10:00 at night for those of you in Abu Dhabi.

So, now, let's go to our Kristie Lu Stout, who is on Seoul for us. CNN has this story covered like nobody else so far, of course, from North Korea

itself. And that took up a lot of the American president's speech.

Kristie, listening to that speech from where you were, what will the North Korean's have made up to?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, as expected, Donald Trump used extremely harsh language to characterize North Korea and the

threat it poses to the United States and the rest of the world. But, this speech was unique. This was teleprompter Trump and Twitter Trump fused

together.

We heard him used that language Rocket Man to dismiss Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, him saying in this speech that Rocket Man is on a

suicide mission. Also in the speech, we heard the U.S. president say that the U.S. would totally destroy North Korea if forced to defend itself or

its allies. Extremely strong rhetoric there.

Now, there are a number of key takeaways here from the significant speech in regards to North Korea. Donald Trump also called North Korea depraved

citing examples, the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the treatment of the American student, Otto Warmbier, as well as the abduction of a 13-year-old

Japanese student.

[00:15:11] In addition to that, he demanded the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, that should be the goal here. But what he did not state

was how he plans to get that.

Now, in terms of reaction from South Korea, it is still very late in the evening, it's just past midnight local time, officials here would be happy

to hear the stated goal denuclearization, they agreed. They would have liked to have heard more clarity about how to reach that goal and how to

get out of the current cycle of escalating threats with North Korea. But tomorrow morning, here in South Korea, the headline is going to be that

U.S. vows to totally destroy North Korea if provoked. And that is the type of headline that officials here don't want because that will likely provoke

Pyongyang.

Back to you.

CURNOW: Kristie Lu Stout, thank you so much for that perspective there from Seoul.

I'm Robyn Curnow live in New York, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. There is lot, lot more ahead in our special coverage here from the U.N. General

Assembly and U.S. President Donald Trump's speech. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CURNOW: World leaders are gathered here at the United Nations in New York. CNN is here. I'm Robyn Curnow.

The top stories this hour. Donald Trump says rogue regimes threatened the world, warning that evil will triumph unless righteous nations confront the

wicked few. The U.S. president calls North Korea as the ultimate threat during his speech to the U.N. General Assembly. Just in the last hour, he

won't view as "totally destroy" Pyongyang if it forced -- if forced to defend itself or it's allies saying, "Rocket Man is on a suicide mission."

So, a potential bombshell also in an investigation of Russian contacts with associates of U.S. President Donald Trump. CNN has learned that the FBI

wiretapped Paul Manafort before and after he served as chairman of Mr. Trump's presidential campaign. There's been no comment from Manafort or

from the White House.

And a monster storm is barreling through the Caribbean. Puerto Rico has declared state of emergency as it braces for Maria, now a category five

hurricane. It's packing winds of more than 250 kilometers an hour. The last time the island faced a direct hit from such a storm was 89 years ago.

[00:20:03] A string of other islands is also bracing for the rough of hurricane Maria. Many of them are still trying to recover from Irma just

two weeks ago.

So, Nick Valencia is standing by for us in Puerto Rico's capital, San Juan. And just give us some sense of what it's like there. Hi, Nick.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Robyn. Frantic last minute preparations are underway here in the island territory. And even though

we're, you know, well away from when this direct hit is expected to happen on Wednesday afternoon, Eastern Time, you could already feel those

sustained wind gas. And you could see just how different the conditions are if you've been following our reports from this morning. It's -- those

waves had started to swell a little bit more. Those dark clouds have started to appear. And earlier this morning, we saw some clear blue skies

and that is not the case right now.

But I mentioned those preparations, and a lot of that has to do with the dire warnings being given by the governor here. It was a short time ago,

he appealed or told the residents here in this island to get out, if you can get out right now. Now is the time to evacuate.

You see this hotel where we're staying at is already shuttered up, its windows yesterday. We saw some of these local businesses, frantically,

putting up plywood, making sure that they were ready for what's to come.

But the problem here is infrastructure. You mentioned it's been more than 85 years since the last time a storm of this magnitude threatened the

island territory. And infrastructure -- some of these places are only meant to withstand a category three type storm. There's a lot more people

that live in this territory now as well, meaning that there could be a lot more injuries if the storm -- if it is built to be what it is. Very many

people here, I should say, Robyn, are anxious about the possibility of this storm's magnitude.

And you have to remember the emotion that the -- that people here are going through. They just got over Hurricane Irma. Some places still have damage

to their roof. Some people are still doing cleanup to the debris that's in front of their homes. Only now for them to be threatened by a storm of

this magnitude. Robyn.

CURNOW: So then, let's just talk about after the storm, I mean, how prepared is America, is the U.S. to deal with cleanup, to deal with,

perhaps, rescue operations, particularly because the U.S. has been so stretched by Harvey and Irma on the mainland. And now this, how much help

can they expect?

VALENCIA: That's a great question. That is a great question. And we know that, you know, Puerto Rico's economy hasn't been the strongest in recent

months or years on top of all that they're facing.

We know that President Donald Trump has ordered an emergency declaration to help free up some federal funds. The governor of Puerto Rico, Governor

Rossello, has also declared a state of emergency, or to try to get more funding in preparation for the expectation for this to be, you know, the

mother of all storms for this to be just as bad as forecasts predict it to be.

You know, right now, you have storms this -- that wind sustaining a 250 kilometers per hour, 160 miles per hour, that's very scary for an island

that's already been devastated by Hurricane Irma, only to face potential of a storm that's even worse. Robyn.

CURNOW: Nick Valencia there, keep safe. Thanks so much for that. We'll come back to you if there are anymore new development, appreciate it.

Now, for information of what you can do to help all of those affected by the storms, go to cnn.com/impact, while you're watching CNN. And Myanmar's

de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has finally broken her silence on the Rohingya refugee crisis. But for human rights groups, her response is just

a little too late.

Senior international correspondent Ivan Watson has the latest from Myanmar.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDEN (voice-over): For weeks, they've poured across the border by the hundreds of thousands,

Rohingya Muslim refugees fleeing deadly violence in Myanmar. On Tuesday, Myanmar's elected leader summoned foreign diplomats to the capital to

address the growing crisis.

AUNG SAN SUU KYI, MYANMAR LEADER: We condemn all human rights violations and unlawful violence. We are committed to the restoration of peace,

stability, and rule of law throughout the state.

WATSON: Since Rohingya militants attacked police and border guards on August 25, more than 400,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring, Bangladesh.

Many telling CNN they were chased by security forces and vigilantes who set fire to their villages. The United Nations calls it a textbook case of

ethnic cleansing. A charge Myanmar's Nobel Peace Prize-winning leader refused to address on Tuesday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was their ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State.

WATSON: Instead, Aung San Suu Kyi invited diplomats to visit the conflict zone and she called for an investigation.

KYI: We are concerned to hear that numbers of Muslims are fleeing across the border to Bangladesh. We want to find out why this exodus is

happening.

WATSON: And human rights group like Amnesty International accused her of "burying" her head in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine State.

[00:25:04] This was an opportunity for a pro-democracy icon to defend a minority that's been targeted by discriminatory policies for decades and

that's now being chased on mass from their homes, instead Aung San Suu Kyi stuck with a longstanding government policy and refused to even say the

word Rohingya.

Meanwhile, Myanmar's Defense Minster denies accusations of ethnic cleaning. He claims media from Muslim countries fabricated the story. He argues that

Rohingya terrorists are trying to ethnically cleanse the Buddhist majority from Rakhine state.

Compared to the generals who rule this country for decade, Aung San Suu Kyi young government actually has very little control over the leverage of

power in Myanmar, but she does enjoy widespread popular support. And her fans were out in the commercial capital cheering as she spoke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what she said was very wise, come closer and also find solutions together rather than pointing out which is whose fault.

She's walking tiger (ph) because of all this like a wrong or fake informations or fake press (ph) from the attention and communities.

WATSON: Due to the controversy, the former dissident who was celebrated at the United Nations one year ago is staying home this year as the

humanitarian catastrophe on the border continues to unfold. Ivan Watson, CNN, Naypyidaw.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Great to have Ivan Watson there in Myanmar. Thanks Ivan for that great report.

Now I want to take you back to our top story at this hour. The U.S. president address to the U.N. General Assembly here in New York. The

president's America's first auction was a central feminist speech. He said the U.S. would serve as a shining example to the world and wouldn't push

its values though on other nations as long as they respected the sovereignty of the U.S. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: The United States will forever be a great friend to the world and especially to its allies. But we can no

longer be taken advantage of or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return. As long as I hold this office, I

will defend America's interests above all else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: OK. There is so much to talk about, Chief U.S. Correspondent Jim Sciutto is joining me now.

What struck you about that? I mean there's a lot to talk about.

JIM SCIUTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. CORRESPONDENT: There is.

CURNOW: What increase the key point that you took away from this?

SCIUTTO: Well, I think -- will certainly the red line to the fact he drew with Iran and North Korea but that set that aside for a moment, it's an

enormous departure for an American president to come to the U.N. and say, you know, other this line which is very loaded term sovereignty,

sovereignty. We, you know, sovereign nations with their own values, with different values, in other words, you can do what you want to do inside

your borders, we won't imposed our system on yours. As you know when we were just speaking about --

CURNOW: I spend years in Africa, that's the example many pretty bad African leaders abused to stop the African Union from, you know,

intervening in terms of human rights violation in their own border.

SCIUTTO: China, Russia as well.

CURNOW: There's a (INAUDIBLE) this argument.

SCIUTTO: There's s sovereign issue do not interfere here.

CURNOW: Syria uses this argument.

SCIUTTO: Absolutely. And don't interfere, you know, when U.S. presidents, Republican and Democrat in the past have criticized human rights

violations, et cetera, that's been the response of Chinese leaders, Russian leaders, authoritarian leaders in Africa and for their field, for the

American president to back away in effective from bipartisan policy which is not just that the U.S. believes those systems to be right, you know,

with respect for human rights democracy but also that that is serve U.S. interest, right? I mean it's been the view of Republican and Democratic

presidents and Secretary of States and Diplomats, that aids peace, right, to have Democratic progress. So that's a remarkable retreat for the

American leader.

CURNOW: So, is he giving free reign to nations to do what they want or is this more about him trying to speak to his base and that would sovereignty

appeals to a conservative base here?

SCIUTTO: Well, all his --

CURNOW: That he is (INAUDIBLE) in many ways?

SCIUTTO: There are and certainly some of that speech was too evasive. After all, he started off by saying, he's in the stock market looking so

good, right?

CURNOW: Cut on my back, yes.

SCIUTTO: Cut in the back.

CURNOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: But it's a very public international message there. It is not entirely free reign because he said in effect, do what you want to do at

home, we're not going to oppose our system unless you threaten us, right, North Korea with its nuclear program or Iran with its nuclear program.

So that -- that his red line and he went very further, he said, listen, if North Korea threatens us, we will destroy North Korea. Those are

remarkable words to hear a leader --

(CROSSTALK)

SCIUTTO: -- utter on the stage, right? And with the Iran agreement, he called it an embarrassment to the U.S., a badly negotiated deal. It's

difficult to see how he stays in that agreement like the way he described it there.

[00:30:08] CURNOW: So he's talking about international cooperation, we must all work together but at the same talking America first, and at the

same time and pulling back from these international agreements, which may make secure a peaceful world at least for many other nations who are

listening to him.

What do leaders listening to him make of all of that? What if they go back now and have a conversation and a cup of tea, you know, in their embassy in

say, OK, let's go and see where this American president going?

SCIUTTO: Well, I think if there was any question that Trump brings a new kind of American leadership at that emphasis, that was lost on the stage

today because he -- you know, whatever you think of it, he had stayed consistent, going back to the campaign. He doesn't like deals that don't

favor the U.S. So he always describes them in terms of deals.

You know, we got the bad end of this deal with Iran or we got a bad end to some degree with NATO, because the other NATO partners aren't paying enough

same with the climate change here. It was not a good agreement for the U.S. He is doubling, tripling, quadrupling down on that line and putting

both adversaries and allies on notice to some degree.

CURNOW: And the question is how they manage this, and how they in their own in terms of understanding the national interests figure out how to work

with this president, because he's the American president.

SCIUTTO: He is, and you have to deal with him.

CURNOW: Yes. Jim Sciutto, always great to speak --

SCIUTTO: Thanks very much.

CURNOW: Thanks.

Live from the United Nations in New York, this is "CONNECT THE WORLD". Still ahead, the controversial military drills in Russia that have major

concerned, lots happening.

I'm Robyn Curnow here on the ground, stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CURNOW: You're watching CNN and this is "Connect the World" with me, Robyn Curnow, here at the United Nations. Welcome back.

So at the U.N. this hour, this is special coverage of the General Assembly and ready it's all about one man, isn't it? Russian President Vladimir

Putin, who isn't here. He joins North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and China's leader in opting out.

So, what's Mr. Putin up to? He's attending military drills on home turf that all the source of some dispute. Moscow claims fewer than 13,000

troops are participating but NATO says up to 100,000 soldiers to might be involved.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more on the controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Russia unleashing massive firepower right on NATO's border. Under the watchful eye of

President Vladimir Putin, tanks, rockets and aircraft show their capabilities and choreographed war games named Zapad, Russian for the West.

LT. GEN. ALEKSANDER DUPLINSKY, RUSSIAN ARMY: You will you able to see in action, different types of aircraft, tactical army, long-range and military

transport planes operating under the protection of the fighter jets. About 50 planes and more than 30 helicopters also participated.

[00:35:05] PLEITGEN: Russia is conducting the drills together with Belarus. The Russian say the exercise simulates an attack by a fictitious

country against Russia and Belarus and their response.

Russia and Belarus are putting on a massive display of firepower at these drills. They say there's at least 250 tanks involved, about 70 combat

aircraft, but they still say that these drills are defensive in nature.

But the U.S. and its NATO allies are concerned. Some officials saying they believe as many as a hundred thousand troops might be amassed here. The

Russian say, that's not true less, claimed that less 13,000 troops are taking part.

NATO also fears Russia might leave troops behind in the border area after the exercise is finished to gain a competitive advantage. Moscow rejects

those claims as well. NATO recently conducted its own air defense drills in Eastern Europe, with U.S. involvement.

This is the first exercise of this type and they are necessary because the air defense of the Eastern NATO flank is the weakest spot for defends. It

needs more investment, the president of Lithuania said.

The Russian military did allow observers from NATO countries to watch the drills calling that a display of transparency. And Russia made sure to

show the world that its military appears better equipped and prepared than in anytime since the Cold War.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN at the Lusty Range (ph) in Western Russia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Thanks, Fred, for that report.

So live from New York, I'm Robyn Curnow. You're watching "CONNECT THE WORLD" with me. Lots more, lots more ahead in our special coverage of the

U.N. General Assembly. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CURNOW: Live from New York, this is "CONNECT THE WORLD" with me, Robyn Curnow. Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the U.N. General

Assembly. So for more on all the latest from this gathering, there are hinge of crisis and all other world issues that matter to you, just go to

our Facebook page @facebook.com/cnnconnect, lots more there.

Now, before we go from rocket man, to your fired, to drain the swamp, Donald Trump is famous for his catchphrases. And there's another one

people are starting to notice. Jeanne Moos has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When in doubt --

TRUMP: We'll see what happens, and we'll see what happens.

So we'll see what happens --

MOOS: It is the president's favorite answer. And on Monday, he deployed it at the U.N.

TRUMP: As far as North Korea is concerned, I think most of you know how I feel. And we'll see what happens.

MOOS: From Korea to Russia.

TRUMP: But we're going to see what happens.

MOOS: From hurricanes --

TRUMP: We'll see what happens.

MOOS: -- to health care.

TRUMP: We'll see what happens. No particular rush.

MOOS: It's perfect to fill time when the president is in no particular rush to answer, or maybe he wants to build suspense.

TRUMP: Yes, maybe something could happen with respect to the Paris accord. We'll see what happens.

MOOS: As one critic tweeted, "It's like he thinks every question is a chance for a teaser heading into a commercial break." The phrase is so

beloved by the president that he used it three times in a mere five second answer, again on the subject of North Korea.

[00:40:07] TRUMP: We'll see what happens. We'll see what happens.

MOOS: Now in few cases, we've actually seen what happened.

TRUMP: We'll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.

MOOS: Three days later, Mr. Bannon went bye-bye as for then FBI Director James Comey.

TRUMP: I have confidence and we'll see what happens.

MOOS: Comey was fired less than a month later. So when the president mentioned seeing what happens --

TRUMP: I'm very disappointed with the Attorney General, but we will see what happens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- beware your job could be eclipsed.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Here at CNN, we know exactly what happens. Next, the news continues. I'm Robyn Curnow on our special coverage of the U.N. General

Assembly, is next.

We're also waiting to hear from France's president as he takes to the podium for his first address. You can catch that live here on CNN. Until

then, stay with us.

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