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Albright condemns the trump effect on U.S. diplomacy. Aired 2- 2:30p
Aired November 9, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, Trump on a charm offensive in China urging Beijing to do more to reign in Yang. The South Korean vice
foreign minister tells me compromise is possible but the balls in Kim Jong Uu's court.
LIM SUNG-NAM, FOREIGN MINISTER SOUTH KOREA: Kim Jong should make up his mind to come to a negotiation table. Only when they come to a negotiation
table, we might be able to offer them some character you were just describing.
AMANPOUR: Also ahead, Trump blames his predecessor, not his host for the widening China trade deficit. I talked to David Axelrod, President Obama's
Senior Advisor and Chief Strategist.
DAVID AXELROD, FORMER PRESIDENT SENIOR ADVISOR: Ironically, he campaigned on getting tough on China. He been the best gift China could receive, I
think around most of Asia, there is a since of American withdraw.
AMANPOUR: Good evening everyone and welcome to the program, I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Day two in China and President Trump trade tough talk
for flattery. The U.S. President called his host, President Xi Jinping, a very special man and he even praised China's trade policy which he
DONALD TRUMP, PRESDIENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't blame China. After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another
country for the benefit of its citizens. I give China great credit.
AMANPOUR: This of course is a far cry from candidate Trump, who aggressively went off to China on this very issue.
TRUMP: We can't continue to allow China to rape our country and that's what they're doing. It's the greatest theft in the history of the world.
ANMANPOUR: It hard to say how much his diplomatic outreach now. Trump has warned North Korea not to try us and he needs XI to put more pressure on
Yang. With it's trade mark hyperbole, North Korea state newspaper called the President's words warmongering, filthy rhetoric spewing out of his
snout like garbage.
With surely the most to lose in the event of military conflict, South Korea. Trump was there earlier this week and today I asked Vice Foreign
Minister Lim Sung-nam whether Washington and D.C. now saw eye to eye on how to deal with the nuclear threat.
AMANPOUR: Minister, welcome to our program.
SUNG-NAM: Thank you for having me on.
AMANPOUR: Well you are an incredibly important country at an incredibly important place right now. So how would you assess the state of affairs
between you an the United States and between you and North Korea right now? Was it intentional that the rhetoric from President Trump was more muted,
more subtle than it had been before his visit to South Korea?
SUNG-NAM: Well I think the relationship between Korea and the United States couldn't' be better. In particular the very successful state visit
by President Trump had provided us with an opportunity to show the strong solidarity between our two allies and at the same time, we could really
reconfirm that Washington and Seoul are exactly the same page in our approach toward the North Korean nuclear issue.
And at the same time, we believe that the speech made by President Trump at our national assembly sent a very balanced and nice message to North Korea.
AMANPOUR: SO let me just take the first bit of what you just said that relations couldn't be better and we're on the same page. So does that mean
President Trump has withdrawn the accusation or the characterization of President Um as an appeaser when it came to North Korea? Does that mean
that you feel that President Trump may no longer want to pull the special trade deal that U.S. and South Korea have together? Have you gone any
further in that regard?
SUNG-NAM: I'm not aware of the kind of harsh criticism of President Trump against my president. Having said that, both presidents during the visit
have agreed to work for the better FTA in an experienced manor and so far the FTA between Korea and the U.S. has served our two countries in a
mutually beneficial way - mutually beneficial manor.
We believe, through the negotiations while could take place in the near future, we might be able to walk together to make up the better deal
between Seoul and Washington.
AMANPOUR: So as we look at the FTA's you said the free trade agreement. Let's again focus on the real issue at the heart of national security
concern, and that is North Korea. You have heard what presidential, the leader Kim Jong-un has said he said that you know President Trump's
language was wreaked of gun power powder and that it's you know emerged from the snout. I mean it was pretty ugly language as they are known to
SUNG-NAM: Well, what would you expect from the North Korean President? In response to the speech made by President Trump at our national assembly.
It is something that we can expect, but having said that, I would like to emphasize that Kim Jong has relatively quiet in term of provocations since
it's last missile launch on September 15th.
AMANPOUR: Do you expect, because your intelligence agencies reported last week that there may be a missile test or indeed an above ground nuclear
SUNG-NAM: Well that kind of possibility could not always be removed 100 percent from our expectations, but having said that, if we could have
create an environment where Jong-un would not bear any kind of further provocations I think that would be the desirable situation we are all
AMANPOUR: So President Trump has said, look it has got to work out, we must make it work out. President (ph) said was would be unthinkable. What are
the concrete steps that you may have come to regarding the next way forward with North Korea?
SUNG-NAM: Right now, I believe we are all focused on (pressure) and sanctions but both Korea and the US together with the China on the same
page in terms of applying the strategy of pressure in engagement towards North Korea. Although we will continue to exert pressure upon the regime
in Jong-un, so the full implementation of the UN (ph) Council Sanctions at one point we hope that Jong-un will be able to change it's mind and the
strategy calculation regarding the value of nuclear weapons and recent problems so that they can come to a negotiation table for a very serious
(ph) on the (ph).
AMANPOUR: President Trump said come to the table make a deal, but a deal is a two way street so you're talking about the pressure of the sanctions
from your end, but where is the carrot for North Korea? What are the allies prepared to do to make a negotiation and compromise?
SUNG-NAM: Well, first of all, Jung-un should make up its mind to come to a negotiation table. Only when they come to a negotiation table, we might be
able to offer them some carrots that you were describing. But we might be able to make all the efforts to bring the horse to away spring but we can't
make the horse drink the water, likewise Jung-un on his on and under certain pressures from the outside world, should be able to think twice at
the cost of having nuclear weapons programs and at the cost of being pressured upon the sanctions of the regimes.
AMANPOUR: Is it possible that as part of the negotiations the United States, South Korea, the allies will (ph) Jung-un that they are not
interested in regime change? And is it possible that they could be freeze for freeze, another words is Jung-un agrees to naturalize the nuclear
threat then there might be less need for that amount of US military presence and exercises on the Korean peninsular?
SUNG-NAM: Well first of all, Sole and Washington could be more clear regarding our intentions it is a no regime collapse or no regime change in
North Korea. Secretary Tillerson has made it clear on many occasions, and Sole is exactly on the same page in that regard. Therefore, we believe
that in a sense we have been already sending message to Jung-un reassuring them of our intentions. With regard to the freeze for freeze you just
talked about, I think the freeze of the nuclear programs in North Korea could be at the entrance but it is not the final goal of our negotiations
when and if there are negotiations.
AMANPOUR: In that note, Vice Minister LIM, thank you so much indeed for joining us from Sole.
LIM SUNG-NAM: Thank you so much for having me on. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now one person who's not won over by Trump's Asia tour is the former Secretary of State is Madeleine Albright. She told CNN today that
diplomacy on the Trump threatens American's vital interest.
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MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: I think it's dangerous because he is now on a truly important trip that presents huge opportunities that under normal
circumstances needs the support of a diplomat. One to prepare the trip, and two then to back it up, and we don't have a - an ambassador in South
Korea. I teach at Georgetown and that's where a lot of people - young people who want to go into the Foreign Service and serve our country are
now wondering is it worth it, why should we do it, and we are cutting off our pipelines. So it isn't just today, it is what the future holds for
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: When we come back the man behind the one, President Obama's Svengali and Political Strategist David Axelrod on
whether Trump is more than just anything but Obama.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. As President Trump grapples with the North Korean crisis, it's worth remembering that Barack Obama warned
the incoming President Korean nukes would be his biggest challenge. Just as the Bush Whitehouse warned President Obama that Iran's nuclear program
would be his biggest foreign policy challenge. So how do Obama's closest confidants feel seeing President Trump try to dismantle the Iran agreement
and trade insults with Kim Jong-Un.
David Axelrod was as close as it gets to President Obama as his Senior Advisor and Chief Campaign Strategist. I got his take on all of this when
he joined me here in the studio. David Axelrod welcome to the program.
DAVID AXELROD, FORMER PRESIDENT SENIOR ADVISOR: Great to be here.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you about Trump's first major visit to Asia on the first anniversary of his election. What message and vibe about America is
he taking around the rest of the world, especially compared to what Obama did.
AXELROD: Well they have fundamentally different views it's just speaking about Asia. His decision to withdraw from the TPP was a gift to China.
Ironically he campaigned on getting tough on China. He's been the best gift China could receive. So I think around most of Asia there is a sense
of American withdraw that has opened up an opportunity for the Chinese. Obviously everyone's watching with interest in how he deals with North
AMANPOUR: What I was going to ask you because what we understand although I'm not sure that it's ever been actually confirmed publically was that
President Obama warned President Trump that actually this would be his biggest challenge. President Obama was warned that Iran would a biggest
AMANPOUR: Is that true?
AXELROD: Well I think it is true, and I think it was right. The fact is that North Korea has awarded President after President of both parties and
their nuclear program has proceeded at pace. And they're really despite the menacing of the President. There aren't a lot of great options because
any military action invites retaliatory strikes on South Korea on Japan that could jeopardize millions of people.
AMANPOUR: I mean and so this here massively important trip for that reason and everybody presumably wishes the President well because it's an
extensile threat to the globe. But I guess part of it is also complicated by the President's disregard for the Iran nuclear accord and the potential
risk is putting that out.
AXELROD: Exactly, well if you want to bring people to the negotiating table then you have to live by the agreements that you make. The signals
that he's sending relative to Iran are being monitored by the North Koreans, and they have to ask themselves the question, "if we sign an
agreement, what exactly will it mean?"
So yes, I mean I don't know that the president sees all of these things as part of a larger puzzle. Some of his aids may, but he doesn't seem to.
And his menacing of Kim Jong-un plays well particularly with his base back home. How it's interpreted by the North Koreans I think is a different
question, and that's the great risk - the risk of miscalculation.
AMANPOUR: So let's talk about his base because this week was the first anniversary of the election, and there was an election - and important one
- in the United States. Clearly you must be thrilled, vindicated about the election results in the United States.
AXELROD: Yes. Well I look at it more clinically now because in my role at CNN and the University of Chicago I try and look at things a little more
clinically, but from a democratic standpoint there's no doubt that this was a very, very strong election, and it seems to be a message election. It
doesn't seem that this was isolated to Virginia, for example, where democrats won a huge victory.
But in all the races around the country - and there was some isolated races all over the country - democrats won largely on the strength of an
energized democratic base and particularly in suburban areas where a lot of the key elections are going to take place in 2018. So if you're a
republican, you have to be deeply concerned of the signals this election sent.
AMANPOUR: What about people who are saying, "well what does the democratic party stand for? What is the democratic party's message today?" Only 37
percent in July said the party stands for something whereas 52 percent said it just stands against Trump. Is that a real weakness and a threat for
AXELROD: Well it's very hard for legislative parties to develop a message - a unified message because we're a big, diverse country. People run on
their own messages. I think there is a overarching sense of resistance to Trump that unifies democrats. There's debates within the democratic party.
There's a more populist wing in the democratic party. There's a more of an establishment wing. But the gulf between those two wings is less dramatic
than what you find in the republican party today, but there's no doubt that the democratic party is not going to really be defined until there's a
presidential candidate to define. That's the way it's always been, and that's the way it'll be in these next few years.
AMANDPOUR: OK, let's get back to Trump and Obama. This is what President Trump said shortly after he was inaugurated about the Obama administration.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I inherited a mess. It's a mess at home and abroad. A mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country -
you see what's going on with all of the companies leaving our country, going to Mexico and other places, low pay-low (ph) wages, mass instability
overseas no matter where you look, the Middle East a disaster, North Korea - we'll take care of it, folks. We're going to take of it all. I just
want to let you know I inherited a mess.
AMANPOUR: So he inherited a mess.
AXELROD: That's what he says.
AMANPOUR: It looks like he wants to do -
AXELROD: I tell you - I tell you -
AMANPOUR: -- anything but Obama.
AMANPOUR: But his people say no. That's not what motivates President Trump. It's not just about undoing president Obama's legacy. How do you
AXELROD: Well first of all let me just say we would have gladly traded the mess that Donald Trump inherited for the mess that Barak Obama inherited
when he became president in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression with two wars raging 180,000 troops engaged in active
combat situations overseas. So things were - objectively things were much better when Trump took office, but I don't think he really had - I don't
think he expected to be elected president.
I don't think he brought a governing philosophy. I think he basically is influenced by how he is playing in any given moment, and if something looks
like it can appeal particularly to his political base he pursues that. Yes, I think he is motivated by his desire to sully Obama's reputation. I
think he resents that Obama left as a very popular president and he entered as an unpopular president - more unpopular today. So anything that Obama
was involved in he seems to want to undo.
AMANPOUR: But these are really important issues like Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act --
AMANPOUR: -- like the Paris Climate Accord, and we just talked about the Iran Nuclear Deal - really significant globally important and domestically
AXELROD: And this is the concern because he views them as political theater and political opportunities, there are real substantive policy
implications on all of these things, you know, I think his aides have slowed him on Iran, he took sort of a half way measure there, now it's in
congress's lap but he hasn't withdrawn from the agreement yet. That would have enormous implications. The Affordable Care Act he tried to undo but,
and he's trying to strangle it through administrative procedures but it's quite popular now with the public.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: And talking about Obama, I just want to play this little snippet of what he said during a campaign event for Ralph Northam in
BARACK OBAMA: You notice I've been commenting a lot on politics lately, but here's one thing I know; if you have to win a campaign by dividing
people, you're not going to be able to govern them. We need you to take this seriously, because our democracy is at stake.
AMANPOUR: So, democracy is at stake says the president, former president.
AXLEROD: Well look, I think there are challenges to our democracy all over the world right now, particularly in developed nations where technology
globalization have created winners and losers and social media is pervasive. And organizes people by tribe, these are challenges for
democracy and there's no doubt that Donald Trump got elected president by mining those divisions, mining those differences and still does. As
president, that is not helpful to democracy.
AMANPOUR: David Axelrod thanks so much for joining us.
AXLEROD: Always good to be with you.
AMANPOUR: And you can go online to see what David Axelrod says about Donna Brazile, the former DNC Chair person who has said that President Obama did
not do enough to build up the grass roots of the Democratic Party. Well the jury is out on whether President Trump will overturn all of Obama's
signature achievements, but court is definitely in session.
The former president and constitutional lawyer caused a flutter in Chicago when he turned up for jury duty this week trying to do his civic duty but
the would be juror was quickly dismissed. When we come back, Trump missed out on the legendary Beijing smog and perhaps the chance to witness climate
change first hand.
But smog is currently choking New Delhi. Imagine the big smoke closing down India's capital; that's next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight imagine choking on the air you're meant to breathe. Delhi has declared a pollution emergency as smog has amuck
blotting out the sun and emptying streets as people take cover. It is being blamed largely on crop burning and industry. Schools closed on
Wednesday after Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister saw people throwing up out the window of a school bus.
Now the city is being described as a gas chamber. With air pollution reaching 30 times the safe level, simply breathing has been compared to
smoking around 50 cigarettes a day. Some who brave the outdoors do so in gas masks. But many don't. Either way the smog is taking a toll.
TRANSLATOR: There's a burning sensation in my eyes. I feel suffocated I also get a headache. I feel like I should stop working, but what can I
do? I have to work.
TRANSLATOR: I brought my children here and they are also having breathing problems. We have come to see the Indian Presidential palace but it's
been half an hour and we have not been able to see anything.
AMANPOUR: Now the city is trying to peel back its noxious nightmare cutting down traffic and blocking construction work so that people can
once, again breathe easy. That is it for our program tonight. Just before we go, coming up tomorrow we'll have more from my revealing
interview with North Korea's former deputy ambassador to the U.K. who defected and spoke to me from Washington.
DEFECTED NORTH KOREAN DIPLOMAT: North Koran propaganda system always tell north Korean population that North Korea was totally destroyed through
ashes during Korean war by American bombing and North Korean people, are taught every day America is going to attack North Korea at any moment.
That's why North Korean population should be ready at any moment for possible war like that. So I think that we should disseminate inflation
that America is not their enemy. America can hurt North Korea and it is a wrong propaganda by the authority.
AMANPOUR: That new insight tomorrow. And we'll also have an exclusive TV interview with Masuta Basanie. He's stepping down as President of Iraq
Kurdistan. For now remember you can listen to our podcast, see us on-line at Amanpour on-line, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for
watching and good bye from London.