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U.S. President Delivers Speech At APEC Summit. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired November 10, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM. And ahead this hour, Donald Trump has just touched down in Vietnam. The latest stop on his Asian tour and all the speculation is over whether he will bump into Vladimir Putin while he's there.
Plus, a flamboyant conservative politician has been accused of once having sexual contact with a teenage girl. Why this case could impact the balance of power in the U.S. Senate?
And the latest bombshell in the sex scandal rocking Hollywood. Comedian, Louis C.K., the latest entertainer accused of bad behavior. Hello, and thank you for joining us, we're live in Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen, and CNN NEWSROOM begins right now.
The White House says, no formal talks are planned between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at the summit of Asia-Pacific Leaders' Summit in Vietnam. We just learned that fact in the past 30 minutes. Both leaders arrived in Vietnam a short while ago. The White House, though, has left open the possibility Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin could bump into each other at the meeting.
The statement contradicts a top Russian aide who told state-run media that the leaders were scheduled to meet on Friday. Our Nic Robertson is covering the trip from Da Nang, Vietnam. He joins us live on what looks to be a beautiful day there in Vietnam, Nic. First of all, what do you make of the fact the White House not saying -- saying right now, no formal meeting is planned.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, sure, I think there could be a number of reasons behind this, and you also have the Russia dialing back on this yesterday. One official saying that it was going to happen and then, later on, the other day, Dmitry Peskov, President Putin's Spokesman, saying well, we're still working towards it but it's not there yet.
There are some issues of deference here over Syria. The differences between Washington's position, Moscow's position seems to seem larger, and particularly over, you know, the future of President Assad of Syria. As the war on ISIS there ramps down, obviously, the stakes of getting the future state of Syria, clear in terms of a peace agreement; they become higher.
So, perhaps they're sticking there. Is there sticking over the issue of isolating and firming sanctions on North Korea, which is another important issue between President Putin and President Trump? It's not clear, perhaps, they're not seeing eye to eye there. We certainly know President Trump wants a diplomatic isolation of North Korea and we know that recently, the Russians hosted a senior North Korean official in Moscow. That could be one part it as well.
Trade will be a big part of what President Trump is here to speak about as well. So, obviously, the issue of Russian meddling in the U.S. elections is a thorny issue. When you two -- President Putin and President Trump -- met last time at the G20 in Hamburg in the summer, the way that the optics of that played out, and the way that the White House eventually sort of gave a fuller and fuller narrative on what played out seemed to back fire on them in that meeting.
So, potentially, this time, playing it a little more cautious whether or not they get into that meeting. And what we have from Secretary Tillerson yesterday was: if there wasn't something substantive that they could talk about, then that seems to be off the table.
ALLEN: Right. It seems like -- probably, concerned somewhat with the optics considering what's going on here with more developments in the case there. So, he will be speaking in Vietnam, and he did have some success in China. He seems to be quite close with Xi Jinping after that meeting, talking about trade. But you also talked about what this president sees as wanting a shift perhaps in how the United States views and relates to the region as a whole.
ROBERTSON: Sure. We've heard from the White House that President Trump -- we've heard this from him as well, talking about how he wants to see an open and free Indo-Pacific Region. And this is a different language than the Asia-Pacific Region, you know, which is a smaller geographic area. It appears, and we've heard this from National Security Adviser McMaster and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in recent week that the use of the term Indo-Pacific region as if to spread the region to include China, a strong ally in many ways of the United States, the world's largest democracy, to sort of bring them into the frame and perhaps diminish therefore the role and the relevance of China somewhat.
So, we may hear from President Trump precisely what he means by this terminology. Trade as well will be an important issue here. President Trump expected to speak about his view on free trade on globalization, that it should be fair, that it should be balanced, that it should be reciprocal. But President Trump, through this trip so far in South Korea, and Japan, and in China has very much been on the script, very much been on diplomatic message, if you will. It does seem if those three stops so far are an indication that he will keep to a tight script here. Unclear, this is perhaps heavier lifting because it involves more countries, 21 nations total at the representative in APEC.
[01:05:36] ALLEN: All right. We know you'll be covering it for us in Da Nang, Vietnam. Nic Robertson, thank you so much.
Well, during his Asian trip, President Trump has had some tough words for North Korea. And now, it's got some tough words of its own. Our Will Ripley has the view from Pyongyang where he is the only T.V. reporter from an American news outlet who's in that country. Here's his exclusive report. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In North Korea, where the news is under strict government control, state media gave only a brief mention of President Trump's speech at the South Korean national assembly. No details of his scathing indictment of North Korean human rights and harsh words for their Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned. It is a hell that no person deserves.
RIPLEY: Despite heavy restrictions on the flow of information, our government guides allow us to tell Pyongyang citizens exactly what Trump said.
"That's absurd," says housewife, Ri Yong-hui. "The reality here is very different; we're leading a happy life, and we enjoy exclusive rights.
When you say you have rights that people don't have outside of North Korea, what do you mean by that?
"One example is our outstanding leader, Marshal Kim Jong-un," she says. "He's leading us to a better future. Trump has no place to talk about human rights. He's a simple war maniac."
Her answer echoes North Korea's leading newspaper which called President Trump's words "warmongering, filthy rhetoric spewing out of his snout like garbage that reeks of gunpowder to ignite war."
Ri Won-gil is an editor at a publishing company. I asked him about President Trump's claim that North Korea is a failed state, where most live in poverty. Drawing a stark contrast to their neighbors in the South.
Why do you think that South Korea's economy is so much larger than North Korea's, do you agree with President Trump that it's your government's policies that are to blame?
"He knows nothing at all about this part of the country," he says. "Here, we have free education, housing, medical care."
He was raised in orphan. His parents died serving the government. Now, he has a cushy job in the showpiece capital. The United Nations says, most North Koreans live without regular electricity, clean water, and nutritious food.
What about people who don't live here in Pyongyang? People, who live out in the countryside?
"We're building our economy even under the sanctions and economic blockade by the Americans," he says. "And even if Western countries, there's a big difference between life in the capital and small towns."
On 17 trips to North Korea, I've never heard anyone criticize the government. There is zero tolerance for dissent of any kind. Defectors testifying to the U.N. often paint a much darker picture of life inside North Korea. But here, no deviation from the party line. They say this country is not hell, it's home. Will Ripley, CNN Pyongyang, North Korea.
ALLEN: Terry McCarthy, the President, and CEO of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, joins us again from L.A. And Terry, it's always interesting to see what our Will Ripley pick up there when he goes to North Korea and talks with the people there. Does President Trump's approach to North Korea, his very tough talk, his threats, is that helping or hurting the situation from the best that we can tell with what know coming out of North Korea?
TERRY MCCARTHY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, LOS ANGELES WORLD AFFAIRS COUNCIL: So, that's an interesting issue. Up to now, it seems like President Trump's approach to North Korea has been almost diplomacy by chaos theory, where nobody knows what he really thinks. He sends his Secretary of State to China to talk about North Korea, and then he says, that's actually not going to work. Then, there was threatening war. And now, but what's interesting now is that he's dialed that rhetoric back on this current trip to Asia.
And it's also interesting what Will said in his report that there was little on North Korean news about Trump's visit. And so, none of this very bellicose rhetoric, you know, little rocket man from Trump or a lot about the sort of threats that have come from Kim Jong-un in the past. He hasn't threatened to send missiles towards Guam in the last few days. So, it seems to me like having reached almost the edge of the precipice. Both sides are starting to pull back a little bit, take a breath, and see where do we go forward from here.
[01:10:11] ALLEN: Yes. That's kind of welcome, isn't it? It's nice that he didn't go over there in that region and talk about little rocket man, probably, not prudent to do that and use that language when you're so close there. What, what have you seen that he achieved with China as far as trying to muzzle North Korea's nuclear ambitions? And do you see it as somewhat of a negative thing that -- it doesn't seem like he's going to sit down and discuss North Korea with Vladimir Putin?
MCCARTHY: So, on China first, it's unclear what they've actually achieved. But I think it's clear that they are talking about North Korea. And it's also clear that in the bigger picture, Xi Jinping is shifting China's policy towards North Korea. It's going more slowly than the U.S. side would like, but they have started to impose sanctions and the North Koreans are clearly not happy with that. On Russia, you know, there's so much baggage between the United States and Russia.
As Nic mentioned in his report there's the whole disagreement on Syria and the future of Assad, there's the issue of Ukraine -- we still sanction Russians in Ukraine. But you would think that the major subject in this APEC Summit would be North Korea. And my guess is that if they don't meet that means that their Sherpas, if you like, have not been able to reach a composition on North Korea, because that would probably be the main subject that they will talk about in that form in APEC.
ALLEN: There's always the larger picture of President Trump and his relations with the region. We know that he scrapped the TPP that had President Obama's name all over it. We just heard Nic Robertson, saying he wants an open and free Indo-Pacific region. What do you think about how President Trump is viewing this region and how it seems he plans to try and work within it?
MCCARTHY: Yes, that's interesting when Nic was talking about the Indo-Pacific. The military have been using that term the Indo-Pacific from quite some time -- PaCom out of Hawaii, their responsibility goes all the way from Hawaii to the West Coast of India, and they talk about the Indo-Pacific a lot. And the real reason for that is that, of course, that India is now coming onboard as effectively a military ally in this growing campaign to at least limit China's advances militarily into the Indian Ocean and also in the Pacific.
And now, it's never spoken of that openly, but that's clearly what's going on. The Japanese and the Indian Navies are talking to each other, the U.S. is involved in exercises with the Indians. And so, bringing India in, as Nic says, is this attempt to somehow balance the weight and the growth of China in that whole enormous region of the Indo-Pacific, if we should now call it that.
ALLEN: Right. And speaking of China there, some analysts have said with President Trump's, you know, America first, that opens the door for Xi Jinping to make a greater move on the world stage. Do you think that's happening and what're your thoughts on that?
MCCARTHY: Well, quite clearly, Xi Jinping is in the ascendency. He has just been anointed for another five years, he looks as strong as -- stronger than ever perhaps. The position of the U.S. president, President Trump is not as strong as he would like if polling is to be believed. However, it is also clear that Xi Jinping has a lot of hard tasks to achieve, and he really does need some U.S. help there.
So, his economy is not doing as well as he would like. There are big issues with bank debt and so on and so forth. The Chinese and the U.S. economies are so in inextricably linked now that -- I don't think that Xi Jinping really can do without the U.S no more than we can do without China. And so, there is sort of an interesting codependency that's developing there.
ALLEN: All right. Terry McCarthy, CEO of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. Thanks again, Terry.
MCCARTHY: Thanks, Natalie.
ALLEN: Next here on CNN NEWSROOM, as we've been talking about no official meeting, it seems between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, but they could pass one another and have a chat. We'll continue to follow that development for you.
[01:14:19] Also, ahead, a bombshell report, U.S. Senate Candidate, Roy Moore, allegedly pursued a relationship with a teenage girl when he was in his 30s. We'll talk about that as well. Much more ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: Welcome back! U.S. President Donald Trump, again, in Vietnam for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. But thousands of miles away in Washington, an investigation into Russian election meddling continue to unearth new details. The man who used to be the president's bodyguard, seen here, has testified on some aspects of a dossier about Mr. Trump before he became president. Specifically, what allegedly happened during a 2013 trip to Moscow. For more on that, CNN's Manu Raju has our report.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump's long-time confidante, a former bodyguard, Keith Schiller, testified behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee. As several sources familiar with that testimony tell both me and our colleague Jeremy Herb about some of the details about the trip that Schiller took with private citizen Donald Trump back in 2013 to Moscow when they were discussing -- when they went there because of Trump's involvement with the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.
Now, what Schiller told the committee was an offer made by a Russian to send five women up to Donald Trump's hotel room that night. Now, Schiller said, he took it as a joke. He later told Trump about it on their way up to his hotel room that night. Trump laughed it off. Schiller waited outside the hotel room. And then, after several minutes Schiller left and he said he did not know what happened the rest of that night.
Now, the reason why this is significant is this is all part of the investigation into that so-called dossier of allegations compiled by that former British Agent, Christopher Steele, looking into any Trump- Russia connections. Now, there are some salacious allegations in that dossier. Some of those salacious allegations, actually have not been verified. And this is why investigators were asking about the question. They want to know whether or not Russians had dirt on Trump just the same time as they were meddling in the United States elections. Now, this comes as Special Counsel Robert Mueller's own investigation is ramping up itself. He interviewed Steven Miller, one of the senior --
ALLEN: We're interrupting that story because we want to go straight away to Vietnam. The president of the United States has begun to speak.
TRUMP: To address the people and business leaders of this region. This has already been a remarkable week for the United States in this wonderful part of the world. Starting from Hawaii, Melania and I traveled to Japan, South Korea, and China, and now to Vietnam to be here with all of you today. Before we begin, I want to address all those affected by Typhoon Damre. Americans are praying for you and for your recovery in the months ahead. Our hearts are united with the Vietnamese people suffering in the aftermath of this terrible storm.
[01:20:00] This trip comes at an exciting time for America. A new optimism has swept all across our country. Economic growth has reached 3.2 percent and going higher. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 17 years. The stock market is at an all-time high. And the whole world is lifted by America's renewal.
Everywhere I've traveled on this journey, I've had the pleasure of sharing the good news from America. But even more, I've the honor of sharing our vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific. A place where sovereign and independent nations with diverse cultures and many different dreams can prosper side by side and thrive in freedom and in peace. I am so thrilled to be here today at APEC because this organization was founded to help achieve that very purpose.
America stands as a proud member of the community of nations who make a home on the Pacific. We have been an active partner in this region since we first won independence ourselves. In 1784, the first American ship sailed to China from the newly independent United States. It went loaded with goods to sell in Asia, and it came back full of porcelain and tea.
Our first president, George Washington himself owned a set of tableware from that ship. In 1804, Thomas Jefferson sent the explorers Lewis and Clark on an expedition to our Pacific Coast. They were the first of the millions of Americans who ventured west to live out America's manifest destiny across our vast continent. In 1817, our Congress approved the first full-time Pacific development of an American warship.
That initial naval presence soon grew into a squadron, then a fleet, to guarantee freedom of navigation for the growing number of ships braving the high seas to reach markets in The Philippines, Singapore, and in India. In 1818, we began our relationship with the kingdom of Thailand. And 15 years later, our two countries signed a treaty of friendship and commerce, our first with an Asian nation.
In the next century, when imperialist powers threatened this region, the United States pushed back at great cost to ourselves. We understood that security and prosperity depended on it. We have been friends, partners, and allies in the Indo-Pacific for a long, long time. And we will be friends, partners, and allies for a long time to come.
As old friends in the region, no one has been more delighted than America to witness, to help, and to share in the extraordinary progress you have made over the last half-century. What the countries and economies represented here today have built in this part of the world is nothing short of miraculous. The story of this region in recent decades is the story of what is possible when people take ownership of their future.
Few would have imagined just a generation ago that leaders of these nations would come together here in Da Nang to deepen our friendships, expand our partnerships and celebrate the amazing achievements of our people. This city was once home to an American military base, in a country where many Americans and Vietnamese lost their lives in a very bloody war.
Today, we are no longer enemies. We are friends. And this port city is bustling with ships from all around the world. Engineering marvels like the Dragon Bridge, welcome the millions who come to visit Da Nang's stunning beaches, shining lights, and ancient charms.
[01:25:17] In the early 1990s, nearly half of Vietnam survived on just a few dollars a day, and one in four did not have any electricity. Today, an opening Vietnamese economy is one of the fastest growing economies on Earth. It has already increased more than 30 times over. And the Vietnamese students rank among the best students in the world.
And that is very impressive. This is the same story of incredible transformation that we have seen across the region. Indonesians for decades have been building domestic and democratic institutions to govern their vast chain of more than 13,000 islands. Since the 1990s, Indonesia's people have lifted themselves from poverty to become one of the fastest growing nations of the G20. Today, it is the third largest democracy on earth.
The Philippines has emerged as a proud nation of strong and devout families. For 11 consecutive years, the World Economic Forum has ranked The Philippines, first among Asian countries in closing the gender gap and embracing women leaders in business and in politics.
The Kingdom of Thailand has become an upper-middle-income country in less than a generation. Its majestic capital of Bangkok is now the most visited city on Earth, and that is very impressive. Not too many people here from Thailand.
Malaysia has rapidly developed in recent decades. And it's now ranked as one of the best places in the world to do business. In Singapore, citizens born to parents who survived on $500 a day are now among the highest earners in the world. A transformation made possible by the vision of Lee Konyu's vision of honest governance and the rule of law.
And his great son is now doing an amazing job. As I recently observed in South Korea, the people of that republic took a poor country, ravaged by war, and in just a few decades turned it into one of the wealthiest democracies on Earth. Today, South Koreans enjoy higher incomes than the citizen of many European Union countries. It was great spending time with President Moon.
Everyone knows of China's impressive achievements over the past several decades. During in period -- and it was a period of great market reforms. Large parts of China experienced rapid economic growths. Jobs boomed and more than 800 million citizens rose out of poverty. I just left China this morning and had a really productive meeting and a wonderful time with our gracious host, President Xi.
And as I saw on my first stop of this trip, in Japan, we see a dynamic democracy in a land of industrial, technological, and cultural wonders. In fewer than 60 years, that island nation has produced 24 noble prize winners for achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and the promotion of peace.
[01:30:01] President Abe and I agree on so much. In the broader region, countries outside of APEC are also making great strides in this new chapter for the Indo-Pacific. India is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its independence.
It is a sovereign democracy, as well as -- think of this, over 1 billion people. It's the largest democracy in the world. Since India opened its economy, it has achieved astounding growth and a new world of opportunity for its expanding middle class.
And Prime Minister Modi has been working to bring that vast country, and all of its people, together as one. And he is working at it very, very successfully, indeed. As we can see, in more and more places throughout this region, citizens of sovereign and independent nations have taken greater control of their destinies and unlocked the potential of their people.
They've pursued vision of justice and accountability, promoted private property and the rule of law, and embraced systems that value hard work and individual enterprise. They built businesses, they built cities, they built entire countries from the ground up. Many of you in this room have taken part in these great, uplifting national projects of building.
They have been your projects from inception to completion, from dreams to reality. With your help, this entire region has emerged, and it is still emerging as a beautiful constellation of nations, each its own bright star, satellites to none. And each one, a people, a culture, a way of life, and a home. Those of you who have lived through these transformations understand better than anyone the value of what you have achieved. You also understand that your home is your legacy, and you must always protect it.
In the process of your economic development, you've sought commerce and trade with other nations, and forged partnerships based on mutual respect and directed toward mutual gain. Today, I am here to offer renewed partnership with America to work together to strengthen the bonds of friendship and commerce between all of the nations of the Indo-Pacific, and together, to promote our prosperity and security. At the core of this partnership, we seek robust trade relationships rooted in the principles of fairness and reciprocity.
When the United States enters into a trading relationship with other countries or other peoples, we will, from now on, expect that our partners will faithfully follow the rules just like we do. We expect that markets will be open to an equal degree on both sides, and that private industry, not government planners, will direct investment. Unfortunately, for too long and in too many places, the opposites has happened.
For many years, the United States systematically opened our economy with few conditions. We lowered or ended tariffs, reduced trade barriers, and allowed foreign goods to flow freely into our country. But while we lowered market barriers, other countries didn't open their markets to us.
They must have been one of the beneficiaries. What country did you come from, sir? Countries were embraced by the World Trade Organization, even if they did not abide by its stated principles. Simply put, we have not been treated fairly by the World Trade Organization.
[01:34:58] Organizations like the WTO can only function properly when all members follow the rules and respect the sovereign rights of every member. We cannot achieve open markets if we do not ensure fair market access. In the end, unfair trade undermines us all.
The United States promoted private enterprise, innovation, and industry. Other countries used government-run industrial planning and state-owned enterprises. We adhered to WTO principles on protecting intellectual property and ensuring fair and equal market access.
They engaged in product dumping, subsidized goods, currency manipulation, and predatory industrial policies. They ignored the rules to gain advantage over those who followed the rules, causing enormous distortions in commerce and threatening the foundations of international trade itself. Such practices, along with our collective failure to respond to them, hurt many people in our country and also in other countries.
Jobs, factories, and industries were stripped out of the United States and out of many countries in addition. And many opportunities for mutually beneficial investments were lost because people could not trust the system. We can no longer tolerate these chronic trade abuses, and we will not tolerate them.
Despite years of broken promises, we were told that someday soon everyone would behave fairly and responsibly. People in America and throughout the Indo-Pacific region have waited for that day to come. But it never has, and that is why I am here today, to speak frankly about our challenges and work toward a brighter future for all of us.
I recently had an excellent trip to China, where I spoke openly and directly with President Xi about China's unfair trade practices and the enormous trade deficits they have produced with the United States. I expressed our strong desire to work with China to achieve a trading relationship that is conducted on a truly fair and equal basis. The current trade imbalance is not acceptable.
I do not blame China or any other country, of which there are many, for taking advantage of the United States on trade. If their representatives are able to get away with it, they are just doing their jobs. I wish previous administrations in my country saw what was happening and did something about it. They did not, but I will.
From this day forward, we will compete on a fair and equal basis. We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore. I am always going to put America first the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first.
The United States is prepared to work with each of the leaders in this room today to achieve mutually beneficial commerce that is in the interest of both your countries and mine. That is the message I am here to deliver. I will make bilateral trade agreements with any Indo-Pacific nation that wants to be our partner and that will abide by the principles of fair and reciprocal trade.
What we will no longer do is enter into large agreements that tie our hands, surrender our sovereignty, and make meaningful enforcement practically impossible. Instead, we will deal on a basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit. We will respect your independence and your sovereignty.
We want you to be strong, prosperous, and self-reliant, rooted in your history, and branching out toward the future.
[01:39:59] That is how we will thrive and grow together, in partnerships of real and lasting value. But for this -- and I call it the Indo-Pacific dream, if it's going to be realized, we must ensure that all play by the rules, which they do not right now. Those who do will be our closest economic partners.
Those who do not can be certain that the United States will no longer turn a blind eye to violations, cheating, or economic aggression. Those days are over. We will no longer tolerate the audacious theft of intellectual property.
We will confront the destructive practices of forcing businesses to surrender their technology to the state, and forcing them into joint ventures in exchange for market access. We will address the massive subsidizing of industries through colossal state-owned enterprises that put private competitors out of business, happening all the time. We will not remain silent as American companies are targeted by state- affiliated actors for economic gain, whether through cyberattacks, corporate espionage, or other anti-competitive practices.
We will encourage all nations to speak out loudly when the principles of fairness and reciprocity are violated. We know it is in America's interests to have partners throughout this region that are thriving, prosperous, and dependent on no one. We will not make decisions for the purpose of power or patronage.
We will never ask our partners to surrender their sovereignty, privacy, and intellectual property, or to limit contracts to state- owned suppliers. We will find opportunities for our private sector to work with yours and to create jobs and wealth for us all. We seek strong partners, not weak partners. We seek strong neighbors, not weak neighbors. Above all, we seek friendship, and we don't dream of domination. For this reason, we are also refocusing our existing development efforts. We are calling on the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to direct their efforts toward high-quality infrastructure investment that promotes economic growth.
The United States will also do its part. We are also committed to reforming our development finance institutions so that they better incentivize private sector investment in your economies, and provide strong alternatives to state-directed initiatives that come with many strings attached. The United States has been reminded time and time again in recent years that economic security is not merely related to national security.
Economic security is national security. It is vital to our national strength. We also know that we will not have lasting prosperity if we do not confront grave threats to security, sovereignty, and stability facing our world today.
Earlier this week, I addressed the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea and urged every responsible nation to stand united in declaring that every single step the North Korean regime takes toward more weapons is a step it takes into greater and greater danger. The future of this region and its beautiful people must not be held hostage to a dictator's twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail. In addition, we must uphold principles that have benefitted all of us, like respect for the rule of law, individual rights, and freedom of navigation and overflight, including open shipping lanes.
[01:44:58] Three principles and these principles create stability and build trust, security, and prosperity among like-minded nations. We must also deal decisively with other threats to our security and the future of our children, such as criminal cartels, human smuggling, drugs, corruption, cybercrime, and territorial expansion. As I have said many times before, all civilized people must come together to drive out terrorists and extremists from our societies, stripping them of funding, territory, and ideological support.
We must stop radical Islamic terrorism. So let us work together for a peaceful, prosperous, and free Indo-Pacific. I am confident that together, every problem we have spoken about today can be solved and every challenge we face can be overcome.
If we succeed in this effort, if we seize the opportunities before us and ground our partnerships firmly in the interests of our own people, then together we will achieve everything we dream for our nations and for our children. We will be blessed with a world of strong, sovereign, and independent nations, thriving in peace and commerce with others. They will be places where we can build our homes and where families, businesses, and people can flourish and grow.
If we do this, we will look at the globe half a century from now, and we will marvel at the beautiful constellation of nations, each different, each unique, and each shining brightly and proudly throughout this region of the world. And just as when we look at the stars in the night sky, the distance of time will make most of the challenges we have and that we spoke of today seem very, very small. What will not seem small, what is not small, will be the big choices that all of our nations will have to make to keep their stars glowing very, very brightly.
In America, like every nation that has won and defended its sovereignty, we understand that we have nothing so precious as our birthright, our treasured independence, and our freedom. That knowledge has guided us throughout American history. It has inspired us to sacrifice and innovate.
And it is why today, hundreds of years after our victory in the American Revolution, we still remember the words of an American founder and our second President of the United States, John Adams. As an old man, just before his death, this great patriot was asked to offer his thoughts on the 50th anniversary of glorious American freedom. He replied with the words, "Independence forever."
It's a sentiment that burns in the heart of every patriot and every nation. Our hosts here in Vietnam have known this sentiment not just for 200 years, but for nearly 2,000 years.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: We've been bringing you the live comments from U.S. president Donald Trump as he arrives there in Da Nang, Vietnam. He is speaking to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. And as you can hear getting much applause, a warm reception to his thoughts on where the United States stands with trade, laying out his vision for trade in the region, talking about the importance of pushing back on North Korea, and as always, fighting Islamic terrorism.
Let's go to our man there covering this portion of the president's trip, Nic Robertson. You've been listening as well. And as I mentioned a warm reception as he talked about his approach to trade in the region.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, he began in a quite aspirational way. You know, talking about all the different nations present and the economic improvement and the economic achievement that they have attained for their people, yet maintaining their independence, maintaining their own sovereignty. Maintaining their own diversity amongst all these countries.
[01:50:03] He said you know what is possible when people take ownership of the future. This was his aspiration there. But he was also very, very clear in how he sees that he wants to change the way that the United States does business.
He said, you know, "We're open to trade partnerships with all the nations represented here but on a bilateral basis. Not a multilateral basis." He accused some countries of their governments backing businesses, creating unfair advantage against the United States.
And without mentioning China specifically, he also talked about the issue of the freedom of -- the freedom of navigation on the seas, the freedom of overflights. And this was a very clear message to President Xi of China who he has poured so much praise on in the past couple of days. And praised him again in this forum here, that he had very good trip to Beijing, that he'd spoken frankly with President Xi about trade imbalances.
But this was a -- this was also, sort of, a shot, if you will, across China's bows, the movement of the free passage of ships through the South China Seas, the free overflight that China challenges the United States military aircraft on occasion. So this is something where we're seeing President Trump challenge China without saying that -- without saying that openly as much. But this was very much focused on President Trump's vision of the economic future, one not of multilateral recommendations but one of bilateral relationships based on fairness, he said, balance and reciprocity.
ALLEN: Nic Robertson, thank you for breaking it down for us. We'll continue to follow, of course, the president's trip as he is in Vietnam. Thank you, Nic. Now, let's talk more about what we've just heard.
Also listening are our guests from Los Angeles, Democratic strategist, Robin Swanson and conservative talk show host Joe Messina. Both of you were listening in. The president laying out as Nic just pointed out, his, kind of, new vision for trade in that area and getting a warm reception. So, Joe, let's start with you on what you thought about his comments.
JOE MESSINA, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Well, I -- look at -- I loved the speech. I thought it was very good. I thought it was on point. If you read the art of the deal you can see exactly what he was doing.
And pulling them together there and talking about some of the great accomplishments, giving praise to the leadership. And then -- and specifically calling out some of the accomplishments of those countries in that area. And again, I agree with the -- with the reporter who said that, you know, in the comments he made towards China or with China he's pulling them in as well.
He's showing them that he's willing to work with them. But when we talk about nationalism I don't know why that scares people so much. You know, when he wants to make a trade deal when he wants to work with other countries, it's got to be to our benefit as well. We have to be able to support our people, to take care of our people, and to keep our country strong first.
ALLEN: He did get applause for that, didn't he?
MESSINA: He did.
ALLEN: When he said, you know, "We put America first and we encourage other countries to put your country first," and they broke out in applause. So he probably appreciated that because he doesn't get so much sometimes on his home turf. Let's get your take about that, Robin.
And also about the China -- the China situation. He had a cozier relationship certainly with China on this trip, but also not even blaming China for the trade imbalance, blaming previous administrations.
ROBIN SWANSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: That's his favorite topic, right? I mean, I thought it was a little bit tone deaf, to be honest, but he didn't make quite the flip-flop that he made yesterday. Although he did reiterate that China, you know, "Good for China for taking advantage of us as a country." You know, the -- I just sometimes think that Donald Trump forgets what team he's on because he's not much of a team player.
And you know, he should be team America. So, you know, saying -- congratulating China for taking advantage of us in his perception is a little bit crass, but that is how he operates. So, you know, there were some applause lines there. I think somebody -- the intern in the press department did some Wikipediaing about the different countries that he's visiting right now.
So we got to hear a lot about those countries. But other than that it was a little disjointed for me.
ALLEN: And we hope there was a little more of -- than an intern doing the Wikipedia. Okay, Robin. But back to you, Joe. Let's talk about China again for a moment because it was months ago that this president was so upset with China for not doing more to muscle North Korea, that he even said, "If you don't do this I will cut off all trade with China," and now look where he is with China.
[01:55:03] MESSINA: Well, again, I go -- let's go back to the art of the deal. Talk to some successful business people as to how they get other country -- companies, if you would, other vendors to work with them. You know, you're talking about China. How do we know -- how many times has he said to us, "I'm not telling you what I'm going to do.
I'm not going to give all this information. We move our enemies the way we move. I'm making deals with people to get them (INAUDIBLE) we don't -- I'm not a believer that we have to know every word that comes out of the President's mouth to other countries' leaders. And we don't know what he's done in -- behind the scenes with the Chinese leadership.
And if he's made some deals with them to -- I won't say force them, but to allow them or make them believe that they're going to move on North Korea for us or make some deals with North Korea to keep them from growing their nuclear arsenal, because they already have it. I think a lot of us believe that and know that. I don't see a problem with that.
I don't see why it's a constant teardown pretty much of every word he says, where he goes, and what he does. If we're safer, and I know some don't believe we are, if we can keep it, you know, this North Korean issue, we've been so good at it for the last three, four, five decades, right? We've slowed them down.
They don't have any nuclear missiles, they don't -- it's just amazing to me. He's taking a different tack on this. And I don't see what the problem is. He's building these countries and leaders up. ALLEN: All right. Well, we'll see where it goes from here. Robin, I'm going to have to give you the final word, we only have about 45 seconds left. Do you want to point out, though, that this is the first time in this -- in a meeting with China, the China leader, and the U.S. President, they did not take questions from reporters? Still wanting to avoid that situation. Robin, I'll give you the final comment.
SWANSON: Yes. Well, he stayed on teleprompter and he stayed on script. So we didn't see any disasters this evening. We didn't see any crazy bellicose language. So I suppose that that's progress.
ALLEN: All right. Robin Swanson and Joe Messina, thank you so much, both of you for joining us and sticking around for that. Thanks a lot.
MESSINA: Thank you.
SWANSON: Thank you.
ALLEN: And thank you, everyone, for watching CNN NEWSROOM live in Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen. My colleague George Howell will pick it up right after this. Please stay with us.
[02:00:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. president in Vietnam and so is Vladimir Putin.