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White House Says Trump-Kim Summit Will Not Happen; North Korea Irritated by U.S. Reference to "Libya Model". Aired 11a-12n ET
Aired May 24, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. Breaking news this hour.
U.S. President Donald Trump says his summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un will not -- let me repeat that -- will not happen. In a letter to
Kim Jong-un, President Trump cites, quote, tremendous anger and open hostility from North Korea as his reason for backing out. Sources tell CNN
Mr. Trump is infuriated after the North called U.S. Vice President, Mike Pence, a quote, a political dummy. That remark came after Mr. Pence said
earlier this week the situation in North Korea could end like the Libya model ended. Well, just a short time ago the U.S. Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo read Mr. Trump's full letter to a congressional hearing. Here is Mike Pompeo's reading of what is the President's message to Kim Jong-un.
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Dear Mr. Chairman,
We greatly appreciate you time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions relative to his Summit long sought by
both parties, which was scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore. We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to
us is totally irrelevant. I was very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility
displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this
letter serve to represent that the Singapore Summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place. You talk
about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.
I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters. Someday, I look very
much forward to meeting you. In the meantime, I want to thank you for the release of the hostages who are now home with their families. That was a
beautiful gesture and was very much appreciated.
If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write. The world, and North Korea in
particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in
history. Sincerely yours, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
ANDERSON: CNN, of course, has every angle of this story covered. Jeremy Diamond is at the White House. Ivan Watson in Seoul in South Korea and our
chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, joining us from London. Let me start with you Christiane. This summit off for now, at
least and some bombastic language from the U.S. President in his letter to Kim Jong-un. What happened?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, it's really, obviously, difficult to unpick from this faraway, you're not
right in the room. But it's clear that we saw in public a series of events unfolding. After Kim Jong-un said that he wouldn't mind, you know, the
joint military exercise continuing, that he had stopped nuclear tests, that he would stop intercontinental ballistic tests. He released the hostages.
He did a lot to try to pave the way for this summit.
Then you started hearing him get upset about the tests that were going on around the joint exercises, but it really went off the skids when twice
there was senior American officials talking about the Libya model. That is always been a hornet's nest for North Korea. They have always said we are
not Iraq, we are not Libya. We don't give up our weapons of mass destruction in order to just be overthrown and deposed. So, you had John
Bolton, I think, you know, a couple weeks ago on CBS, using this Libya model and expounding that model which involves military force. Let's face
it, that's what it involves. And the overthrow eventually of Muammar Gadhafi and the death of him.
And then President Trump tried to walk that back saying, no, it's not a Libya model. But then Mike Pence doubled down and said, well, it may be a
Libya model if North Korea doesn't do a deal. So, this is the message that North Korea was getting.
[11:5:00] And, you know, then they started to ramp up their rhetoric and some are saying, that look, you know, both sides had different views of
exactly what denuclearization meant. President Trump believed that it was maximalist. That it meant give up everything right now, all at once before
you get anything in return. North Korea was like, no. We expected to be give-and-take. We do an action. You do an action. We think
denuclearization actually means everybody including the United States.
So, it all got a bit sort of out of hand. And in a way, it shows the perils of having this sort of leader summit and agreeing to this without
having the, you know, the experts sort it all out and see what they can achieve around a negotiating table before the Presidents and leaders meet
to actually sort of ratify it. So, you know, and now this letter which is specifically to Kim Jong-un, you know, looks like it could put his face in
it a little bit. Put his back against the wall personally directed at him, revealed by the President on international television. We're going to have
to wait and see what their next move is now.
ANDERSON: Yes, OK. We'll try and get to the bottom that as we move through these hours. Jeremy, if this Libya model was clearly such an issue
to Pyongyang, then why use it? Did the new national security adviser, John Bolton, for example, purposefully sabotage this summit? And is this, as
some are saying, John Bolton, 1, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, nil, at this point?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, well, John Bolton certainly knew how the North Koreans would react to the mere mention of Libya let
alone the Libyan model. You know, so there have been questions for weeks now about whether John Bolton who weeks before coming into the
administration had made some pretty bellicose statements about North Korea. Had signaled that diplomacy was not the option. Whether indeed he was
trying to sabotage this summit.
But it is important to note that John Bolton when he made those comments, he referred specifically to the Libya model of 2003/2004. He was talking
about the denuclearization efforts. He was talking about the complete and verifiable denuclearization of Libya. Of course, the immediate implication
is what happened several years later. But what the President tried to do last week was he tried to make clear that the Libya model would not apply
as in the model of the overthrow of Muammar Gadhafi, would not apply in this situation if Kim Jong-un agreed to denuclearization. And he said that
the Libya model, meaning the overthrow not the actual denuclearization would apply if a deal was not struck.
So, what's interesting is that Mike Pence in his comments earlier this week was merely parroting what the president of the United States had said just
last week. But the North Koreans had chosen not to go after the President directly but instead to go after vice President Mike Pence who made those
very same comments.
Clearly, some experts are suspecting that the North Koreans have been trying to save face perhaps with some of these more harshly worded
statements but, clearly on the American side, this is something that was not viewed as a face-saving measure in any way, or any way appropriate even
if it was going after the vice President and not the President of the United States.
We were told that officials and the President himself was very angered this morning by those North Korean statements. And that's why they decided to
pull out of the summit in part. Beyond that, of course, we know there have been a lot of distance between the U.S. and North Korea as far as what
specifically denuclearization means. How do you accomplish it? And so, because those issues had not yet been resolved there was increasing
skepticism on the U.S. side that going forward with this summit was the right move.
ANDERSON: Ivan, you are in Seoul. South Korea desperately wanted this summit. What's been the response there?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The latest we can report is that President Moon Jae-in just back from a meeting, a summit
with President Trump in Washington at the White House. He has convened an emergency meeting that includes his defense minister, his intelligence
chief, foreign minister, unification minister as well. We're hearing that it was convened at 11:30 p.m. local time. That's about 40 minutes ago.
And, clearly, in response to this bombshell of a decision coming from President Trump.
You'll recall that when President Moon was on his way to Washington for that meeting on Tuesday with President Trump, that one of his top advisers
told journalists that he thought there was a 99.9 percent chance that this Singapore summit between the U.S. and North Korea would, in fact, go ahead.
And we were hearing that his main message to President Trump at the time was stay the course. Don't get distracted. Don't get disappointed by the
recent criticism coming out of Pyongyang.
[11:10:00] You are the man to make history, to break -- cut through this Gordian Knot on the Korean Peninsula and bring peace to the region. Well
clearly, those arguments were not enough to convince President Trump, at least for the time being, to stick with this summit for June 12th.
I was reporting throughout the day here on the most recent North Korean statement bashing Mike Pence. Of course, in response to Mike Pence, very
open threat that if North Korea didn't accept a deal with President Trump, that it would end up, like Libya, with its leader killed effectively. That
was what North Korea was reacting to when it called Pence a political dummy, when it threatened a nuclear to nuclear showdown. And when it also
made the argument the reason North Korea developed nuclear weapons in the first place was to prevent it from ending up following in the footsteps of
Libya and its deposed and murder dictator -- Becky.
ANDERSON: The perspective there in Seoul. Stand by, everybody. CNN's Will Ripley is inside North Korea right now. There on what was a trip to
watch what Pyongyang claims was its blowing up its nuclear test site just hours ago. Will just speaking to our colleague Poppy Harlow from a moving
train. I want our viewers just to hear some of that. Stand by.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, we were just sitting kind of wrapping up the day. It's now late in the evening here. We're on the
train headed back to Wonsan after witnessing the, what North Korea claims, is the destruction of a nuclear site at Punggye-ri. So, we were sitting
around a table and I got the phone call and read out the letter for President Trump and I can tell you there was just a real sense of shock
amongst the people that I was sitting with. The North Korean officials they didn't give any official comment. But immediately got up and left and
are now on the phone relaying the news up to the top.
And imagine how they are feeling at this moment given the fact that they just blew up their nuclear site today as a sign, they say, of their
willingness to denuclearize. That they were doing this to make a point ahead, and as you mentioned, ahead of the summit in Singapore on June 12th
that was scheduled with President Trump. That until literally minutes ago they thought was still going to happen.
That said, the North Koreans have said that they'll not going to beg for dialogue and they were infuriated by comments made by the Vice President,
Mike Pence, for that President Trump's national security adviser, John Roberts, talking about North Korea saying that North Korea would follow the
Libya model. Of course, Gadhafi and Libya gave up his nuclear weapons and was overthrown by U.S.-backed rebels and died several years later.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Will --
RIPLEY: They're unwilling to accept that here. The North Koreans have said that they're not going to beg for dialogue. They had said they'd be
willing to walk away if they don't like what they're hearing from the United States. But the fact they went through with this trip, you know,
they invited us, and we were kind of on hold for 24 hours. I was frankly unsure if this was actually going to happen, but the trip did happen. We
were taking to the nuclear site. We spent nine hours. Watched them blow up three tunnels in the nuclear site and all of the buildings on the site
And we don't have experts here to verify with us if this destruction is absolute, if it means the nuclear site is unusable as North Korea claims.
But they told us we're being transparent here. We're showing you our nuclear site for the first time for journalists. We're blowing up. We're
willing to denuclearize. We're willing to talk with the United States. But they don't want to be compared to Libya. A country whose government
was overthrown after giving up its nuclear weapons. And that's why they felt they had to respond with they had very strongly worded statement
targeting the Vice President, Mike Pence.
They've also targeted President Trump's national security adviser as well, saying they don't want him to Singapore. They don't want anybody in
Singapore they feel is going to disrespect them. But nonetheless, being inside this country just hours after they blew up the nuclear site and
learning of this, it was a very awkward and uncomfortable moment. And we'll have to see what happens in the coming hours and days on the ground
ANDERSON: Christiane, you were recently in the region what was a historic inter-Korea summit. What has been going on behind the scenes in North
Korea and quite frankly, what happens next?
AMANPOUR: Well, look, that is really what we have to wait for. Because this is obviously, this tit-for-tat situation that we've seen unfold and
playing out now on the global stage. Only it's not over some small subject. It's over a massive, massive subject. A nuclear-armed North
Korea and the United States both in sort of highly charged rhetoric against each other. I think what strikes me from what Will is that again it
threatens to put their back against a wall.
[11:15:00] They say that they did this for transparency. Of course, there were no technicians, as far as Will could make out there, as he said. They
just saw what they saw. They don't know the extent of what the North Koreans did. So, we're taking it on face value. But we understand that.
It's on face value.
It reminds me of ten years almost exactly when we went to Yongbyon, which is there plutonium processing plant and watched them dismantle it, blow up
the cooling tower. Only to see sort of that era of potential rapprochement fade.
What also is very important to note is the following. As Ivan said, this is really make or break for the South Korean President. He has been
shepherding this along with North Korea. He has been flattering President Bush, telling -- sorry, Trump. Telling President Trump that he could make
history because he believes the diplomatic solution to the North Korean crisis, not the military solution. And I'm afraid it reminds me now of him
going to the White House really laying it on thick for President Trump, in much the same way as President Macron did over Iran. President Trump
listens and then when they're out of the country, out of the White House, he pulls out of the Iran thing and pulls out of this summit.
And if you remember, back in 2002-ish, around then, President Bush, similarly, sold the South Korean President down the road over his sunshine
policy with North Korea. And what we got after that was a North Korea racing towards the kind of nuclear capability they have right now.
So, with any luck, all sides can put this summit back on track, because obviously important. But it clearly shows the need to have the experts
work out the parameters, work out what's possible. Work out the negotiations. Before there's this cart before the horse situation where
the Presidents and the leader and they get all excited. And there's going to be a summit and that means there has to be something amazing and
tangible and big they can each say is a win. And then it all collapsed. And potentially because it's kind of easier to back out than go there
without knowing what you'll come away with.
ANDERSON: Our panel is standing by, including Robin Wright. Who is a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center who has written extensively on North
Korea. Let me pick up on something that Christiane just said, Robin. Is that the problem, that this Trump administration doesn't to experts?
ROBIN WRIGHT, FELLOW, U.S. INSTITUTE OF PEACE/WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER (via Skype): Well, one thing that's most alarming about the process
that's played out since January 1st and Kim Jong-un's outreach to the South Koreans in the United States, is the fact there's been very little
development of the specific ideas. How do you denuclearize? How is this process going to play out? Over the past two days, the President has
talked about both the all or nothing approach. But also qualified and said, well, there may be a step by step. You have a sense they haven't
worked out the logistics of diplomacy, much less the substance of what exactly denuclearization means.
So, you have this tension play out that exacerbates the dangers. It makes the alternatives look like, well, it's either all or nothing, North Korea
gives everything up, or there's a military confrontation. The kind of language that's been used over the past 24 hours. Those by the North
Koreans and now by President Trump about the nuclear potential, nuclear conflict and again, this kind of, my button is bigger than your button, is
very alarming and it does not bode well. If they do manage to resume diplomacy and finally sit down at a table.
ANDERSON: Robin, let me just read out parts of the letter that we have all now seen read out to Congress by the Secretary of State in the past hour.
This is the letter from Donald Trump to Kim Jong-un calling off this summit.
In part, he says, sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate at this
time to have this long-planned meeting. And he went on to say, to your point, robin, you talk about nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive
and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.
You have done an awful lot of work, analysis on North Korea. How is this sort of rhetoric going to go down?
WRIGHT: Not well. And it's the very thing that North Korea has feared the most. So, this is what they've been reacting to over the past three weeks
since John Bolton at the end of April 1st brought up thus Libya mode. Which he may have been talking about in terms of process, allowing access
by outside American and Western inspectors. More than what happened to the fate of the leaders.
[11:20:00] But this does appear to be kind of signaling that if you don't go along with what we want, we in the United States, then there is the
danger that we'll not only use nuclear weapons or there will be some kind of military confrontation. But it had suggested rightly or wrongly to the
North Koreans that the regime itself was at stake.
Now this dates back 15 years and there's a fascinating history that dates back to Bolton's first confrontation with North Korea in 2003 when he was
with the State Department during the George W. Bush administration. And he gave a speech in South Korea where he chastised the current North Korean
leader's father and talked about the hellish nightmare of life in North Korea. And at the time, the North Koreans responded by refusing to engage
in diplomacy that the Bush administration was part of. Refusing to meet with Bolton, whom they called a scumbag and a bloodsucker. And so, this
hostility that's been initiated since Bolton's remark this time around really dates back 15 years to an almost identical situation.
ANDERSON: Which, Jeremy, brings me back to a point that we were discussing earlier. Is this convenient for the new national security adviser for all
intents and purposes? Some might use the term sabotage. Did John Bolton ever want this summit to happen?
DIAMOND: It's unclear. You know, as I said before, previously before joining the administration, John Bolton had clearly been very skeptical of
the idea of diplomacy. And some said that if he was supportive of this summit it was only so that it could crumble, and they could move to the
next option which was the military option. That is the key question now. And we saw both of these options, kind of outlined in the President's
letter. Where on one hand he's saying, listen, we have bigger and more powerful nuclear weapons than you do, but we hope we don't have to use
them. And at the same time saying perhaps he will meet Kim Jong-un someday.
So, that is the question now is, where do these talks go? Is there going to be continued diplomatic detentes right now, continued discussions
between Mike Pompeo and his North Korean counterparts. Or are we moving towards a military option? Towards once again an escalation both verbally
and perhaps even in terms of actual substantive action on the Korean Peninsula.
ANDERSON: Ivan, there will be those who in Donald Trump's defense say that what he has facilitated has been at least a thaw between the two Koreas.
He's also had the U.S. hostages returned home, and he thanked the North Korean leader for that. Reminding the world who would be reading that
letter between the two, that he had achieved that. So, there will be some wins in this for Donald Trump. For the South Korean President then,
though, is this make or break? What happens?
WATSON: I can't help but look at this as a serious setback for the South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Who had his own summit meeting with Kim
Jong-un at the end of last month and described that as a stepping stone towards a North Korea/U.S. summit in Singapore on June 12th. He had
positioned himself as a mediator. He had been a great promoter of helping establish this dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington. And recalled it
was President Trump who suddenly announced he would meet with Kim Jong-un after top officials from South Korea traveled from Pyongyang to Washington
to personally deliver messages that they'd heard from the North Korean leadership.
So, Moon Jae-in had an enormous amount invested in this. It was incredibly popular the progress he'd made with Kim Jong-un, according to surveys here
in South Korea. There was a certain euphoria here. Where reading reports about land purchases around the demilitarized zone with great hopes that
peace would break out there. And hearing about corporations that were getting ready to start conducting cross-border trade that's been suspended
for years now, particularly with the Kaesong industrial complex, which is on the other side of the demilitarized zone.
And on top of that, Moon Jae-in travelled to the White House to try to convince President Trump to go forward with the Singapore summit. So, this
is a big blow to that. And you had North and South Korea talking about possibly signing a peace treaty. They're still technically at war since
the Korean War. That all seems to be up in the air in light of this decision to pull out of the North Korea/U.S. summit.
[11:25:00] ANDERSON: Robin Wright, Ivan Watson in Seoul, Jeremy Diamond in Washington, our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour in
London. To all of you, a thank you.
And let me just wind up before we take a break here with some news that our colleagues in Washington are publishing. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
said he was involved with the administration's discussions about pulling out of the June 12th summit last night. And this morning which included
discussions about the path forward. He characterized discussions as ongoing but insisted they always knew -- in inverted commas, a quote from
him -- that the summit might not pan out. Pompeo said he was hopeful they could get back in place of working on a path forward, but insisted it was
up to Kim Jong-un. He reiterated what President Trump said in that letter that we have been discussing in the past half hour or so to Kim that they
welcome a call from him. What now? Well, in answer to that, Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State of the U.S. said, and I quote, in some ways it is
situation normal. The pressure campaign, he said, continues.
More after this.
ANDERSON: To those of you who are just joining us, we are waiting to possibly hear from the U.S. President Donald Trump after in the past hour
or so, we learned that he has canceled a planned summit with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
I want to bring in our correspondents Matthew Chance in St. Petersburg in Russia. And I know that you're there at a business conference. You've
been chasing those who have been in the process of the U.S. of late. Any response there to the news that we've just heard?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not here at this economic forum because the delegates want to keep this focused on what a
great place Russia is to invest. That's their line. But elsewhere out of Russia, we have had some first -- some inkling of what the Russian position
on this is going to be. Konstantin Kosachev, who's a senior Russian lawmaker here. Who often speaks about foreign affairs, has called this
move by President Trump a blow for the peaceful resolution of conflict in the region. He's also sort of criticized, I think, you know, the Trump
type of foreign policy that we've seen exhibited in this letter to Kim Jong-un saying this.
Forging foreign policy on the basis of personal impressions and slights is a sign of amateurism.
[11:30:00] And so that's quite scathing criticism I think coming from the senior Russian political figure when it comes to this decision of the U.S.
to pull out. We haven't heard anything from the Kremlin yet. But, you know, the Russians welcomed the announcement that Trump and Kim Jong-un
would go to a meeting because they saw it as an important step toward de- escalating the growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. As we just heard they're going to be very disappointed that that meeting is now off.
ANDERSON: Matthew Chance, today in St. Petersburg for you. Thank you, Matt.
In the next few minutes we are waiting to hear from the U.S. President. The first time that we will see him since pulling out of the summit. We'll
bring you that as soon as it happens. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Do not go anywhere.
ANDERSON: You are watching CNN. I'm Becky Anderson. A very warm welcome back to what is our breaking news. Donald Trump's abrupt cancellation of
what has been this highly anticipated summit with North Korea.
The White House released a letter from the U.S. President a short time ago addressed to his excellency Kim Jong-un. It says Mr. Trump now feels the
summit would be inappropriate given the, quote, tremendous anger and open hostility of the North Korean dictator's most recent statements.
Sources telling CNN Mr. Trump is infuriated after the North called U.S. Vice President Mike Pence a political dummy. An exceptional mind on this
subject, let's bring in Robert Kelly, professor of political science at Pusan National University where he is a prominent expert on North Korea.
Thank you for joining us where it is very late.
How did you hear, and what was your response?
ROBERT KELLY, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, PUSAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY (via skype): Well, if it's a postponement, that's not necessarily a bad
thing. I've been arguing that for a while actually. I thought this whole thing was being thrown together too fast. You and I just discussed this a
few days ago. If it's a total cancellation, I don't think that's a good sign. Because it that will tell the North Koreans that they were right not
to negotiate with us and to dig in their heels on nuclear weapons. But if it's postponement that allows the experts to get together and try to work
out some arrangement, hammer out some consensus to provide a framework for a future meeting, that's not a bad thing.
[11:35:05] ANDERSON: We've been discussing this hour whether there some are wins in this. Who wins, who loses, and where that scorecard should be.
Let's start with Donald Trump. There is a thought between the Koreas at present. They're talking. He gets the hostages out of North Korea.
ANDERSON: You know, and it keeps a door open to a summit going forward. How do you think he comes out of this?
KELLY: Yes, that's sort of hard to know. I think Donald Trump actually staked a lot on this. The President has been talking this up. The whole
thing with the Nobel Prize and stuff. The President giving speeches where people were chanting Nobel in the background in this is sort of collapsed.
I'm actually kind of surprised that the President didn't push this through just because of the political calculation which I think was pretty high for
We know that the President really wanted to do this, if only for the theatrically, of the drama and the sense of a political win. You know,
he's facing a tough midterm election, and this would have helped if he had been able to bring home some kind of deal. But I think it just became
increasingly obvious and I think a lot of people knew this months ago that the North Koreans just were never going to go to zero. They just were not
going to give up everything. And the American President and Secretary of State Pompeo both emphasized this idea that the North Koreas should give up
everything. And they just weren't going to do that.
ANDERSON: While we are talking, we've been showing our viewers some images from the White House live from the White House. Donald Trump will be
appearing for a bill signing there shortly. It will be his first appearance after the announcement that the North Korean summit is off. And
so, as we talk, Robert, if I interrupt you, I apologize. It will be because Donald Trump will be just addressing those in the room. And,
clearly, the gathered press, including us which we will want to get to.
While, though, we await his arrival, let me just have a look at this letter again. So, I want to get your responses to your sense of how you think
North Korea will respond to this letter and what happens next. Let's start just a couple of things I want to read out for our viewers here.
President Trump writes. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is
inappropriate at this time to have this long-planned meeting. He also says, and I quote, you talk about nuclear capabilities, but ours are so
massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.
When you read the letter and saw the tone from Donald Trump, what were your thoughts, and how do believe Pyongyang will respond?
KELLY: The North Koreans don't traditionally respond very well to threats and they tend to counterpunch, as does Donald Trump. So, I think that was
one of the concerns a lot of people had about this. Right? You had sort of, two sort of tough guy mentalities colliding with one another which
raised the stakes.
That's one of the reasons why I argued in my own writing that it would have been better if the experts had gotten together and sort of laid out a
framework a little bit, rather than turning this into sort of a contest. The President's language was somewhat deferential. You know, Chairman Kim
and all that kind of stuff but the oblique nuclear threat is pretty obvious. Right? And the North Koreans probably will not respond to that.
We'll probably get some kind of language in the next few days blaming this on the American side. And then we're kind of back to the status quo of the
two sides being sort at daggers point. I don't necessarily think this is going to kick us back to fire and fury, but there will be stasis until
something happens later in the fall.
Remember, the South Korean President is supposed actually to go and meet the North Koreans again later in the fall. So, that might reopen the
possibility of it, and the President hasn't shut out the possibility of a summit in the future. So, it's not a total collapse, but it should be
difficult in the next few months.
ANDERSON: Yes, can't be easy for the South Koreans at present. All right. Always a pleasure, Robert Kelly. You and I spoke as you rightly pointed
out about 48 hours ago. It seems a lifetime ago, really? Doesn't it? But we talk again, and we will subject to discuss the subject. Always a
pleasure. Political science professor at Pusan national University, sharing his expertise and perspective.
Let me bring in one of my colleagues, Elise Labott, who's the global affairs correspondent for CNN based in Washington. Our viewers now will
hear much talk of what is -- or has become known as the Libya model. The parallel that is being drawn by both John Bolton, the national security
adviser and Vice President Mike Pence which has drawn the ire of the North Koreans and resulted, some might say, in the sort of bombastic response
that they had in their last 24 hours.
[11:40:00] To which the U.S. President has taken on and canceled the summit. Just remind us what this Libya model is all about and why it's
been used by two senior administration officials and what happens next now that this summit is at least postponed.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: OK, well, I mean there's a lot of mixed metaphors right now, Becky, with the Libya model. If you
remember in 2003, Libya gave up its chemical weapons with great fanfare which was seen as a very successful model of nonproliferation. They shift
all their chemical weapons out to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and that kind of started the rapprochement with Libya and the United States. And relations
were on upswing for many years. In fact, U.S. companies were getting ready to invest there.
Then the Arab Spring came and the U.S., you know, led NATO campaign against Muammar Gaddafi to support the rebels ended up getting rid of Muammar
Gaddafi. That was a U.S. campaign but that was related to the Arab Spring. So, you know, when someone says we're looking at the Libya model for North
Korea, that means kind of getting all their nuclear weapons and shipping them out of the country and the country doesn't have any weapons anymore.
But then there's this other idea that once Gaddafi gave up his chemical weapons, he wasn't safe anymore, and was vulnerable to this kind of
international campaign. And I think maybe when John Bolton first started talking about that, he was in fact, talking about the so-called Libya mold
of nonproliferation. But I think he also must have known that how the Libyans would interpret that that's how they did interpret it. That also
meant he would meet the same fate as Muammar Gaddafi.
And that was also backed by President Trump who, I think, maybe doesn't, you know, either understood exactly what he was saying or was kind of
talking about apples and oranges when he said the Libya model is we went in and beat Gaddafi or Mike Pence says, you know, he'll meet the fate of the
Libya model. Guess what North Korea takes that to mean is give up my weapons and then I'm not safe.
ANDERSON: What sort of impact on diplomacy will this decision have had? The door has been left open to North Korea to some degree and certainly
Mike Pompeo has said it's all situation normal, but we are looking to see whether something can be created down the road. South Korean President has
only just been in Washington, only left 24 hours ago. This was a crucial summit for them. This is a guy who has staked his professional life as it
were on this iteration on getting this thaw between the Koreas. Where does the U.S. stand? What's the position on all of this?
LABOTT: Well, I think they very much left the door open and officials are telling us that it's not dead. It's more of a pause and they're clearly
leaving the ball in North Korea's court. When you read this letter and President Trump, you know, is very respectful, I'd say of Kim Jong-un. And
they've been calling him Chairman Kim. The President addresses him as Mr. Chairman. There's no little rocket man, there's, you know, no rhetoric.
He didn't tweet it out. He says, I very much hope, I very much look forward to meeting you some day. If you change your mind having to do with
this most important summit, please don't hesitate to call or write. Now that's kind of, you know, sounds like they're having a little bit of a
lover's quarrel. Obviously, it's more than that.
But I think what Secretary Pompeo was saying, clearly, the ball is in North Korea's court. We want to talk to them. If they show that they're
serious, if they're going to put an agenda on the table, these are the kind of things that led up to President Trump canceling the summit. They didn't
cancel the summit, Becky, because they called Mike Pence a political dummy. They cancelled it because they didn't know that the North Koreans were
really serious. They couldn't gauge the true intentions of what President Trump was going to get at this summit. And that was not just about the
rhetoric but that was mostly about the fact that they were not willing to discuss a real detailed agenda about what Kim was ready to put on the
table. So, I think as we heard from Secretary Pompeo, the door is open. They want to keep talking. They want to keep negotiating, and I don't
think this is dead. I think it's a little bit more of a pause.
ANDERSON: Elise Labott's in Washington. Appreciate it, Elise. We've got to take a very short break. A lot more of this breaking news when we come
back. We're covering it the only way CNN can for you, of course, across the board. I'll get you some pictures here. These are live from the White
House. We are expecting Donald Trump. This is a gathering for a bill signing. But we're told it is likely that he will speak North Korea at the
top of that bill signing.
[11:45:00] We will be there for you. We are there for you. We'll take a very short break. Back for that after this.
ANDERSON: Well, this is the breaking news this hour as we look at live pictures of the White House. We are awaiting the entrance of Donald Trump
who we are told is likely to speak North Korea at what is a gathering for a bill signing. Let me tell you why he's likely to talk about North Korea.
It is because his summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un will not -- let me repeat that -- will not happen. Not now at least.
In a letter to Kim Jong-un, President Trump cites, quote, tremendous anger and open hostility from North Korea, as his reason for backing out. This
is the letter sent to Kim Jong-un. Sources tell CNN Mr. Trump is infuriated after the North called U.S. Vice President Mike Pence a
political dummy. Now that remark came after Mr. Pence said earlier this week the situation in North Korea could end like the Libya model ended.
And just a short time ago, U.S. Secretary of State read Mr. Trump's full letter to a congressional hearing. Let's just hear a little bit of what
Mike Pompeo read out. In fact, let me just get to Elise Labott because we heard from Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State. He read this letter
out to Congress, Elise, and we were told at the time -- we've been just discussing that -- that the reason that Donald Trump has pulled out is that
he is infuriated after the North is Vice President, Mike Pence, a political dummy. You say that that is extremely unlikely that is ultimately the
reason why this summit is at least for now not on.
LABOTT: That might be the excuse, but that's not really the reason. I mean, yes, it was the rhetoric. But that rhetoric, not just about Pence
being a political dummy or the threat of nuclear war or threatening to pull out if talks if the U.S. continues these military exercises with South
Korea. It was part of a larger issue of the North Koreans not being willing to engage. You know, the North Koreans were really eager to kind
of nail down a date, nail down the location of Singapore. Nail down those kind of logistics, but as the summit started to approach, Kim started, you
know, voicing concerns about whether he could leave the country. Whether his plans would make it all the way to Singapore. Whether there would be a
coup when he left. And then there was, you know, his inability to nail down a real firm agenda, Becky.
[11:50:00] What exactly he's willing to put on the table. What does denuclearization mean? It's one of those buzz words that gets a lot of
talk. But what does it actually mean? And what does it mean to Kim Jong- un? And what Secretary Pompeo was saying is that as it was leading up to the summit, they didn't have that real comfort about his true intentions,
about how -- whether this was going to be a success. So, I think it was just a general unease about going to this summit, kind of a little bit
And I think, Becky, that we forget that these summits usually happen from the bottom up. Negotiators meet for weeks or months to hash out an
agreement and then the leaders come and sign on the dotted line. But here you have two big personalities, these two leaders that are getting ready to
meet and it's supposed to be like a real expensive, fancy, symbolic agreement to keep going forward. But they needed a little more meat on the
bones before these two men were ready to sit down, and the U.S. didn't have that.
ANDERSON: Interesting timing given that only in the past few hours a gesture of good will at least Pyongyang claiming, that it was blowing up
his nuclear test site. Our Will Ripley has been with a limited number of journalists. And let's be absolutely clear that Will has been pointing out
when he's been able to broadcast from inside North Korea that there were no -- there were no inspectors. There were no experts to actually see the
demolition of that site.
But that seemingly a gesture of good will. The release of the prisoners, of course, and a thawing in relations of the Koreas. Donald Trump likely
to take those all as wins. Stand by, Elise. I want to take a very short break. We are still awaiting the U.S. President to a gathering at the
White House where he is expected to discuss the decision that he has just taken. Stay with us viewers.
ANDERSON: A warm welcome to those of you who may just be joining us. I'm Becky Anderson. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. Let me just get you what we
have just heard from the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. As we await the arrival into this room that you are seeing on your screens at the White
House of the U.S. President Donald Trump is likely, although this is a bill signing, advertised as such. He is now likely to talk about his decision
to pull out of the scheduled June 12th Korea -- North Korea summit. Now this is what we just heard from his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who is
speaking to Congressman. He's been at a hearing on the Hill today.
And he said in the last few minutes the following. More sanctions against North Korea are now possible. I'm sure there are additional sanctions we
will seek to put in place.
[11:55:00] As I said during a congressional he said, my sense was that hadn't taken much of a pause. We were still out working among the world to
convince others of the things we needed them to do. Let me pause because this is the U.S. President.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'd like to begin by saying that based on the recent statement of North Korea, I've decided to
terminate the planned summit in Singapore on June 12th. While many things can happen, and a great opportunity lies ahead potentially, I believe that
this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and, indeed, a setback for the world.
I've spoken to General Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and our military, which is by far the most powerful anywhere in the world, that has
been greatly enhanced recently, as you all know, is ready if necessary. Likewise, I have spoken to South Korea and Japan, and they are not only
ready, should foolish or reckless acts be taken by North Korea, but they are willing to shoulder much of the cost of any financial burden, any of
the costs associated by the United States in operations if such an unfortunate situation is forced upon us. Hopefully, positive things will
be taking place with respect to the future of North Korea. But if they don't, we are more ready than we have ever been before.
North Korea has the opportunity to end decades of poverty and oppression by following the path of denuclearization and joining the community of
nations. And I hope that Kim Jong-un will ultimately do what is right not only for himself but perhaps, most importantly, what's right for his
people, who are suffering greatly and needlessly. All of the Korean people, North and South, deserve to be able to live together in harmony,
prosperity and peace. That bright and beautiful future can only happen when the threat of nuclear weapons is removed. No way it can happen
otherwise. If and when Kim Jong-un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting.
In the meantime, our very strong sanctions, by far, the strongest sanctions ever imposed, and maximum pressure campaign will continue as it has been
continuing. But no matter what happens and what we do, we will never, ever compromise the safety and security of the United States of America. I want
to make that statement. I feel very, very strongly about it.
Our military, as you know, has been greatly enhanced. Will soon be at a level that it's never been before. Our approval of $700 billion this year
and $716 billion next year, largely due to the help of a lot of the people with me today, and standing right here, we appreciate. But we had to do
that for our military, and we've done it, and hopefully, everything is going to work out well with North Korea.
And a lot of things can happen, including the fact that perhaps -- and we'll wait -- it's possible the existing summit could take place or a
summit at some later date. Nobody should be anxious. We have to get it right.
OK. With that being said, we have something else. Which I have to tell you, all of you, Chairman, Mike and everybody, that was a big deal until
this came up.
I don't know. Where is Mike Crapo? Where are you?
TRUMP: Mike, congratulations. You did a great job, but it doesn't seem as important now.
But it is important. It's incredible. And it's incredible that you've done it and you've done it in a very bipartisan way, which is very nice.
Thank you. Thank you very much.