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Moon-Kim Meeting Revives Hopes for June 12th Summit; Ireland Votes Overwhelmingly to Repeal Abortion Ban; American Released by Venezuela; UEFA Champions League Final. Aired 3-3:30a ET
Aired May 27, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think there's a lot of goodwill. I think people want to see if we can get the meeting and get something done.
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CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): U.S. president Donald Trump says a summit with Kim Jong-un could still happen on June 12th in Singapore.
This as he welcomed a freed American who spent nearly two years in a Venezuelan prison without a trial.
Supporters of the yes vote to repeal an abortion ban in Ireland cheer the results of this weekend's referendum. We'll take a closer look at Ireland's cultural shift.
Live from CNN Center here in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier.
VANIER: Just three days after Donald Trump abruptly canceled his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the U.S. president now says preparations for that meeting are still moving ahead.
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TRUMP: If we can be successful in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, it would be a great thing for North Korea. It would be a great thing for South Korea, be great for Japan and great for the world, great for the United States, great for China.
A lot of people are working on it and it's moving along very nicely. So we're looking at June 12th in Singapore. That hasn't changed.
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VANIER: June 12th, that's in less than three weeks. Not much time to pull together a high-stakes meeting like this one. But the U.S., North Korea and South Korea say that they are going to try.
The North and South Korean leaders met in secret Saturday in the Korean DMZ to see if they could revive the process. It seems that, on that front, they have succeeded. Afterwards, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Kim still wanted to meet with Mr. Trump and also still remains committed to denuclearization.
Let's go to our Matt Rivers now in Seoul.
So, Matt, the summit is maybe, perhaps back on track.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it certainly seems that way, Cyril, a couple days ago when you and I were talking, the tone surrounding the summit was that it was canceled. People were disappointed.
And now fast forward a couple days and South Korean President Moon Jae-in and president Donald Trump, even Kim Jong-un himself, everyone seems to be talking about the summit as an eventuality and even June 12th.
Still, the President of the United States saying that is the date that they are working towards. So, yes, it does appear to be moving forward, if perhaps not being officially scheduled as back on by all parties involved.
But we did get a little bit more insight into that meeting yesterday, Cyril, when South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke a little bit this morning, giving some insight more into what that meeting yesterday that he had with Kim Jong-un and he said that Kim Jong-un is willing to meet with the President of the United States. He wants to make it happen.
The question is, like you said, one White House official said this is 10 minutes away.
So exactly what can be accomplished here?
Usually these summits are done in a way that the two leaders just to show up in the agenda has already agreed upon and there have been months of negotiations that have taken place between both sides.
And that does not appear to be the case here. That does not mean that the summit won't be a success. That does not mean it will not go forward. But it is certainly being planned out here in a very unorthodox way, which leads many to question, what exactly can be accomplished?
VANIER: Yes, so much of the talk until now has been about whether or not that meeting is going to take place, what the date will be, what the place will be. But we haven't had a very good idea of what exactly Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, wanted out of the U.S. president.
Now we have a slightly better understanding. RIVERS: Yes, I mean, that that is kind of the most interesting part
of what the South Korean president told reporters this morning here in South Korea. We got some insight into what Kim Jong-un wants.
The South Korean president said Kim Jong-un remains committed to denuclearization. I could present you a very long line of North Korea experts who would question that claim.
But I think the more interesting thing here is that you heard the South Korean president say that Kim Jong-un is concerned about the security of his regime. He wants a security guarantee that the United States, should he denuclearize, the United States can give a security guarantee.
President Trump has said that in the past. But let us play you a little bit of sound of the South Korean President speaking this morning.
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MOON JAE-IN, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I told Chairman Kim that if he decides to put into practice a complete denuclearization, President Trump is willing for economic cooperation and ending hostile relations.
As a continuation to the Panmunjom declaration, Chairman Kim once again --
MOON (through translator): -- affirmed his commitment for denuclearization, emphasizing that he will clear the history of war and confrontation and cooperate for peace and prosperity and a successful U.S.-North Korea summit meeting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIVERS: The South Korean president also brought up the possibility of a hotline potentially being established between the United States, North Korea, perhaps a three-way hotline between the U.S., South Korea and North Korea. There could be a trilateral summit between both -- between all three parties if the bilateral summit between North Korea and the U.S. goes well.
So the South Korean president clearly had a wide-ranging discussion with his North Korean counterpart. The main takeaway here is that North Koreans want this to happen. They at least are saying publicly that they are willing, that they want to see a denuclearization in total of the Korean Peninsula.
But clearly they want that security guarantee and an end to hostile relations with the United States.
VANIER: And to make it perfectly clear, if I understand correctly, what the South Korean president, explained to all of us, Matt, everything now is going to depend on the behind-the-scenes talks and preparatory meetings, is that right?
RIVERS: That is exactly right. The South Korean president basically said that the success of this summit depends on what he is calling the practical talks that are now underway between the Americans and the North Koreans.
The President of the United States at the White House late Saturday night told reporters that there are talks, active talks right now between both sides. He would not say the location of where that is but he said that they are going well at this point.
But the South Korean leader was very clear this morning. The only way that the summit can go well and move forward at all is that these practical talks, as he termed them, go well, so clearly there is a lot riding on the behind-the-scenes diplomacy that is going on right now, that is not in the public eye but will have a crucial impact on the fact that will the summit happen and, if so, will it be a success.
VANIER: Yes, less than three weeks to go for the diplomats to work something out. Matt Rivers, every day brings something new. I wonder what will be asking you about tomorrow. We appreciate you coming on the show. Thank you, Matt.
Adam Mount joins me now from Washington. He is a senior fellow with the Federation of American Scientists.
And, Adam, earlier we were both listening to the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, as he gave his address to the nation. His debrief, really, of his meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong- un.
What I took away from that is that you now have everybody involved, Kim Jong-un, Moon Jae-in and, It seems, Donald Trump, who want to make the June 12th meeting happen.
ADAM MOUNT, FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS: Yes, and it sounds like the meeting now more likely than not to take place. There was a wrinkle in the summit preparations when rhetoric took a turn for the worse and Donald Trump backed away from the summit.
One of the critical questions now is, does the United States have a stronger hand than before Donald Trump backed away?
In my judgment, no. North Korea now has tightened its ties with Seoul, threatened to leave the United States behind. They now have a stronger case to make on sanctions relief.
Essentially Donald Trump backing away ensures that he incurs most of the blame for this wrinkle in the summit preparations.
VANIER: Well, as you know, I think, from the question I asked you on Twitter, I have a slightly different read of it. It now looks like North Korea and Kim Jong-un is the one asking for this meeting and, in that sense, hasn't Mr. Trump's unpredictability given him some leverage that he did not have before? MOUNT: Well, analysts have suggested that ever since Mr. Trump
appeared on the political stage that his volatility would cause adversaries to think twice about the calculations that they make.
I think many analysts here in Washington suspected that volatility has had a cost. And Mr. Trump's erratic movements have cost the United States credibility abroad, standing with our allies and had unacceptable risks, for example, the risk of war on the peninsula.
VANIER: So now, if I understand correctly, they have just two short weeks to decide what this meeting could be about and what they could agree on.
MOUNT: It really is a breakneck pace Summits should not be rushed, certainly not a summit of this magnitude. There's sincere (ph) risk that the two sides have different understandings of the agenda of the meeting.
We have heard reports today that the regime in Pyongyang has not agreed to an agenda that includes a definition on denuclearization. So they really do not want to rush this summit.
MOUNT: Maybe the best we can hope for at this point is a purely cosmetic summit that starts a longer-term process of peace building and a phased denuclearization process that really mirrors the peace regime that South Korean President Moon Jae-in has put in place.
That regime is really a firebreak for South Korea against war. He will move ahead with it to keep his people safe, even if it means leaving the United States behind. That process really does deserve the full support of the U.S. government.
VANIER: Adam Mount, senior fellow with the Federation of American Scientists, always good to talk to you, thank you.
MOUNT: Thanks, Cyril.
VANIER: And after almost two years behind bars in Venezuela, an American citizen and his wife are now here in the United States. Josh Holt has finally been able to see and hug his mother. The Venezuelan government says Josh and his wife, Thamy, were released to maintain quote, "respectful diplomatic relations with the United States."
They were arrested shortly after they got married in Venezuela. And on Saturday, Josh was thankful when President Trump welcomed him to the White House.
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JOSHUA HOLT, AMERICAN DETAINED IN VENEZUELA: I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude for you guys, for everything that you've done, for the support of my wife. Those two years, they were very, very difficult two years, not really the great vacation I was looking for. But we are still together, starting off our marriage rough. But now
we'll be together and I'm just so grateful for what you guys have done and for thinking about me and caring about me, just a normal person. So it really touches me. And thank you.
TRUMP: I want just to welcome you to the Oval Office, welcome you to the White House. It's really very special to have you both. You have gone through a lot. You have gone through a lot, more than most people could endure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: One person who was crucial in securing their freedom is that man, Bob Corker, a Republican, who, at times, has been a vocal critic of President Trump. Now Senator Corker met with Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro in Caracas on Friday. And there he secured at the couple's release.
Corker was on the plane with Josh and his wife and he spoke about getting them out of Caracas.
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SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENN.: We are just glad to have you home. A lot of people had worked for a long time to make this happen. We were going down the runway. And then they turned the engines off and we turned around. So we still weren't sure we were leaving until like --
TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) they do that?
CORKER: It was an instrument issue that occurred. But we finally we got out of there. Obviously Josh had a huge smile on his face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: The White House says their release does not change U.S. policy on Venezuela Also two U.S. officials say the Trump administration did not offer Venezuela anything for their release.
A resounding yes in Ireland, women's rights advocates cheer a historic decision. But not everyone is happy. We will tell you about that.
Plus a goal for the ages. The UEFA Champions League final. Find out who's wearing the crown -- still ahead on CNN.
VANIER: Welcome back.
Ireland's prime minister calls it the culmination of a quiet revolution.
Supporters anything but quiet there as the referendum result was announced. Voters overwhelmingly overturned a constitutional amendment that banned most abortions. Supporters showed the outcome but opponents called it a tragedy of historic proportions. Our Atika Shubert has details from Dublin.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A sweeping victory for women's rights in Ireland. The final count, 66 percent voted yes to change the Irish constitution and paved the way to make abortion legal in Ireland. Only 34 percent voted against, 64 percent of registered voters cast their ballots.
For veteran women's rights campaigner Elba Smith (ph), this was a long time coming.
SHUBERT: I heard you say that this is history being rewritten with this vote.
ELBA SMITH (PH), WOMEN'S RIGHTS CAMPAIGNER: There is no doubt about it. What we are saying, maybe it's not about -- maybe it's about making a new Ireland, where women truly matter and where we have a right to make choices for ourselves about our lives and our bodies.
SHUBERT (voice-over): It's a seismic shift that's been building for decades in Ireland, a country whose deep Catholic roots had underpinned some of the harshest laws against abortion.
At the Dublin vote count, cheers as ballot box after ballot box went for yes. But no voters struggled to come to grips with their loss.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shocked that nobody was listening to the no side. The right to life stands for every human being from the moment of conception to the time that they die. Nobody can take that away, no law, no anything. So in fact we don't stop.
SHUBERT (voice-over): There was fierce debate leading up to the referendum but more and more women told their harrowing stories of seeking abortions they knew were illegal at home.
Scared and desperate with an unwanted pregnancy, that's how Lucy Watmouth (ph) described her experience to us before the vote. Now she sees this.
LUCY WATMOUTH (PH), ABORTION RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I'm just so overwhelmed. I just kept thinking we are safe now. My sister will never go through what I went through. (INAUDIBLE) one day she won't go through what I went through. I'm glad they listened to us. (INAUDIBLE).
SHUBERT (voice-over): It was also a political win for Ireland's prime minister, Leo Varadkar, and health minister Simon Harris. Both had pushed to hold the referendum. Now they must shepherd the legislation through parliament. SIMON HARRIS, IRISH MINISTER OF HEALTH: For me personal as minister for health, when I started meeting women in Ireland who'd be putting this out, all I can say is I'm sorry we couldn't help you rather than be able to help them. I became very determined that we should try and do something on this and work with civil society so that we could campaign for that.
SHUBERT (voice-over): The politicians will get to work next week. But for yes voters, it's time to celebrate a historic moment for Ireland -- Atika Shubert, CNN, Dublin.
VANIER: Dominic Thomas joins me now for more on this. He's our European affairs commentator.
Dominic, for decades, the Catholic Church was such a dominant force in Irish society, they had got pretty much abortion banned in that the referendum in the early '80s.
How did we go from this very conservative society to this landslide in favor of abortion?
DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: It is absolutely a really remarkable development. I think there are number of factors, I think that obviously the Roman Catholic Church internationally and in Ireland itself has been embroiled for the time period that you mentioned, with a whole set of scandals.
So that of course has made it very difficult for it to maintain the kind of social legitimacy (ph) that it had and its influence on society and politics.
And we're seeing that the Roman Catholic Church really is developing in Africa and Latin America and but the church attendance, recruitment of new priests and so on is a pan-European struggle.
And I think that this dramatic transformation that we see in Ireland today, legislation is one thing. But it is the change in values. We have a more open society, a more diverse society and greater reflection on the role of family and gender roles.
And this has all contributed to this really tremendous --
DOMINIC THOMAS: -- and social transformation.
VANIER: And it is not just abortion. I mean if you look at just a few years back, Ireland legalized gay marriage. Now this. It feels like the country keeps changing before our eyes.
DOMINIC THOMAS: It's not only changing, so as you mentioned, yes. 2015 gay marriage was legalized through a popular vote. But just last year the new Irish prime minister is not only the youngest prime minister in the history of the country. And I think that is extraordinarily important.
But also the openly gay prime minister and is of Indian descent. So you've got a conglomeration of factors that points to a tremendous move towards openness and tolerance in a country that technically, at least, is still overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.
So tremendous openness. The Prime Minister talked about this today, even in addressing the no campaign. And what was interesting too is that the no campaigners distanced themselves from the church in trying to make their antiabortion case, preferring to talk about questions of human rights and morality.
But even they felt that the church was not going to help us in this particular referendum here.
VANIER: You mentioned the prime minister. We cannot understate how big a success politically this is for him. He called this referendum.
DOMINIC THOMAS: He did and as we've seen over the past couple of years, any kind of referendum, whether it's Brexit, the Catalonia question, the question of constitutional reform in Italy, is a huge political risk.
Now what is interesting about this prime minister is that really when he became a few years ago the cabinet member and the minister for health that his own positions on this kind of question started to evolve.
And I think there is a great lesson there in terms of consultation, speaking and testing the pulse of Irish society to where this was going. And it became increasingly obvious but for a whole range of reasons Irish society was ready for this transformation.
Now of course they're talking here about the Republic of Ireland, not Northern Ireland just across the border, with who there is, of course, all these kinds of tensions over the Brexit negotiations.
And in Northern Ireland there is still tremendous resistance towards changing the regulations there. And even though they are part of the United Kingdom the 1967 Abortion Act in the U.K. does not apply to Northern Ireland. So it's going to be interesting to see how this vote in the Republic of Ireland is going to shape this greater debate between these two countries.
VANIER: Our European affairs commentator, Dominic Thomas, thank you. It's always a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you.
DOMINIC THOMAS: Thank you.
VANIER: Investigators are trying to figure out what sparked a fire at Germany's largest amusement park. This happened Saturday at Europa Park in Rust, Germany. The park was evacuated after a pirate themed ride caught fire and then spread to nearby areas of the park.
Three firefighters were injured. Video from social media shows flames and thick plumes of black smoke rising into the air -- you see it there. At last check, the fire was under control.
Now a lot of people along the U.S. Gulf Coast are, unfortunately, going to become familiar with a storm named Alberto in the next few days.
VANIER: They are celebrating in the Spanish capital as Real Madrid have won their third straight Champions League title. The match with Liverpool was 1-1 when Real's Gareth Bale came off the bench and did this -- I'm sure we're going to see a picture.
He delivered an acrobatic bicycle kick to the back of the net. He went on to score once more; 3-1 was the final score as CNN's Alex Thomas reports, the disappointment was deep in Liverpool.
ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There were 30,000 fans here at Anfield Stadium, even though the match wasn't even being played here, such is the massive support from the Liverpool Football Club.
And the excitement at this team being back in the Champions League final for the first time since 2007.
But as those supporters start to make their way home, there's a real feeling that what could have been a massive party has rather fizzled out after their dreams of winning this trophy for a sixth time were wrecked not only by Real Madrid but also by two massive mistakes from Liverpool's own goalkeeper.
There was also a massive change of mood during the game when Mo Salah, their star striker, who has broken so many records with the number of goals he's scored this season, had to go off injured in the first half.
While he was on the pitch, it had all been Liverpool dominating the defending champions, Real Madrid, after Salah went off. It really went the way of the Spanish club.
So no more trophies for Liverpool Football Club as far as this Champions League ends just (INAUDIBLE) under managing Jurgen Klopp continues. We'll have to wait for another piece of silverware -- Alex Thomas, CNN, Liverpool.
VANIER: Congratulations to Madrid.
Thank you for watching CNN. I'm Cyril Vanier. I'll be back with the headlines in just a moment. Stay with us here on CNN.