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High-States Trump-Kim Meeting; Trump Speaks With South Korean President; Kim Jong-un in Singapore. Aired 9:30-10a ET
Aired June 11, 2018 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:33:08] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it's fair to say the entire world is watching what is occurring here in Singapore as President Trump and Kim Jong-un get ready for their historic summit happening just hours from now. North Korea state run media is just now broadcasting the images of Kim Jong-un leaving for Singapore. The question is what they're saying and what they're saying about this trip.
Paula Hancocks is -- joins me now in Singapore as well. You're based in Seoul.
It's interesting that they are talking about this trip. It's rare that they talk about a trip that Kim Jong-un takes while he's on it. It's usually once he's returned from it.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. You're right, Anderson. And that would suggest that they are hopeful that something's going to come out of this. They have called it an historic foreign trip. They brought the very famous news anchor out as well, (INAUDIBLE), to talk about this. Talking about what they want to be on the agenda.
They want relations with the United States. They also want to talk about denuclearization, which will clearly be music to Donald Trump's ears. And they want to talk about how to move things forward. So they've actually set out their agenda the night before this summit happens. It's highly unusual for that to be the case.
We also know that Mr. Trump had a phone call with the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in. President Moon talking about how he wanted Mr. Trump to have miraculous achievements from this. So, you know, no pressure there.
COOPER: Right, high expectations.
HANCOCKS: But, of course -- yes, a lot is riding on this for the South Korean president.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, it's been said very often, though, but when -- when the North Koreans talk about denuclearization, it means something different than when the United States talks about it.
HANCOCKS: Absolutely. They're talking about denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. They're not talking about denuclearization of North Korea. We've heard Kim Jong-un before say, if the United States wants unilateral nuclear disarmament, there's no point talking. They -- they've actually said that. So this is exactly what Washington wants. But we have seen in recent days, recent weeks the U.S. president's been pulling back a little bit saying he would like it to be all in one, but he's not excluding other options.
[09:35:06] COOPER: Also, Mike Pompeo today saying that -- using really language that raised some eyebrows about the U.S. being willing to consider some things that past administrations have not in terms of security on the continent.
HANCOCKS: Absolutely. I mean just the very fact that he's sitting down with Kim Jong-un means that anything goes. He is really willing to consider things that past administrations would never even have considered. So there's certainly that concern.
One interesting thing, though, I did hear from a South Korean government official when talking about, you know, what sort of advice would you give to the U.S. president ahead of this meeting, saying, for Kim Jong-un it is important that he is accepted as a respected interlocutor, so someone you can sit down and talk to. So they were hoping that Mr. Trump was going to show respect to the North Korean leader. I don't know if this is since what happened in G-7, but that is something that they were concerned about.
COOPER: All right, Paula Hancocks, appreciate it. A lot to watch for.
I want to bring in CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd, who joins us now.
You've worked preparing President Obama for a lot of summits for a lot of these kind of -- kind of meetings. So, obviously, there has never been a meeting between a -- a sitting U.S. president and the leader of North Korea.
Paula Hancocks was just talking about Kim Jong-un wanting respect, wanting legitimacy. Just sitting down one-on-one, as he will, with President Trump tomorrow for that initial meeting, that really is perhaps the most important part of this entire summit, no?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think the one-on- one is the most important part of this summit. And to a large extent, Anderson, the rest of the schedule is window dressing because in that one-on-one, remember, Donald Trump said that he's going to be sizing up Kim Jong-un, but Kim Jong-un is also going to be sizing up Donald Trump. And Kim is going to be assessing whether President Trump is serious about this being a one shot deal or if a credible military threat is still on the table.
If Kim doesn't think that President Trump is serious, that diplomacy has a sunset, Kim may drag this out. He has no reason not to. And that's why I think that this was a massive staffing failure on behalf of the White House given what we think is two hours to a one-on-one meeting. I can't think of any conversation that President Trump has had for any extended period of time with a foreign leader, particularly a skilled sociopath like Kim Jong-un or someone like Vladimir Putin that has gone well when it's gone on for an extended period of time.
COOPER: I remember reading Madeline Albright talking about Kim Jong- un's father, Kim Jong-il, and that he in -- in a meeting that he had with her was very well versed in North Korea's nuclear policy, was able to actually answer some very intricate nuclear details without having to go to aides. It's going to be interesting to see how well- versed Kim Jong-un is, and, of course, how well versed President Trump is if, as you say, if this one-on-one meeting goes on for two hours, that is plenty of time to get into some specifics. It's not clear, though, that President Trump is really that sort of a leader. He tends to, you know, he sort of set himself up as being much more about kind of big picture.
VINOGRAD: Exactly. And let's keep in mind that North Korea's nuclear program is far more advanced then when Secretary Albright sat down with Kim's father. We are talking about a nuclear complex. We're talking about nuclear weapons, uranium enrichment facilities, as well as the technology that goes into this program. And so Donald Trump, President Trump, is not an expert on details. He likes to stay big picture. And that's why, if I had been in this White House, I would have advised making this even a two plus two meeting. And having someone like Ambassador John Bolton, who we know the North Koreans don't like, at the table next to President Trump, Ambassador Bolton is a hawk, but he has a lot of experience in arms control negotiations with other countries and we know the sorts of questions to raise with Kim Jong-un, or how to respond at least on any of these details.
COOPER: Just in terms of what goes on in that two-hour meeting, I mean how -- how much detail do you expect them to get into or how much is this kind of just sizing each other up?
VINOGRAD: Well, I hope not a lot of detail because I don't think that the president is going to be prepared to really have that kind of conversation with Kim Jong-un.
I think the most important part of this meeting is the president's talking points and then, of course, whether he chooses to stick to them. He should say that he's hopeful that this process will work out. But, again, if he fails to convince Kim Jong-un that this is not an extended process, like we've seen under previous administrations, that this has a sunset, then Kim Jong-un may just tread water and drag this process out because he doesn't fear that there will be consequences if he doesn't change the behavior.
[09:40:03] So, from my perspective, I think that this should have been a short and sweet one-on-one so that the president could deliver a credible message about how hopeful and invested he is in this process, as well as what happens if Kim Jong-un doesn't really play ball.
Samantha Vinograd, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
A lasting image from this weekend's G-7. This seems to perfectly capture President Trump's clashes with our closest allies. You've seen this picture. Could this growing fight with America's friends cause long-term damage and have an impact here at the summit tomorrow.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, take a look at these pictures out of Singapore. It's 9:45 almost in the evening there. This is the lobby of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. It's a three tower enormous luxury hotel complex in Singapore. It's significant because we know it is where Kim Jong-un may be headed this evening. May, I emphasize. He left his hotel, the St. Regis, just about 20 minutes ago for a little bit of time out on the town. We'll let you know as we get more word on exactly where he is visiting.
[09:45:07] Let's discuss everything that's going on ahead of this summit set to begin in just hours with CNN political analysts Josh Dawsey and Alex Burns.
And, Alex, let me begin with you because we heard the president's economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, yesterday draw a direct line from the fallout after the G-7 summit to what the president is about to walk into in a few hours.
Let's play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: He can't put Trump in a position of being weak going into the North Korean talks with Kim. He can't do that. And, by the way, President Trump is not weak. He will be very strong, as he always is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: He's explaining why the president was so furious at the comments that Justin Trudeau made, simply saying, you can't push Canada around. Does Larry Kudlow, though, have a point?
ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, there's nothing that projects strength like pounding the table and saying, I'm not weak, right? It's sort of an odd bit of theatrics on the part of Larry Kudlow and I think does speak to sort of the character of the people who surround the president at this point.
You don't hear a lot of the president's advisers, remaining members of his cabinet, doing the thing where the president gets over his skis and then they try to kind of walk it back or explain what he really meant, right? What you see is amplification and clearly that's what the president wants heading into this summit.
HARLOW: Josh, an interesting way that Axios put it this morning, quote, Trump effectively backed out of a deal with allies while traveling to try and reach a deal with a foe.
Is that really fair analysis or is it apples to oranges?
JOSH DAWSEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It was a whirlwind weekend by all accounts. I mean the president excoriated a reporter for suggesting that his relationship with allies was not a ten, and then he got on the plane and went through a pretty petulant --
HARLOW: A CNN reporter.
DAWSEY: Petulant Twitter storm blasting Canada, our northern neighbor, kind of ripping up all of the progress made over the weekend. The whole G-7, our weekend was about Trump. And he does not really see allies and adversaries in the same traditional way that many presidents have. He's just as willing to take on Canada or France and be friendly to North Korea in pursuit of a deal. And right now he sees allies as not giving him the deal he wants and possibly getting a deal from North Korea, which we'll see (ph). So he's behaving accordingly. He's doing it his way.
HARLOW: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, this morning in a press conference just a few hours ago, Alex, was asked about whether this fallout from the G-7 will impact the ability to get done what the U.S. wants to get done here in Singapore and he said, look, there are always irritants, his word, in these relationships, but he said, I am unconcerned about our capacity to do what we need to do to get the outcome in North Korea that we want. Is he right that one is not related to the other?
BURNS: Well, the tricky thing is that we're not really sure what the realistic range of outcomes in Singapore is at this point. And I do think part of what ties together what happened at the G-7, what's about to happen in Singapore, is that this president doesn't think about policy in the terms that a president would traditionally think about policy. He thinks about sort of the theatrics and the body language of strength and weakness. So you -- he's immune to the arguments that, you know, actually you can get some kind of negotiated solution with Canada over the disagreements and, meanwhile, you know, having a warm personal meeting with Kim Jong-un is not sufficient in Singapore. That's just not how he thinks about it.
HARLOW: You know, we've heard from one prominent Republican, Josh, in all of this, and that is Senator John McCain, who tweeted basically, you know, America is with you to our allies. But it is pretty just stunned silence it seems from other prominent Republican lawmakers. Is that just what we're going to see?
DAWSEY: Well, the president's far outside the Republican orthodoxy on trade, but a lot of these Republicans are happy with the moves he's made on, you know, tax cuts and Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and other policy items. And when you go after him, he will blast you on Twitter. He will keep you away from the table (ph).
HARLOW: But they hammered him on the tariffs. But they -- but they -- Corkers and others, they hammered him, Josh, on the tariffs when they were instituted, but it seems like after what he said following the G- 7, it's sort of stunned silence. I'm wondering why. DAWSEY: We've seen that repeatedly, though, Poppy. We've seen the
Republicans come out and say, we disagree with this, we disagree with this. And, at the end of the day, what's actually done about it? I would be shocked if anything is actually done. I mean Mitch McConnell already said, he's not bringing the bill to the floor on tariffs. This is the party on Trump and these Republicans see time and time again --
HARLOW: All right, guys, stay with me. We're looking at activity. This is happening live. We're watching it unfold, just as you're seeing it. The doors opening there to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. One of the biggest luxury three tower hotels in Singapore. A lot of photographers there. A lot of cameras. Anderson's with me.
And, Anderson, we know that Kim Jong-un left his hotel about 25, 30 minutes ago at the St. Regis and now it looks like he may be arrived at the Marina Bay Sands, right?
COOPER: Yes, that's right. It's a -- there's a -- it's a really kind of remarkable building, three towers with sort of this -- basically something built on top of it where there's a pool. There's also said to be a night club in this structure. It's not clear exactly why they chose this location for Kim Jong-un to visit, if, in fact, as we assume, it is he in this motorcade.
[09:50:04] As you said, he left his hotel, the St. Regis, about 20 or so minutes ago. We got some indication earlier today that spots were being scouted out for a possible visit from the North Korean leader. Obviously security is always very tight here in Singapore, but it is especially tight now.
There you see a number of the bodyguards of the large bodyguard detail for Kim Jong-un. It's not clear. That is certainly his entourage.
COOPER: It's hard to actually see if he was in there. His bodyguards are actually enormously tall and so he might have been in that grouping.
HARLOW: Anderson, it just --
COOPER: Actually, let's go to Manisha --
HARLOW: Go ahead.
COOPER: Yes, sorry, Poppy, go ahead.
HARLOW: No, let's go to Manisha --
COOPER: Yes, let's go to Manisha Tank, who's standing by at this -- at this -- at the St. Regis.
Manisha, you've been outside the St. Regis. Earlier in the day you got a heads up about three hours ago just watching the -- kind of the security preparation for this move. MANISHA TANK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's quite intense over here,
Anderson. For anyone to go anywhere, it takes about three hours of preparation. It was just before 6:00 p.m. local time. It's now -- we're looking at coming up to 10 minutes to 10:00 in the evening.
But just before 6:00 p.m. we saw the motorbikes, the police motorbikes lining up towards the -- on the road just adjacent to the St. Regis. King of just behind the hotel. And that was the indication that something or someone was on the move.
And so we got into position. We waited here for around three hours before that motorcade took off. And at that point it wasn't clear where exactly they were going. But now we are getting eyes on from various places that they have turned up. And we saw those pictures at the lobby of Marina Bay Sands.
We've also had the foreign minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, the foreign minister of Singapore, tweeting out a picture of North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un with him, surrounded by flowers. We can only assume that this is Gardens by the Bay. This is an icon here in Singapore. Certainly a place that if -- if a special visitor is coming to town, it is something you would want to show them.
And, of course, the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel is a place from which you can get incredible views of Singapore. No confirmation whether he'll definitely go up there or not. But if you are going to go to that particular hotel, that is certainly a place you would want to go to soak up the sites.
And let's not forget, of course, Anderson, this is just the third trip that Kim Jong-un has done as an international statesman. And to come to Singapore and one would only assume that he might want to take advantage of these opportunities and to be seen to be engaging here. But you can't forget the fact that there's a very important summit coming up, not so many hours from now.
COOPER: Yes, just 11 hours from now, he will be meeting one on one with President Trump and only translators present. We're told that meeting may go as long as two hours, which is surprisingly long for a one on one meeting.
There you saw a number of his bodyguards. It looks like they sort of escorted him to one area, perhaps into an elevator, and then you saw them kind of running into another location. Maybe -- I assume they were taking a separate elevator up to wherever Kim Jong-un is going.
The top of this building is really extraordinary. It's unlike really any building I've seen before. It's three large towers with sort of a large platter on top of it. There you see it on the left-hand side of your screen. It kind of bridges all of the buildings. There's a pool location. There's a nightclub. So it's very possible that he has gone up to get a look at the view. It's an extraordinary view of Singapore.
Poppy, you have more on the hotel.
HARLOW: Well, it's just interesting, Anderson, to note. Obviously, it's a major tourist spot and something anyone going to Singapore would want to see. It's also owned by Sheldon Alelson, one of the biggest financial backers and supporters of President Trump, Anderson.
COOPER: Who's, obviously, donated a lot of money to President Trump's campaign.
COOPER: Also to the -- to the RNC.
We don't know how long Kim Jong-un is actually going to be -- going to be staying there. Nor what sort of preparation he has actually been making for -- for this summit. His father was very well versed in nuclear policy. It's not clear exactly how well versed Kim Jong-un is. Though certainly as the leader of North Korea, he's portrayed as somebody who is sort of making -- making all the decisions. He's also followed here by a number of his top officials as well, all of whom arrived yesterday here in Singapore.
So we'll continue to follow all of this breaking news. Let's take a quick break. More from Singapore and around the world.
[09:59:21] HARLOW: All right, top of the hour, and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. My colleague, Anderson Cooper, is live in Singapore, where Kim Jong-un is on the move hours before a potentially historic summit with President Trump.
COOPER: A very large motorcade set out from Kim's hotel here just about 30 minutes ago, pulled up minutes ago at a different hotel on Marina Bay. I should note, it's now 10:00 p.m. here in Singapore with Kim's potentially world changing day of diplomacy due to start just 11 hours from now. We've got a one on one meeting with President Trump.
I want to bring in our Kaitlan Collins.
[10:00:00] So, Kaitlan, just throughout the day we've been learning more details of exactly what is going to happen 11 hours from now and some -- perhaps the most important meeting is the one right off the bat that one on one with President Trump and their translators.