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Trump and Kim Hours Away From Historic Summit; Trump Criticizes Trudeau On Twitter Over Trade; Trump Spurns U.S. Allies Ahead of Kim Meeting; Basketball's Dennis Rodman in Singapore for Summit Aired 1-2a ET
Aired June 11, 2018 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:06] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Less than a day before his summit with Kim Jong-un, President Donald Trump is meeting with Singapore's Prime Minister. The video you see right there taken just moments ago.
HOWELL: We're live at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, I'm George Howell.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Rosemary Church. Welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. This is CNN Newsroom.
HOWELL: In less than 24 hours' time, Donald Trump will become the first sitting president to meet with a North Korean leader.
CHURCH: Yes. And, both he and Kim Jong-un are in Singapore, as you see, as the final preparations are being made for their historic summit.
Now, Mr. Trump is meeting with Singapore's Prime Minister, you see him there, standing side by side and will later visit U.S. Embassy there.
HOWELL: Kim Jong-un also met with Singapore's leader on Sunday. Earlier North Korean state TV laid out its agenda for the meeting with its most famous news anchor, listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RI CHUN-HEE, NORTH KOREAN NEWS ANCHOR: At this this historical first DPRK and USA summit, which is garnering the attention and hopes of the entire world, comprehensive and in-depth views will be exchanges on issues of common interest.
Such as establishing a new DPRK-USA relation that responds to the changing requirements of the new era. Establishing firm and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And we have in-depth coverage of this historic summit. Anna Coren is following the story from Seoul in South Korea. Manisha Tank and Will Ripley are both in
HOWELL: And, we begin with Will Ripley who again, has reported extensively from North Korea.
Will, during your many travels to North Korea, you have always said North Korea is open to talks. Now Kim Jong-un is getting exactly that from the North Korean perspective. How important do you believe this summit is?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's very important, and you know, evidenced by the fact hear Ri Chun-hee, the most famous news reader North Korea, who is only brought on for major announcements, telling the North Koreans about the summit before it has even started.
That in itself is significant because often North Korea waits until after events to give the government approved recap of how things went. You remember the inter-Korean summit, it was one day later when there was multiple pages of photos celebrating the inter-Korean summit. Later North Korean state TV put out a documentary that provided a lot of new footage and information from the North Korean perspective.
But what Ri Chun-hee did by making that announcement to 25 million North Koreans inside that country, who don't have access to outside media, is the government is telling them things are going to change.
The red a black posters you've seen hanging in your cities talking about war and aggression against the United States are being replaced with blue and green, and gold posters with messages of peace. Those colors symbolizing harmony, symbolizing prosperity.
They're telling it the North Koreans to prepare themselves for a new era. And what it shows, frankly, is that at the very top the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has made decision here. for six years in his power, he was going all in on nuclear weapons and now he's done a U-turn, and going all in on trying to grow his country's economy.
And, so what it says to me, the fact that the North Koreans are speaking about the summit in this way, they are determined to make things work with the United States. This falling apart and failing for them is not an option.
However, don't expect that that means they're just going to roll over on the issue of giving up their nuclear weapons in six months as some in the Trump administration have said they want to do. The North Koreans are shrewd negotiators and they have been preparing for this moment really for decades.
(END VIDEOTAPE) RIPLEY: Kim Jong-un is surrounded by a team of specialists whose sole
careers and lives have been focused on the politics of the Korea Peninsula, on nuclear gamesmanship and on learning everything they can about the United States. And of course, they've been studying the Trump administration very carefully.
Now, President Trump has said he's going into this negotiation having prepared his whole life being interested in North Korea for a very long time; all of deals that he's struck in the past. We don't know how much more intensive and specific preparation he has had to know what to expect from the North Koreans at the negotiating table, but the stakes really couldn't be any higher for both of these world leaders.
Some might argue at the moment Kim has already gained more than President Trump, because the fact that he's having a summit with a sitting U.S. President. He's improved his relationship with Xi Jinping of China. Soon, he'll be possibly meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Russia, and those two authoritarian countries have essentially told North Korea they have their back, regardless of what happens with the
That gives President Trump a little bit of less leverage here, but what President Trump can offer, the potential normalizing of relations could drastically change the face of North Korea and the lives of the people who live there.
If you're talking going in there rebuilding infrastructure, bringing it up to international standard, providing the type of agricultural equipment that can give people a really adequate food supply, providing modern medical equipment to help with the country's huge tuberculosis problem, for one example of the many health problems they're struggling with in North Korea.
I mean, there's a lot that could really happen, if things go well here in Singapore, and if this truly is the historic and momentous turning point that it appears to could be.
[01:05] HOWELL: Will, the point though, if things go well and it comes down to that word "denuclearization" and as they say the devil lies in the details, we will have to as the president says "wait and see".
Will Ripley, thank you for the reporting.
CHURCH: Alright. Let's bring back Manisha Tank now, who is outside Kim Jong-un's hotel in Singapore.
Manisha, what is being said about the presence of Kim Jong-un staying in the hotel and what have you been witnessing in terms of security, the movements at the hotel? Of his contingency and what are the expectations for this historic meeting?
MANISHA TANK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course, Rosemary, this is an absolutely historic event and it's huge for Singapore. This is a thoroughfare that attracts lots of visitors, lots of locals well, and certainly when the motorcade came in from the airport just yesterday, there was huge interest.
The streets were thronging with people, they were taking pictures with their cameras. We've even had had people taking pictures of us reporting the story and that underlines the significance of this. I am absolutely surrounded by cameramen with tripods and it is very busy this morning right outside the St. Regis Hotel.
TANK: Now, it is on the busiest thorough fare here in Singapore and we got a glimpse inside the hotel earlier. I can tell you that there were North Korean guards on standby there, recognizable by the red badges they wear on their lapels.
They fan out in different directions in t hotel, but it's a calm atmosphere. It's a very lavish place and that's worth mentioning because this is only the third of Kim Jong-un's international visits as a statesman and it's a new world for him in that respect.
Now, we were looking just a moment ago with Will at the success of this, or how well this will go in the political sense - - in the diplomatic sense, but if you're looking at logistics, you might say so far this is panning out to be quite successful for the Singaporeans at least.
They were approached by the U.S. because they are this rare country that has diplomatic relations with both the United States and with North Korea, to host the summit in the first place; it's mutual ground.
Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, who actually had a bilateral meeting with Kim Jong-un late on Sunday, he was praised by the North Korean leader for the way that Singapore has been taking care of him so far. In fact, he said that Singapore was treating this like it was a family affair and all of these words, all of this communication, will become very important.
Let us not forgetting that Singapore is a regional, regional neighbor as are the Japanese and various other countries that are watching what's happening in terms of those relations between the United States and North Korea very closely.
When they look at the detail of any talks that happened at this Singapore summit, they will want to know what it means for them and so huge interest in this part of the world, and certainly, I can tell you the crowds are building so people are expecting to see something.
Certainly yesterday, the cameras were snapping when Kim Jong-un's motorcade made it down to The Istana palace to meet the Prime Minister. So, quite a bit of excitement. This is unprecedented for this city's sake.
CHURCH: Yes. Manisha Tank, thank you so much for your reporting there. Of course, Singapore keeping very close control of all the pictures here to make sure that the right message is sent out to the world.
HOWELL: That's right. Let's cross over to our colleague Anna Coren, following the story in Seoul, South Korea.
And look, surely in that part of the world, people are watching on that nation's President Moon Jae-in, invested a great deal of his own time, his own political capital toward ensuring this process of engagement.
What are the expectations there about this summit?
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, George, I think we need to keep this in context because less than 50 kilometers from where we're standing is the DMZ and the North Korean border. South Korea has been living with the threat of war from North Korea for more than 70 years.
So this is very real for the people here. They want peace. They want enduring peace. They want this to work. They need change and they are desperately wanting change.
So you can feel it, everybody that you speak to, there is this optimism and hope that there's going to be something substantial come out of this summit, at the very least, a peace treaty. We have to remember that at the end of the Korean War, an armistice was signed, not a peace treaty.
So, at the very least, the people of South Korea are hoping that there is talk of a peace treaty being signed between North and South Korea.
George, you mentioned South Korean President Moon Jae-in, he has been instrumental in getting Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump to the table. Ever since he came into office over a year ago, he's been pushing for detente with North Korea.
We saw it during the Winter Olympics, that good will really was spread across the Korean Peninsula with the North Koreans involved. Not just athletes but that cheer squad and then that North Korean delegation, including Kim Jong-un's sister.
[01:10] So, really they have extended the olive branch and then behind the scenes we know that President Moon has been working furiously to ensure tomorrow's summit happens.
Now, we should stress not everybody is convinced that this is going to be a success. Some feel that this is deja vu, we've been here twice before under President Clinton and then again under President Bush, both times those talks failed because the North Korean's cheating.
So, there are those who believe that Kim Jong-un will never ever fully give up his nuclear weapons program, because they are vital to the legitimacy of the North Korean regime, as well as to his leadership. But, in saying that, there is a feeling that there's change under way in North Korea. That it needs to evolve, it needs to develop and needs to allow economic development.
That aid that is crucially needed to grow, otherwise, that could potential be a threat to Kim Jong-un's leadership.
And, just to finish on this point, George, there was a poll taken here in North Korea and it found that three-quarters of the people polled found Kim Jong-un, a man that not so long ago was described as a murderous dictator and nuclear lunatic is trustworthy.
So, that really is quite a transformation that we've seen in a matter of months, George.
HOWELL: That is transformation, indeed.
Anna Coren live for us in Seoul, South Korea. Thank you for the reporting.
CHURCH: And, for summit analysis, we're joined live from Singapore by Graham Ong-Webb, he is a Research Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. Thank you so much for being with us.
GRAHAM ONG-WEBB, RESEARCH FELLOW AT THE S. RAJARATNAM SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Thank you.
CHURCH: Now, of course, the stakes and expectations are high, but so are the risks here, particularly given that North Korea doesn't have a great track record if history is any guide. We know Pyongyang made a deal with the Clinton administration in 1994 to denuclearize, but found out then in 2002, that North Korea had been cheating.
How does President Trump avoid that happening again? This sense that we have an agreement, but a few years down the track we find that no one's actually working toward that, both sides were at fault of course.
ONG-WEBB: Yes, you're quite right. There have been a string of abysmal failures, disappointments - - if we do a head count, about eight agreements, or eight undertakings, all in all over the last couple decades that have failed horribly.
And so, it's going to be a very difficult task for President Donald Trump to get this one off the ground.
I would argue that one of the things that North Korea sorely needs is a sense of security. A strong sense of security where they feel unthreatened, that they can feel assured, that they can get about doing the things they really want to do. Which is, like the rest of us, to focus on improving the quality of life, economic development, you know and all those are good things. But right now, they feel severely threatened by the rest of the world, in particular by the U.S. And so Mr. Trump will have to provide those assurances to communicate to Mr. Kim that there will be these ironclad security guarantees that will truly compel North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons, stand down and really focus on the other things that really should benefit the North Korean people.
CHURCH: I mean, it's going to be a tough road ahead. Of course, when we look at the situation right now, North Korea has already got what it wanted, a meeting with a U.S. President. It has wanted that for many, many years.
How likely is it that the U.S. will get what it wants, the denuclearization of North Korea?
ONG-WEBB: Well, I'm quite skeptical, but I'm still quite measured about the whole thing. I think we need to manage our expectations. Right from the get-go, the policy, the current - - the recent policy of the U.S. has been about CVID, complete verifiable irreversible dismantlement of nuclear weapons.
That's a tall order. It's really implying the decisive standing down and giving up of nuclear weapons, almost overnight, if you will, or in a very short period of time. This is clearly not the direction the North Koreans want to go to, so long as they feel insecure. For them it's more synchronous a more reciprocal exercise, I give you something and I take back something in return.
So for them it's going to be a gradual phased reduction of nuclear weapons if anything and they all want a list of incentives to be doled out for reward for good behavior.
So, I think tomorrow is going to be about this negotiation, about what is going to be the degree of compromise from both sides, in striking an agreement that works, that will gain traction and allow the DPRK to get on to this CVID sort of arrangement. But, with some adjustments clearly that is comfortable to North Korea.
So, we'll have to see what kind of bargains are struck tomorrow.
CHURCH: And, Graham, just stand by for a moment, because we do just want to bring up that tape of President Trump when he was there at the palace. Let's just bring that up and try to hear what exactly he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: (INAUDIBLE)
CHURCH: Alright. Though, it was difficult to hear, I'm going to read what we heard him say there, "Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister. It's a real honor to be with you. This was a choice that we made very consciously as you know", then there's a little bit inaudible there.
"You're my friend", he says, "we've got a very interesting meeting in particular tomorrow", of course referring to the summit with Kim Jong- un. "And I think things will work out very nicely." he says, "we appreciate your hospitality and professionalism", talking there of course to the Singapore Prime Minister, and he thanked him for his friendship and thanked him for the situation.
So, interesting. I mean, this is very carefully choreographed. We thought that this wouldn't be the case, but of course, we're talking about Singapore here, and I do want to just go back to the point about this agreement.
Because getting an agreement is one thing, implementing it is another, that's the difficulty and the verification watching the situation, and how North Korea follows the line once some sort of deal is reached.
ONG-WEBB: Clearly, that's going to be a whole different ball game. I think in managing our expectations, what we really should look to for the summit is something as bake as striking a chord between two heads of state. Mr. Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump who have never met before and in history of course, no sitting U.S. President and leader of North Korea, have come together in the same room to see eye to eye and try to work things out.
So, I think the spirit of this enterprise of building trust, where there's no trust right now to be had anywhere and to build a basis for a working relationship would be integral to having those necessary decisive follow-on meetings. Where the matters of detail, including verification and irreversibility can be worked out.
I'm very skeptical that those finer details, no matter how demanding and nonnegotiable they are can be worked out in a day or two, it will take a lot more working for that to happen.
So, I can see this summit really being that springboard for subsequent meetings. One can imagine that Mr. Kim will have to reciprocate and go to Washington, D.C. to meet Mr. Trump at some point. And President Trump in return will have to reciprocate, and go and meet Mr. Kim in Pyongyang.
So, this is something that one ought to expect, but clearly it will be a one-off meeting if it goes south tomorrow and if these two leaders cannot get along to begin with, I think that's essential.
CHURCH: It is going to be a very delicate operation and, as you point out, trust is a major issue here. And, of course, an instance where you've got Kim Jong-un flying all the way to the United States, that is an incredible concept in itself, just getting him to Singapore was an issue in itself.
Many thanks to Graham Ong-Webb bringing us that analysis on the summit. We appreciate it.
HOWELL: Rosemary, to your point, all eyes are on what happens there is in Singapore, but the biggest question right now, can the United States trust North Korea's promises.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dismantling missiles is one inning but there is no guarantee Kim Jong-un will tell Donald Trump his nuclear secrets, including covert sites buried deep in mountains.
HOWELL: The U.S. policy of trust, but verify back from the Reagan days perhaps facing its toughest test yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Plus, Mr. Trump left the G7 early, but he can't stop Tweeting about it. The latest on his trade feud with Canada's Prime Minister. We'll have that for you and more when we come back.
[01:18:30] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Right now, U.S. President Donald Trump is meeting with Singapore's Prime Minister. They're actually having lunch just hours before his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
HOWELL: And at the top of the agenda, ending the North's nuclear program and starting a new era of U.S.- North Korea relations. That was the message coming from North Korea.
CHURCH: Now, it could be something of an about face for Kim Jong-un. Long described by the West as a murderous dictator, however, it now appears he's ready to reach out to the West.
HOWELL: The U.S. President isn't letting his summit with Kim Jong-un get in the way of his feud with the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. The two have been at odds over tariffs, now even more so, Rosemary, you know after that G7 summit.
Mr. Trump has been on Twitter a great deal in the last few hours, accusing the Canadian Prime Minister of many things, also Canada of unfair trade practices and said Mr. Trudeau acts hurt when called out.
CHURCH: Now, this all began after an announcement by Mr. Trudeau Saturday. He said Canada wouldn't be pushed around and had to respond to U.S. tariffs with tariffs of its own.
Now, that sparked outrage from the White House, the U.S. backed out of a G7 joint communique and Mr. Trump's aides went on the attack Sunday. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISOR: There's a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump, and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN's Global Affairs Analyst, David Rohde, joins me from New York. He's also the online news director for The New Yorker. Great to have you with us.
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Thank you.
[01:25] CHURCH: Now, we do seem to be living in an upside down world right now, where our friends have become enemies, and our enemies our friends.
Why did President Trump suddenly turn on Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, given nothing said by the Prime Minister was new? Was there any justification for that reaction? Has America been treated unfairly, as Mr. Trump suggests when it comes to trade and tariffs?
ROHDE: As far as I'm concerned, no. I was surprised by the strength of President Trump's reaction, why he was set off by this one press conference, but this fits a long pattern of Donald Trump being very combative. He counter attacks when he feels he's under attack and you're, just seeing that now on the international stage.
CHURCH: And President Trump, and the White House, continuing their attacks now on Prime Minister Trudeau. As we just heard Trump advisers calling Trudeau weak and dishonest, suggesting there's a special place in hell for the Prime Minister, that this is a betrayal and stabbing the president in the back.
Where is all this hostility coming from? And what impact will this likely have on America's relationship with Canada?
ROHDE: It's again part of a tactic, a very aggressive White House that you know, doubles down when they get in a fight. I think this is backfiring, it's driving up support for Justin Trudeau and Canada. The U.K., Britain and France are all backing Trudeau and essentially this is public bullying on the international stage and it' backfiring.
All politics this local, Justin Trudeau cannot back down for his own domestic political reasons when he's attacked by Donald Trump. So, this kind of bullying isn't working and I don't think it will work in Singapore, if President Trump applies it to North Korea.
CHURCH: And David, I want to bring up that picture again, we just had it there. Germany's Angela Merkel leaning across the table while President Trump sits with his arms crossed. Can we bring that up, guys?
There it is. A case of a picture is worth a thousand words. What does it tell us about the relationship between the United States and its G7 allies?
ROHDE: Well, you can see, you know, Prime Minister Abe of Japan is there, President Macron, Theresa May, as well, and Trump is isolated and his allies are not blinking. Again, threw cannot blink you know?
All these leaders, Britain, France, all these different countries, Japan, they can't look weak to their own constituents. So they have no choice when they're backed into a corner by Donald Trump, than to push back.
This isn't how you conduct effective trade negotiations or basic diplomacy.
CHURCH: And significantly, this is all happening as Mr. Trump prepares to meet with Kim Jong-un in Singapore, a long-type enemy of the United States. But Mr. Trump seems more excited about that meeting and willing to make a deal with him compared to his G7 allies.
How do you make sense of all this?
ROHDE: I think there's an element of this that does appeal to President Trump's political base. He was elected blaming the rest of the world on free loading off the United States. He offered simple solutions to complex problems of economics and trade.
So I think this all helps him politically inside the United States with his supporters, but there's a large number of Americans who, I think, disagree with this general bullying, this belligerence and I don't think it will help him inside the United States in the long- term, and it definitely is hurting him internationally at had point.
CHURCH: We'll be watching to see what happens to the United States in the midst of all of this.
CHURCH: David Rohde, thank you so much. We always appreciate your analysis.
ROHDE: Thank you.
HOWELL: And again, we're just hours away - - these two leaders coming together at the negotiating table, but what happens between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore, that's just the start.
If there is an agreement, how can the U.S. verify North Korea's promises? We'll have more on that ahead.
CHURCH: Plus, from nuclear missile testing to sports diplomacy, and now finally a face-to-face meeting. How this North Korea-U.S. summit came together, we'll explain when we come back.
[01:32:53] HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. It's good to have you with us. I'm George Howell.
CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. Time to check the headlines for you this hour.
Donald Trump is meeting with Singapore's prime minister right now for a working lunch. The U.S. President and Kim Jong-un are both in Singapore preparing for their historic summit which is just hours away.
North Korea says their agenda includes denuclearization and durable peace. It will be the first time a sitting U.S. President has met with a North Korean leader.
HOWELL: After a dispute over tariffs at the G-7 summit, the White House is ramping up attacks on the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Mr. Trump's trade advisor Peter Navarro called Mr. Trudeau weak and dishonest on "Fox News Sunday". He also signaled there was a quote, "special place in hell" for the prime minister -- those words not taken lightly by the Canadians.
CHURCH: Heavy black smoke rose from a fire at a Baghdad warehouse housing ballot boxes from Iraq's contested parliamentary election. The fire comes days after parliament ordered a national recount. The interior ministry says the ballots survived. It's not clear what started that fire.
Well, the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un has been months in the making.
HOWELL: But experts say the real test will come after the historic handshake.
Our Barbara Starr explains.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Cameras captured the moment North Korea said it blew up underground nuclear test tunnels. Satellite imagery shows another test site appearing to be dismantled.
Was this the beginning of Kim getting rid of his nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that could hit the U.S. or was it all for show? President Trump demanding denuclearization. DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It means they get rid
of their nukes, very simple. They get rid of their nukes and nobody else would say it.
STARR: Dismantling ballistic missiles is one thing but there is no guarantee Kim Jong-un will tell Donald Trump his nuclear secrets including covert sites buried deep in mountains.
[01:35:06] TONY BLINKEN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: What's even more important is this vast complex that they have in place spread throughout the country that's able, by current estimates, to produce enough material for six to seven nuclear weapons every year -- getting a grip on that the entire supply chain that feeds that complex.
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. General Secretary, though my pronunciation may give you difficulty, the maxim is "doveryai, no proveryai", trust but verify.
STARR: Thirty years after Ronald Reagan and the Soviets, it's still complicated. Just one example -- Kim's nuclear warheads may be so unstable they can't be moved.
DAVID ALBRIGHT, INSTITUTE FOR SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY: We don't know the safety margins that North Korea uses. I mean, nuclear weapons involve a lot of high explosives, at least the ones the North Koreans are building. And I'm not sure I'd want to see that put on an American ship or planes.
STARR: But if there is an agreement, first North Korea would have to declare both known and secret locations and its inventories of ballistic missiles, nuclear warheads and plutonium and uranium. Weapons and equipment would have to be disabled or destroyed.
Experts envision international inspectors on the ground plus U.S. satellites and aircraft overhead keeping secret watch. Those international nuclear inspectors already are getting ready.
YUKIYA AMANO, DIRECTOR GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY: We will be ready to act promptly and play an essential role in verifying North Korea's nuclear program if a political agreement is reached.
STARR (on camera): It's all been tried before but each time, North Korea in the past has reneged on any deals that they've made. And one big concern? North Korea will still have the scientists and engineers that some day in the future could restart a nuclear program.
Barbara Starr, CNN -- the Pentagon.
HOWELL: Barbara -- thanks for putting it into focus with us with the reporting.
And now let's bring in David Kim to give us some context around this. David -- a former U.S. State Department official for East Asia and non-proliferation, live with us in Tokyo, Japan. It's good to have you again here on the show with us.
Ok. So that old statement back from the Reagan days, the late former president Ronald Reagan "trust but verify". How would that happen with North Korea in your estimation? How would officials go about making sure that North Korea lives up to its promises?
DAVID KIM, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: I think once you have a political agreement -- that gives the impetus for verifiers to go in. We're talking about the International Energy Atomic Energy. Our experts who have been in the country before are ready to go in at any time to verify the removal of their nuclear weapons.
I would say that there are some low hanging fruit that could come out of the summit. This could include inspections in Punggye-ri nuclear test site. It could also mean allowing inspectors IAEA inspectors to be able to have a unilateral -- sorry -- indefinite unilateral freeze on their nuclear and ballistic missile program which they agreed to back in April.
So these are some things that are low-hanging that we can definitely come out from the summit but the harder -- the harder step moving forward is going to be a complete and verifiable declaration of their entire nuclear arsenal. This is their fissile material. This is their production capabilities and so forth. ,
HOWELL: But David -- that's the tricky part though, right? What does the word denuclearization mean -- right? So do you think these two sides will be able to come together on that or are they so far apart that, you know, we'll see a meeting that's all about optics and less about substance and the substance gets kicked out meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting as we've seen in the past?
KIM: Right. It goes back to the idea of political will. Is Kim Jong-un here for optics or is he really here to create his new strategic line to really reform his economy to allow the 200 -- sorry, the millions of people that are in his country to live a better life?
And if he plans to stay in power longer, maybe 50, maybe 60 years, I think he has a longer strategic vision.
HOWELL: The burden on going into this meeting, who has a greater burden to carry? Is it the U.S. President and this issue of denuclearization? Is it Kim Jong-un who has now achieved something that North Korea has long wanted, a meeting with President Trump? Basically this meeting, it's harder for who in your estimation?
[01:40:05] KIM: You know, I think it's difficult for both sides. But this is an opportunity. We've had these meetings before. It's been 25 years. Republicans, Democrats have tried this.
This is a brand-new opportunity but we have to keep in mind what mistakes were made in the past and not make them going into the future. And verification is key; keeping maximum pressure until North Korea completely denuclearizes is also key. So, you know, I want to just make the point that political will from both leaders is needed to make this agreement a success and the summit a success. HOWELL: David Kim, live for us in Tokyo. David -- thank you so much
for your time and perspective today.
CHURCH: It is a moment months in the making. We will look back at how this historic Trump/Kim summit came together.
HOWELL: Plus, it's conceivable that Dennis Rodman could provide key assistance in this summit. Coming up -- how a former basketball player could play a role here.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.
Of course, getting to this historic summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un has taken time. It's taken diplomacy. And even a little bit of name calling, right?
HOWELL: And patience I think; patience very important here.
Michael Holmes looks back at the on again, off again relationship leading up to Tuesday's meeting.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As the U.S. was celebrating its independence day in July last year, North Korea conducted its first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Pyongyang claimed the Hwasong-14 could reach quote, "anywhere in the world".
In August, U.S. President Donald Trump issuing his most stern warning yet to North Korea.
[01:45:01] TRUMP: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
HOLMES: In September, North Korea conducted a sixth nuclear test. North Korean television showing pictures of Kim Jong-un inspecting what it said was a hydrogen bomb ready to sit on top of an ICBM.
The New Year began with Trump ridiculing Kim Jong-un on Twitter. He warned Kim that he also had a nuclear button and that the U.S. button was bigger and more powerful. But just a few days later, the White House issued a statement indicating a willingness to hold talks with North Korea.
In February, North Korea sent 22 athletes to compete in five sports at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics; the two Koreas marching together at the opening ceremony.
In March, President Trump accepted that invitation to talks with Kim Jong-un. And in April, the U.S. president revealed a secret Easter weekend trip to Pyongyang by the then CIA director Mike Pompeo. Pompeo held talks with Kim Jong-un about North Korea's nuclear program.
Two days later, North Korea announced it had suspended all missile tests and that it was shutting down a nuclear test site.
April ended with a memorable handshake in the demilitarized zone between Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in setting an optimistic tone for future relations on the peninsula.
May saw the release of three U.S. prisoners by North Korea as the newly-appointed U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a second visit to Pyongyang. President Trump then announcing a summit with Kim Jong-un would take place in Singapore on June 12th announcing it via Twitter.
But things took a wrong turn when U.S. national security advisor John Bolton mentioned the Libya model as a possible blueprint for North Korean nuclear disarmament. Despite an eight-year gap between the Libyan nuclear disarmament process and the downfall of the country's former leader Moammar Gadhafi, North Korea didn't seem to appreciate Bolton's comments or Vice President Mike Pence's subsequent explanation.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn't make a deal.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS HOST: Some people saw that as a threat.
PENCE: Well, I think it's more of a fact.
HOLMES: A high ranking North Korean official called the comparison between Libya and North Korea ignorant and stupid and labeled the U.S. Vice President a political dummy.
U.S. President Donald Trump sent a letter to Kim Jong-un canceling the Singapore summit, leaving the door open for possible future talks.
At the time, CNN's Will Ripley was in North Korea to witness what s Pyongyang describes as the destruction of its Punggye-ri nuclear test site. He broke the news of President Trump's announcement to his North Korean handlers.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very tense moments, a state of shock amongst not only the journalists but the North Koreans that the summit, that the whole North Korean nuclear test site destruction was supposed to lead up to had now been canceled.
HOLMES: In a surprising response, North Korea responded to Trump's bombshell move without insult or bluster. In response to the crisis, South Korea's president agreed to a request from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that the two meet. Afterwards Moon telling reporters that both sides were committed to moving forward.
As discussions continued behind the scenes, President Trump indicated a willingness to get back on track for Singapore.
TRUMP: Everybody plays games. You know that? HOLMES: And then on June 1st, North Korea's top diplomat and former
spymaster Kim Yong Chol visited the White House carrying a letter from Kim Jong-un for President Trump. Afterwards, President Trump announcing the Singapore summit was back on.
Michael Holmes, CNN -- Atlanta.
CHURCH: We'll take a short break here.
But still to come, former NBA star Dennis Rodman is heading to Singapore as Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un meet. And he just might have a special role to play. We'll have that for you on the other side of the break.
[01:49:14] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I'm CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera with your weather watch. Checking in on North America here across Canada and to the U.S. we'll continue to see this draped frontal boundary. It's been stalled out. That means the rain has continued over the same area. So grounds are saturated and with additional heavy rains we could be seeing some flooding once again across the mid-Atlantic states and that extends further to the west to include severe weather potential across the midsection of the U.S.
But on the western side of the Mississippi River it has been quite quiet here and we'll continue to see that in the next few days including British Columbia with Vancouver seeing pleasant temperatures and also quiet weather as far as the drive up there.
There you see that line of storms we're talking about. So if you're flying in perhaps to the U.S. Capital or into New York, you'll be seeing some rainfall really getting right close to the Big Apple here. But the heaviest of the rainfall continues further south and west along that boundary here as we continue to see storms bubbling through the afternoon.
High temperatures, we be looking at low 20s. Winnipeg about 20 degrees, still impacted with the rain there. But again, as I mentioned further west, including the Pacific Northwest, we look at very nice conditions with temperatures in the 20s.
And we'll continue to monitor the heavy rain. Unfortunately, that continues across the hard hit area with the volcano in Guatemala. Rainy season continues here next 48 hours another 200 millimeters of rain.
HOWELL: So if things get tense between the U.S. President and the leader of North Korea, there may be someone who could be a calming voice.
CHURCH: Perhaps. What about enter Dennis Rodman -- basketball's bad boy and possible world peace negotiator? CNN's Bianca Nobilo has the story.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Dennis Rodman is one of the few people who had spent time with both key players at the Singapore summit. He knows U.S. President Donald Trump from his appearance on "Celebrity Apprentice".
TRUMP: Dennis -- you're fired.
NOBILO: Although Rodman may have left the future first lady less than impressed.
A.J. HAMMER, HLN CORRESPONDENT: Dennis Rodman essentially got fired for many reasons but one being his team misspelled your name which is, it's just wrong -- right?
MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, you don't misspell a brand name and it was all over the product. So I think he did a great job but that was a big, big, big mistake.
NOBILO: And of course, there's Rodman's basketball bromance with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. They've met on three occasions including on Kim's birthday in 2014.
DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Marshall. Happy birthday to you
NOBILO: In the 2014 interview with "DuJour Magazine", he paints Kim as a jovial cruise director.
RODMAN: He laughs, jokes and do all kind of (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Loves playing basketball, loves playing table tennis. He loves playing pool.
He has this 13-piece girl band. No karaoke machine, it's a band, a real band. It's all girls.
NOBILO: In this ABC interview, Rodman says Trump and Kim could indeed make a deal.
[01:54:59] RODMAN: If Donald Trump had a chance, had a chance, he will get on the damn plane and go over and shake his hand and try to make peace. I'm asking him right now. Donald come talk to me. Let's try to work this out.
NOBILO: One North Korea watcher sees a potential role for Rodman.
MICHAEL MADDEN, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR NORTH KOREA LEADERSHIP WATCH: If he were to make some phone calls to Kim Jong-un and President Trump would take those phone calls. But I think that if the summit in Singapore is successful, if they attain some level of detente and rapprochement, Dennis Rodman is as good as anybody else that they can find that could serve as a goodwill ambassador. And there could be some sort of sports exchanges or cultural exchange activity.
NOBILO: Could the Singapore summit prove that Dennis Rodman was crazy like a fox all long?
Bianca Nobilo, CNN -- Atlanta.
CHURCH: There you go. And do stay with CNN for more special coverage of the Trump-Kim summit.
HOWELL: Our colleagues John Vause and Anna Coren will take it from here after the break.