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Moment of Truth for Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore; World Awaits Results of the Meeting; Inside North Korean Propaganda. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired June 11, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANNA COREN, HOST, CNN: You are watching CNN's special coverage of the historic Singapore summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.
Hello. I'm Anna Coren, live from Seoul, South Korea.
JOHN VAUSE, HOST, CNN: I'm John Vause in Los Angeles. It's just gone midnight here on the U.S. West Coast. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world.
In less than 24 hours, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un will make history. The first time a U.S. sitting president has met with the leader of North Korea. And in the past few hours Mr. Trump has met with Singapore's prime minister.
The city state is hosting this historic meeting and for now it's at the center of the diplomatic universe. North Korean state media report denuclearization and lasting peace top the agenda for this meeting.
All of this has been a stunning turnaround for the relatively young Kim Jong-un from a reclusive international pariah to what some call are statesman, apparently ready to negotiate an end to his elicit and nuclear missile programs in return for security guarantees and an end to crushing sanctions.
CNN's Will Ripley has reported from North Korea many times. Many times, so many times that I can't remember actually. Will joins us now from Singapore. OK, what we have right now, Will over the last -- thank you over the last couple of hours have been this working level negotiations between the Americans and the North Koreans.
The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put out a statement saying in part, "We have standard and detailed meetings today including this morning with the North Koreans." South Korean news agency reported that maybe a draft agreement that they've been working on. What do we know about the meeting and what are the details here?
WILL RIPLEY, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes. This is kind of like trying to put this -- this is like speed dating, you know, something that should have taken maybe months or years of this kind of lower level working level negotiations. We now have the Americans and North Koreans are here in Singapore trying feverishly as if they can bring the two sides closer together with the clock ticking. Because President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be shaking hands tomorrow morning local time.
So you are talking about a matter of hours from now. And when they sit down at the table, the hope by this preparation and the hope of these preparatory meetings is that they will be able to have, you know, something that they can actually agree upon when it comes to denuclearization.
We know that the two sides are very far apart, the United States would like it to happen quickly and North Korea thinks it's not, certainly it's not going to happen unilaterally and it's not -- it's going to happen over a long period of time with step by step actions taken by the U.S. to end what they consider a hostile policy.
North Korea, you know, wants to improve their economy, but well above that, in priority, John, they put the security of their government, the longevity of their leader Kim Jong-un is far more important to them than any sort of economic concessions.
And so, what the United States and President Trump have to convince the North Koreans of is that they are going to be safe and they are going to exist in their current form. Meaning accepting North Korea as it is despite the criticism over human rights, despite the criticism over the way that the government of North Korea stays in power. And how it handles the lives of its citizens and how it steps into the lives of its citizens.
They need guarantees that they'll be able to continue like that before they're willing to talk about denuclearization and then the economic concessions that they would expect in return.
VAUSE: Yes. On Monday, state media in North Korea finally mentioned that Kim Jong-un was of the country for the summit and it wasn't until he got all the way down to the last paragraph of a fairly lengthy report. Is there any mention of denuclearization?
So, listen, I've been to North Korea 18 times, you'll the expert here. How much do the average North Koreans actually know about what's happening in Singapore and potentially how life changing this could actually be?
RIPLEY: Well, I think it's noteworthy, John, that they actually did a report at all ahead of the summit. Because I was expecting as in other cases that, you know, significant events like this that the North Koreans would find out about it after the fact. After they knew what the outcome of the summit would be.
So I believe that the fact that they're reporting about the summit does show from the North Korean side that they have a confidence that they are going to go into this and come out of this with some positive outcome. And I think they know that the United States has a similar goal as well. But, you know, the fact that denuclearization is right down at the
bottom there shows that there is -- I mean, you have a country that's built up, and certainly the current leader, Kim Jong-un who has built up his image around the nuclear force that he built spending, you know, much of his resources for six years in power creating and building nuclear weapons and celebrating them.
[03:05:00] To go from that and do this U-turn to, OK, we're going to give up the nuclear weapons, but it's a new era of peace, that is a lot, kind of an abrupt U-turn for North Koreans to digest.
But we've already seen a change in messaging in Pyongyang. The red and the black posters with the missiles and the tanks are being replaced with this blue, and green, and gold posters with messages of peace in colors that symbolize peace in prosperity.
And so the messaging is already changing and I suspect that when I go back to Pyongyang and ask people on the streets, they might have very different answers about the United States if the state propaganda has a different message about the country depending on what happens here in Singapore.
So, it's really it's an extraordinary time. It could go either way. We're kind of all along for the ride here, and it begins tomorrow morning with that handshake between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.
VAUSE: Yes. I said four years in Beijing as the correspondent, I could never once get into North Korea, I'm so envious of the fact that you've been there so many times and you keep going back there. So, Will, thank you for being with us. I appreciate it.
Let's go back now to Anna Coren, live in Seoul. Anna?
COREN: Thank you, John. We now want to bring in Mike Chinoy. He, of course is the author of the book "Meltdown: The Inside Story of the North Korean Nuclear Crisis." He's also the former bureau chief of CNN Beijing. Mike, great to have you with us. As you say, you have been covering North Korea for decades. Are we on the cusp of meaningful change here on the Korean peninsula?
MIKE CHINOY, AUTHOR, "MELTDOWN: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE NORTH KOREAN CRISIS: It's very hard to say. I mean, on one level there is no question this is a profoundly important moment especially for Kim Jong-un, because meeting an American president under these circumstances is giving the North Korean leader what Kim and Kim's father and Kim's grandfather, all wanted which was legitimization by the United States and acknowledgement by the United States essentially of equal status of face, prestige, respect.
That's hugely important for Kim Jong-un domestically and if he can achieve that without having to give up his nuclear weapons in the near term which I think is most likely, then I would see that as a big victory for Kim Jong-un.
But in the long run, in terms of whether or not North Korea is actually going to get rid of its weapons, whether we're going to see a deeper political change, I think the honest answer is we simply don't know. It depends on the summit, and that of course it depends on the mercurial personality of Donald Trump.
COREN: Yes. Questionable. But Mike, I want to ask you about the sudden and dramatic transformation of Kim Jong-un. It was just last year he was described as a tyrant and a murderous dictator and nuclear lunatic and now he is this international statesman and diplomat. How did this change happen?
CHINOY: Kim Jong-un he took power when his father died and from the beginning it was clear that he was a different kind of North Korean leader. He was more visible. He spoke in public. Early on in his tenure he talked about the North Korean people not having to continually tighten their belts.
He switched from his father's policy with the so-called military first line to a policy promoting both economic development and accelerating the country's nuclear program.
Last year, with this slew of missile tests and nuclear tests, the North Koreans essentially achieved what they have been looking for in terms of the missile and nuclear program, which is the ability in their minds to deter the United States which they always have viewed as a threat.
And once he did that, then it was Kim who shifted gears. I don't agree that it's the pressure from the U.S. that played the central role. I think the North Korean achieved what they wanted and he is trying to shift gears and have a better relationship with the United States.
The question is whether he is willing to give up his nuclear program or portions of it and what sort of deal would be involved. But as he has made this shift, he has been reached out internationally, first to South Korea and then to China and now to President Trump.
COREN: OK, so he might now be this international statesman, but can he be trusted?
CHINOY: I think in this situation no political leader is going to trust the leader of a country that they have been an adversary of for so many decades. There is certainly a long track record of commitments having been made both by the North Koreans and in fact, in the number of cases by the United States in the course of trying to resolve this issue and trying to roll back the North Korean nuclear program and improve relations where both sides have reneged.
So I think we're likely to get some sweeping declarations at the summit about an end to enmity, a new kind of political relationship. Kim Jong-un is likely to repeat the language he's used about denuclearizing the entire Korean peninsula so the atmosphere may well change.
[03:10:01] But the devil really is in the details, and the question is then going to become if those agreements in principal are reached, are the North Koreans prepared to admit international inspectors, are they prepared to really shut down their nuclear facilities to give up any concrete assets they have, missiles or nuclear devices. And that's going to be a long complicated process.
So I think it's important not to be carried away by the vibes of the summit without keeping in mind the fact that the actual process is going to take time and be very difficult and complicated with many pitfalls.
COREN: Mike, let me ask you this. Some experts say that Kim Jong-un has realized that he needs to save the North Korean economy to secure the long-term future of the regime and his leadership. How desperate is Kim Jong-un for that foreign economic investment to be made in North Korea?
CHINOY: I would be careful about using the word desperate with Kim Jong-un. I think he has proved himself to be a very shrewd and capable operator. He is only in his early 30s. His grandfather lived into his early 80s.
So Kim Jong-un is looking at the possibility of 50 more years in power. And I do think he recognizes that changing the economy is important and I think the Chinese who have followed a similar model of economic liberalization with tight political controls have been pushing him to change.
He is I think in some significant ways different than his father and his grandfather. How far he is prepared to go, we don't know. One of the problems in that the North Korean political system which is built around worship of the supreme leader as kind of a god-like figure doesn't easily lend itself to opening up without undermining that political system.
So that's going to be a real challenge if suddenly Donald Trump is offering McDonald's in Pyongyang, exchange programs and all sorts of things. The political impact on the North is tricky. So we are going to have to wait and see, but I do think Kim is different and he is serious about changing the economy. My guess is he would like to do that and keep some nuclear capability as well.
COREN: Mike Chinoy, joining us from Liverpool, England. Always great to get your analysis and have you on the show. Many thanks for that. John, back to you in Los Angeles.
VAUSE: Anna, thank you. We'll take a short break. When we come back, Donald Trump apparently did not want to attend the G7 meeting in Canada and now we know why. How his bitter dispute with U.S. allies over trade and tariffs could impact the nuclear summit in Singapore.
[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VAUSE: So it's gone 16 minutes past midnight here on the West Coast. Welcome back, everybody.
Donald Trump heads into the Singapore summit after a tense and divisive G7 meeting with U.S. allies as well as an escalating diplomatic crisis with Canada. The U.S. president seems to focus much of his fury on Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, accusing him of being dishonest and weak on trade policies.
And as a result Trump say will not sign on to the G7 joint statement. The tweets have been coming fast over the past few hours, many directive at Trudeau like this one. "Sorry, we cannot let our friends or enemies take advantage of us on trade anymore. We must put the American worker first."
On the surface at least, the dispute is over trade policy, but the White House chief economic adviser has accused Trudeau of undermining the U.S. president before he meet with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISOR: He is not going to permit any show of weakness on the trip to negotiate with North Korea nor should he.
JAKE TAPPER, HOST, CNN: So this was about North Korea?
KUDLOW: Of course it was in large part. Absolutely.
TAPPER: So because Trudeau said that as Trump was going to Singapore?
KUDLOW: We know one thing leads to another.
TAPPER: I see.
KUDLOW: They are all related. Kim must not see American weakness.
TAPPER: I see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: But the most incendiary comment of all came from the White House trade adviser with the harshest words the Trump administration has ever used to attack the leader of a U.S. ally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER NAVARRO, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL TRADE COUNCIL: There is a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Caroline Heldman and John Thomas joining us now. Caroline is a Democratic strategist and associate professor of politics at Occidental College. John is CNN political commentator and Republican consultant and yes, we'll say the second time, president of Thomas Partners Strategies. OK, drinks on you.
Now for a new segment we want to call here on CNN Newsroom.
VAUSE: OK. You get the idea. John, this is how the U.S. president apparently shows strength before the summit with North Korea, he sends his adviser out to beat up on the Canadian prime minister?
JOHN THOMAS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Well, I don't know if I would have use those choice of words, but I think it is a fair statement that if this was an attempt to make President Trump or America quite frankly look weak in negotiations, it could undermine Trump's credibility going into the summit. If that for some reason cause the summit to fall apart or perhaps as not be able to get the terms we want, well, that's a pretty big deal.
VAUSE: Caroline, did Justin Trudeau, to you, did look as if he was trying to undermine Donald Trump?
CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No, it looks as though he is trying to negotiate. And I think it's rather absurd to say that somebody trying to negotiate a good trade deal for a country that has lower tariffs than the United States and a country with that we have an $8.6 billion surplus, trade surplus with, yes, he's trying to negotiate.
I think it's absurd to say that he is trying to sabotage the summit in North Korea. It doesn't make logical sense that he's trying to get--
THOMAS: Well, Larry Kudlow -- Larry Kudlow said to Tapper they had a deal and they walk -- and then they left and held a press conference and there was no deal. So it was they thought they had a deal--
[03:20:02] HELDMAN: I don't know.
THOMAS: -- and now they don't have a deal.
VAUSE: I'm not sure of the timing here.
HELDMAN: I would go with Trudeau over Trump any day of the week. Sorry.
VAUSE: Yes. I mean, it's a strategy here, John, so Donald Trump to head into this summit with North Korea being isolated, the way it seems to have worked out is quite the opposite. Donald Trump now heads into the summit with Kim Jong-un strutting around the world stage meeting with an increasing number of world leaders and Donald Trump was isolated.
THOMAS: Well, I don't think it's fair to say that Trump is isolated, but I think the fact that he got this sit down when many others presidents would have like to sit down couldn't get a sit down--
VAUSE: But North Korean leaders they have been throwing themselves like a school girl at David Cassidy for years.
HELDMAN: It's not accurate to say that they didn't -- they didn't want to, right, that they were trying to get this is quite the opposite. North Korean leaders have been trying to sit down with our presidents for two decades but they haven't duped one of them yet. Because the very thing that they won like Kim Jong-un has already won, he wanted to sit down to gain legitimacy. So he's achieved his goal. Now how much of the--
THOMAS: You are certainly right, this is a good thing for Kim Jong-un to have the sit down, but it's also some people say he has to have the sit down because economically he can't endure the sanctions any longer. He has to figure out a solution here economically.
HELDMAN: They're endured it for decades.
VAUSE: I do want to pick up though with the G7 debacle. According to World Bank the E.U. Japan, and Canada have a combined GDP of about $23 trillion, the U.S. just over $18.5 trillion. John, why would the president be surprised that these countries would push back against Donald Trump, against the U.S. when it comes to tariffs?
THOMAS: I don't think -- I don't think President Trump is surprised. I think he -- starting with that position, I think he is surprised that he thought he had a deal. Larry Kudlow said all they were discussing at that point that Larry was there would end in these because the deal was agreed to. And then for Justin Trudeau to do an about-face I think that's what the president is upset about.
VAUSE: Well, OK, so is what the French president said about whether there was a deal or not a deal. He releases a statement which read in part, "International cooperation can't depend on anger and small words. Let's be serious and worthy of our people. We spent two days obtaining a draft and commitment, we stick to it. And anyone who leaves and turns their back on them shows their inconsistency."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told ARD TV the withdrawal, so to speak, via tweet is of course sobering and a bit depressing. And then we have Larry Kudlow, the economic adviser who basically said that this is our G7 leaders, this is what G7 leaders should have said to Trump instead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KUDLOW: They should have said to him Godspeed. You are negotiating with this crazy nuclear tyrant in North Korea and we are behind you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Caroline, just because there is a dispute over trade does not mean that those in the G7 are not hoping that Donald Trump is successful when it comes to North Korea. One does not negate the other. HELDMAN: Right. And they are two distinct things and to associate
them I think is simple balderdash, right. I mean, at the end of the day, the G7 and you were focusing on Trudeau, but the G7. Everybody else is backing Trudeau and saying that it is Donald Trump who pulled out.
And in fact, Donald Trump started all of this by lobbying and levying a 25 percent tariff for steel and 10 percent for aluminum. So at the end of the day, Donald Trump started this trade war. He arrived late at the summit, he left early. And so he is the one who hasn't done his duty according to everyone else who was there.
VAUSE: OK. Do you agree?
THOMAS: President Trump for the first time a U.S. president is standing up for American workers. Now that we're seeing you are pushing back against the G7.
HELDMAN: No, this is going to hurt workers in the heartland.
THOMAS: And that's fine.
HELDMAN: Just like the Mexico it has now levied $3 billion in tariffs. This is going to hurt workers in the heartland if you read any of the local papers.
THOMAS: Meanwhile, our dairy industry is pretty much going out of business domestically because of Canada.
VAUSE: OK. Vocally moving on to the summit because Donald Trump he says he is ready. It's all about attitude.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think I'm very well prepared. I don't think I have to prepare very much. It's about attitude, it's about willingness to get things done.
I always believe in preparation, but I have been preparing all my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. So, John, preparing all his life. So what part of his real estate background his four bankruptcies his associating role on the reality TV show "The Apprentice" has prepared Donald Trump for nuclear negotiations?
THOMAS: Well, he did wrote "The Art of the Deal."
VAUSE: He actually didn't write "The Art of the Deal." Someone else wrote it.
THOMAS: His book. VAUSE: His book.
THOMAS: But the point is, he is coming in this like a businessman's negotiation. When he says I'm going to know whether or not there is a deal in the first minute. Because in any business negotiation he sit down, in this case, he is going to be able to tell if it's more than just a photo op or not.
That's what he is trying to get at. And look, a lot of it is a personal relationship, they want to get things done. And then of course there is the underlying thing of, does Kim Jong-un believe that this is his way out? Does he believe the end is near whether it's Trump or the next president after him.
But now is this window to make a deal to make North Korean economic power and not just the military.
[03:25:01] VAUSE: Before you reply, Caroline, there was a report at Politico that since this summit was first reported about three months ago, John Bolton, the national security adviser has not held a cabinet level discussion about this negotiations which is a break from the past.
It goes on to report, "Since Trump agreed on a win to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un March 8th, the White House summit's planning has been unstructured according to half a dozen administration officials. Trump himself has driven the preparation almost exclusively on his own, consulting little with his national security team beyond Secretary of State Pompeo who has came two visits to Pyongyang and met Kim personally."
And you know, Caroline, I was always told if you are failing to prepare, then you are preparing to fail.
HELDMAN: Well, absolutely. And Donald Trump has shown time and time again that he doesn't follow the formulaire (Ph) and formal rules, he doesn't really know how things work when it comes to diplomacy or prepare the policy process. So to hear that his team as unprepared as he is, is a little astonishing. At the end of the day I think this is, you know, the summit is going to be like Geraldo Rivera opening the Titanic.
VAUSE: The vault, isn't it?
HELDMAN: There we go, the vault. Like nothing happened.
HELDMAN: We're going to open it up and it's going to be a bunch of soggy papers, and in fact, he's already tamped down expectations because he knows that, too.
VAUSE: Yes. You know, just to wrap here, John, because one of the other problems, too, is that there are follow-up talks in a series like a talent and technical, people with technical expertise within the State Department, many of course like Tillerson almost to prove that point earlier today. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted this photo out saying, "Glad to have my State Department team hard at work." Meaning the DPRK in Singapore today. I count two people of that photograph. John, how many do you look at?
THOMAS: Well, Mike Pompeo is going to do a lot of the negotiating directly.
THOMAS: Well, look, I'm rooting for the president to fail here. I'm rooting for the president to succeed. I think he is going to get something. I don't know if it's going to happen in this first summit. It may be a series of summits. A lot of McDonald's and super cuts and wherever they end up meeting.
But I think, look, this is an opportunity the president is hoping to achieve peace here. That it's ironic that Hillary Clinton's closing ad at her campaign was that Donald Trump will be pressing the nuclear button and getting us into nuclear war. And in fact, all he is spending his time right now is trying to keep us out of war and try to make the world a safer place. So, good luck to him. It's a tough task. There's no doubt about it.
VAUSE: OK. Caroline, 10 seconds.
HELDMAN: Well, I would say that the election is over and that he is not trying to get peace. He's trying to get a Nobel Peace Prize because denuclearization is not going to happen.
VAUSE: OK. We'll leave up where we are. But I can't wait to be very serious by this. It's high steaks, these are difficult negotiations and you know, this obviously is just a start and hopefully this is the start of a process that will lead to some very good result at the end.
Thank you, guys. I appreciate for being with us. Coming up here, we'll head back to Singapore for the historic summit. Both agreed President Trump and Kim Jong-un how the two leaders are actually preparing or not preparing in these final hours. That's just ahead.
[03:30:00] COREN: Welcome back. You are watching CNN special coverage of historic Singapore summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. I'm Anna Coren, coming to you live from Seoul, South Korea.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause in Los Angeles. It's 12:31 here on the West Coast. This is a summit which has been just months in the making. Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are both in Singapore and soon they will come face-to-face for this historic meeting.
The U.S. president wrapped up his meeting with Singapore's prime minister earlier on Monday. As for the summit, the U.S. is pushing for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula while North Korea is hoping for an end to crippling economic sanctions. Back now to Anna in Seoul. COREN: Thank you, John. Well, let's now go to CNN's Jeremy Diamond who is in Singapore outside Kim Jong-un's hotel where there is no doubt plenty of security. Jeremy, I want to ask you about President Trump. Less than a day away, he is from making history and seems pretty confident that things will go well. What is at stake for the U.S. president?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Anna. You know, the president has been striking a very optimistic tone heading into this meeting. But huge questions still remain as to what can actually be achieved as far as what's at stake, an enormous amount of force.
This could be something that could shape this president's legacy for years and years to come. If he is indeed able to be successful in his diplomatic summit with Kim Jong-un, this could be something that of course marks his presidency and defines it in many ways.
And of course, if he is successful in the way that most experts hope he would be in terms of concrete verifiable denuclearization, it could be a great thing for the world. But certainly that is a tremendous question at this point.
We know that U.S. and North Korean officials have been meeting earlier as recently as earlier today to continue to try and figure out how to bring the gap between the two countries' positions on denuclearization and to try and work out an agreement that President Trump and Kim Jong-un would be able to finally iron out during this first meeting that they are set to have tomorrow.
So there is still a ton of activity and very little indication as of yet as to what has actually been achieved and what these two men will be able to accomplish when they meet tomorrow.
COREN: Jeremy, as we all know, President Trump has just come from the G7 where he has attacked his allies, he has turned international order on its head. Is this Trump being Trump or is this perhaps a proponent (ph) to show a force for the North Koreans?
DIAMOND: Whatever it is, it certainly has been a jarring contrast to see the president spark a rhetorical battle with one of the U.S.'s closest allies, Canada, just days before he is set to sit down with the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un.
And at the same time, we are also hearing him make outreaches to Russia, saying that Russia should be included in what used to be the G8, saying that Russia -- that he would like to sit down with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a summit as well.
So certainly it has been an interesting contrast that the president has set up ahead of his meeting with Kim Jong-un. Clearly, the spat that the president is having is one that he believes is necessary. He believes that this is a necessary battle to have with Canada, with the European Union, with other close allies over this issue of trade which has really come to define his second year as president so far. Remember, it was the president's decision to impose the steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, on Mexico, and on the European Union just two weeks ago that really set off this entire feud. And while he was smiling and shaking hands at the G7, clearly that was not the ultimate feeling that he left Canada with.
[03:35:02] COREN: Yeah, really was extraordinary. Left so many people shaking their heads. Jeremy Diamond, joining us from Singapore, many thanks for that. Now back to you, John, in Los Angeles.
VAUSE: Anna, thank you very much for that. Paul Carroll joins us from San Francisco. He is a senior advisor at N Square which twice reduce the risk from nuclear weapons. He is also an expert on nuclear security issues. We are lucky to have you with us, Paul. Thank you.
I want to play part of a broadcast from North Korean state television. It is reporting on Kim leaving for the summit in Singapore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At 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 exchanged 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)
VAUSE: You know, it's notable that the veteran anchor was brought out of retirement. The big news these days. How significant are the two words, changed era? Is that part of the process here to North Koreans that times are changing?
PAUL CARROLL, SENIOR ADVISOR, N SQUARE: It could be a couple of different things. When I first heard the phrase earlier and read it, I felt that it's actually serving two purposes. It's telling the North Korean populous that they should continue to feel confident and strong that they are a nuclear nation, that they have achieved what Kim Il- sung, the founder of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, the current leader's father, and now Kim Jong-un have sought for so long which is to be a nuclear power.
And the changed situation means that they can now come to the table as an equal in the eyes of the international community and meeting certainly with a sitting president is also -- you know, great (ph) for them. I think what's also notable about the statement is it happened before the summit happened.
In other words, they are reporting on real time activities of Kim Jong-un. This is very rare with North Korea. Typically, if he travels or if there is some type of an event or a parade, KCNA, the state radio and television apparatus, reports on it after the fact. So, it's very interesting to hear that they are sort of following him as he goes. VAUSE: Normally it is all reported on in full when still successful and everything is, you know, done and dusted. When it comes to the preparation for the summit, this is how the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, sized up Kim Jong-un a couple weeks ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: The conversations are professional. He knows his brief. He does follow the western press. He will probably watch the show at some point. He is paying attention to things that the world is saying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: On the other hand, the U.S. president has given every reason to believe he is kind of winging it. Is it possible as a diplomatic strategy that maybe Donald Trump can stumble around in the dark and somehow find the golden ticket?
CARROLL: Well, I was talking to a colleague today and they used the phrase that even a blind squirrel gets an acorn once in a while. And while that might seem cute, when we are talking about nuclear weapons and the rest of potential nuclear war, you don't want to rely on a blind squirrel.
And so I think your assessment is actually correct. I mean, President Trump has even said, oh, I am prepared enough. You know, it is more about how I feel and what I think about this guy. I have to tell you, in one of my trips in North Korea, I was there during the time when they launched missiles, and our handler, the entourage that was in charge of us, came running into the hotel lobby and said, did you see CNN? Did you see CNN?
So, that told me that they are certainly watching CNN, and they wanted to see how their missile launches were being received around the world. So, I would say in terms of preparation if this was a high school debate match, North Koreans are far more prepared certainly at the leadership level than our team is.
VAUSE: And very quickly, Paul. I guess one of the other concerns is an unprepared Donald Trump. What are the chances or the likelihood that he could make some kind of big concession without even realizing it or make compromises that have serious consequences for U.S. allies like Japan and South Korea?
CARROLL: Well, I think you are absolutely right. I would say he has already made some concessions. He made a concession in March when he agreed to this meeting off the cuff. A meeting with a sitting U.S. president is something the North Koreans have also sought for a long time because it confers on them credibility.
And I don't think our president understood this. Whether he would throw our allies like Japan and South Korea under the bus, he may rhetorically, but as much as I am optimistic that a summit is happening, I'm pessimistic that much real substantive (ph) progress will come out of it. [03:40:05] And so if there are things that the president does or says or perhaps commits to that aren't in keeping what other allies want, my only solace is that it's only talk and it may only be a piece of paper. So, if that's a bad piece of paper, I'm less concerned.
VAUSE: OK. Paul, we will leave it there. As always, thank you so much. Appreciate you being with us. We will take a short break and when we come back, we will be live with our reporters across Europe for the very latest reaction to Donald Trump's bitter words with the G7 leaders.
COREN: Welcome back. We are still tracking the fallout of U.S. President Donald Trump's time at the G7. Mr. Trump reaches out to North Korea. He is burning bridges with top U.S. allies. Some are even calling it the B6 plus one after his hostile talk on trade and tariffs. He backed out of the group's formal communique and the trade war with Europe and Canada looks more and more likely.
If that wasn't enough, Mr. Trump even said Russia should be readmitted to the group despite the Kremlin's role in Ukraine and election meddling.
Let's now get reaction from Europe. Atika Shubert joins us from Berlin, Nina Dos Santos from London, and Matthew Chance from Russia. Atika, let's start with you. We all saw that photo of Angela Merkel and the other members of the G7 glaring down at Donald Trump. What has been the reaction to Trump's treatment of his allies?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Largely supportive. Check this out. The photo you mentioned is on the head. It is on the front page of a lot of papers here. The headline here says, Europe will not be intimidated. That seems to be very much what we are hearing here on the ground, especially as you can imagine from German diplomats.
It's not a surprise anymore that President Trump would react this way, but I think the fact that he signed the G7 communique and then went back on it, pulling the U.S. out, still came as something of a shock to many people here.
[03:45:06] Chancellor Merkel in particular last night had a television interview in which she said, you know, that this was quite serious and sobering. And she said, you know, she sometimes thinks that President Trump believes that there can only be winners and losers.
So it's very clear that, you know, Chancellor Merkel at least says, listen, Europe needs to stand up for itself. It needs to show that it can take its security into its own hands and frankly needs to move on without President Trump even as it tries to maintain some sort of good transatlantic relations with the United States. Anna?
COREN: Atika, thank you. Nina, if I can now ask you, we know that Theresa May has a lot on her plate. She is under a great deal of pressure with Brexit. Surely this spat with the United States isn't helping.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you can imagine U.K. must be feeling in a very awkward position here, Anna, largely because obviously in less than a year's time, it's going to be leaving the European Union. So, Theresa May wasn't able perhaps to express the same degree of solidarity with her European counterpart. So she would otherwise had Brexit not been on the cause because she also needs to curry favor with the U.S. president because she is relying upon him to potentially sign a big trade deal that could replace some of the trade that the U.K. could lose when it leaves the European Union.
That's probably why Theresa May struck according to number 10 Downing Street, a more conciliatory tone here with the U.S. president, saying that despite all of this embarrassment at the G7, she will still be hosting him next month for his visit to the United Kingdom.
Apparently, according to number 10, she managed to go through the specifics of the program with him at the G7 on the sidelines. But there must be some embarrassment to her because her own principal private secretary, Peter Hill, (INAUDIBLE) the very communique that was then shredded after he originally agreed to it on the sidelines of the G7.
That's the real concern here, that Donald Trump may will be a very difficult negotiating partner when the U.K. does need to sit down with him for trade deal eventually. Will he stick to it if he signs it? Judging by the behavior we have seen over the last 24 to 48 hours, critics say that perhaps. Anna?
COREN: OK. Nina, thank you. And Matthew, I am intrigued at how Russians must be reading this whole situation, particularly with Trump, saying that he wants Russia back to reform the G8. Trump at war with his allies, but very friendly with America's traditional foes.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I think, you know, on one level, it's music to the ears of the Kremlin to hear President Trump again, the leader of the United States, talk so positively about Russia because they want the sanctions against them lifted. They want to be back at the top table of international diplomacy.
But what we've heard from the Russians is something very different. They sort of poured skepticism on the suggestion they should be brought back into that group of industrialized nations to reform the G8. Initially, the Kremlin reaction was, look, we focus on other formats.
Now, President Putin, who was on a state visit to China, said that he was very satisfied with the fact that he was in a Chinese-led forum now which he described as being more important than the G7. And so it's partly driven that reaction by skepticism on the part of the Russians that President Trump can't really deliver on what he promised.
Remember, he promised to turn the relationship around between Washington and Moscow, but in fact has become much worse and sanctions have been ratcheted up. But it's also partly an acknowledgement on the standing on the part of Russia, that there is no other support among the other G7 allies for Russia being brought back in from the cold into that group.
There has been no progress on Crimea, the reason for which it was kicked out of the group in the first place. But there has been a whole host of other maligned activity as well that has been laid at the feet of Russia. The poisoning of the Skripals in Britain, the meddling in the U.S. election, the downing of the civilian airliner. And so I think the Russians acknowledge that re-admittance is a long way away.
COREN: Matthew Chance in Moscow, Nina Dos Santos in London, and Atika Shubert in Berlin, many thanks for joining us. Unlike Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un does not speak to reporters or use social media. We will dig into North Korea's propaganda to see what it told us. That is coming up after the break.
[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
IVAN CABRERA, CNN 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 will continue to see this (INAUDIBLE) here. It has been stalled out. That means the rain has continued over the same area. So, grounds are saturated and with the additional heavy rain, we could be seeing some flooding once again across the mid- Atlantic states.
That extends further to the west to include severe weather potential across the mid-section of the U.S. But on the western side of the Mississippi River, it has been quiet and we will 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.
There you see that line of storms we are talking about. If you are flying perhaps to the U.S. capital or into New York, you will be seeing some rainfall really getting right close to the big apple here but heaviest of the rain will continue further south and west along that boundary here as we continue to see storms bubbling through.
High temperatures in the low 20s. Winnipeg about 20 degrees, still impacted with the rain there. But again as I mentioned, further west, including the Pacific northwest will look at very nice conditions with temperatures in the 20s.
And we will continue to monitor the heavy rain. Unfortunately that continues across the hard hit area with the volcano in Guatemala. Rainy season continues here in the next 48 hours, another 200 millimeters of rain.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. Just six minutes to go until the top of the hour. They don't call North Korea the hermit kingdom for nothing. The country (INAUDIBLE) on the outside reading the tea leaves of state propaganda for the slightest hint of Kim Jong-un's intentions. A stark contrast from the U.S. president, who seems eager to tweet his every thought, emotion and musing. Here is Will Ripley.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you really have a transformation?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): If you want to know what President Trump wants from Kim Jong-un on Tuesday, he will ell you.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This is the toll (ph) key to what we are doing on denuclearization.
RIPLEY (voice over): Or he will tweet it. But North Korea's supreme leader doesn't stop for journalists or use social media.
So to get a sense of what Kim Jong-un is thinking, the best bet is to look at what his government is telling its people. Propaganda sets the tone for the entire country and the message is changing.
I have been to North Korea almost 20 times. And I can tell you, people there have always treated me with respect.
[03:54:57] But for more than 60 years since the brutal Korean War, America has been public enemy number one. A narrative constantly reinforced by the North Korean government.
(on camera): What if I told you, I'm an American, do you want to shoot me too?
North Koreans have almost no internet access. State broadcasters don't run all day even if there is enough electricity to turn on the TV.
So that makes posters like this a highly effective way for the government to communicate and the best way for us to track Pyongyang's priorities.
This year as Kim Jong-un has been on a diplomatic charm offensive, government propaganda has lightened up a lot. Posters like these are popping up in Pyongyang, telling people to believe in a new-found peace on the Korean Peninsula. The colors have meaning too. Blue and green indicating peace, harmony, integrity. The gold stands for prosperity and glory.
These new posters don't feature red or black, the colors of war and aggression. Used on posters like the ones I saw all over North Korea last year.
I've had the chance to ask North Koreans what they think. With government guides always nearby, their answers always seem to echo state propaganda. So if you are wondering whether North Koreans will change their mind about Americans after Kim meets Trump in Singapore, look for propaganda that paints old enemies in an entirely new light.
Will Ripley, CNN.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COREN: Thanks so much for your company. I'm Ann Coren, live from Seoul.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause in Los Angeles. For viewers in the United States, "Early Start" is up next. For everyone else, Max Foster is in London. You're watching CNN, the world's news leader.
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