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Pipe Bombs Sent to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and CNN Offices; Dow and S&P Plunge, Erasing 2018 Gains; Saudi Crown Prince Speaks Out on Journalist's Death; Islamabad Gets $6 Billion Loan from Saudi Arabia. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired October 25, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Details on the bombs and suspicious packages targeting the families of two former U.S. presidents, a former CIA director and current members of Congress.
Pipe bombs were also sent to CNN. And after condoning violence in broad strokes, the U.S. president found ways to blame the media, again.
Plus the Saudi crown prince speaking out, his first public address since some of his closest aides were implicated in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
VAUSE: A day of terrorism stretching from coast to coast across the U.S. followed by a massive manhunt for whoever sent multiple pipe bombs to prominent Democrats as well as CNN. None of the devices exploded but the scale and the scope of the attacks and the intended targets are chilling: former U.S. president, Barack Obama; former U.S. president, Bill Clinton; former U.S. secretary of state, Hillary Clinton; former U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder; former CIA director, John Brennan; billionaire Democrat donor, George Soros and Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters, all frequently vilified by President Trump.
Authorities are also looking for a suspicious package sent to former U.S. vice president Joe Biden but returned to an unknown address.
The New York police commissioner said the package sent to CNN Headquarters in New York was a live explosive device. The devices all bear striking similarities, including the packaging, postage and address and return labels.
Trump addressed the high performance act during a bill signing ceremony at the White House. He called for unity and promised a full investigation and said acts of political violence have no place in the United States.
But two U.S. officials tell CNN the president has yet to reach out to any of those targeted in the failed attack. And at a rally Wednesday night, he pivoted quickly to blaming the news media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and negative and false attacks and stories.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, anchors in New York were on the air Wednesday morning when the bomb was discovered in the mail room. The high-rise was quickly evacuated. More details from CNN's Jim Sciutto.
BRYAN PAARMANN, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, COUNTERTERRORISM DIVISION: We will turn over every rock; we will turn every corner. We will talk to everybody that we have to in order to mitigate this threat.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Tonight, the FBI is actively investigating the explosive device sent to CNN's New York offices. This after a string of devices were sent to the homes and offices of prominent public figures, including two former presidents. Authorities are now calling these attempted attacks acts of terror.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We will take every precaution we can. But we will not let terrorism win. Not today, not ever.
SCIUTTO: The device sent to CNN, which was addressed to former CIA director John Brennan, contained a suspicious white powder, as well. It was removed from CNN's offices and taken to an NYPD facility in the Bronx to be analyzed. This according to a law enforcement official.
This is the moment a fire alarm went off in our New York offices at 10:09 a.m. Eastern Time.
(on camera): -- explosive devices. And to have projectiles, I mean, that's -- that's a -- excuse me. That sounds like a fire alarm here. We'll keep you posted on that.
(voice-over): One minute later, my colleague, Poppy Harlow, and I joined our colleagues in evacuating the TimeWarner Center in New York.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: There's a fire alarm here.
SCIUTTO (on camera): You might have heard it in the background. We're going to find out what the latest is --
HARLOW: We'll be right back.
SCIUTTO: -- here at CNN. We're going to be right back. (voice-over): The package delivered to CNN was among a series of bombs sent this week to distinguished Democratic leaders, including the D.C. home of former president Barack Obama and the New York home of former president Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We are fine, thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service, who intercepted the package addressed to us long before it made its way to our home.
SCIUTTO: Another suspicious package intercepted at a mail sorting facility for Capitol Hill, addressed to Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, a frequent target of President Trump.
TRUMP: Yes, she is a low I.Q. individual, Maxine Waters.
SCIUTTO: Earlier this week on Monday, a bomb was sent to the upstate New York home of wealthy Democratic donor George Soros, another favorite target of Trump and right-wing conspiracy theorists.
Because of an incorrect address, another package, which was intended for former attorney general, Eric Holder, was sent back to the return address. The same return address on the packages intended for Brennan, Clinton and Obama: an office of Democratic congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida.
Today President Trump spoke out against the threats.
TRUMP: In these times, we have to unify. We have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place --
TRUMP: -- in the United States of America.
SCIUTTO: However, the president has often inflamed the political rhetoric. His crowd in Houston on Monday broke into a "CNN sucks" chant.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN sucks! CNN sucks!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN sucks! CNN sucks!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN sucks! CNN sucks!
TRUMP: I don't like them, either.
SCIUTTO: Tonight, officials are urging members of the public and politicians to stop the hateful rhetoric for the sake of safety.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: It would be wrong in this moment to start pointing fingers and calling names. But it's right to say creating a peaceful, respectful approach and a peaceful, respectful society starts at the top.
VAUSE: Well, one of the intended targets of Wednesday's failed attack was John Brennan, who served as CIA director under President Obama. Later in the day, at an event in Austin, Texas, Brennan said the president's incendiary rhetoric is not helping to encourage the civility now demanded by Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, MSNBC SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: I remember very vividly how president George W. Bush, in the aftermath of 9/11, was helping to rally this country so that we all stick together in the face of this foreign adversary who caused such great havoc, destruction and carnage, the 9/11 attacks.
So, unfortunately, I think Donald Trump has not helped to encourage the type of civil discourse and public engagement. And his rhetoric too frequently, I think, fuels these feelings and sentiments that now are bleeding over into potentially acts of violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Sam Nunberg was a former aide to Trump and he joins us now from New York for more.
This current corrosive political climate may have played a role in these attempted bomb attacks. Sam, thank you for being with us.
SAMUEL NUNBERG, FORMER TRUMP AIDE: Thank you.
VAUSE: If you listen to the president at the rally earlier tonight, as someone who actually knows Donald Trump, would you say he genuinely believes he has not played a major role in this, in the very bitter and divisive atmosphere that exists in the country today?
NUNBERG: First of all, I'm speaking to you from the TimeWarner building. I just want to commend the NYPD, TimeWarner security and the FBI and everyone else that's looking into this.
NUNBERG: I humbly disagree with the premise of your question that he holds responsibility for these bombings. I've always been on the record saying whether or not whoever commits an atrocity, never blame who they support politically.
What I do think though is the president has come out, in all fairness, he has -- he has commended -- he has criticized the attacks and said they're inappropriate and we will look into it. And I can assure you that somebody like Trump law and order will prosecute the perpetrators to the full extent of the law.
VAUSE: With regard to the rhetoric coming from our leader, here's a collection of sound bites, recent sound bites from the president calling out and verbally attack those on his enemies list. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Fake as hell, CNN. The worst.
Hillary is a very dishonest person. If you look at the things she says, I mean, they're so dishonest.
I think Brennan is a very bad guy. And if you look at it, a lot of things happened under his watch. I think he's a very bad person.
And of course, the legendary low I.Q. Maxine Waters. Low I.Q. person.
It was very polarized under President Obama. Unbelievably polarized under President Obama.
They'll go to a person holding a sign who gets paid by Soros or somebody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. So is it just a coincidence that all the people as well as CNN who were named by the president were the ones who were targeted by explosive devices?
NUNBERG: I think this is probably somebody who is apolitical, frankly, who's not a Republican, not a Democrat, and is just looking to create chaos at a time when the national media and everybody is having election intensity and would be viewing this.
We all look for the October surprise. That's the business we're in. With that said, I think to assign once again responsibility to Donald Trump for specific rhetoric of these bombers is just a bridge too far.
VAUSE: It's interesting you bring up the motive, was it Republican, conservative, Democrat?
Because this is how they're covering the story over at the president's favorite news channel, over at FOX. Here's a small example.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: They're going to be looking at this as a potential terrorist motive, whether it's on one side or the other. And as you correctly pointed out earlier, this doesn't necessarily mean that someone has -- is espousing some sort of conservative ideology and targeting Democrats.
It could be someone who's trying to get the Democratic vote out and incur sympathy. So it could go either way --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's an interesting point.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: "Interesting point," we heard.
NUNBERG: No, I disagree with that wholeheartedly. Once again, this is not a political issue.
NUNBERG: I believe that this is somebody who does this -- or if it is a group of people, they do this to create chaos, to create a fear and, once again, that's why I'm honored to be sitting here in the TimeWarner building.
And what I would say and what I would say it is irrelevant if it is a Democrat or it's a Republican. And I doubt by the way the actual people that did this are actually political. Remember, these terrorists, whether they're Islamists or whether they're Christian fundamentalists or whatever you want to say, they always look to do it at prime opportunities.
What is a bigger prime opportunity than the 2018 cycle?
Which once again, Trump has taken on his head, on his shoulders. He has said that this is essentially his first reelect. And as I've been saying early on, I believe that we'll hold the House.
You've never seen what something like this, with a sitting president, holding rallies, engaging his base the way that no other president ever has in the first two years of their first term.
And the president is doing this at a great risk to himself for a couple of reasons because first of all, from a political point of view, he is saying if we lose the House, the Republicans, he could very well be impeached.
The second reason is that he has a lot of people coming after him on the Republican side. They would love for -- they would love for Donald Trump to not be successful here.
What I think what we have now and what all the polls show is something very strange. You have a generic congressional ballot that does give the advantage to Democrats. That's because Democratic intensity is extremely, extremely high.
But what you also have is at the same time Republicans and Democrats both have the same enthusiasm and the same interest. And if Trump is able to get out his base, that's what Steve Bannon, my boss, has been saying, if he is able to get out the base, I believe we'll hold the House.
VAUSE: OK, well, we'll finish up with part of a statement from our boss, Jeff Zucker. This is what it read. "The president and especially the White House press secretary should
understand their words matter. Thus far they've shown no comprehension of that."
What it sounds to me that you're saying is actually the president does understand the impact his words have and he is willing to say and do whatever he has to, to motivate his base, regardless of what is said, regardless of who is vilified, because he needs this success at the upcoming midterm election.
NUNBERG: I think that what has happened with Donald Trump and this -- this, I'll tell you, is that we're a party that we no longer want to be the party of John McCain, Mitt Romney types.
And this on that might be nice to say but those are people that, at the end of the day, went along to get along. They were hard on Republicans, soft on Democrats. They ran hard against Republicans in primaries, soft on the Democrat in the general election.
Now we're playing to win now. And everything on paper should say that Donald Trump and the Republicans should suffer major losses. Let's see what happens. I think we'll keep the House.
VAUSE: OK. And we shall know in the coming weeks how that all plays out.
That said, thanks for being with us.
NUNBERG: Thank you.
VAUSE: From politics to stocks and Asian markets are following Wall Street's dive. The Dow and S&P 500 saw their gains for the year erased on Wednesday. The Nasdaq moved into correction territory with its biggest one-day percentage drop since 2011.
Disappointing tech earnings, fears of high interest rates and the upcoming midterm elections, all weighing on investors. CNN's Anna Stewart is on market watch for us in London She joins us now live.
So, Anna, we had this sell-off on Wall Street, extending into Asia. I guess the question, how bad does it look for the day ahead in Europe?
What can we expect?
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In terms of Europe, I think we'll open down. But hopefully not too significantly. That's just because we had losses already yesterday, Europe was open when the fall started on Wall Street.
I'll bring you the Asian markets. We have had quite a steep sell-off there. Led by Japan's Nikkei, that's down over 3.5 percent so it's actually steepened since we last spoke. Hong Kong down nearly 2 percent and the Shanghai down over 1 percent as well. A lot of tech stocks in Asia were hit particularly hard like they were
in the States. Tencent was down almost 6 percent and chamey (ph) plummeted more than 8 percent. Those were hit hard. And the tech stocks are perhaps what triggered the sell-off in the first place with Wall Street.
We've had lots of earnings out. The earnings themselves haven't been too bad. But there's a lot of fear about the guidance looking forward, whether that's revenue growth, user growth, the risk of regulation.
But generally, for the global market sell-off, there are so many risks to consider, whether that's trade tensions between U.S. and China or economic risks slowing particularly in China, I would say, as well as (INAUDIBLE) here in Europe.
VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) risks in Europe for I guess most of the year. The trade war has been --
VAUSE: -- hanging around between Europe and China for a while as well.
But despite all that, stocks, at least in the U.S., just a few weeks ago, were at record highs. There's this ridiculous debate of how do you calculate when it hit the record?
Did it hit the record?
Is it really a record?
That's what they're all concerned about here in just a few weeks ago. And now we have had this incredible volatility and all the gains wiped out for the year. And still the economy is said to be strong, unemployment is low, economic growth is up. It just seems to be all out of kilter in some ways.
STEWART: Many analysts say that they've been waiting for the bull market to end. And it is a question of whether the bull market has ended now or whether we're just seeing small corrections every week.
A lot of this will actually come down to U.S. interest rates, the fact that, with a strong economy in the United States, we're looking at more interest rate rises. We've had three this year and we expect another at the end of the year and more the next year.
That's because the economy is strong. The Federal Reserve doesn't want it to overheat. We don't want to see inflation rising too fast. But that will cost companies. It'll be more expensive. The end of cheap money is over. So it is likely we will see this trend continue. It could be the end of the bull market cycle.
VAUSE: What, no more free money?
No more punch bowl? That's no fun.
STEWART: Everything party has to end sometime, John.
VAUSE: No, not really.
VAUSE: Anna, thank you. OK.
We'll take a short break and when we come back, publicly silent until now. Saudi Arabia's crown prince finally speaking out on the killing of "The Washington Post" journalist at a Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Also Pakistan's prime minister, what a coincidence, getting some much needed cash from Saudi Arabia.
But does that deal come with strings? Hmm.
VAUSE: At his investment conference in Riyadh, the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman made his first public comments about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And he vowed those responsible will be held accountable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN, CROWN PRINCE, SAUDI ARABIA (through translator): The crime was really painful to all Saudis and I believe it is painful to every human in the world. It is a heinous crime that cannot be justified.
Today Saudi Arabia is carrying out all legal things to finalize the investigation, to cooperate with the Turkish government and to present the perpetrators to the court and take their judgment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: CNN's Nic Robertson --
VAUSE: -- live this hour in Istanbul, has the very latest on the investigation.
But Nic, I just wonder, how seriously can you take those promises from the crown prince to find those responsible and bring them to justice?
Is there any evidence on the ground to support the claim there's this investigation ongoing and they're cooperating? NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: John, it is a great question. What we have heard from President Erdogan here is he says that since he has started a direct dialogue with King Salman in Saudi Arabia, the crown prince's father, that the cooperation has improved.
But what Turkish officials will tell you here and the evidence that we've seen is that cooperation is not in a good place. Take the consul general's residence behind me. He fled the day before Turkish investigators were allowed in. Of course it took several weeks before they were allowed in there.
But we've learned that once the Turkish investigators got in there, the Saudi officials in there would not let them look in the well, in the basement of the building, which, you know, really just defies logic. Investigators looking for a missing body, Jamal Khashoggi's body, logic would say they should have free access to the whole building if there's this genuine cooperation.
That was over a week ago. The fact that Turkish investigators haven't been able to go back in and haven't been back in, speaks to a lack of cooperation rather than an abundance of it.
What is being said in the -- in the Turkish media here, in many of the outlets both on TV and in the newspapers, is that the Turkish investigators are right now again talking to Saudi authorities about getting into the residence and they could get into that well finally.
That hasn't happened. Look, we're here this morning. There's no sign of anyone coming and going from there. So if there was this real cooperation and Turkish authorities, as we understand from officials, do want to get into the basement, do want to see if Jamal Khashoggi's body is in there, the president, Erdogan, said just two days ago it was hugely important to find Khashoggi's body, hugely important to have that cooperation.
It just doesn't seem to play out on the ground as the crown prince in Saudi Arabia says it is, which begs the question, what is going on?
It doesn't seem to be cooperation.
VAUSE: In some ways this comes back to this excuse which the Saudis put forward, saying it was a rogue operation and that the crown prince knew nothing about. The rogue operation, he knows nothing about the lack of cooperation on the ground.
So in many ways it brings into question, well, who is running the place?
ROBERTSON: Yes, top to bottom, lots of questions as you say. If the crown prince knowing -- let's look at the evidence that we see so far.
We know Gina Haspel, the CIA director, heading back from her visit to Turkey here, "The Washington Post" at least reporting that she was able to listen to some of that recording of the Turkish officials that have been quietly saying was the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. "The Washington Post" reporting that she's been able to hear that.
She'll get a report back to President Trump Thursday, that this newest and latest evidence she's got. And we understand from what the State Department has already done, which is rescinding visas for people inside the royal court as well as the intelligence and foreign ministry in Saudi Arabia, certainly points to the fact that the United States has reason to believe that people very close to the crown prince were responsible.
The Saudis themselves have removed a couple of very senior people close to the crown prince from their jobs. But is there is a smoking gun, is there evidence that directly ties the crown prince to this operation?
We don't know at the moment. But every official that appears to be briefed on this seems to suspect that is the case. Everyone who knows well how authority works in the Saudi kingdom, you know, knows it passes through the hands of the crown prince.
So it is at this stage, given the lack of clarity, the inconsistencies in the Saudi narrative so far, is another inconsistency that the crown prince wasn't involved. The evidence is not all out yet. It does really beg that question.
If the crown prince wasn't involved, how come he didn't know to some degree what was going on, this effort to -- what the Saudis say, a rogue operation that went too far that was supposed to bring him back to Saudi Arabia just doesn't add up.
VAUSE: A snatch and grab operation with a bone saw does not make a lot of sense.
Nic, thank you, Nic Robertson live for us there in Istanbul.
The Khashoggi killing overshadowed a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia. High-profile --
VAUSE: -- companies and big names pulled out. But even so, deals were made. Pakistan walking away with $6 billion from Riyadh, details from Amara Walker.
AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Riyadh feels the international outrage over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Pakistan is finding a friend and financier in Saudi Arabia, sending investors buzzing as Pakistani stocks soared Wednesday.
MOHAMMAD JAVED, EQUITY TRADER (through translator): We expect that the market will further gain. The market will boom even more when the Saudi package is actually inducted in the system in Pakistan.
WALKER (voice-over): Pakistan's prime minister, Imran Khan, was quick to secure $6 billion of financial support from Riyadh at Saudi Arabia's so-called Davos in the desert. Several business leaders and government officials have pulled out of the investment conference over the death of insider turned critic Khashoggi.
But the Pakistani prime minister says he needs funds fast. He reportedly told news service Middle East Eye, "We actually won't have in another two or three months enough foreign exchange to service our debts or to pay for our imports. So we're desperate at the moment."
He reiterated that desperation to shore up Pakistan's economy in Riyadh as well.
IMRAN KHAN, PAKISTAN PRIME MINISTER: So we are talking to both IMF and also we are talking to friendly governments that we could have gone through this difficult period to have -- get loans.
WALKER (voice-over): Saudi Arabia said that they would help, agreeing to $3 billion in foreign currency support for a year and a further loan worth up to $3 billion in deferred payments for oil imports.
It is a deal that has earned Khan both praise and criticism at home, some asking whether Saudi Arabia will now expect the Pakistani president to side with them over one of their key allies. Turkey, where Khashoggi's death inside the Saudi consulate there, has rattled officials and the president is openly voicing his disdain.
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): We are determined not to allow a coverup of this murder and to make sure all those responsible, from those who ordered it to those who carried it out, will not be allowed to avoid justice.
WALKER (voice-over): But in a cash-strapped Pakistan, Imran Khan has just secured financial assistance that's much needed and larger than many analysts expected. Now the question is how Pakistan's recently elected leader will manage a loan with potentially longstanding implications and the complex regional dynamics that follow -- Amara Walker, CNN.
VAUSE: The chilling acts of terror, the search is on across the United States for whoever sent multiple pipe bombs to prominent Democratic figures as well as CNN. We'll speak to a former investigator about how this case is being handled.
Also it's Kumbaya to the DMZ. North and South Korea clearing out the weapons and making nice, trying to take the hostilities just down a bit, a little notch.
[02:30:31] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. Our top stories this hour, bombs have been sent to several prominent U.S. political figures as well as CNN. None of the devices exploded. No one was injured. But there are fears there may be more devices out there. Here are some X-ray images of the bombs and the New York Police Commissioner says the package sent to CNN headquarters in New York was a live explosive device.
There's a manhunt underway to find the person or people responsible to what is called an act of terror. The governor of New York state where number of the devices were found says good will prevail over evil.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We refuse to be intimidated. We refuse to allow them to make us afraid of going to our daily lives. We have the best law enforcement agencies. We're all working together. We're all here and we're going to go about our daily lives enjoying this beautiful city and state, and we're not going to let them win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, the -- I spoke to a former ATF special agent about the massive manhunt surrounding the pipe bomber investigation. Here's part of that conversation.
SAM RABADI, FORMER ATF SPECIAL AGENT: Keep in mind the construction of these devices was fairly simplistic which speaks to perhaps the level of sophistication of the bomb builder and perhaps getting a little sloppy not taking certain precautions. The system that the folks will serve as uses is combined with some of the other security features at their facilities. I can tell you from doing these bombing investigations in the past, our postal inspector counterparts are a critical piece of the investigation when the U.S. mail is used.
There are security cameras located at many of the facilities. They'll be an active participant in this investigation and hopefully be able to provide some clues as to the identity of the -- of the bomber.
VAUSE: Yes. And this guy does it a woman or this man, a woman, we don't know. But certainly doesn't appear to be the uniform of these devices are all sent, you know, with a relatively short period of time which seems to make it a bit easier to figure out who it might be as supposed to, you know, someone who mailed one device, waited a few months, drove from California to Texas, and then mailed another?
RABADI: Yes, absolutely. I think with the number of devices, I believe we were up to six today. You are absolutely increasing the chances for law enforcement to look for commonalities between the devices, the mode of delivery. There will be something. I feel very confident that investigators are going to be able to key in on some commonality between two or more of the devices and be able to identify this individual hopefully in short order.
VAUSE: And the FBI says its possible additional packages were mailed to other locations and is advising the public to remain vigilant. Well, here is a sign that North and South Korea are getting along better these days. They are removing border post and weapons at the truce village inside the demilitarized zone, also removing 800,000 landmines along the border. That's a load of landmines. CNN's Paula Hancocks is following all of this from Seoul.
This is a -- it seems to be a fairly sudden decision but I guess it's all part of a trend that we've been seeing in recent months, the warming of relations between North and South.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. This is something that the leaders of North and South Korea agree to at this summit last month in Pyongyang, this military agreement to try and lower tensions. So what we're seeing is -- this is really a very symbolic gesture from both sides. The DMZ, this joint security area is the one area when North and South Korean soldiers have been facing off against each other for decades.
It's a very symbolic, very visual symbol of the division of the Korean Peninsula. So what they're going to be doing trucks we understand today. We'll be going into that area. They will be pulling out armaments and guns and they will be sealing up some of those buildings where they were kept before and that should be finish by the end of today over the next couple of days according to the Ministry of Defense here in Seoul. They'll also be verifying this. So the North and South Korean sides will be crossing over.
They'll be making sure that the other is really sticking to its word. So we will still see guards on both sides of the DMZ in this area, but they won't be armed.
[02:35:07] They won't be wearing vests and this is really part of this larger military agreement that was decided by the leaders. And in addition to that, you did mention that the landmine removal up to 800,000. Now, there is one area that has been looked after Arrow Hill Head -- Arrow Head Hill, excuse me, and we understand that they have just found remains of one maybe two South Korean soldiers. They believe there could be up to 200 South Koreans in that area potentially 100 American or French soldiers as well along with an unknown amount of North Korean and Chinese remains.
So certainly, this is just another step along the way showing that there is these will between the North and South Korean sides certainly on the military point of view to be negotiating and to be working together in this way, John.
VAUSE: And Paula, we also hear about, you know, the remains of the American servicemen who never made it back to the U.S. after the Korean Civil War. But (INAUDIBLE) South Koreans as well, you know, finding these remains of these soldiers who have been missing all this time, it's very significant. It's very emotional and it's very important for them as well.
HANCOCKS: Absolutely. And the remains that they actually found in this area, there was an I.D. tag that was next to these remains, so they have been able to contact that family. Apparently, the I.D. tag that has -- that particular person has to sisters that are still alive and so they have been informed of this. DNA testing is now being carried out. So this is an immense sense of closure for some families that have really been waiting decades since the 1950s to find out what happened to their love ones, John.
VAUSE: Yes. We're just looking at some of those images. A really solemn respectful treatment which these remains are being given by the South Koreans indicative of just, you know, how these soldiers have view there in South Korea and obviously for one family there is that closure on its way. Paula, thank you. Paula Hancocks there live in Seoul. A short break here on CNN NEWSROOM. When we come back, new migrant caravans are forming in Central America hoping to reach the United States.
VAUSE: A caravan of migrants trekking through Mexico is still more than 160,000 kilometers from the U.S. border, but other groups are already following their footsteps.
[02:40:05] U.S. officials have been tracking a caravan forming in El Salvador and another migrant caravan of around 2000 people has reached Guatemala from Honduras. As for that original caravan, discussions are underway between Washington and Mexico on how to deal with the migrants if they reach the U.S. border. Well, this grueling journey wouldn't be undertaken if these migrants weren't facing extremely difficult conditions back home.
CNN's Patrick Oppmann is with them and discovered why so many are willing to endure so much to escape.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Another dawn at the migrant caravan heading to the United States. Another night sleeping on concrete for thousands of people. Some get ready for the day. Children play a game as if they were still home. Others decide to sleep a little longer. Maria Antonia breastfeeds her two-month old daughter Estrella on the pavement where they spent the night. Maria Antonia says she's leaving Honduras (INAUDIBLE) to have a future.
There isn't any work here, she says. We've nothing to live on. On the same block, Kevin asked people for coins. He's travelling alone to join an older brother in the U.S. hoping to send money back home. He says that he's 14 but looks much younger. We aren't showing his face to keep him safe. I came here he tells me so I could work and eat and help my family. Over in the town plaza, Bryan is figuring out how to get back to the U.S. He will walk as long as it takes to reunite with his three-year-old daughter, an American citizen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's the one who actually meet me the most, you know, so -- and I don't want her to grow without me, so --
OPPMANN: In over a thousand miles to go the U.S.-Mexico border where they will not be welcomed.
OPPMANN: The Trump administration is pressuring the Mexican government to deport more than 7,000 members of this migrant caravan back home because they say there could be terrorist or dangerous gang members in their midst. But literally, everyone we have talked to here says the exact opposite without gang members, they're victims.
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OPPMANN: Maria Antonia says Honduras is out of controlled gangs distort everyone sometimes for just a few dollars. That's why we came, she tells me. They charged war taxes there. If you don't pay, they kill you. She says she hopes her baby daughter is too young to remember the hell they're fleeing form and the hell they're living now. Patrick Oppmann, CNN (INAUDIBLE) Mexico.
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VAUSE: A quick programming note here before we go. Later on Thursday, join Richard Quest for a special edition of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" live from the Kenyan capital. He'll be speaking to the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (INAUDIBLE) and they're looking for investment. All that live at 8:00 in the evening London time, 10:00 p.m. in Nairobi early on CNN. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. Now, "WORLD SPORT" is next. You're watching CNN.
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