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President Trump Focus on Politics on His Day Two Visit in the United Kingdom; Thirty-Five People Killed in Sudan's Violence; President Trump In The United Kingdom; Source Reveal Fate Of Two North Korean Envoys; Missing North Korean Official Seen In State Media Photo; 30 Years After Tiananmen Square; Bodies Spotted In Search For Missing Climbers In India; Celebrating Eid Al-Fitr. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired June 4, 2019 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: From a royal welcome to diplomacy and politics we will have a live report from London to break down U.S. President Donald Trump state visit to the United Kingdom.
Plus, violence and unrest. Sudan's security forces opened fire on protesters killing dozens in Khartoum.
And later, the world marks 30 years since the Tiananmen Square massacre. We will speak to someone who experienced it all firsthand.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN newsroom.
Well, the focus will shift to politics on the second day of the U.S. President state visit to the United Kingdom. Donald Trump will meet with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May in about two hours from now and they are expected to discuss a post-Brexit trade deal.
Now Monday was filled with royal events capped by a state banquet at Buckingham Palace. Earlier, the president had a private lunch with the queen and afternoon tea with Prince Charles.
But British opposition to President Trump's visit will also be on display Tuesday as the Trump baby balloon returns to the skies over London and tens of thousands of environmental activists, women rights, and anti-racism demonstrators are expected to join a so-called carnival of resistance.
Now despite these planned protests the royal family has certainly rolled out the red carpet for President Trump's visit.
Our CNN's Kate Bennett reports.
KATE BENNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As Marine One touchdown in Buckingham Palace, the president and the first lady were greeted by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. On display, all of the pomp and circumstance that comes with a state visit by a U.S. president with one of the country's oldest allies. A special audience with the Queen of England on her turf.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEEN ELIZABETH II, QUEEN OF ENGLAND: This is by American presidents always remind us of the close and long-standing friendship between the United Kingdom and the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BENNETT: The president adhering to the highest level of protocol managed not to trip up, sticking to the script something he did not do before he even landed on British soil. Tweeting his fury at London Mayor Sadiq Khan, calling the vocal Trump critic a, quote, "stone cold loser."
But his focus return to the grandeur of the day and evening keeping his respect for the queen on full display at the white high state banquet. A top tier event with 170 guests, tables that look four days to set and a menu that included steamed fillet of Halibut and Windsor lamb.
Flower arrangement loaded with roses and on the guest list princes and princesses, dukes and duchesses, lords and ladies and the family Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Your majesty, Melania and I are profoundly honored to be your guests for this historic state visit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BENNETT: For the queen, a party with the president isn't a new thing. She's been doing this for decades. Dining with nearly every leader of the free world since she was young.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEEN ELIZABETH: I paid my first state visit to your country for the invitation of President Eisenhower.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BENNETT: Trump accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, who, for the days' events (Inaudible) in a white dress and matching custom hat, and who, for the banquet wore a couturier Christian Dior white gown and long gloves, commended the queen's patriotism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: She has embodied the spirit of dignity, duty and patriotism that beats proudly in every British heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BENNETT: For the first lady, the day has been the combination of weeks of planning. Brushing up on her protocol and studying the best way to both honor the visit and be a first lady comfortable in the presence of a monarch.
Yet, it was the president who seemed to relished most the special relationship between the two countries. And his personal ties to the U.K.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEEN ELIZABETH: And with aim (Ph) Scottish ancestry, Mr. President, you too have a particular connection to this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BENNETT: Tiara sparkling and royal pedigree dating back ages, guest raise glasses and Trump grumpily tweeting tonight all smiles took in all the attention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEEN ELIZABETH: Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you all to rise and drink a toast to President and Mrs. Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN's Kate Bennett reporting there.
Well, joining us now from London CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson and political analyst James Boys. Good to see you both.
So Nic, let's start with you. And after the pomp and pageantry of day one it is of course time to get down to business on day two, with trade talks plan between President Trump and outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May.
[03:05:03] But critics suggest that any deal that's made will not be good for the United Kingdom. What's being said about that?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the form this morning is a business meeting and business leaders from sort of the five leading British companies, five leading American companies that President Trump and Theresa May will be hosting that meeting at St. James' Palace. I guess underway in about an hour's time.
Companies like Boeing like Lockheed Martin, GlaxoSmithKline will be there as there. So, this is a meeting where Theresa May wants to promote the improvement and business relations between the two countries.
She was saying that, you know, trade is good but we want to improve trade. This is sort of largely symbolic but it's important perhaps the more substantive conversations about what trade may look like in the future between Britain and the United States will come in a closed- door meeting between Theresa May, President Trump and their cabinets, as well.
There is no one on one meeting. But the concerns in Britain at the moment are, what will free trade arrangement with the United States look like. Once Britain is out of the European Union it loses its sort of power of being in that bigger economic trading group, and it will perhaps be more open to leverage from the United States, leverage into things like the Briton's National Health Service which would cause a great deal of concern here in Britain.
Health treatment is free for people. It's really something that people believe in and want and would not like to surrender sort of it will be politically difficult for the government to give up something like that. And the notion that that's a possibility it would be a very difficult political notion, but of course free trade agreements take a long time. We're a long way away from any of those sorts of details becoming real.
CHURCH: Indeed. And James boys, let's go to you. We do want to just listen to the queen's toast to the U.S. president where she talked about the importance of traditional allies and possible international institutions. Let's just listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEEN ELIZABETH: After the shared sacrifices of the Second World War, Britain and the United States worked with other allies to build an assembly of international institutions, to ensure that the horrors of conflict would never be repeated.
While the world has changed, we are forever mindful of the original purpose of these structures, nations working together to safeguard a hard-won peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So, James boys, was the queen sending a pointed but diplomatic message to the U.S. president to remember traditional allies not forsake them as some critics suggest he's doing?
JAMES BOYS, POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think so. As remembering of course that whilst today the president will be in Central London meeting the prime minister. Tomorrow where he and the queen will be in Portsmouth commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
And I think that that event combined with her majesty's remarks last night will be very much used to trying to reinforce the message from London to Washington. In fact, multinational organizations such as NATO, for example, are very much worth preserving moving forward especially considering the allegations with regard Donald Trump and Russia, for example.
So, I think that was very much the message coming out of the speech last night at Buckingham Palace.
CHURCH: And Nic, as well as the trade talks, protests are planned for today and all of this in the midst of political parties divided and unable to find a path to Brexit. How is President Trump making this divisions work for him at this time?
ROBERTSON: Certainly, he really wants to see Britain out of the European Union. He said that he supports Boris Johnson. Boris Johnson will make a good prime minister, he says Boris Johnson has already put his card on the table with Brexit and the way that he would negotiate it, talking about possibly leaving the European Union on 31st of October without a deal.
And of course, the political opposition in Britain is really playing this at the moment to show that a hard Brexiteer like Boris Johnson be very close to President Trump, and anything negative about President Trump is therefore reflected negatively on the conservative party. And Boris Johnson or any other leader who might take over.
So, no surprise today that Jeremy Corbyn the leader of the opposition is joining the protesters at Trafalgar Square later today where he will be giving a speech, he also didn't go to the state banquet last night even though he had an invitation.
[03:09:55] And I think all this Tory issue with sort of the deep political strains in Britain at the moment, the way that the Labour Party the opposition party is trying to sort of play the conservative party as closely aligned with President Trump and that is a bad thing. Witness concerns over the health services future, trade relationships, et cetera. So that's the way those divisions are playing out with President Trump's visit at the moment, Rosemary.
CHURCH: And James Boys before even arriving in the U.K. President Trump had already weighed into the political fray, hadn't he, making it clear he supports Boris Johnson as Nic just reported, supported Boris as the next British prime minister of course. Is Mr. Trump putting the special relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. under threat as some critics have suggested?
BOYS: No, I don't think so. I understand why people make that conclusion but people have been writing up a special relationship, quite frankly, since it first began. What we are seeing now I think is an example of just how important that special relationship is to both nations.
It's in the interest of both London and Washington that a favorable trade deal is struck, it will do a great kudos to Donald Trump as president, as well as to any future prime minister to be able to announce a favorable trade deal.
But of course, British hands are tied effectively until Brexit has been secured and really, any negotiations and discussions which takes place today in Downing Street are going to be a pretty superficial I think. The real negotiations and hard work will be done pretty much behind the scenes in talks which I doubt will receive an awful lot of coverage.
And that party won't happen of course now until after Theresa May has left office and being replaced by and as yet unknown prime minister.
CHURCH: Right. Yes, the timing of this state visit of course a little difficulty, isn't it, with Theresa May leaving in just a matter of days. James Boys, thank you so much, joining us from London. And our Nic Robertson from in front of 10 Downing Street, also in London. Many thanks to you both.
Well, scenes of chaos are playing out in Sudan as protesters try to resist a violent crackdown. What the military says after dozens of civilians were killed. That is coming up in just a moment.
And a somber milestone for a tragedy China is trying to ignore and forget. We will speak to someone who can't ignore or forget what he saw firsthand in 1989. We're back with that in just a moment.
[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: In Sudan, the main opposition group has ended talks with the ruling military council, this after deadly violence against protesters in Khartoum. A warning, some people may find this video disturbing.
Opposition link (Ph) doctors say at least 35 people were killed when security forces attacked a sit-in with live ammunition on Monday. There are also reports the internet has been cut off after the bloodshed.
The general leading Sudan's government took to the airways. He called for elections within nine months but also said that all previous deals with the opposition are being canceled.
And for the very latest we want to go to CNN's David McKenzie. He joins me live from Johannesburg. So, David, what more are you learning on this?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we saw from that general who is the de facto leader of the country was not much contrition from what amounted to a massacre on the streets of Khartoum. The general saying that they regretted the operation that, quote, "went beyond the boundaries of planning." That operation was to clear the sit-in near the military headquarters.
And with standing international criticism, mounting international criticism at this point, so they have called for elections within nine months, they have pulled out of talks with the opposition groups that were pushing this revolution in Sudan. And they put blame remarkably, on those opposition groups on some of the violence.
I must warn you that some of these images are disturbing but they are important to see.
MCKENZIE: A new day in Sudan's dangerous impasse, ushered in by gunfire and screams, the brutality streamed live on social media by protesters who for weeks had peacefully demanded civilian rule. Now desperately recording the security forces deadly response.
"They killed someone, they killed someone." The man filming shouts, a civilian lies unresponsive. In the chaos, the cameraman flees for his life. Witnesses in opposition groups tell CNN that the paramilitary rapid security forces led the crackdown.
In this video filmed by a witness you see a car stopped by security forces, the occupants inside beaten mercilessly. Despite these images, Sudan's transitional military counsel claimed that they did not disperse the sit-in by force.
The council has been negotiating with opposition groups for weeks. Since Sudan's long-time strongman Omar al-Bashir was ousted in mid- April, the biggest sticking point what role citizens will have in leading the country forward.
In the face of such violence opposition groups have suspended those talks, calling for a nationwide strike and more defiance. In the capital city's hospitals full of the wounded hope for a peaceful proletarian agreement replaced. "They try to frighten us with bullets," one injured man is heard saying. "We need leadership. We need leadership. The peace has ended now after this bitterness."
Among those killed, an eight-year-old child according to a doctor's group. They say that more than 100 injured are crammed into city hospitals, some with gunshot wounds and others badly beaten. It is feared the death toll will rise.
MCKENZIE: Well, Khartoum is still reeling from this awful violence. The military council saying that they always intended to hand power over to civilians after the oust of Omar al-Bashir but many will be asking after this crackdown on civilian protestors, whether they are really serious about that promise.
CHURCH: Our David McKenzie bringing us up to date on the situation in Sudan, many thanks.
Elsadig Elsheikh is the director of the Global Justice Program at the Haas Institute and he joins us now from Berkeley, California. Thank you so much for being with us.
ELSADIG ELSHEIKH, DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL JUSTICE PROGRAM, HAAS INSTITUTE: Thank you for having me.
CHURCH: Well, we know that protesters peacefully called for civilian rule and that peaceful call was met with brutality on the streets of Sudan's capital. And the world witness much of that violence live on social media Monday. What was your reaction when you saw the results of that deadly crackdown?
ELSHEIKH: It was really very heartbroken and very disappointing to see the crackdown on civilian protesters in the town of Monday morning.
[03:19:53] Most of the protesters being surprised by lynching this massive force on them while they are given a guarantee that their sittings will be guaranteed that nobody will be harassed. The military council has since asked clearly now after several visit who oversees neighboring countries capitals. It seems had changed their scenario from handing over the government
into civilian hands, and it seems today that they are determined to rule the country.
CHURCH: Yes. In fact, we are now hearing that Sudan's military will cancel all previous agreements with the main opposition coalition and has called for elections within nine months, what do you make of that?
ELSHEIKH: And that's exactly what the civilian opposition with the leadership of the declaration of freedom and change, and Sudanese Professionals Association they've been insistent of rejecting those kinds of running into elections.
If you can imagine, 30 years of absence of the political landscape, people doesn't have the ability or even mechanism to engage with their political parties and political point of views to determine who could rule their country and take them out of autocracy of 30 years and autocracy of the National Congress Party.
So, it seems that the transitional military council with the support of 13 regular powers that they would like to see a rush into an election in order to circumvent this revolutionary aspiration of our people in Sudan who have demanded peace, justice, equality and prosperity.
Setting up a quick election it seems irrational and irresponsible action that might not lead to instability or even rule of law.
CHURCH: And you clearly don't believe that these would be fair elections from what you've been saying?
ELSHEIKH: That's definitely and also the military council have no legitimacy whatsoever to determine how this country should be ruled.
We need to, before we have an election, we need to write our new Constitution so you can imagine it will take years, not only months in order to prep the country toward a decent civil Constitution that ingrained in rule of law and human rights framework.
And it's evident that the military council tried to circumvent and to emboss its own vision of a dictatorship, similar to one we've seen in north in Egypt, for example, when Abdel Fattah El-Sisi did almost the same thing.
ELSHEIKH: So, it seems to us there is a scenario for repeating what happened in Egypt in Sudan.
CHURCH: Now the United Nations has strongly condemned Monday's violence and Amnesty International say sanctions should be considered. How should the international community respond to this in your view?
ELSHEIKH: I think sanctions is only going to trouble the Sudanese people, what I think the international community could be steadfast in siding with the Sudanese people for aspiration for real democratic change by not recognizing the legitimacy of this military council.
They have no legitimacy; they are remnants of the former regime. Their hands are full of blood with our people with the civilians. They killed yesterday but also in the last 30 years.
General Hemeti is very well known as a leader of the paramilitary militia of Janjaweed. He need -- they need to respond to be held accountable for their crimes committed against the Sudanese people in Darfur and other places.
So, I don't think that it makes any sense for the country if it seeks to transition into stay away from atrocity and build this state of rule of law --
ELSHEIKH: -- based on democratic principles. We cannot turn a blind eye for crimes committed against our people.
CHURCH: Elsadig Elsheikh, thank you so much for joining us and sharing your perspective on this. We appreciate it.
ELSHEIKH: Thank you.
CHURCH: And coming up on CNN Newsroom, is he dead or alive. We have exclusive new information about a top North Korean envoy who was reportedly put to death.
Plus, the pomp, the pageantry and the controversy, a mixed bag for Donald Trump as he kicks off his first state visit to the United Kingdom. Back with that in just a moment.
[03:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to check the headlines for you this hour.
Talks between Sudan's main opposition group and military council have broken down after security forces attacked the protest in Khartoum Monday. A doctor's group says at least 35 people were killed. The country's de facto military chief has pledged an investigation. He also says elections will be held within nine months.
Northern India is dealing with a grueling heat wave. Temperatures have topped 50 degrees Celsius. That's 122 degrees Fahrenheit. The number of deaths has been reported due to heat stroke and there are fears of water shortages as the country faces one of its driest three monsoonal seasons in decades.
On the second day of his state visit to the U.K., U.S. President Donald Trump will shift to politics. He will meet with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May next hour and they are expected to discuss a post-Brexit trade deal between their two countries.
Well, up to this point, President Trump's U.K. visit has been packed with plenty of royal pomp and pageantry. Here's a look at some of the events from day one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Donald Trump has just arrived at Stanstead Airport in London for his three-day state visit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Standing at the top of the steps there, President Trump is going to be greeted at the bottom of that staircase by dignitaries from Britain and the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are about to land and bring him, chopper him over to Buckingham Palace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince of Wales they'll be receiving off the helicopter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are now all greeting each other warmly, shaking hands.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there she is, the queen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So that handshake there represents the official opening of the state visit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, two 41-gun salute and then a series of other salutes from around the city.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is about two countries coming together, shoulder to shoulder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump and the Prince of Wales reviewing the Grenadier Guards outside Buckingham Palace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What they're trying to do here is really celebrate this U.S. ties.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He also really values the military symbolism of all of this too. I think President Trump is -- he speaks a lot about his support of the U.S. military but I think he also likes the ceremony of it, the formality of it and you can see him really standing tall and being solemn in a moment where needs to be solemn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could tell that she's given a book, a Churchill book to President Trump, this is the second world war by Winston Churchill of bridge version, the first edition, so he is a big fan of Churchill and Churchill was actually the queen's first Prime Minister, would you believe all those years ago and she was just in her twenties, separately they are viewing artifacts from the royal collection which refer to the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president in the first lady at Westminster Abby, an official visit, they've just laid a wreath at the grave of the unknown warrior, remembering all who died in the First World War.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we are seeing is the entrance to the official banquet room, this is a -- and you see her majesty the queen there.
QUEEN ELIZABETH, QUEEN OF UNITED KINGDOM: UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tonight we celebrate an alliance that has help to ensure the safety and prosperity of both our peoples for decades. In which I believe will endure for many years to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: And royal commentator, Richard Fitzwilliams joins us now from London, it is always great to have you on the show.
RICHARD FITZWILLIAMS, ROYAL COMMENTATOR: Well I have to say that yesterday in a state visit the day of always regarded as unwise ill- timed was a day of magnificent ceremonial.
CHURCH: Interesting, because I was wanting to ask you whether you thought that President Trump's first the U.K. had gone well so far particularly given he had made those comments about Meghan Markle just before he left the United States, how with those commons had been received by the royal family?
FITZWILLIAMS: Well, I think that the onus thing about it was the first thing that he made the comment and secondly that he denied making them when they were apparently on audio, so, I mean, that will absolute nonsense, the extraordinary thing is you could divided yesterday into two parts, the previous couple of days where there had been the most outrageous intervention in British, domestic politics and the Sun, and Sunday Times interviews when he talked about backing Boris Johnson and he talked about Nigel Farage, speaking of the negotiations and the no deal, there is no way and no deal could possibly pass parliament and the ceremonial aspect of it.
No question that he was on message there, he reviewed the Grenadier Guards, the senior regimen in the British army and with a plum and moving moment in Westminster Abby at the grave of the unknown warrior and a state banquet which was of course a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of colors of these events are, it's the 113th in the queens rain.
CHURCH: Yes, I wanted to talk about that banquet, because it was pretty extraordinary and she organized it himself, was certainly -- she was sort of leading the charge wasn't she? I heard some mention that she had been working on the menu for six months, what does it take to pull together a banquet of this magnificent?
FITZWILLIAMS: You begin a year beforehand, I mean that the preparations are meticulous, what the queen does is personally supervise aspects just beforehand with the table placings checked and various guests are invited and so forth, and she likes the touch which he had of having food from the royal estates, there is no question also from the tiaras to the toast, from the flowers to the magnificent fashions, it was an occasion to remember and many of these occasions date back to 1520. Henry the eighth, and Francis the First, to France the (inaudible) -- always the idea of him pressing, and President Trump clearly enjoyed it and it showed he can make a speech which undoubtedly was on message, also pressing the right buttons with reference to the war queen being the last surviving head of state to sought service in the war, but also of course playing to his domestic agenda, because these images will undoubtedly help him in this 2020 bid for reelection.
CHURCH: Yes, indeed and of course earlier in the show we talked about the queen toast with the U.S. president, she did remind him of the importance of traditional allies that he has turned his back on at ties, but I did want to talk to you about the many rules, the protocols to follow that a number of presidents and Prime Ministers around the world have awkwardly broken with on many occasions to the delight of all of us of course.
[03:35:10] And one of these leaders usually told before they meet the queen, what would have President Trump and of course, the first lady Melania, had been told about the behavior with the queen?
FITZWILLIAMS: Well firstly that he did not have to bow and she did not have to courtesy, this is always a matter whether it is a certain amount of controversy, and also again the traditions of a speech of that nature, it proved that Trump can if he wants to be on message, if he wants to make a rather impressive speech he can do it. Very, very clearly it simply meant, I mean that the queen has gave a very, very warm welcome to him and of course again with reference to etiquette, the review of the Grenadier Guards, he carried that off before last July when he was at Windsor reviewing the Coldstream Guards.
He wondered in front of the queen as though he was sleepwalking, I mean that was highly unimpressive. So he has brushed up his act because this is on occasion undoubtedly that he will want to use the images from it, but equally the reason I've said that I believe the state visit was ill timed and they judged. Britain conservative government is without a majority, its Prime Minister Theresa May steps down on Friday and has no authority and there's absolutely no doubt that Donald Trump respects power and the power yesterday, you could see the force, the dignity and also the experience which he did respect was the queens.
I think he has thoroughly enjoyed it. There's no doubt he's brought his head out -- family with him for a purpose, his mother was Scottish and so from the ceremonial aspect, a very great success. Wait till the press conference today that is going to be very difficult.
CHURCH: Yes, we will be watching very closely, Richard Fitzwilliams, always a pleasure to chat with you, many thanks.
FITZWILLIAMS: Thank you.
CHURCH: CNN has learned new details about two top North Korean envoys who reportedly faced harsh punishments for the fail summit with United States. A South Korean newspaper said, one of them Kim Yong Chol was executed, another was reportedly sent to a hard labor camp, but our sources say, that's not so.
And we turn to CNN's Will Ripley, who has reported from North Korea on 19 separate trips and joins us from Hong Kong with exclusive new information on this very topic, so Will, what are learning about the fate of these two envoys?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, it has taken several days to track down this information and that really does speak to the difficulty of ascertaining what really is going inside North Korea, but after extensive conversations beginning late last week with the Chosun Ilbo report claiming that Kim Hyok-Chol, special envoy to the U.S. had been executed, sources were unable to confirm that, many people that I spoke with said they were not able to confirm that information and within the last few hours I was able to confirm after speaking with several sources that Kim Hyok-Chol is indeed still alive.
He is in custody, he is under investigation and one source says he is potentially facing a heavy punishment for his role in the failed Hanoi talks which left Kim Jong-un and his team bewildered when President Trump walked out forcing the North Korean leader to go back home empty-handed without a deal, without sanctions relief, the kind of embarrassment that North Koreans works fiercely to prevent when it comes to issues involving their supreme leader.
Kim Hyok-Chol still alive, sources tell me under investigation. And Kim Yong-Chol, North Korea's ex-spy chief the lead negotiator, the negotiating counterpart for the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he was reported in South Korea late last week of being sentenced to force labor, but then there was this image released over the weekend in North Korean State Media perhaps not a coincidence, that Kim Yong- Chol appeared sitting in the VIP section, five seats down from Kim Jong-un, in an art performance with his hands partially covering his face there, this is an attempt by North Korea to show that the ex-spy chief has not been sentenced to a hard labor camp.
However what my sources tell me is that he has been stripped of nearly all his power and his punishment well not hard labor was certainly mentally grueling, he was essentially kept in his office for a period of weeks, forced to sit in silence and write sentences of self- criticism, one source put it that way, the type of punishment designed to humiliate, and in essence degrade somebody who had a very high position now stripped of his power being touted before the cameras to show that he is alive and well, but in a greatly diminished role my sources say compared to what he was, when he was essentially the point person for what are now stalled nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration.
[03:40:18] CHURCH: It is extraordinary, isn't it? I mean, just how could the original South Korean source get this story so wrong and how often does this happen?
RIPLEY: It's really easy to understand how information you can get wrong when you are dealing with sources, because North Korea is not some omniscient all-knowing government entity where all branches are speaking to each other. It is essentially a giant bureaucracy and each department closely guards information, particularly information like this that is highly sensitive, so somebody in one department might here something, the word travels around, but it might not necessarily be the accurate full story. And because there is really no transparency in terms of the government
(inaudible), the government releases what they want people to know, when they want people to know it. I mean, just the fact that Kim Yong-Chol was the first mention of him in state media in 50 days was just the fact that he was sitting at this art performance over the weekend. No other explanation, certainly North Korea would also closely guard the potential punishment of other officials which explains why we perhaps have not heard anything about Kim Hyok-Chol or other members of the negotiating team, or even Kim Jong-un translator, who sources tell me are all in custody and under investigation right now.
Now those lower level officials would necessarily be seen in public very much, but for Kim Yong-Chol, the ex-spy chief to just vanish for two months, that is rare for an official with as high rank as what he has or perhaps had.
CHURCH: All right. Will Ripley, thank you so much for the clarification. We appreciate it always.
Well, 30 years ago the world watched in horror as Chinese protestors rose up. And the government beat them down, three decades after Tiananmen Square, are things better or worse in China? We are going to take a look.
CHURCH: Well, it's been three decades since the bloody crackdown in the heart of Beijing. When troops turned on pro-democracy protestors killing hundreds if not thousands and the dreams of democracy were brutally crashed in Tiananmen Square.
[03:45:05] No image captures the horror of that day, like the iconic tank man who defied the military tanks as they move through this square. Three decades later, the Chinese government is still doing everything it can to erase the events of June 4th, 1989 from history.
And Matt Rivers joins us live from Beijing with a closer look, so Matt, for those of us old enough to remember these events, the memory will never be erased no one can do that, but how is the Chinese government trying to remove these horrifying events from the country's own history books?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Its own domestic population not learning more about what happened in Tiananmen Square and also not letting those who are alive back then really express what they saw and how they felt in how their lives changed afterwards. So take for example the fact that schoolchildren here in China are not taught about what happened, many people, you know we get interns that here come through the CNN Beijing bureau, we show them the video that CNN crew shot back in 1989 and they're stunned by that, because they have never seen it or heard of it. It is fascinating to watch young people like that.
The other thing that they do is sensor state media so today, June 4th, Tuesday here in Beijing, you are not gonna see any mention of what happened in 1989 in any state media outlet and on the streets. No memorials, no mention of the fact that people died. No memorial events, no remembrance of events. China wants to do everything possible to get its domestic population here to have no access to legitimate information about what happened.
CHURCH: All right, our Matt Rivers bringing us up to date on the situation there, so let's bring in Trevor Watson now, a veteran journalist from Australia broadcasting and he was there in Tiananmen Square that day and shared his experiences in his book Tremble and Obey. And Trevor great to have you, an old friend, an old colleague, good to talk with you, so let's go over this day and how you remember those events as they unfolded.
TREVOR WATSON, FORMER ABC BEIJING CORRESPONDENT: It was enormously stressful Rosemary, it was exhausting, this had been a story that had built over some six weeks, it was a 24 hour a day story, it was a disturbing story. This wasn't happening at some international back water, this was happening in the people's republic of China for some weeks, it seemed to us that China had had no government and that in itself was very disturbing.
We had students on street corners who had been directing traffic when the army finally moved, of course that shocked everybody including the press corps and of course the people of Beijing. Indeed by the (inaudible) at least the 3rd of June the protests had died away. It look as though the protest would have ended at their own volition, the final people in Tiananmen Square would have gone home if the government had simply left them alone, but of course the government couldn't do that. There's an old Chinese expression, it's sometimes, it's necessary to kill a chicken in order to frighten a monkey. And the Chinese government had to teach the people a lesson, so it provoked people back on to the street. So that they were sufficient numbers to, in order to teach the nation a lesson on June 4th.
CHURCH: And Trevor, let's talk about the iconic vision of tank man, as he's been -- he has come to be known, what we know about him, what we know about what happened to him, have you written about what happened to him during the course of the Tiananmen Square massacre and then perhaps after that?
WATSON: The man came out of nowhere, created probably one of the most iconic images of the 20th century and then absolutely just disappeared. He was whisk away by friends or -- down an alley way, off to the side of China, the avenue of eternal feast where he stopped those tanks and that was the last that anybody had heard of him, he may well have been arrested along with many other dissidents who were being arrested on that day. He may have unfortunately -- he might have been executed by military forces, a lot of people were still being executed on that day, the 5th of June the world just doesn't know, perhaps some of those who have help him away might know, but they're not talking.
[04:50:00] CHURCH: Yes. And Trevor, do you think China will ever succeed in wiping away the memory of Tiananmen Square?
WATSON: Interestingly the reports that are coming out of China today and over the last couple of days suggests that the government has been to some extent successful in wiping out the memory of Tiananmen Square, a lot of young people are just not aware of those days, those extraordinary days when the government lost this may people felt the mandated have in. A lot of people are simply not aware of that event and so to some extent the government which has total control over the media, over social media, over the internet has been successful in wiping away the memory of and the story of those extraordinary events.
CHURCH: Trevor Watson, thank you so much for joining us and sharing your experience, and your memories of Tiananmen Square, we appreciate it.
And we do want to go back to Matt Rivers in Beijing. Matt, you spoke about how China blocks media coverage of the massacre and the anniversary, of course, and you were with us on the street last hour, but then police came by, tell us what happened?
RIVERS: Yes, so, I mean, we talk about domestic media here, Chinese state media not being allowed to report this, but it does not of course, cover western outlets and other outlets that are based here in China like us, except when we try and report the story like we did last hour, we often get harassed and we were in a place called Moshidi (ph) with despite Tiananmen Square getting most of the attention, it was actually in places like Moshidi (ph), which is west of Tiananmen Square where the majority of killings actually happened. Where government forces killed most Chinese citizens.
The government here knows that and so when we got to Moshidi earlier to try to do a live shot, there was a whole bunch of police there and ultimately when we started broadcasting they came over and started to harass us, told us not to film, at first they made up an excuse that where we are standing was unsafe to the traffic conditions which was a bold face lie, and then as we move down to the street to their demands, plain clothes police officers came and started harassing us and that is because the uniformed officers don't want to be on live television harassing journalists, so instead they send in plain clothes officers.
The point of all of this is not the fact that we are being harassed, the point of this is that China's government will go to extraordinary lengths to not only try and get domestic media to toe the line and not report on this, but they will also do whatever they can to western media, intimidation tactic, harassment on this street to try and get us to talk about literally anything else other than Tiananmen Square on the 30th anniversary.
CHURCH: All right, Matt Rivers, I appreciate your reporting, joining us there live from Beijing, many thanks.
Well a rescue efforts sadly maybe turning into a recovery operation in the Himalayas, what we are learning about a team of eight missing climbers.
CHURCH: In India, a search team in the Himalayas has spotted five bodies deeming hopes that eight missing climbers will be found alive. And official says they are now certain the climbers are buried under the snow after being caught in an avalanche. They were part of a 12 person expedition, hoping to scale one of India's highest mountains. Facebook post show they may have try to reach a different peak without permission. Well, CNN's Nikhil Kumar is live for us coming from New Delhi. Nikhil, this is of course devastating news for the family of the families of these climbers and of course everyone wondering now the rest of that group, what may have happened to them, can we assume the same fate?
[03:55:00] NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI'S BUSINESS CHIEF: Rosemary, that is exactly what the officials are, saying the officials on the ground near this mountain, this is an Indian mountain state of (inaudible), where this stretch of Indian Himalayas is. They are saying that they believe based on the aerial surveys done in recent days, and particular the one done on Monday morning which is the one that took photographs in which they spotted the five bodies, the chopper also spotted a backpack on this unnamed peak.
They believe that in addition to those five bodies, the other three -- there were total of eight missing climbers, the other three they believe are buried under in the snow over there. They believe there was a massive avalanche and that these climbers were caught up in that and now the focus on the ground has shifted from a search operation to a recovery operation and they are prepping ground teams to go in to this unnamed peak, to this area, it is quite high up, these bodies were spotted and the backpack was spotted at an elevation of 5000 meters. So really quite high.
And they are concerned about further avalanches in the area, in the past few days, the area has been hit by heavy rain, by strong winds and so they're going to take a little bit of time before they send the ground teams in and official we spoke to this morning said to us, it could take a few days before that recovery operation gets underway, but as you say this is very, very sad news and we have learned that these eight, they were part of a larger group of 12 climbers who had permission to scale a mountain known as (inaudible), this is next to the (inaudible) mountain which is the second tallest in that country and they instead ventured onto this unnamed peak and so now the focus on getting ground teams that will recover the bodies. Rosemary.
CHURCH: Nikhil Kumar, with that devastating outcome of that story we have been following it and many things to you for bringing us up to date.
Well, night markets around the world have been packed with shoppers ahead of the Eid Al-fitr holiday. In Pakistan, Muslims prepare to mark the end of Ramadhan and end a month of fasting by purchasing some last-minute gifts for friends and family.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I have to buy clothes and jewelry and I'm really enjoying myself watching all this hustle and bustle and seeing that people are trying to celebrate.
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CHURCH: And similar scenes in Bangladesh where traffic was heavy with people rushing to buy clothes, food and sweets for the upcoming festivities. Eid is expected to fall on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the citing of the new moon.
And thank you so much for your company this hour, I'm Rosemary Church, remember to connect with me any time on Twitter @rosemarycnn. The news continues next with our Isa Soares in London. You are watching CNN, have a great day.