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Trump to Meet Kim Jong-un at DMZ; Donald Trump's Marine One Lands On Border At Joint Security Area; President Trump Makes Comments At The Border. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired June 30, 2019 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Jim Sciutto at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea where, in a short time for the first time, the U.S. president Donald Trump will meet face-to-face at the DMZ with the North Korean leader, the chairman, Kim Jong-un.
That announced just a moment ago by President Moon of South Korea and President Trump of the U.S. He called this a first step but a promising step. Have a listen to his words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to the DMZ border. And I'll be meeting with Chairman Kim. I look forward to it very much. I look forward to seeing him.
We've developed a very good relationship. And we understand each other. I do believe he understands me and I think I maybe understand him. And sometimes that can lead to very good things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: He went on to say that all of a sudden a number of months ago, their relationship got better. They got along.
I'm joined here at the DMZ by Paula Hancocks, who's based here in South Korea, has covered this story for some time.
Over the last several months, although this border still remains one of the -- really the most highly militarized border in the world -- there have been steps taken to lower the tensions. Tell us about those steps because, a short time ago, you went up to the very place where Kim and Trump will meet in a short time.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I was actually there just a few weeks ago and the DMZ that President Trump will go to is a very different DMZ to the one that President Obama, President Bush and President Clinton visited in their time. It was a very tense moment when they went there. But within the truce village of Panmunjom, which is where we're
expecting possibly for them possibly to meet, that's where President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un stepped over the MDL and then stepped back, that part, those soldiers are no longer armed.
You used to have the North and South Korean soldiers facing off against each other, fairly tense. Their helmets are gone. The guardposts have been shuttered up. There will be no weapons there whatsoever. It's a completely different atmosphere now.
SCIUTTO: And that's one of the steps that does have meaning over the last several months, although no steps taken on denuclearization, actually, hemming in the nuclear program.
It was notable to me when President Moon standing alongside President Trump as they announced this historic meeting to come was effusive in his praise of President Trump. He said that he is a maker of peace, he praised the courageousness of the two leaders, both Trump and Kim.
And he said that President Trump will go down in history. President Moon, conscious, it seems, of the relationship with Trump here and lavishing him with praise as he's about to take this step, possibly across the border into North Korea to meet with Kim.
HANCOCKS: Absolutely, and it's something we have seen the North Korean leader do as well. In fact, it's something we have seen a number of leaders around the world do. So certainly South Korean president Moon Jae-in is lavishing this praise on President Trump. He is allowing him to have this moment.
If you remember, I think it was just last year when there was talk about possible Nobel Peace Prizes. President Moon was asked about that and he said, do you think President Trump should have the Nobel Peace Prize.
He said he can have the Nobel Peace Prize, I just want the peace.
So he understands, for the U.S. president, this is very important, the optics of it as well.
SCIUTTO: And we should note President Trump lavished praise himself on the North Korean leader and giving him credit for steps over the last several months, which he claimed as signs of progress here.
But one notable moment, praising the North Korean leader for returning U.S. hostages. Of course, one of those hostages came home, Otto Warmbier, came home brain damaged and died a short time later.
You have covered this story for some time. It's not the first time President Trump has had that disconnect over the facts of the return of that U.S. hostage, a young man who lost his life, which North Korea is responsible for. President Trump disconnected between the facts and the reality.
HANCOCKS: Absolutely, and we did hear him not so long ago as well saying that he had spoken to Kim Jong-un about that and Kim Jong-un had told him that he knew nothing about it. He took him at his word, now that he had to back pedal on. He had to pull back somewhat.
But of course, for the parents of Otto Warmbier, that is devastating to hear the president of your country saying something like that. So certainly there was a lot of surprise when that happened and that was during the Hanoi summit.
SCIUTTO: Understood. It is a short time from now. We are just over here on the unification bridge. That's where President Trump and President Moon of --
SCIUTTO: -- South Korea, they will cross up to the very edge of the border between North and South Korea at the truce village, where they will exchange this handshake, possibly -- even the possibility of President Trump stepping across that border into North Korea.
Anna Coren has been following events in Seoul, where in a short time President Trump will leave by helicopter, come up here closer to the DMZ.
Anna Coren, you watched the press conference there between Moon and Trump. You watched the flourish, the words of hope about how important this moment will be, how positive it will be. Place it into some context for us.
What does this mean for the larger negotiation between the U.S. and North Korea but also between North and South as well?
ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR: Jim, I should add that we saw Donald Trump's motorcade pass by a few minutes ago and then his helicopter, so he is on his way to where you guys are on the DMZ.
What does this mean?
Look, Donald Trump is hoping that this is a recess in relations between the United States and North Korea. Obviously those talks stalled in February after the Hanoi summit abruptly ended.
But certainly Donald Trump is looking at this gesture as a way to regain momentum on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
Certainly speaking, Jim, to many analysts, they feel this is theatrics, this is just a photo opportunity albeit a very symbolic photo opportunity. But it legitimizes Kim Jong-un. We cannot forget that this man is a dictator, he's a human rights abuser and he's also somebody who executes -- orders the executions of his family members.
Here to talk about this and much more is Duyeon Kim. She joins us now. She's an adjunct senior fellow with the Center for a New American Security and a columnist for the "Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists."
Does this legitimatize Kim Jong-un?
DUYEON KIM, CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY: Absolutely. It legitimizes him. It adds to his international standing but, at the same time, from a Korean perspective, both North and South, they're big on symbolism.
Symbolism is just as important as the substance, it helps pave the way for the substance. However, the challenge here is if you engage in too much theatrics and symbolism, it's the same thing as giving someone a Nobel Peace Prize without them having done anything for it.
COREN: What's facing him by haven't anything, nothing has happened since the Hanoi summit, since the Singapore summit, really when you think about it. According to some experts, they say that at least half a dozen nuclear warheads have been developed in the past year, adding to the 60 to 70 nuclear warheads already in North Korea's arsenal.
So really, is he not being rewarded for doing virtually nothing?
KIM: Oh, he definitely is and, you know, they can't go on just praising Kim Jong-un for not doing anything substantial. He continues to develop this nuclear weapons program -- program, plural -- because there is no real nuclear deal between Washington and Pyongyang.
So the hard work is left to be done. And you can't just put a Band- aid over it because the wound is still there. There are hard issues, serious issues they have to deal with. But they are stuck on the most important, which is what will the U.S. give in return for North Korea's nuclear dismantlement?
And that's what we saw highlighted in Hanoi, the sticking point (INAUDIBLE).
COREN: We heard from the North Koreans, apparently some of them were saying we're prepared to dismantle Yongbyon. The South Koreans saying this is a good step. We need to embrace this.
But as you know, there are so many other secret nuclear facilities in North Korea so surely, it has to be more from the North Koreans.
KIM: Oh, it certainly does. Yongbyon is a small fraction of their entire nuclear weapons program. There are key facilities outside of Yongbyon that are producing missiles, nuclear weapons. And so the Trump administration actually is correct when they say Yongbyon itself is not enough.
The North will have to agree to Yongbyon plus whatever, they're going to have to agree on the broader picture, the end state.
What does this all lead to.
And the North, the U.S. will not be able to provide sanctions relief as Pyongyang is demanding in return for only Yongbyon. Again, that's not a proportional (INAUDIBLE).
COREN: How much is North Korea hurting at this moment as far as sanctions go?
We hear about these crippling sanctions.
Is North Korea, are the North Korean people suffering?
KIM: There are conflicting reports. You hear interlocutors on the ground in Pyongyang saying it's developed to a very -- an extent that they have never seen before and then you hear reports that they are crippling. Then you hear North Korean delegation claiming that the sanctions that (INAUDIBLE) want lifted are vital to --
KIM: -- their economy; however the U.N. sanctions they want lifted are there because of the exports on those items, are believed to generate billions of dollars every year that are funneled into the North Korean nuclear weapons program.
So there seems to be a blurred line between where the sources of funding come from for the economy and for the nuclear weapons program.
COREN: OK. Duyeon Kim, thank you so much for joining us and for your analysis.
Jim, I think it's also really important to remember that U.S. intelligence agencies themselves say that North Korea has continued to develop its nuclear weapons program over the past year since Donald Trump meshed with Kim Jong-un in Singapore of last year. It has not stopped.
SCIUTTO: That's exactly right and, as they continue to develop, that means North Korea able to make progress as these negotiations drag out. And that is the assessment of U.S. intelligence. Anna Coren there in Seoul.
We should note that, just moments ago, the president's helicopter was wheels up from Seoul on its way here to the DMZ. That trip just about 20 minutes or so. The president should arrive here in about 15 minutes and within the next hour, perhaps, we expect him to go to the border to meet face-to-face with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea.
We will, of course, bring that to you live as that happens. Please stay with us. We'll be back after this short break.
SCIUTTO: Welcome back, I'm Jim Sciutto at the border between North and South Korea, where, in just moments, we'll witness history. The first time a U.S. president to meet face-to-face with the North Korean leader; President Trump, on his way here now from Seoul, his wheels up, just moments away from landing at the Joint Security Area here at the demilitarized zone at the border between North and South Korea.
And a short time after that he'll meet with the North Korean leader. We learned that the meeting would become a reality --
SCIUTTO: -- just a short time ago, announced by the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in. Here is the moment he let the world know that this meeting would happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOON JAE-IN, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The United States and North Korea will be meeting in Panmunjom. For the first time in history, the leaders of the United States and North Korea will be standing face-to-face in Panmunjom, the symbol of division, and make handshakes for peace.
We continue to communicate and engage with each other in dialogue. We can move towards the best situation. This is something that we'll be able to see for ourselves today.
South and North will be able to become confident about peace and the world will provide their support and cheer on President Trump and Chairman Kim with high expectation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: President Moon went on to call President Trump a maker of peace. We should note that President Trump just moments away from landing here at the DMZ; Marine One, his helicopter in the air en route from Seoul.
Joined here at the DMZ with Paula Hancocks, based in Seoul for CNN, has covered this story for a number of years.
Let's talk about the schedule over the next hour. He'll land a short distance from here. He'll go to the truce village as it's known along the border and what follows?
HANCOCKS: What we're expecting is if it's going to be anything like when Kim Jong-un met with the South Korean president, he'll go to the truce village of Panmunjom. This is the area where you see the blue huts, which, in the past, have had agreements between North and South Korea.
And then in the middle of that is the MDL, which is the effective border between North and South Korea. What we saw, when it was with the South Korea president was, the South Korean president was waiting there, he watched Kim Jong-un walk over to him, they shook hands, Kim Jong-un presumably spontaneously said, why don't you come over to North Korea.
He did, he stepped over and he came back. We know that the U.S. president lauded that as he saw it. That is potentially something he is wishing to do as well.
SCIUTTO: The president wanting to repeat that moment. There have been steps in recent months to lower the tensions along this, the most militarized border in the world. And you, having visited where this meeting is taking place, tell us about those steps and what difference they make.
HANCOCKS: We have been there many times over recent years. And it was always fairly tense. You would be given about seven or eight minutes. You were not allowed to make eye contact with North Korea soldiers. They said, don't (INAUDIBLE), that's a security issue.
The tourists were told, do not wave, do not make any sharp movements. When I was there a few weeks ago after this has changed, there's no arms, no weapons within the JSA, the helmets of the soldiers have been replaced by berets. The guardposts have been shuttered up.
And when we were there, there were South Korean tourists and, on the other side of the border, there were North Korean tourists and they were waving at each other and nobody was concerned. The North Korean soldiers were ambling along. There was an incredible, palpable sense of tension has gone from that particular area.
SCIUTTO: Bigger picture here, there are the optics and this will be a very powerful optic. It is history, the first time the U.S. president to meet face-to-face with the North Korean leader.
But then there's substance and the fact is this will be the third meeting between the two and there has been no progress on the actual denuclearization, steps taken to hem in the nuclear program.
I'm just going to take a beat here for a moment because I can see off in the distance, these are the president's helicopter, Marine One, along with several others. The president, the U.S. president traveling here as well as the South Korean president. It appears that they have something of an escort as well.
They will be landing shortly. It's what's known as JSA, the Joint Security Area here at the DMZ. Then the president's arrival, walking right up to the border there for that meeting with the North Korean leader.
This is history we're going to witness. As we were saying, there is, of course, the optics of this and it is a powerful one and then there is the substance of this. You can hear, I imagine, those helicopters, you have three double rotor helicopters here, a Black Hawk helicopter, another Black Hawk as well, these we believe the transports carrying the U.S. president to the border.
Paula, as we were saying, the optics of this moment, there have been no steps by North Korea to hem in its nuclear program.
What will be the measure of success of this third meeting face-to- face?
Will it be the fact that they met or the fact that it moves the talks forward?
HANCOCKS: Well, there is obviously the hope that this ends the stalemate because talks at this point are going nowhere. If the two leaders -- and it is very much a top down approach. If the two leaders meet once again, if President Trump can get some kind of guarantee, at least verbally from the North Korean leader, the question is, can the North Korean leader get something from the president himself as well?
We heard from --
HANCOCKS: -- President Moon this morning, he's talking about why don't you go with the idea that North Korea had, of giving up the Yongbyon nuclear facility and then the international community can think about easing sanctions?
That was talked about in Hanoi.
SCIUTTO: And that was an exchange the U.S. turned down. The question, Yongbyon an important facility, but is that still a facility essential to North Korea's nuclear program when they have many sites buried underground with the intent of protecting them from U.S. missiles, bombardment, et cetera?
It was interesting to see Moon then present an idea that really fell apart at the last failed talks between the two in Hanoi.
HANCOCKS: He did that last Wednesday as well. He had a written interview with members of news agencies and he floated it, once again saying this is a possibility. This could ease sanctions but we know that President Trump has already said that's not enough. We want the undisclosed sites, the sites that North Korea has not admitted to having yet.
SCIUTTO: And they want what is normally the precursor to the negotiations, like this, which is a listing, an accounting of North Korea sites so that then you can take the steps of staging we need this one taken away, that one taken away.
But North Korea has not presented that information. Paula Hancocks, stay with me here. We are moments away from a historic meeting at the border between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. Jim Acosta, chief White House correspondent, has been traveling with the president to G20.
Jim, when the president was confronted with the fact that there has been no progress made on denuclearization, no steps taken by North Korea to denuclearize, he used a phrase he often has, as you know, as you've covered this White House, calling that fake news in effect and then going on, citing other signs of progress there.
Give us your read of the president's answer and his justifications to say these talks to this point have borne fruit.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, I mean, he uses that expression as we know not to describe stories that are false but to describe stories he doesn't like. But putting that aside for a moment, I will tell you, I just talked
with a source familiar with what is happening right now. The president's trip up to the DMZ to meet with the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un.
This source describes what we're about to see, Jim, as pretty spontaneous. You asked me this question a short while ago and I touched base with a source that had an answer about this.
Essentially the president tweeted about this a day ago and, according to his source, the team got into gear. That's the words of the source familiar with the meeting about to take place with President Trump and Kim Jong-un.
He's been talking about this idea, musing about this idea to folks for several days now. But it sounds as though the actual logistics have been rolled into place here in the last possible moments to make this happen.
But getting back to what you were talking about a few moments ago I was in the first meeting that he had with Kim Jong-un back in 2017 and, I will tell you, Jim -- or 2018 -- what was remarkable about it is you could sense from the president all day long that this is something he really wants and, yes, he is knocked around by critics and skeptics and so on who say this is all reality TV, foreign policy and so on.
And perhaps there is this side of it. He does like to play up the drama and cliffhangers and so on, but my sense, being with the president all day long for the first encounter with Kim Jong-un in Singapore, he very much wants this, He sees this as critical to part of his foreign policy legacy, almost to sort of justify his approach, his strategic rhetoric approach, where we saw this back in 2017, where he ginned up the rhetoric with Kim Jong-un, calling him Little Rocket Man and so on.
And we saw that rhetoric lead to the first meeting with the North Korean dictator, his team surrounded him and defended them and said this kind of rhetoric can yield results and they're still trying to make that happen.
And I think that's why, even though things fell apart in almost a spectacular fashion in Hanoi earlier this year, this president, I guess you could say, desperately wants this and that is why he was almost pleading with the North Korean dictator to come meet him at the DMZ, to have this meeting.
He sees this as a potential opportunity to move this ball forward.
The question is whether or not -- and you were just talking about this with --
SCIUTTO: Jim, just a moment. Sorry to interrupt, Jim, just because, in the last minute here, we've seen a second group of helicopters, a pair, pass over our head on the way to the DMZ with the telltale, two- tone, white top and the green lower half, appearing to be Marine One, the helicopter carrying the U.S. president to the DMZ.
That just happening in the last moment here. Jim, please stand by; in a short while, we will have an update and we are approaching that moment when President Trump will meet the leader of North Korea at the DMZ. Please stay with us.
SCIUTTO: We're going to bring that moment to you as it happens live here on CNN.
SCIUTTO: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Jim Sciutto at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, where just moments ago, President Trump's helicopter Marine One landed at the Joint Security Area right at the border near the truce village where, in a short time, President Trump will meet with the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, an historic first meeting between a sitting U.S. president and the leader of North Korea right along the border here.
This is the moment just a short time ago when President Trump spoke of this meeting, which started with a tweet yesterday, just 24 hours ago and now will become a reality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're going to the DMZ border. And I'll be meeting with Chairman Kim. I look forward to it very much. I look forward to seeing him.
We've developed a very good relationship. And we understand each other. I do believe he understands me and I think I maybe understand him. And sometimes that can lead to very good things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: President Trump went on to call this meeting just a first step but he said possibly a step in the right direction. We're joined now by Sam Vinograd, CNN national --
SCIUTTO: -- security analyst.
And Sam, one interesting dynamic of this face-to-face with Trump and Kim, although the South Korean President Moon Jae-in has accompanied President Trump up here to the DMZ, that meeting will be between Trump and Kim. And that is a dynamic that Kim Jong-un, that North Korea wants. It
wants to negotiate face-to-face with Trump and to some degree sideline the South Korean leader from these negotiations and the role it has had in the past. Tell us why that is and what's the significance.
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: This has been an interesting dynamic, ever since the South Koreans delivered a letter from Kim Jong-un to President Trump in March of 2018.
President Moon had been Kim Jong-un's messenger and President Moon had been carrying a lot of Kim Jong-un's water with respect to urging President Trump to stay in negotiations and urging President Trump to lift sanctions on North Korea in exchange for steps toward denuclearization.
Today we saw something different. Today we saw President Moon really follow Kim's example with respect to making this about President Trump as a peacemaker and putting the onus on President Trump as doing something historic for the Korean Peninsula and for security around the world.
President Moon said that inter-Korean dialogue was taking a backseat today to the broader discussion between President Trump and Kim Jong- un of North Korea. And that's really building President Trump up, building up his ego, which is something that has worked well with other leaders around the world.
Kim Jong-un has gone directly to President Trump when he's wanted something. He likes getting President Trump's attention and we all know that he has really pilloried other members of Trump's negotiating team. It has been a tactic that has yielded fruit as we wait to see President Trump meet Kim Jong-un at DMZ.
SCIUTTO: Sam, President Trump, when confronted with the fact that North Korea has not made progress on denuclearization, which is the administration's own definition of success in these ongoing negotiations, has said, we are, in his words, a lot safer as a result of these talks.
And it is true that North Korea has stopped nuclear tests and North Korea stopped at least long range missile tests, although recently it restarted short range missile tests, which still put U.S. military bases in the region under threat.
Is -- are we safer as a result of these talks, at least to some degree, in that at least the tensions have ratcheted down, including the tensions along the border here?
VINOGRAD: Well, let's just be clear. Kim Jong-un hasn't just not taken steps toward denuclearization. His nuclear program has advanced since these talks began.
Secretary of state Pompeo has even said that North Korea continues to nuclearize. So Kim has a stronger nuclear arsenal today than when negotiations first began. With respect to whether we're safer today, it depends what timeline
you're looking at. In the short term, most definitely. President Trump deserves credit for the lack of missile tests for long range missiles and nuclear weapons.
But the reason why those tests have stopped is something we need to address. Kim Jong-un has said he no longer needs those tests because he has the capabilities that he needs.
And color me a skeptic here, Jim, but while we're safer in the short term, I don't sleep better at night just because missiles aren't flying right now. It's certainly positive that tensions are lower.
But Kim Jong-un and his father and his grandfather before him have shown that they are willing to have these lulls in activity while they wait to get something from the international community, only to start those tests back up again when they don't get what they want.
And we know what Kim Jong-un wants. Kim Jong-un wants sanctions relief. And if he doesn't get that, he says he wants that by the end of the year, I think it's entirely probable, based on the history of the Kim regime, that we could see those tests resume.
SCIUTTO: Sam Vinograd, stand by. We can now confirm that President Trump has landed at the demilitarized zone, that he will meet with the leader of North Korea, Kim, soon. We're going to bring that to you live.
And I want to give you a sense of what happens when that follows. The president has plans to meet at the border with U.S. and South Korean service members. He plans to go to the very border itself, where a number of months ago, when the South Korea leader came there to meet Kim, Kim invited him to step across the border into North Korea territory.
When President Trump was asked would he do the same if invited by president Kim, he said he would accept that invitation. That is something we may very well see, a remarkable sight it will be. It's something we may very well see when the two leaders meet a short time from now.
We are going to keep you abreast of those events and bring them to you live as they happen.
Our Anna Coren has been following events in Seoul, South Korea, where President Trump and President Moon met earlier --
SCIUTTO: -- today. Tell us, Anna, about President Moon's somewhat unusual role here in that this will be a Kim and Trump show, the South Korea leader sidelined by North Korea's choice.
Kim Jong-un wants to meet with the U.S. president. He does not want to meet with South Korea in its traditional role as mediator in these talks. COREN: Yes, well, it's interesting, Jim, certainly after the Hanoi summit in February and how that was, I guess, abruptly brought to a close after a matter of hours, it was then that the North Koreans really took exception with the South Koreans.
And they have fallen out of favor, almost in the dog house, if you like, And the North Koreans will say, we will not deal with the South Koreans, we don't want them to be the mediator. We only deal with U.S. officials.
But even then, after February, despite the overtures from the U.S. administration, certainly there hasn't been much communication between the North Koreans and the Americans. So North Korea, playing perhaps a little harder to get.
We mentioned those short -range ballistic missiles that were fired in May; whilst ruffled the feathers of many in the international community, it didn't seem to really bother Donald Trump. Obviously there are members of his administration which took exception but not the president himself.
He has always placed so much weight on his relationship with Kim Jong- un. And yet it was probably South Korean President Moon Jae-in who really made this all happen in the first place. He was working behind the scenes, trying to facilitate dialogue between the North Koreans and the Americans.
And, you know, this is a man who's a liberal. When he came into office, he wanted peace on the Korean Peninsula. That is something that he had campaigned for all along and then obviously we saw that incredible moment last year, when he stepped across the military demarcation line at the DMZ and embraced Kim Jong-un.
It was an incredibly special moment, something that obviously Donald Trump is looking to replicate today.
SCIUTTO: As we noted a short time ago, we can now confirm that President Trump has arrived. His helicopter has landed at the Joint Security Area, known as the JSA, here at the demilitarized zone, a short distance away from where the president landed and where soon, we're told, the meeting will take place between Kim Jong-un and President Trump.
We should note for context here what this meeting is and what it is not. It is a face-to-face, certainly a handshake, perhaps a remarkable scene of a U.S. president stepping across the border into North Korea.
It is not a formal negotiation, to our knowledge and, therefore, Anna, perhaps we could say the expectations are much lower for success here because, in Hanoi, the intention, the goal was to make progress on the nuclear negotiations. And those fell apart at the last minute. They were not able to agree.
This is a meeting for the sake of meeting, to some degree, is it not, Anna, so a success at least from the president's perspective, simply for the fact that Kim has accepted his invitation and will meet him at the border here in a short time.
COREN: Jim, as you say, Hanoi was a summit, a summit which abruptly ended after several hours. This meeting, as historic as it is, is going to take just a few minutes. And Donald Trump has made that perfectly clear that this is going to be a very quick meeting.
He's obviously taking advantage of the fact that he's here in country, can travel to the DMZ, which he was always going to do. Whether this was such a last-minute invitation, which he, again, alluded to during his press conference earlier, analysts are quite skeptic, Jim. They think that the planning involved, logistics, security, it takes a little longer than 24 hours.
So perhaps this was being organized for some time, certainly longer than the past 24 hours.
COREN: But certainly this is hoped to be a reset in relations between the United States and North Korea. And obviously both those leaders, President Trump and Kim Jong-un, they love a photo opportunity and this certainly will be one to remember.
SCIUTTO: A reset but, of course, the question is, what follows that reset?
Do substantive negotiations follow that reset?
And Anna Coren, please stand by. We're going to bring you live pictures shortly of an historic moment. First time meeting between the U.S. president and the North Korean leader right at the demilitarized zone dividing North and South --
SCIUTTO: -- for 66 years since the end of formal hostilities between these countries, history but history to what end. What will follow. We're going to bring you these events live. Please stay with us. We're going to take a short break now.
SCIUTTO: These are live pictures from the truce village along the DMZ between North and South Korea. This is President Donald Trump of the U.S., President Moon Jae-in of South Korea arriving at the DMZ.
This is where, just moments from now, President Trump will have a handshake greeting to president Kim Jong-un of North Korea. We have live pictures of this moment as it happens. As I said, it was just a short time ago that President Trump landed at the DMZ, arriving by helicopter in Marine One. Accomplished as well also in a ride by helicopter the South Korean president, Moon. In just a few moments at the DMZ, at this point, this border between the two countries, where President Kim and President Trump will meet for a handshake greeting. I'm joined here just a short distance from the truce village as it's known there at the DMZ by Paula Hancocks. She's based in Seoul for CNN. She has been to this location before.
Describe what you see there, this place, this location where President Trump and Kim will meet.
HANCOCKS: Well, Jim, this looks like it could be the observation post. This is one of the observation posts that you can look over North Korea. It's the area where previous U.S. presidents have been brought.
This is where President Obama was, President Clinton, George W. Bush. This really is an area where you get a good sense of the DMZ. And you can look over into North Korea, certainly about 20 meters or so from North Korea itself.
So we are expecting this could be what we see as well. Just giving him a lay of the land. It's a very good observation post to see really just how narrow the DMZ is.
SCIUTTO: And we should note, as you noted, that former, previous U.S. presidents have come to this place before, this location before, President Obama, President George W. Bush, President Clinton, President Reagan, they have come; they have not, though, at this location met with the North Korean leader and that is the history being made.
There is President Trump arriving at the border, walking up the steps there, accompanied by the South Korean president, I believe, just behind him, President Moon Jae-in, this following their meetings this morning in Seoul, as Paula Hancocks was saying, this is the observation --
SCIUTTO: -- post at the border there. So President Trump visiting a location U.S. presidents have visited in the past but is about to do something no U.S. president has done before, which is to shake the hand of the North Korean leader there. Let's listen in to see if we can hear, as we wait for this handshake between Kim and Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) look this way, sir, you start to catch a small (INAUDIBLE). Everything is possible here. Forget the (INAUDIBLE) and also the press. (INAUDIBLE) the distance, (INAUDIBLE). The backsides of the mountain, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is, sir. (INAUDIBLE) although technically, it's a (INAUDIBLE). It is. (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Also in this same picture, sir, you're looking at the opportunities. You just passed that flagpole (INAUDIBLE) at the complex, it was created by the (INAUDIBLE) in 2005 (INAUDIBLE).
SCIUTTO: President Trump there with the South Korean President Moon, they're getting a briefing from the U.S. commander there, describing the security along the DMZ there, which stretches some 160 miles, the most militarized border in the world, hundreds of thousands of troops on either side.
South Korean here on the southern side along with some 28,500 U.S. troops based here in Korea; North Korean troops, of course, on the northern side. This is a tense point, perhaps one of the most tense points in the world.
This was just moments ago, as President Trump arrived there with President Moon of South Korea behind him at the point, where in a very short time he will have a handshake greeting with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
And as I was saying a short time ago, previous U.S. presidents have come here. They have come to the observation point; they have looked through binoculars across the border into the North. They have gotten briefings from the U.S. officer in command there.
What previous presidents have not done is followed that with a handshake with the North Korean leader, which is what we are going to witness in a short time. Paula Hancocks, CNN correspondent based in Seoul, she has been to this place where President Trump is standing now.
Tell us what he is seeing now as he gets this briefing from the U.S. commander.
HANCOCKS: Jim, this is the perfect spot to look over the whole of the DMZ, to get a sense of what the DMZ and look over into North Korea. It's worth remembering that when President Clinton was here and he looked over the DMZ, he gave that quote of, "This is one of the most tense places on Earth."
And it's worth thinking about how different the DMZ that President Trump is seeing today to the DMZ that previous U.S. presidents have seen. The fact that it is not as tense as it was, the fact that the area he's going to go to, Panmunjom, which is the truce village, is now unarmed.
We know that about 35 soldiers on each side, North and South Korean, they used to face off against each other. There was guard posts that were filled with ammunition as well. That's not the case. We know the helmets soldiers used to wear have been changed for berets.
When I was there a few weeks ago, it was a very relaxed atmosphere. It was a touristic (ph) atmosphere. There were tourists on the South Korean side, waving to tourists on the North Korean side.
It's a very different DMZ.
SCIUTTO: We should note that there's an enormous array of weapons pointed from North to South, multiple artillery positions, chemical weapons, et cetera. The threat that North Korea poses to the South.
That said, these ceremonial changes on the border is the product of the negotiations between North and South and the U.S. president and the North Korean leader. And the succession now of face-to-face summits between Trump and Kim, this will be the third meeting -- we should not call this a summit. It's a handshake. We don't expect formal nuclear negotiations here. Really this more a photo opportunity, a personal greeting with the intention of getting those more substantive nuclear negotiations back on track.
Jim Acosta, chief White House correspondent, he's been traveling with the president.
I understand you have new reporting, Jim, about just how much the president's tweet yesterday --
SCIUTTO: -- led to this moment we're seeing today.
ACOSTA: Yes, Jim, I talked to a source familiar with the planning right now, who said this was essentially spontaneous, the president tweeted that he wanted to the meet with Kim Jong-un at the DMZ and his team jumped into gear.
I talked to a law enforcement source a short while ago. He said that the Secret Service had, in fact, being planning for the possibility for some time, for the president going to the DMZ. From a security standpoint as you know, this is not something the president can do at the last second. There is so much planning and preparation that has to go into a visit like this.
The Secret Service has been conducting that for some time now. Just to jump off of what you were saying moments ago about this visit, I think the president is trying to continue the conversations. I was in Hanoi when those talks broke apart very suddenly. We were supposed to have a press conference with the president that afternoon in Hanoi late in the day. Then that press conference got moved up by hours because things had just completely fallen apart.
As the president and his team described it to reporters, Kim Jong-un was basically not willing to meet President Trump anywhere near where the American side wanted to be in all this.
It goes to show you how extremely difficult and entrenched this negotiation is. It's an ongoing negotiation that's going to be going on from summit to summit. It could go from administration to administration.
So I think the president, because he so wants to have this be part of his legacy, he is trying to keep this conversation going with Kim Jong-un. But it is interesting to note that even his own officials seem to be taken off guard to some extent by all this and had to plan some of this sort of at the last second, even though the president has been musing about this for quite some time, from what we understand.
But make no mistake, when the President of the United States goes to the DMZ like this, the Secret Service has to work on it.
SCIUTTO: No question. We were watching live pictures, the president accompanied by U.S. and South Korean military commanders there and the South Korean president. We have not yet seen the North Korean leader but our understanding is within just the next few moments, they will meet at the border there, exchange a handshake.
As we await that moment, we should not underestimate the importance of this location and how, a short time ago, how, well, frankly, unlikely a moment like this seemed. This is a highly tense border. This is a border with an enormous array of weapons pointed in either direction, weapons that the North Korean leader has threatened to use frequently in the past with quite bellicose rhetoric.
That rhetoric has tamped down. Steps have been taken along the border to lower the tensions. But to have the U.S. president and the South Korean president at this location now on a border that, for 66 years, has divided these countries, who are officially still at war, we should note, is a truly remarkable moment. Let's listen in.
TRUMP: Dangerous, very, very dangerous. After our first summit, all of the danger went away. Much different place. I'm saying this for the press. When they say there's been no difference, there's a tremendous difference.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Moon has said that (INAUDIBLE).
COREN: OK. We are looking at live pictures of U.S. president Donald Trump as well as the South Korean President Moon Jae-in. They're at the viewing platform at the Korean demilitarized zone, they're being briefed by the U.S. commander of Korean forces, Sean Morrow.
And very shortly they are going to be meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. That is what Donald Trump has announced he is going to be doing momentarily. Let's go back to Jim Sciutto at the DMZ.
SCIUTTO: I'm Jim Sciutto here at the DMZ with our Paula Hancocks. We're a short distance away from the truce village, where President Trump is now with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in, where, in a short time, moments, we're told, he will meet with Kim Jong-un of North Korea. We have live pictures again from the border there.
They're meeting -- President Trump meeting with both South Korean forces stationed at the border and, of course, U.S. forces there. He was getting a briefing from the lieutenant, Col. Sean Morrow, who commands the security battalion here at the border. Let's listen in again for the president's comments.
TRUMP: 35 million people in Seoul 25 miles away. All accessible by the (INAUDIBLE) mountains.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
TRUMP: Said there was great conflict here prior to our meeting in Singapore. That has not been condemned (ph) all around here that (INAUDIBLE) necessarily be reported that they understood very well and now it's been an extremely (INAUDIBLE) It's a whole different world.
I say that again for the people who keep saying nothing was accomplished. So much was accomplished. And (INAUDIBLE) steps. You have 35 million people living within the range of their (INAUDIBLE) weapons. There's nothing like that anywhere. (INAUDIBLE) but it's all working out. It always works out. Thank you all very much.
SCIUTTO: That was President Trump at the border there, making comments. Clearly the president sensitive to the news coverage of this. In prior summits, they're saying that it's the press that has seen no difference in the relationship.
But the tremendous things, in his words, have been achieved. I should remind our viewers that it's the administration's own definition of success here, complete and verifiable irreversible denuclearization by North Korea and it is on that point that those two summits in Singapore and Hanoi and now this meeting face-to-face here at the DMZ, on the question of denuclearization, that is where no progress has been made.
But Paula, it is true that the sides are talking, it is true that North Korea has stopped nuclear tests and has stopped at least long- range missile tests although they have recently restarted short-range missile tests.
And it is true that some symbolic, perhaps meaningful changes have taken place here along the DMZ.
HANCOCKS: Absolutely. Credit where it's due. You can see these pictures from just moments ago. I was there I think back in 2013 and you had to wear a flak jacket, you had to wear a helmet. You were not allowed to stay there for very long. The U.S. president standing there, very little protection around him when it comes to having no helmet --