Return to Transcripts main page


Donald Trump Meets With South Korean Military; Kim Jung-un And Donald Trump Walk Across Border For Historical Meeting. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 30, 2019 - 02:00   ET




PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- you had to wear a flak jacket, you had to wear a helmet. You were not allowed to stay there for very long. Then you have the U.S. president standing there, very little protection around him when it comes to having no helmet, no flak jacket.

And he's standing there at length, being briefed on what exactly is happening. Standing there with the South Korean president and that is definitely progress.


HANCOCKS: We're not in 2017 when there was constantly nuclear and missile testing. So there is definitely some progress.

SCIUTTO: And another sign perhaps of how protocol, normal practice has been upturned. Our Jim Acosta reporting that it was the president's tweet yesterday inviting Kim to the meet him at the border. Following that tweet, that's when national security officials in the White House got into high gear to make this meeting between Kim and Trump a reality.

Please stay with us. We're going to bring that moment to you live here. I'm Jim Sciutto here at the demilitarized zone, dividing South and North Korea, as it has for 66 years. A tremendous array of power along the border.

And this is the location, as we watch these live pictures from the DMZ, this is the location where the U.S. president and the North Korean president will meet, shake hands. Perhaps Kim extending an invitation to Trump to step across the border into the North, a symbolic but a remarkable moment that would be.

The president saying yesterday, he would be willing to step across, something that the South Korean President Moon Jae-in did months ago when invited by the North Korean leader. These are live pictures from the DMZ where the U.S. president has arrived, you can see the vehicles there.

The South Korean president has joined him, U.S. ally Moon Jae-in, and we're waiting, where shortly where the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un will join them for this historic moment, this unprecedented moment, of a handshake between the two.

Paula, as I've noted before in this broadcast, you have been to this location here where this will take place. Describe it to our viewers. Describe the array of forces there. Describe what it looks like and the history behind it.

HANCOCKS: That was the observation post that we saw the president at with President Moon Jae-in. That gives you a very good overlook of the whole of the DMZ and into North Korea.

The DMZ is not that wide. It will then be a short drive down to the truce village of Panmunjom, where we assume he'll meet with Kim Jong- un. This is an area where in the past we've seen North and South Korean soldiers face off against each other.

It's a very tense area where you have those blue huts, where, in the past, there have been agreements made And it's also the area where you see tourists go to. You can go inside one of those tents and they can step across into North Korea.

SCIUTTO: Would there have been negotiations, battles over things as to whose flag is taller on the table, just a measure of where this relationship has been through the years, the tension. You mentioned a short drive from the observation post where we saw President Trump and the South Korean president a short time ago, a short drive to the truce village, where we believe the meeting will take place.

We saw live pictures of the vehicles making the move from the observation post down to where the meeting with Kim will take place.

Anna Coren, our colleague, is in Seoul.

Describe the reaction from South Korean officials to President Trump's tweet yesterday that seems to have sparked this whole idea, which is now in a short time, going to become a reality.

How surprised were they about it?

Perhaps how stressed were they by the prospect of making this a reality and how would the North Koreans have reacted to that?

ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR: Certainly, Jim, I think there's no denying that it probably caught everybody off guard, including the South Koreans. This is something that the South Korean President Moon Jae- in has been wanting, has been lobbying for another meeting between Kim and Trump. So obviously delighted.

We heard from him when he was speaking to reporters at the Blue House behind us before setting off for the DMZ that if Trump meets with Kim, it would be a milestone for humankind.

You have to assume it's slightly overreaching but it gives you a sense of how important this moment is to South Korea. They have been pushing for peace on the Korean Peninsula and now they feel that there is momentum. Obviously, the talks stalled back in February in Hanoi and --


COREN: -- the North Koreans were angry with the South. They feel that they are limited as to how much they can actually achieve with the United States.

Hence, you see the North Koreans playing to the South Koreans; we don't want you to mediate on our behalf. We will deal with the Americans directly. That also puts them in control, in the driver's seat and that plays to everyone back in North Korea that it's Kim Jong-un in control, not the South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Certainly not backing off that relationship between South Korea and the United States. So the feeling here in Seoul is certainly is one of hope. People are hopeful that this will lead to a third summit, something that hasn't been dismissed.

Obviously President Trump saying we'll see how today's meeting goes. But the president himself said that this is going to be a very short meeting. The hope obviously is that this resets the relationship and that the two countries can start negotiations, start getting the denuclearization plan back on track.

But, Jim, I think it's important to remember that, ever since the Singapore summit, according to analysts, North Korea has developed at least half a dozen nuclear warheads. That adds to their arsenal of some 60 to 70 nuclear warheads.

So North Korea hasn't done much, if anything, since Donald Trump began speaking to Kim Jong-un toward denuclearizing North Korea. So there is a lot at stake, a lot riding on this. It can't just be style over substance.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Well, it's an important point, because this is not frozen in time. As these negotiations have gone on, without progress on denuclearization, it doesn't mean that the North Korean program stays in place. It is, as you said, making progress, the number of nuclear warheads growing, advances in its missile system including long-range missiles. That happens as these talks stall here.

But this meeting today, the expectation really to have the meeting happen. The president defining success as the meeting taking place. This is not a negotiation today. It is simply a face-to-face and a handshake, a handshake at the border.

A brief note about what's happening next year. The president a short time ago went to what's known as the observation post there, where he could look across into North Korea and look at the array of forces there defending the DMZ.

He's now gone down closer to the truce village, where he'll be face to face with the U.S. forces deployed at the border here, some 20,500 U.S. forces deployed in South Korea to help protect South Korea from the North. Then in a short time, he will meet the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-

un, face to face with a handshake, perhaps with the possibility of setting foot into North Korea if given the invitation by the North Korean leader.

I'm joined here at the border by Paula Hancocks, based here in Seoul.

A tremendous amount of choreography in what is happening now and these next steps, a little bit of showmanship as well.

HANCOCKS: And it's interesting, when you say North Korea is going to be part of this, because it's the most choreographed country on Earth. Everything that comes out of Pyongyang is planned to the umpteenth degree. There are no images of Kim Jong-un that come out that he doesn't want people to see.

It's very heavily vetted. These kinds of meetings, he can't control as much. He can't control the message that is going out. But what he can do is take this back to his people and he can show the rest of the world, the U.S. president has come to the DMZ, has come to my doorstep to see me.

SCIUTTO: The North Korean leader is not someone prone to take spur of the moment trips. He is concerned about the security risks of traveling, one reason why he tends to go by train as opposed to by air.

He likes having attention to security, preparations, et cetera, so to respond to a presidential invitation via Twitter and within 24 hours show up at the border, describe what -- if headache is the right term or surprise or shock that would have been to the people around him who had to make something like this happen.

HANCOCKS: To say it's unprecedented is just underplaying it completely. This is not what North Korea does. The U.S. president himself said yesterday, at least we know that Kim Jong-un follows me on Twitter. Clearly the elite in the country are following everything he says.

And the response that we got from the vice foreign minister on KCNA, that's the quickest response from anyone from North Korea that I've ever seen. It usually takes a day or two to react to anything. That any other leader would say.


HANCOCKS: Now obviously time is of the essence for this. But that was incredibly fast.

SCIUTTO: We're looking at pictures from a moment ago from the DMZ, the president describing the scene he saw. Also taking, as we've noticed this, three or four times in the last 20 minutes or so, taking some shots at the press coverage, saying that the press is not giving him credit for the achievements from those negotiations.

Of course, it's his own administration who defines success as being denuclearization by North Korea. That's something where North Korea has not made progress. We're going to take a brief break here. Just moments from now, we wait for that face-to-face meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. Stay with us. We'll be right back.




SCIUTTO: I'm Jim Sciutto at the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea, where President Trump will meet with Kim Jong- un in moments. The location is an historic one, right on the border of the truce village separating these two countries, that point on the border separating them for some 66 years since the end of formal conflict between the two of them.

You're seeing President Trump at the observation post at the DMZ just a short time ago. He's going to meet with U.S. troops, South Korean troops as well at the border --


SCIUTTO: -- before that handshake with the North Korean leader. We'll bring that to you live. My colleague, Anna Coren, is in Seoul, covering the events in the day, including a meeting between President Trump and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea.

COREN: This is an important moment because South Korea's president has been working behind the scenes to try and get negotiations back on track. In fact, the North Koreans have shunned the South Koreans, if you like, a little bit dirty as to what happened in Hanoi.

Different expectations as to what can be achieved and what needs to be done to move forward. Obviously, there is great symbolism attached to this meeting between the U.S. president and the North Korean leader.

We heard from South Korea's President Moon a short time ago, saying that this is going to be a milestone for humankind. Overreaching, perhaps, but it gives you a sense of how important this is.

To discuss this more, Duyeon Kim joins us now. She's an adjunct fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

Tell us the symbolism because obviously, critics are saying this is just theatrics, a photo opportunity, nothing concrete. But here on the Korean Peninsula, South Korea and North Korea, this counts for something.

DUYEON KIM, CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY: I agree with the critics about the theatrics. But the two Koreas, especially when there was a diplomatic lull after Hanoi for weeks and months on end, a very awkward situation between Washington and Pyongyang.

The exchange of the two love letters. Now the handshake at the DMZ basically shows that the so-called bromance between Trump and Kim is going quite well, even if the countries might still be at odds.

COREN: We heard from North Korea's foreign ministry lambasting Washington and low-level officials. Yet it doesn't seem to affect Trump and Kim.

Why is that?

D. KIM: They're separating two tracks, leader level and the working level. Basically they're trying to say that as long as we're at the leader level dealing with Trump directly, everything is fine. Once we talk to the working level, to Pompeo and others, they're calling him the head for interfering with the relationship between Trump and Kim.

COREN: How then does this progress? If you're not going to hand it over to the people delegated to try and reach an agreement to denuclearization, if you can't trust your own people to talk to your counterpart, how does this move forward?

D. KIM: Right. And they have a lot of work ahead of them to prepare for a third summit. Now I really don't think we can afford for them to have -- I don't think they can afford to have a third summit without the proper work in place.

That means really getting down to discussing, even if it's scenarios on a possible deal and compromising bargain on the way forward. Without that, if the two leaders meet again without putting in the legwork at the working level it's going to be Hanoi all over again.

COREN: How does the U.S. walk it back? They've said from the outset it's denuclearization.

How do they compromise?

D. KIM: Both sides need to compromise and be flexible. SO one way for the North to be is for them to agree on a general roadmap of where this all ends, how do we get to zero nuclear weapons and a bit of compromise, of flexibility on the U.S.' side in North Korea's perspective, would be to agree to some sort of a phased approach, step by step implementation of the process.

COREN: Zero nuclear weapons, is that even a reality?

Of course, that's the end goal.

But is that a reality?

First, before we answer that question, we're just looking at live pictures of the U.S. president meeting with members of the U.S. military -- or the South Korean military. Let's take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are standing --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- at the forefront of this, where you are safeguarding peace and freedom of the Republic of Korea.

MOON: (Speaking Korean).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is actually the first time in history that the president of the Republic of Korea and the president of the United States has visited the demilitarized zone in history.

MOON: (Speaking Korean).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And today this afternoon we have a more dramatic event that awaits us.

MOON: (Speaking Korean).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'd like to thank President Trump for making such a bold decision.

MOON: (Speaking Korean).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now the Joint Security Area is being transformed from the symbol of confrontation and hostilities to a symbol of peace. And all of you are actually witnesses to this great change.

MOON: (Speaking Korean).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the very person who has actually brought this great change about is, of course, President Trump.

MOON: (Speaking Korean).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is the proud president of all of you.


TRUMP: I want to thank you very much. You're a very special group of people. I look at you, look at how healthy and strong and how good. We really appreciate it. We appreciate it very much.


TRUMP: So this was a scheduled visit from a number of months ago. We went from the G20 and I promised your president, President Moon, who is a friend of mine, I said, we have to see the DMZ.

And so this was scheduled for a long time ago and then yesterday I had the idea, maybe I'll call Chairman Kim and see if he wants to say hello. So we didn't give him much notice but we've become -- we respect each other. We respect each other.

Maybe we like each other. And he's agreed to meet and I'm going to meet him in about four minutes, so I'm going to cut my speech a little bit short, other than to say you're terrific people, you've done a fantastic job and we're with you all the way. You know this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Korean). TRUMP: What do you have over there?

That looks good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, we have a small token of appreciation and recognition of your visit here to the Republic of Korea. We're grateful for your leadership, you and President Moon and all that you do for the alliance. So we have a small token of appreciation.

Everybody knows you're a golfer and there's some golfers in the room.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we got you -- we're hopeful -- I know you get a lot of gifts but hoping this one was one that might find some utility for you on one of your golf courses. It's got your name stenciled on there. It's got all three of our commands, United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it's got your name stenciled on there. It's got all three of our commands, United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea. And of course, this is the most important one because our motto is here in Korea is (Speaking Korean).

And so we hope that when you wear this on the golf course, you will then (INAUDIBLE) very nature of our (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: Thank you.


SCIUTTO: You've been watching live pictures of President Trump and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea --


SCIUTTO: -- meeting U.S. and South Korean forces stationed here at the border between North and South at the DMZ, 30 U.S. service members, 30 South Korean service members.

A moment ago, the president reaching a gift from the commander of U.S. forces, something they said he hoped he would wear on the golf course, a jacket for him to wear noting the units that are deployed here at the border.

We're joined by Joseph Yun, a CNN global affairs analyst, who crucially served as U.S. special representative to North Korea. He has experienced negotiations between these two countries before.

Joseph, it's always good to have you on this broadcast because you've experienced this relationship firsthand. You've participated in difficult negotiations with between these two countries firsthand. I want to ask you this question. The president meeting here face-to-face with the North Korean leader,

certainly significant, does that normally serve as the predicate for substantive negotiations or would it normally come after some sort of agreement is made?

JOSEPH YUN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Of course it normally comes after some sort of agreement has been made. So while it is very, very symbolic and quite historic, if nothing happens afterwards, then it's just here.

That's what I'm concerned about, Jim. And we've seen one failure in Hanoi. If only thing the two leaders do here is just shake hands, then I will be very, very disappointed.

I think at minimum, at minimum, the meeting today has to kick off a major process in which two sides agree to make some significant progress on denuclearization and building relationship with each other. If it doesn't, it's going to be like Hanoi and everyone will be very, very disappointed, Jim.

SCIUTTO: As you were speaking, Ambassador, we saw the president participating in the ritual of signing the wall there in the U.S. post along the DMZ. These pictures you're looking at or moments ago when the president was speaking to U.S. and South Korean forces there.

Ambassador Yun, in moments we're going to witness something that's never been seen before. U.S. presidents have come to the border before but not come and met with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, who may very well invite President Trump to step across the border as he did a number of months ago when the South Korean president came here, too. Tell us of the significance just by itself of this moment?

How significant, how unprecedented?

Does it matter?

YUN: I mean, OK. It matters if there is a goal to it. It matters if we are trying to do something. Quite honestly, Jim, at this point, I'm not sure what it is that Donald Trump, President Trump is trying to accomplish because while all this engagement has gone on, there has been no decline in the stockpile of North Korean nuclear weapons or missiles.

In fact, they have increased them. So we're in for a roller coaster ride. Yes, it is true that tensions are down. But remember, the tensions were built up because all the fire and fury during 2017.

So really, I mean, you know, we've been on a huge roller coaster ride and I hope there is a method and there is a goal on what today's meeting will lead to.

SCIUTTO: Is it fair to say that, during the months of these summits and now a handshake greeting, that North Korea's nuclear program has advanced rather than stood still?

YUN: Of course, the program has advanced. They've advanced because they've been able to stockpile more nuclear weapons, both through their plutonium program and their enriched uranium program.

So they've been increasing and the estimate is that, every year that the program is not frozen, they increase between five to eight nuclear weapons. There's no question that researchers continue as well as enrichment as well as the plutonium site and the missile site. So they do president a real danger and it is growing.

SCIUTTO: Joseph --


SCIUTTO: -- we are moments away, we can say. Minutes, we believe, now from the moment that we've been waiting for. There's a handshake, face-to-face meeting at the border between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. We're going to bring that to you live as it happens, just minutes away.

Joseph Yun, you've been involved in the preparation for high-level meetings, including a special representative, of course, for the U.S. president.

What are President Trump's advisors telling him right now in the minutes before he meets face to face with Kim Jong-un?

YUN: I think the minute he meets face to face, I think it is very important that denuclearization is the foremost goal. So you see, one thing that President Trump has gotten into over the last few months is there is two issues, denuclearization and peace. So now, you know, he's getting into the North Korean narrative (ph), which is that we must have before we have denuclearization. While the American position has always been that we must have denuclearization first before we have peace.

So this is the two -- two things, two important factors there are. And you can see that increasingly President Trump is buying into North Korean idea that, yes, let's build peace before denuclearization.

And that's not been the American goal nor has it been the South Korean goal and all of our allies, including Japan. They've always felt that, as long as nuclear weapons, North Koreans have nuclear weapons, both South Korea and our key ally, Japan, would be under threat.

So we are seeing a transition in the mind of Donald Trump. But remember that there's a big gap between the U.S. president and his senior advisors, John Bolton certainly doesn't buy into it. Neither does Mike Pompeo.

So you're going to see this conflict that has been played out continue to be played out. As far as Kim Jong-un is concerned, of course, if he can get with Donald Trump, so much the better. And this is why they've been hurling insults at John Bolton and Mike Pompeo but also being very flattering and nice to President Trump.

SCIUTTO: I don't think we can underestimate or emphasize the backdrop for this moment that's about to take place, certainly, a symbolic sign of peace. But the backdrop being hundreds of North Korean artillery pieces, missile sites hidden in the hills behind me, pointed, directed at the South, principally targeting Seoul, some of them with chemical weapons and now a nuclear armed North Korea, placing South Korea under threat.

That is the backdrop, that is a fact of the standoff, the 66-year standoff between these two countries, where you now have a U.S. president waiting to meet the leader of North Korea. There's a remarkable juxtaposition of that military force, that threat, that danger and what will be, at least on the surface, smiles and a handshake between the North Korean leader and the U.S. president.

Jim Acosta has been traveling with the president.

Jim, it was interesting in the moment so far up here at the border as the president prepares to meet Kim, I counted three or four times where the president took a swipe at the press, claiming he's not getting the credit he deserves for the outcome of these talks, these negotiations so far. Not an unusual approach for this president, even as he prepares for such an unprecedented moment.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim. You heard the president there speaking a few moments ago in full view of the camera, saying after his first summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore,, quote, "the danger went away."

Of course the danger did not go away but he's made these sorts of statements, posted these kind of tweets ever since the meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore last year. The critics and fact checkers have pointed out that that's not the case.

He continues to say it. You get the sense that the president is sort of carrying this grievance with him that he doesn't get enough credit for where things stand with North Korea right now. But as his critics point out, the reality TV theatrics do not stand in place of real progress and at this point, North Korea has obviously not denuclearized and they're still faced with the --


ACOSTA: -- daily threat of the North Korean dictator and its regime and its arsenal.

Until the president lets that one go, I suppose he's still going to make these sorts of comments. I do think it is fascinating, though, Jim, the relationship that exists between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. He just said a few moments ago we respect each other, maybe even like each other.

He's gone even further than that. He's talked about this being a love affair and how they've exchanged these beautiful letters over the last couple of years. Clearly he's developed a rapport and a relationship with Kim Jong-un.

It goes back to the question we've raised, why he has this cozy relationship with dictators around the world. This may be one of the coziest relationships he has with a dictator around the world in Kim Jong-un. But he's banking on the fact that these kinds of personal appeals will yield some progress at some point.

We're waiting to see if that occurs. It's obviously not going to occur at the demilitarized zone meeting they're about to have in a few moments but he is hanging so much of his legacy on these interactions with Kim Jong-un, he is essentially leading himself to believe this is going to bear fruit.

But there seems to have been no tangible signs of progress in any of this up until this point. What we're seeing is essentially just another handshake and a greeting with a dictator, which the president has excelled at since he's been in office.

SCIUTTO: Behind the smiles as we watch Kim Jong-un in moments here, is a man who has killed members of his own family, he used a chemical weapon to assassinate his half-brother, who holds thousands of political prisoners and who starves his own people to fund a nuclear program. We have to remember that as we look at this moment here to come.

I'm with Paula Hancocks at the DMZ, a short distance away from the truce village as it's known.

I wonder if you could help us out. People are going to see some remarkable pictures in the coming minutes. Just the architecture of this site where they're going to meet. The blue huts, where past negotiations have taken place. Describe the layout for people.

HANCOCKS: From the South Korean side, you come out of the South Korean building and straight ahead you will see, on the other side of the MDL, the North Korean equivalent of that building.

If President Trump and Kim Jong-un decide to go in and talk, do they go to the South Korean side of the North Korean or do they pick a blue hut? There are several blue huts across the MDL, the military demarcation line, the exact border between North and South Korea.

Until President Moon Jae-in stepped across that border with Kim Jong- un back in April of last year, a fair while ago now, we haven't seen that from a South Korean president, the potential that we could actually see this as the U.S. president as well. He's said he's very comfortable with that.

SCIUTTO: Something you cited earlier, a tamping down, at least at this border point, where the forces come face-to-face. Just let me take a moment before I reference that. These are live pictures again from the DMZ there. You can see the road, I believe, leading up to --


HANCOCKS: This is coming up to Panmunjom.

SCIUTTO: There we are, to Panmunjom --


SCIUTTO: -- known as the JSA. I believe we can see the blue huts you were referencing.

HANCOCKS: On the left-hand side is South Korea and on the right-hand side that is the North Korean building. In between the blue huts in the middle is that MDL, the military demarcation line.

SCIUTTO: Is that the yellow line we see in the middle there?

HANCOCKS: No, it's further in. It's halfway between those blue huts there.


HANCOCKS: You can see on the other side, the North Korean soldiers. On this side would the U.S. and the South Korean side. You can see the press jostling to get into position.

SCIUTTO: We saw the president's Secret Service detail there checking out the scene. You can only imagine the challenge they face, the people entrusted with keeping the president safe on a border that, at times, has had sniper placements, et cetera.

I'm sure the president received security assurances before coming. But if you're a Secret Service agent, you have to protect the president's life with your own life. You take all of these threats very seriously.

And yet, this is where -- and you can see, the blue hut on the right and on the left. There is a line there in the middle ground. That is the border, the 38th parallel that divides North and South and has since the formal end of hostilities in 1953.

We should note --


SCIUTTO: -- officially that war is not over. It's an armistice, sort of a cease-fire. And as part of the negotiations, a formal end to the war is something that's been brought up as a subject of the negotiation. In fact, would be a step toward not only easing the tensions but a step perhaps between now and if North Korea were to make any substantive steps toward denuclearization.

It looks like we're losing the signal there momentarily but that is where President Trump will meet with Kim Jong-un. It will be quite the moment to see. I've covered a lot of stories in my decades as a foreign correspondent. We shouldn't underestimate what a moment this will be for us but for the viewers at home and around the world to witness this handshake diplomacy, you might call it.

HANCOCKS: We saw the MDL. It's the most unassuming border on Earth. It's a slightly raised piece of concrete that just goes from the one blue hut to the other blue hut, very easy to step over it, as we saw with Kim Jong-un and President Moon.

But in that past, what it represented up until a year ago, you could not step over that border. If you did, you would likely be shot by the either the North or the South Korean side. It could just well have been a steel barricade.


SCIUTTO: The famous incident of a North Korean soldier defecting, running across that border, shot at by his own comrades and barely surviving.

HANCOCKS: That was just a few meters from where we looking here.

SCIUTTO: These are live pictures where we expect President Trump to walk -- that, you're looking at the South Korean side of the border, so looking south there. When the camera pans to the left here, that's looking, well, somewhat down the border. It's a little further out of frame there to the left.

And North Korea, to the left here, as you're looking at your television screen. That is the point from which Kim Jong-un will emerge and the U.S. president walking towards him. Again just minutes away there.

You see the traveling press. They're ready, they're in position. We've seen members of the president's security detail, the Secret Service, their presence as well. Our Anna Coren has been watching this.

Anna, you've covered this region for some time. The importance of what we're about to witness here?

COREN: There is no denying that this is an enormous moment. It will be a historic moment. It's very symbolic as well.

As we were speaking with our previous guest, she said symbolism is just crucial to those in South Korea as well as in North Korea. So whilst the critics are saying, where's the substance, where's the concrete plans for denuclearization, as far as the two Koreas are concerned, just by shaking hands, Donald Trump meeting with Kim Jong- un on the DMZ, that alone stands for so much more.

Obviously, the U.S. president sees this as a potential reset in relationships. Things rapidly deteriorated in February in Hanoi when talks abruptly ended. The United States feeling that the South Koreans -- I beg your pardon -- the North Koreans were inflexible and Donald Trump left the meeting. There was a breakdown in talks.

The United States has tried to re-establish talks. Obviously, the U.S. special envoy to North Korea, Stephen Biegun, he has also made numerous attempts to reach out to the North Koreans. It hasn't gone anywhere.

So really, this is Donald Trump doing diplomacy his way. This is his style. He believes he's really the only person who can move this forward and perhaps that is very true. He gets the attention of the North Korean leader. He can send a tweet and summon the leader to the border.

So this is obviously a very important moment, Jim. But as we've been speaking to analysts throughout the morning to experts in this region, they say there has to be so much more, for sure.

This is a handshake, handshake diplomacy, as you mentioned, but it has to follow up. There has to be more, because otherwise, it's really not going to progress any further than where we are.

SCIUTTO: Right. And Anna, as you're speaking there, we are looking -- we just want our viewers to be aware -- the doors --


SCIUTTO: -- you're looking at there, the glass doors, this is from the South Korean side, southern side of the border. Those are the doors from which President Trump will emerge shortly, walking north towards the line that separates North from South and presumably Kim Jong-un walking from the other direction, North Korea.

And we expect this to happen at any moment there. We've seen members of the president's Secret Service detail there in advance. They've been laying the groundwork -- and here comes the president, walking north from South Korea.

KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER (through translator): Good to see you again.

I never expected to meet you at this place.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Korean).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Over to this side.

KIM (through translator): You're the first U.S. president to cross the border.



No, come on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the way.




TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) take a picture here?



TRUMP: Big moment. Big moment. Big progress. (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on, come on.



Move, move.







TRUMP: Feel great. (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chairman Kim, how do you feel?


KIM (through translator): President Trump came up here and physically stepped foot on to our North Korean soil. This is a historic moment. This action in itself, you should not be looking at just this act but this has a lot of significance, because it means that we want to bring an end to the unpleasant past and try to create a new future. So it's a very courageous and determined act.

TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) as I said, hey, I'm over here. I want to call up Chairman Kim. And we got to meet and stepping across that line was a great honor. A lot of progress has been made. A lot of friendships have been made and this is --


TRUMP: -- in particular a great friendship. So I just want to thank you. That was very quick notice and I want to thank you.


TRUMP: So we're going to go inside. We're going to talk for a little while about different things and a lot of really positive things are happening and I'm glad you could be here to see it. But tremendous positivity, really great things are happening in a lot of places. But we met and we liked each other from day one. And that was very important.


TRUMP: Thank you, everybody. Thank you. I would invite him right now to the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guys, back. Stay behind me. Everyone behind me.

SCIUTTO: Well, ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, we've just witnessed quite a moment there. President Trump walking across the border from South Korea to North Korea, greeted by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, followed very quickly by Kim Jong-un, crossing the border from North to South, welcomed by the U.S. president, Donald Trump.

And just for a moment there, both of them side by side, shoulder to shoulder, speaking about each other and this moment. President Trump called it a great honor to step across the border.

He said a lot of progress has been made. He said about his personal relationship with Kim that we met and we liked each other. And he said that that is very important. Kim Jong-un, also a rare opportunity to hear directly from the North Korean leader. He said that this has a lot of significance in this, in his words, that it means that we want to bring an end to the unpleasant past.

He also praised the U.S. president as courageous for making this moment happen.

We're going to listen to them again. Here's President Trump speaking.

Behind the security detail there, President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea still next to each other. This is on the south side of the border, just yards from the North, I think we can hear the president's voice there. Let's have a listen for a moment, see if we can make out what he says.

TRUMP: Just the opposite and it's my honor and it's the chairman's honor. I can say we work well together. Mr. President, thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Korean).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, absolutely.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of us. All of us together. Yes. Back to the yellow line. Back to the yellow line.

SCIUTTO: There we see President Trump. Kim Jong-un of North Korea, Moon Jae-in of South Korea. We've just witnessed a remarkable moment. President Trump, as Kim himself said when he stepped across the border, said to him, you're going to be the first U.S. president to cross. President Trump accepted that invitation, crossed, stepped across the border into North Korea --

[02:55:00] SCIUTTO: -- and then shortly afterward Kim Jong-un stepped across the border into South Korea. President Trump just told reporters that he and Kim are now going to have a more private conversation.

This is the moment a few moments ago when President Trump took those fateful steps across the border, that line he's about to step across here, that is the border itself.

And you can see Kim Jong-un approaching from the North there to welcome him. The words he spoke to the U.S. president as he did cross were, you're going to be the first U.S. president to cross, and indeed he was. This is the moment, as they shook hands there.

TRUMP: It's good to see you again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never expected to see you again.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Korean).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you the first U.S. president to cross (INAUDIBLE)?

SCIUTTO: "Good to see you again. I never expected to see you in this place." Those were Kim Jong-un's words to Donald Trump as he walked across the border there and spent, well, a few seconds, perhaps a minute or two in North Korea, as he made history as the first U.S. president to cross there.

Just some news we have in. We learned that President Trump has now invited Kim to visit the United States, an invitation he extended in the moment there, moments after Kim walked across the border to the South. These images from just moments ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hey. Come on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait until they move. Wait until they move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. President.

SCIUTTO: Joseph Yun, former U.S. special representative to North Korea, he's a CNN global affairs analyst, he's with me now.

Joseph describe your reactions to what you just witnessed here.

YUN: It is, of course, historic, very historic. Not just Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump but Moon Jae-in as well. Those three people and having it in DMZ is, of course, very meaningful. That is the divide, of course, between North and South Korea, the result of a Second World War when the division took place.

So it is very historic and you can see the relations between Kim Jong- un and Donald Trump are indeed very warm, very friendly.

I mean, my question is, can that be translated into some progress so that North Korea finally makes a significant move on denuclearization?

Remember, that is the problem. And that is the problem we've had for past two and a half decades. And now you can see them going in for a conversation. I mean, let's hope they talk some substance, you know.

Let's hope they talk some substance, because in Hanoi, they had some offers from both sides. And, you know, Jim, you and I were in Hanoi. We were surprised, very surprised, when the talks broke off (INAUDIBLE) that there was something on the table in Hanoi.

The crux of the matter seems to be how much can Kim Jong-un do on denuclearization and how much can Donald Trump do on sanctions?

Remember, they have offered Yongbyon. And the problem with just Yongbyon is that we've paid for it twice before. Once in mid-'90s when we had agreed framework. And then second time during the six- party talks.

So if you talk to the experts, both in South Korea and U.S., they fear Yongbyon by itself is not enough, especially when we know for sure that they have other nuclear sites, specifically --


SCIUTTO: Ambassador Yun, these are live pictures. These are live pictures from inside a bilateral meeting, Trump and Kim. Let's listen in.

KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER: (through translator): I was very surprised to hear about your offer on the tweet and only late in the afternoon I was able to confirm your invitation.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yesterday morning, when you expressed the willingness to meet with me here and also when we go to the official communication late yesterday afternoon.

KIM (through translator): I had wanted to meet you again. And especially --