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Trump and Kim Jong-un Meet in DMZ; Kim Jung-un: I Believe That This Will Have A Positive Influence In All Of Our Discussions In The Future. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 30, 2019 - 03:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER: (through translator): I had wanted to meet you again. And especially for both Koreas. It is a sign of unfortunate history of the past.

So for our two Koreas to be able to have this opportunity for me to meet you here is very significant. This means that we can feel at ease and meet each other with positive mindsets. I believe that this will have a positive influence in all of our discussions in the future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A symbol of the separation between the North and the South but also a reminder of unfortunate past and the (INAUDIBLE) two countries with their long, unfortunate past as a place shows that we are willing to put an end to the unfortunate past and also open a new future and provide policy opportunities in the future.

KIM (through translator): President Trump and myself, we have an excellent relationship with each other. If it wasn't for that good relationship, we would not have been able to make this sudden meeting possible.

So this excellent relationship in the future as well, I hope that it can be the foundation for better it things in the future that people will be not expecting. And this will be a very mysterious force that allows us to overcome many difficulties that existed in the past.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would not have been possible in the past (INAUDIBLE). So I would like to use this strong relation to create more good news, which nobody expects in the past, that also foretells the good relation.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I want to thank you, Chairman.

You hear the power of that voice. Nobody's heard that voice before. He doesn't do news conferences, in case you haven't heard.

And this was a special moment, this is, I think really, as President Moon said, this is a historic moment, the fact that we're meeting. And I want to thank Chairman Kim for something else. When I put out the social media notification, if he didn't show up, the press was going to make me look very bad, So you made us both look good and I appreciate it.

But we developed a great relationship. I really think that if you go back two and a half years and you look at what was going on prior to my becoming president, it was a very, very bad situation, a very dangerous situation for South Korea, for North Korea, for the world.

And I think the relationship that we've developed has meant so much to so many people. And it's just an honor to be with you and it was an honor that you asked me to step over that line and I was proud to step over the line. I thought you might do that, I wasn't sure but I was ready to do it and I want to thank you.

It's been great, it's been great, very historic. One of the folks from the media were saying this could be a very historic moment. I guess that's what it was. But I enjoy being with you and thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Back out the door. Straight out back. Thank you. Thank you.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, as you can see there, the president's daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law Jared Kushner among those attending this bilateral here between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.

Kim Jong-un, when he had his moment to speak, said that this is an opportunity for the two countries to set aside what he called their unfortunate past. He described his relationship with President Trump as an excellent one and one that made what he called a sudden meeting possible.

President Trump, given his chance to speak, spoke about the power of the voice of Kim Jong-un there, called it a historic moment and, once again, mentioned the press coverage of this all. Sixth or seventh time he's done that since he arrived at the DMZ, saying, if you didn't show up to Chairman Kim, the press would have made us look very bad.

The two are going to continue their discussions, bilateral. We don't know how long that will take. We also don't know the specificity of this bilateral.

Will they get into possible concessions or just the timing of another meeting?

Will this signal the restart of negotiations?

Or more just relationship building between these two leaders?

After that moment we witnessed of President Trump --

[03:05:00]

SCIUTTO: -- crossing the border into North Korea and now Kim Jong-un crossing the border south into South Korea. Paula Hancocks is with me. We're a short distance away from where this meeting is taking place.

We should point out, behind the smiles, Kim Jong-un is a brutal dictator. He has tens of thousands of political prisoners. He starves his people to fund his military and his nuclear program. He has murdered members of his own family who challenged his leadership and authority.

That is the backdrop here but this is a president in Trump who's been willing to look beyond that in a Kim or a Putin or a Xi Jinping. And speak about the power of their relationship.

I should just note, Paula, we've just learned that they are meeting in private now, Kim and Trump. Describe what you watched in these last few minutes here, since you've been up to that border area, to see a U.S. president take a step across the border.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, it is remarkable. It is something that 24 hours ago would you not have expected to happen. Before you saw that tweet from the U.S. president, it was something that did seem, that it couldn't happen.

But of course, it is an image that certainly here in South Korea will be played on a loop for days to come and certainly in the United States and around the world. That is an image that is there to stay.

What it does symbolize apart from a remarkable, historic moment and photo opportunity is hopefully these talks are no longer stalled. We have seen very little progress between these two sides since the Hanoi summit in February. In fact, we have seen Kim Jong-un go back to some of his missile testing.

Yes, the short-range missile testing but missile testing all the same. I think what many hope this actually means is at least the two sides are talking again. And it is a top-down process, it always has been.

SCIUTTO: Notable absence from this bilateral is Moon Jae-in of South Korea. This is a one-on-one Trump-to-Kim communication channel here.

That is by Kim Jong-un's choice, is it not?

HANCOCKS: Yes, that's very good to note. We did see Moon Jae-in briefly but then he peeled away so these two leaders could talk. We've heard a lot of criticism from North Korea towards South Korea in recent days.

Just last week Moon Jae-in said he believed in an interview that he there was behind the scenes dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea to set up this summit. The very next day we had a statement from KCNA, the foreign ministry, saying that is not true. This is between us and the United States.

So it was a real proverbial, public slapdown to President Moon Jae-in. We also heard Moon Jae-in say, I will be at the DMZ but this is between the U.S. and North Korea. He was at pains to say that as well. He is obviously clear that Kim Jong-un does not want him moderating or mediating.

SCIUTTO: It's clear from this president, we know that others were present in the room, at least at the start, that is the president's daughter and son-in-law and the Treasury Secretary were there.

We're replaying this because we've never seen this before. Donald Trump shaking the hand of Kim Jong-un right at the North Korean border. When he arrived there, Kim Jong-un's words were, good to see you again, I never thought I would see you here.

And then he invited the U.S. president to cross the border into the North, saying you will be the first president to do this. President Trump said he was open to that invitation.

Well, he accepted that invitation. There he is, stepping across. And there he is on North Korean soil, a first for a U.S. president, followed soon after by Kim taking a step back into the South, where he is now meeting face-to-face with the U.S. president.

Anna Coren has been monitoring this from Seoul, the events throughout the day.

Do we know, Anna, the substance of this bilateral, whether this is about relationship building?

Or the possibility of more specific discussions of how to restart the actual nuclear negotiations?

ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR: Jim, great question. I don't have the answer for you, unfortunately. We don't know what these two men are discussing. Obviously, they have reiterated that they share this excellent relationship, it's because of this excellent relationship, this chemistry that Donald Trump mentions time and time again, that allowed for this sudden, impromptu meeting.

Obviously, we heard from Kim Jong-un, who backed it up. He said, I never expected to see you here, meaning at the DMZ, so perhaps that gives Trump's explanation of it being a thought that came to him yesterday morning when he tweeted it out --

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COREN: -- to the North Korean leader, maybe that gives it credence. But certainly, this is very historic. There is no denying that.

Slightly bizarre because the question is, what does this mean, if anything?

These two leaders have been talking, now, for over a year. This is their third meeting since meeting in Singapore last year. Hanoi, those talks ended abruptly in February of this year. And now we're witnessing history.

But it has it to be so much more. It can't just be a photo opportunity. It can't just be theatrics and the normalization of relations with the North Korean leader. I mean, this man is a dictator. This man is a human rights abuser.

This is a man who has ordered for the execution of his family members, not to mention, you know, he would rather starve, you know, his people and build a nuclear weapons program, which is exactly what he's been doing the whole time that he has been talking to Donald Trump.

Analysts will say that North Korea has not stopped building its weapons program, its nuclear weapons program. In fact, in the last 12 months, they've created another half a dozen nuclear warheads that adds to their arsenal of 60 to 70 nuclear warheads.

So really, the international community is going to expect a lot more. These images will flash around the world. We'll see them time and time again. They'll be on the front pages of newspapers and magazines.

And for sure, this deserves, it deserves weight, there is no denying it deserves weight but there has to be so much more, Jim. There has it to be something concrete that comes from this, so that there is real steps toward denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

SCIUTTO: We've seen the image now.

What follows the photo op?

And we have seen photo ops before. We saw it in Singapore at their first summit and in Hanoi at their second summit and in neither case did substantive agreement or concession follow. That will be the test of the longer term success and outcome of this meeting.

I should note that former U.S. presidents have visited North Korea before, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton went, for instance, to help secure the release of U.S. prisoners held by North Korea. It's a practice that North Korea has repeated many times.

And of course, under Trump's leadership, one of those American prisoners came home brain damaged and later died. This is the nature of the leader and the dictatorship and the regime that President Trump is meeting with right now.

He calls it an honor to meet with him. He calls it an excellent relationship but we cannot forget the nature of that government, that regime, as we watch these moments unfold here.

I want to go back to comments just moments ago, when President Trump and Kim, together, spoke to reporters, gathered there at the border, shortly after Kim came across the border to the South. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chairman Kim, how do you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's good, he's good.

KIM (through translator): President Trump has just walked across the demarcation line. That made him the first U.S. president to visit our country.

I believe, just looking at this action, this is an expression of his willingness to eliminate all the unfortunate past and open a new future.

TRUMP: I just want to say that this is my honor. I didn't really expect it. We were in Japan for the G20. We came over and 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 has been in particular a great friendship. I just want to thank you. That was very quick notice and I want to thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Korean).

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 --

[03:15:00]

TRUMP: -- and I'm glad you could be here to see it but tremendous positivity, really great things are happening and in a lot of places but we met and we liked each other from day one and that was very important.

SCIUTTO: That was President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea, speaking to reporters just moments ago before they went to a private, closed-door meeting. These are live pictures right now outside that bilateral meeting where Kim and Trump are meeting now by themselves.

Jim Acosta has been following the president throughout his travels in Asia.

Jim, do we know the broad outlines of this face-to-face now behind closed doors between Kim and Trump?

Do we know if they're getting to the actual substance of the nuclear negotiations?

Or do we believe this is more in the category of relationship building?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Jim, I think this is relationship building. We'll have to wait until we get a readout from officials on the scene. I just talked to a source on the scene with the president and Kim Jong-un for their meeting, this meeting they're having right now, it could go on for some time. No word on how long it's going to go on. It's essentially going to go on as long as these two leaders want to continue talking to one another.

I want to give a little color as to what's going on and I can relate to some of this. According to a source on the scene there for the president's meeting, the new White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, got into a bit of a scuffle with the North Koreans, trying to hustle the members of the White House press pool into position to cover this historic meeting.

According to the source I just spoke with a few moments ago, Grisham was a bit bruised in some of this. And my sense of it is she's OK. But I can tell you, Jim, having been in the pool covering the president with Kim Jong-un in Singapore a year ago, this can get quite contentious with the North Korean state media representatives.

They were pushing and shoving us when we were in Singapore and so it sounds as though -- and you saw some of this play out on camera, I think. You heard some of the yelling and shouting among people inside that scrum of reporters in North Korea media representatives, it can get pretty rough in there.

And that's apparently what happened. Now in terms of the substance and what's going on between the president and Kim Jong-un, we're just going to have to wait and see how this all plays out but I do think it's striking, that the president, right on the spot there, was inviting Kim to the White House.

He wants episode four of this reality TV-style relationship that he has brought to the forefront with Kim Jong-un. The question is, of course, whether or not these episodes actually reveal anything or produce anything in terms of substance.

But as you're seeing there, just a few moments ago, in these almost unimaginable pictures, seeing a U.S. president on North Korean soil, there is sort of a human breakthrough here, a diplomatic breakthrough here, just in the sense that they have developed this relationship, potentially, that could yield big dividends down the road. We'll have to wait and see.

SCIUTTO: You're saying the White House press secretary was physically bruised in an encounter with North Korean aides to Kim Jong-un, physically bruised?

ACOSTA: That's what I'm told, there was a scuffle, scuffling going on between the press secretary and the North Korean media representatives to get the pool in there. And I will tell you, having been in some of these scrums before, or one of these scrums before with the North Koreans, this is a rough crowd that doesn't want to yield space when it comes to getting that shot of the North Korean dictator.

They can be, you know, they can be rough. They'll be pushing and shoving and it sounds as though the new press secretary, who's just on the job, you know, for a week or so, got into it a bit with the North Koreans in trying to hustle members of the White House press pool in for this meeting.

SCIUTTO: It's a reminder of the North, there's no press freedom there. This is, this is a brutal regime. Kim Jong-un is at the top of a brutal regime with a long history of much worse.

But that is quite a moment there to hear the White House press secretary physically bruised.

Now Jim, the president has in the past talked about his desire or at least his openness to welcoming the North Korean leader to the White House. It appears now he has delivered that invitation personally to the North Korean president.

ACOSTA: Right.

SCIUTTO: Do we have any sense of timing of --

[03:20:00]

SCIUTTO: -- when that would become a reality?

ACOSTA: We don't. My sense of it is, Jim, that the president would like this timed so, you know, it pays back some dividends for the upcoming presidential campaign.

The other thing I will point out, you saw this in the pictures as you were talking over them a few moments ago, Kim Jong-un comes across in person -- and I've been a few feet away from him -- as a jovial, slightly rotund, you know, politician. And does not smack of this brutal record that he has, as a killer and dictator.

It is, it is quite something when you're this close to him. And I think that came across in the pictures that we just saw a few moments ago, he can be very engaging, he can be very charismatic when you're with him face-to-face.

And I think one of the questions moving forward is whether or not the president is charmed by all of this but still not in a position to get anything productive in the long run.

As you and I both know, Jim, it just sort of strains the imagination to picture a situation where Kim Jong-un is going to give up the weapons that essentially keep him in power. And so the president can invite him to the White House. He can do it right before the upcoming campaign.

But is all of that going to produce much of anything?

We're just going to have to wait and see as we're waiting to see what comes out of this meeting right now.

SCIUTTO: As U.S. intelligence community's assessment that North Korea will not give up its nuclear weapons, because it views it as essential to its survival as a prime national security interest.

But good point by Jim Acosta there about the smiles, smiles between Trump and Kim. We saw smiles between Trump and Putin as they made jokes about election interference during the G20 and, of course, smiles between President Trump and the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

The president showing a comfort level with dictators, which often he does not show even with some of America's closest allies. Jim Acosta, please stand by.

I'm here at the DMZ, a short distance from where President Trump is meeting with the North Korean leader in a private, behind closed doors, bilateral meeting as we speak. I'm joined here by Paula Hancocks, who covers South Korea, based in Seoul, been here a number of times, for some time.

It is quite a moment here to have them meeting and discussing face-to- face an issue which has divided these countries for decades and brought these countries to the brink of war a number of times over the course of those decades.

HANCOCKS: I was reading back what the two leaders said when they had that moment from Kim Jong-un saying, it's good to see you, I didn't expect to see you here, the first U.S. president to step into North Korea.

But yes, this moment has a lot of significance but don't just look at this moment. And that's something I missed the first time. He is also pointing out, I assume, if the translation was correct, that, yes, this is a significant moment, Kim Jong-un called it a historic moment. But of course, it is what comes next.

SCIUTTO: Right, yes.

HANCOCKS: And it is what is being talked about at the moment between these two leaders that really matters.

And each has domestic pressure. President Trump has the pressure to show dividends from these many meetings now with the North Korean leader. And Chairman Kim, who is under enormous economic pressure as a result of maximum pressure, these sanctions, has to show some dividends from these meetings as well.

It was our report at the following of the breakdown of talks in Hanoi that Kim faced pressure at home. He went to meet the U.S. president and came home with nothing to show for it in terms of relief for economic sanctions.

HANCOCKS: It was humiliating to the North Korean leader. He had heralded it that he was off to have a second summit with the U.S. president. By all accounts, he believed he was going to get something from this meeting, that there was going to be some kind of agreement. And had announced it ahead of time.

But the fact that he had to go home and lick his wounds and explain to his people what happened, you had that very dramatic and unusual press conference in the middle of the night by the North Korean officials, trying to explain what happened, that they weren't trying to ask for all sanctions to be lifted, just some of the sanctions, trying to back-pedal and show that it wasn't their fault that this had happened.

And when Kim Jong-un came back to North Korea, then started the suggestion that this was all the U.S.' fault.

SCIUTTO: There was that last-minute Hail Mary. I think we can very reasonably call this more than just a handshake at this point, a summit or a short --

[03:25:00]

SCIUTTO: -- summit, at least, because they are sitting down. They've been talking behind closed doors for some number of minutes now, in what was set up, looks like, a formal bilateral. We did not know that that was the expectation going today.

The president himself had talked about a handshake at the border. But now they're sitting down and speaking at length for some time. We don't know to what level of detail they're getting in to there but this is more than a handshake at the border, I think we can reasonably say.

HANCOCKS: By my estimate, this is more than 20 minutes at this point that they've been behind closed doors. This is a bilateral meeting; whether it's a summit, what constitutes the exact meaning of a summit, this is a bilateral meeting. And they've had the niceties at the border. Now hopefully they are talking more of substance.

SCIUTTO: We'll see how far those discussions went. Anna Coren covering this from Seoul.

I wonder if South Korean officials expected these discussions to go on as long as they have at this point. Have they had any heads-up?

As we noted earlier, Moon Jae-in is not in the room. This is a bilateral. That means two. He's been excluded to some degree, at the choice, at the preference, really, of the North Korean leader.

COREN: Yes, that's absolutely right, Jim. We did see President Moon Jae-in. He was outside. He greeted Kim as well as Trump when they came onto the South Korean side of the DMZ, there were handshakes and greetings.

But you're absolutely right. I mean, President Moon is nowhere to be seen in this bilateral meeting. South Koreans were caught off guard along with everybody else. They've been scrambling to make sure that this meeting happens, even though things have been strained between the North Koreans and South Koreans.

But we know President Moon has been working tirelessly to try to get these talks back on track. When he came into office, Moon was a liberal, wants peace on the Korean Peninsula. That was one of his major platforms when he became president of South Korea.

And to date, he has certainly helped orchestrate it but he hasn't necessarily been pivotal. That has been President Trump, in making those meetings with Kim Jong-un happen.

And we saw after the Hanoi summit in February that the North Koreans really soured on the South Korean officials. They were upset with the fact that the Americans got up and walked away because they decided that the North Koreans were inflexible, that they hadn't progressed enough in this denuclearization process.

I think South Korea's expectations and America's expectations are very different. You know, South Koreans believe the North Koreans offering to dismantle Yongbyon nuclear facility, that that is a great step forward.

Well, the Americans say that is not enough. You need something far more concrete than breaking down one nuclear facility. We know that the North Koreans have multiple secret nuclear facilities throughout the country. We know that they have 60 to 70, if not more, nuclear warheads as part of their nuclear weapons arsenal.

So the Americans are expecting much more. The South Koreans see this as a step in the right direction. They would be absolutely delighted at what has taken place today. And when we heard from President Moon earlier, he said that it would be a milestone for humankind.

Huge words, perhaps, overreaching; I'm sure in Donald Trump's mind it is a milestone for humankind. It is historic. There is definitely a great deal of weight that needs to be placed on this moment. But it can't just be optics, Jim, it can't just be a photo opportunity.

Of course they have been sitting talking now for going on 30 minutes. And that's great. You have this opportunity to sit face-to-face. You may as well make the most of this time.

Hanoi, everyone was so disappointed. It was over in a matter of hours. People traveled so far. Kim Jong-un traveled 70 hours by train to get to Vietnam. So this is an opportunity where these two leaders can discuss the nuts and bolts. In their minds, they are the only two people who can really bring about denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Right. So the question is, does substance follow the photo op?

Do the talks lead to concessions?

Do they lead to steps toward an agreement? In the previous two formal summits, that did not happen.

Will it happen from this remarkable moment at the border and these bilateral talks still ongoing --

[03:30:00]

SCIUTTO: -- now for about a half hour between President Trump and Kim, will that lead to something of substance?

That is the question. Ultimately, it's up to president Donald Trump. Just in the last 24-48 hours in discussions with China, the president seemed to defy his advisers by taking Huawei off a list banning U.S. sales to Huawei, which is something that U.S. officials had said going into those discussions were purely a national security issue.

But the president thought differently. He made a change.

Does the president think differently here?

And is he willing to make a concession that was not the U.S. official position prior to these talks? We'll see. It's up to the president. It's up to Kim Jong-un.

These were the words of the president and Kim Jong-un just a short time ago, preceding their bilateral, which is continuing. Have a listen to how it out what these talks mean to them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, I want to thank you, Chairman.

You hear the power of that voice. Nobody's heard that voice before. He doesn't do news conferences, in case you haven't heard.

And this was a special moment, this is, I think really, as President Moon said, this is a historic moment, the fact that we're meeting.

And I want to thank Chairman Kim for something else. When I put out the social media notification, if he didn't show up, the press was going to make me look very bad, So you made us both look good and I appreciate it.

But we developed a great relationship. I really think that if you go back two and a half years and you look at what was going on prior to my becoming president, it was a very, very bad situation, a very dangerous situation for South Korea, for North Korea, for the world.

And I think the relationship that we've developed has meant so much to so many people. And it's just an honor to be with you and it was an honor that you asked me to step over that line and I was proud to step over the line. I thought you might do that, I wasn't sure but I was ready to do it and I want to thank you.

It's been great, it's been great, very historic. One of the folks from the media were saying this could be a very historic moment. I guess that's what it was. But I enjoy being with you and thank you very much.

I want to thank you, Chairman. You hear the power of that voice. Nobody's heard that voice before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: That was President Trump and Kim Jong-un as they began their bilateral. These are live pictures now. We don't know if this is an indication that their bilateral discussion, which continued, by my count, for about a half hour so far, we don't know if this is an indication that that may soon be coming to an end.

We're going to keep on this live picture to see if we see the North Korean leader emerge from those glass doors soon.

Just a reminder, this is on the south side of the border, in South Korea. That is where Kim and Trump are meeting right now. Kim would leave those doors and walk north, just 20-30 yards or so and be back in North Korea. While we wait, we have Joseph Yun, who served as U.S. special

representative in North Korea, involved in his share of negotiations. That, there, a picture of the president's chief of staff.

Joseph Yun, you've been inside bilateral discussions like this before.

Can you describe how the talks underway right now might be going between the U.S. president and the North Korean leader?

JOSEPH YUN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, I mean, now we've had two of them together for 30 minutes. This is way more than a handshake. So I'm sure there are substantive discussions going on.

And this is a -- really an opportunity, more than anyone for Kim Jong- un, to say why he was unhappy with Hanoi outcome because he fully expected a deal. So he is going to plead to Donald Trump, that he needs sanctions relief. I mean, remember, this is something he had promised to his own people.

So I think the burden is really on Kim Jong-un to make the case why his offer, Kim Jong-un's offer, merits sanctions relief. And I would imagine, you know, he has been unsuccessful so far. So this is the best chance.

So what is likely to come out, at minimum, I would imagine, given that they're talking now over half an hour, is to say, OK, let's show some flexibility on each side. And get the working levels talking details. So if that's the outcome, then --

[03:35:00]

YUN: -- I think there is something there. And I would hope that is the outcome, because really, we need a process, we need the detail people to go there and have a consensus on that.

SCIUTTO: Ambassador Yun, there is, of course, no low-hanging fruit in these negotiations, in the standoff between the U.S. and North Korea but is there lower-hanging fruit?

Is there a more achievable goal that President Trump and Chairman Kim can seek to establish here if they're interested in showing some more concrete progress?

Is there a concession that each side could make or a gesture they could make that is more achievable in the short term?

YUN: Yes, I believe there are. First one is to begin diplomatic normalization process by opening liaison offices. They are almost agreed on that. I think it's good for both sides. And that, you know, gives a really meaningful level of conversation on each side.

Remember, we did that with Beijing as well as Hanoi before going to full diplomatic recognition.

Second thing they could agree on is what we call end-of-war declaration. And again, I think that's something they could consider very favorably. Both sides have something to gain. And with some give on both sides with denuclearization and sanctions then you have a viable, what I would call interim deal, that puts this in a process for a while.

SCIUTTO: Yes, yes. It's interesting. You mentioned both an end of war declaration and also normalization of relations. Those were both talked about at a Hanoi meeting. And one of the disappointments there was even the low-hanging fruit or lower-hanging fruit was not achieved as part of those discussions.

Perhaps they were close but if they were close enough then and there was will from both sides here, that seems to be at least possibly an achievable, an achievable goal here.

Ambassador Yun, would you expect, listen, in a normal process, you would have expected the president to consult with his national security advisers and he sort of laid out plan for what was achievable, what was givable here.

But do you see the possibility, knowing the way this president operates, that he may just make a singular decision here to move forward on something?

YUN: I think that is very possible, that he could make a singular move, as you say, either on the end of war declaration, something like that. But again, I think that would be a mistake, because the goal, the goal is denuclearization. The problem is nuclear weapons in North Korea.

So it has to be (INAUDIBLE), I think if he were to do the end the war declaration without anything on denuclearization side, I think that would be a serious mistake.

SCIUTTO: Yes. And we should note, we've noted this, one reason we have a demilitarized zone for 66 years, since the end of formal hostilities, is because the war is not officially over. There's an armistice but there's not a peace agreement. And that would be the importance of having a formal declaration for the end of hostilities.

Ambassador Yun, stand by, it's always great to have your experience since you have been involved in negotiations like the ones going on now.

Paula Hancocks still with me here, You heard Ambassador Yun talk about that is a possible sign of progress and was talked about as a possible outcome from Hanoi.

What would be the meaning of that to South Korea, a formal end of hostilities between the two?

HANCOCKS: This is something that South Korea definitely wants, something North and South Korea have been pushing towards. It was spoken about a lot last year after the Panmunjom agreement, when Moon Jae-in went to meet Kim Jong-un before the second summit that we knew about, that they were really trying to push the U.S. side, we understand, to give this acceptance, that they could end the Korean War.

It is largely symbolic in some ways but it is an important step for South Koreans. For President Moon Jae-in, he's been very clear about this. His most important task is to make sure there isn't a second Korean War.

His parents are North Korean refugees or were North Korean refugees. He was part of the family reunions. He went with his mother to meet his auntie as part of those reunions when times were good.

[03:40:00]

HANCOCKS: This is a very personal issue for President Moon.

SCIUTTO: And for many North Koreans, South Koreans, families were split by that war and remain split all these decades later.

When we speak of the prospect of war -- and remember not too long ago, the president's comments about fire and fury. The U.S. has done estimates, the number of casualties in the first hours, moments of conflict, 80,000 to 100,000 people dead within the first minute.

Seoul is just across the border; hidden in the mountains behind us, North Korea's very powerful artillery pieces, chemical weapons, et cetera. That would not be a small and surgical strike if there were to be an exchange, even a short exchange of firepower between these countries.

HANCOCKS: And it's an important point. 2017 was not that long ago.

Now whether you believe it was the U.S. president that brought us away from those tensions or the fiery rhetoric you saw between Kim Jong-un and President Trump was largely the reason that became so tense.

But the level of nuclear missile testing in 2017 from North Korea was unprecedented. Never in North Korea's history have we seen that.

SCIUTTO: And their biggest test, U.S. satellite photographs indicate that their most recent test was by a factor larger than any previous test it had carried out.

HANCOCKS: Exactly. And it was an incredibly tense time. I was here. I was living in Seoul during that time. I've been here for eight years and I don't remember a time when people were as concerned as they were.

South Koreans are incredibly resilient. They have lived with this threat for many, many years.

It was the first time I had people coming up to me, friends, and saying do you think it's OK?

Do you think this time it's different?

And that's the first time I've seen South Koreans so concerned. SCIUTTO: It's always amazing, people who live so close to conflict, whether it's Beirut or South Korea, who become used to the threat to some degree and steel themselves to it. And South Koreans certain in that category.

We should remind you of what's taking place. Earlier, we are showing you pictures moments ago when the president stepped across the border at the invitation of the North Korean leader. Since then, the two have been sitting down in a bilateral meeting, by my count, we're running on 40 minutes now.

Prior to this, we were not told to expect a formal bilateral. We certainly were not told to expect one that goes this long. That is a surprise and that turns this encounter between the U.S. president and the North Korean leader at the border into more than just a handshake and a photo opportunity at the border. They are having a discussion now.

We don't know the depth of that discussion, the specificity. We don't know if that's going to lead to concrete steps or progress. But they are talking and for far longer than we were prepared for or were told was going to happen. When leaders meet, things can happen.

HANCOCKS: That may have been the U.S. president trying to lower expectations, saying it will just be a handshake. It will just be two minutes, maybe he won't turn up. That's going on for more than 45 minutes now. That's more than the niceties that you see at the border.

SCIUTTO: We're seeing live pictures outside the doors of where these two leaders are meeting as we speak. And they haven't emerged yet.

Anna Coren, in Seoul, if you can hear me, I know South Korean officials must be monitoring this very closely. To our knowledge, they don't have Moon in the room, the South Korean President Moon Jae- in. But their fate very much hanging in the balance as to what's discussed between the U.S. president and the North Korean leader.

COREN: Yes, I don't think President Moon would be too upset about the fact that he is not in the room. Of course it would be nice, it would be nice for him to be included, for this to be a trilateral meeting, which was what was discussed initially when there was talk that Trump would be meeting with Kim at the DMZ.

But as far as the South Koreans are concerned, they are just thrilled that Trump and Kim are finally sitting in a room together and talking. Talking, you know, that, at the end of the day, is what is going to get this back on track.

Things stalled back in February at Hanoi and the North Koreans were thinking perhaps raised their expectations. With Trump walking out of the room, they felt very let down, very humiliated. Kim Jong-un had traveled 70 hours by train --

[03:45:00] COREN: -- from Pyongyang to Hanoi. There were great hopes. So he went home humiliated and, as a result, they really did blame the South Koreans for the breakdown in those talks.

I think it's fair to say that South Korea has very different expectations to the Americans. They see it as a gently-gently approach, a step-by-step approach. And North Korea, with its offer to dismantle Yongbyon nuclear weapons facility, was a good step forward; obviously, that wasn't enough for the Americans.

And no doubt, that is something that Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are currently discussing.

What is it going to take to move things forward?

We have to remember, the Americans said that it was full denuclearization or nothing. If the North Koreans wanted these crippling sanctions to be lifted and it's not just the lifting of sanctions.

It's those inter-Korean economic projects that are so vital for the North Korean economy. It's allowing tourists from South Korea to go to North Korea. There is a lot at stake. And obviously, the North Koreans know that.

The South Koreans know that, as does Donald Trump. So hopefully, they are working out the next step.

What are the concrete steps that could be taken forward so that this is not just a photo opportunity, theatrics, optics? We know that Donald Trump is a showman. This is what he loves. He loves to get everybody excited, for there to be hype, for things to be spontaneous.

Obviously, a great deal of planning has gone into the last 24 hours to orchestrate this meeting at the DMZ. But it has to be more than optics, Jim, there has to be something concrete, something substantial and hopefully we will hear from Donald Trump when he comes out of that meeting with Kim Jong-un, that they have taken the next step.

The president of the United States inviting Kim Jong-un, a dictator, a human rights abuser, a man who orders for the execution of his own family members, to the White House, is quite extraordinary. I mean, that is really breathtaking.

So there needs to be progress. There needs to be something tangible that Donald Trump can take to his own country men, back in the United States, but also to the international community, to say that, this man is, is valid. That he is credible. That we need to push this forward and therefore it warrants a visit to White House, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Yes. We're watching; that's a live picture in your screen there. Those are all the folks waiting outside the building, where we have the room, where our Jim Acosta's reporting. Kim Jong-un and President Trump are still talking face-to-face in their bilateral behind closed doors. Among those waiting outside is Steve Mnuchin; Ivanka Trump, the

president's daughter. His son-in-law there waiting for these private one-on-one talks to end.

You know, it's interesting here. You have two very powerful leaders meeting. It's essentially up to President Trump. It's essentially up to Chairman Kim what they agree to. They can, they have the potential to, between just the two of them, come to an agreement on something here.

We know that President Trump enjoys the flourish, enjoys the attention that these meetings are getting.

Is it possible he emerges from this talk, which has now gone on nearly 50 minutes by my watch, is it possible President Trump announces something from these talks?

It's possible. There's a lot standing in the way of formal agreement on issues in contention. North Korea's interest is its survival. Its nuclear weapons are essential to its survival. President Trump has tripled down on maximum economic pressure to bring concessions from North Korea. It's not leverage that he wants to give up.

Do we see something smaller?

Is there middle ground?

Is there something, for instance the normalization of relations, a formal declaration of the end of the war between North and South, with the U.S. a party to that?

Are those achievable goals?

We'll be watching very closely in the moments ahead, when these, when this bilateral comes to a finish.

Before they sat down in that room privately, they spoke in public after crossing the border into the North and Kim into the South. Have a listen to their words at that moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chairman Kim, how do you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's good, he's good.

KIM (through translator): President Trump has just walked across the demarcation line. That made him the first U.S. president to visit our country.

[03:50:00]

KIM: (Speaking Korean).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe, just looking at this action, this is an expression of this willingness to eliminate always unfortunate past and open a new future.

TRUMP: I just want to say that this is my honor. I didn't really expect it. We were in Japan for the G20. We came over, and 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 has been particular a great friendship. So I just want to thank you. That was very quick notice and I want to thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Korean).

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.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Korean).

TRUMP: Thank you, everybody. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: That was Trump and Kim a short time ago. This is a live picture outside the building, just across on the southern side of the border, live pictures. And I believe Kim and Trump now emerging from their bilateral discussion.

They spoke for nearly an hour in private, all three and Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, on the right as well. Appears that the president is escorting the North Korean leader back across the border into the North. Let's watch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Down, down, down, now. Down, down. Let's go. No.

SCIUTTO: We are told that President Trump and Kim still speaking to each other out of frame, still on the south side of the border, though they're just, frankly, inches away from North Korea, the line of demarcation there.

The fact is, the North Korean security detail, you're seeing their heads there. They're making it difficult for the U.S. press pool accompanying the president to see him. But we did see the president just turn away from the border. Appears that he's walking back now south.

The jostling you're seeing is because the press pool there, attempting to keep up with the president. We caught a glimpse of the president turning around. It appears that he has said goodbye to the North Korean leader at the border, escorted him there and is now walking back south. There he is back in frame. Let's listen in.

TRUMP: Let's go inside.

SCIUTTO: President Trump there with the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in. You just heard him say, "Let's go inside." We should note that when Trump and Kim were meeting, Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, we do not believe, was present. It's possible here that President Trump wants to give his South Korean counterpart an update on the contents of those talks that went on nearly an hour, at least 50 minutes, alone in a room, the North Korean leader and the U.S. president.

But we just saw President Trump escort the North Korean leader back up to the border and across the border as Kim Jong-un --

[03:55:00]

SCIUTTO: -- returning home, President Trump then walking south with the South Korean president, back into the same building where Trump and Kim had met for those 50 minutes. We don't know yet the contents of those discussions.

Did they make progress?

Were there concessions made by either side?

Will there be an announcement of progress made from these discussions?

We have Anna Coren with us. We have Paula Hancocks with me up at the DMZ.

Paula, if I could ask you, notable, I think, that since Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, was not present for the bilateral between Kim and Trump, Trump just here, it seems getting a private moment now with Kim -- with Moon, rather, perhaps to fill him in on his discussions with the North Korean leader.

HANCOCKS: That's certainly their debrief that the South Korean president will be looking forward to. We have some indication of what Kim Jong-un was saying as he walked out of that building with President Trump.

Kim Jong-un saying, "The fact that we will be able to meet each other anytime now, I think this is the signal this meeting will send."

So clearly something has been discussed about that before, the fact that they now feel they are able to meet more frequently, potentially. I feel like we heard that after Singapore as well, that they said, you know, now they were able to meet. They could meet.

SCIUTTO: Well, they can certainly meet with no notice or little notice. Here is live pictures again, President Trump with Moon Jae- in.

TRUMP: We've agreed that we're each going to designate a team. And the team will try and work out some details. And, again, speed is not the object. We want to see if we can do a really comprehensive, good deal.

Nobody knows how things turn out. But certainly, this was a great day. This was a very legendary, very historic day. It was quick notice, nobody saw this coming. And it was great that he was able to react so quickly and that we all were able to react so quickly.

But in speaking with President Moon, oftentimes he was saying this is historic, just the meeting is historic. And I think there's something to that. It will be even more historic if something comes of it, something very important.

But a lot has already come up because you see what's going on. You see what's happening and you see the level of relationship as opposed to the way it was when I came into office.

When I came into office, it was a fiery mess. It was -- bad things were going on. And the end of the other administration, the last administration, was nothing but trouble. You saw what was happening. I mean, you don't report it accurately but that's OK. Someday history will record it accurately.

I can just say that, for two and a half years, we've had peace for two and a half years, with nothing signed. It was just based on relationship. But President Moon was saying very strongly that he said he would have never believed that a thing could go on like this, so friendly, so peacefully, for so long.

So we've agreed to have teams set up. We're going to have -- the United States will have a team, Secretary of State Pompeo will pick it. We already know the gentleman.

Good luck, Steve.

STEPHEN BIEGUN, U.S. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR NORTH KOREA: Thank you, sir.

TRUMP: And you all know Steve. He's a pro. And a good man. And he likes both countries very much. So Steve's going to head it up.

And under the auspices of our great secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and what's going to happen is over the next two or three weeks, the teams are going to start working to see whether or not they can do something. Very big stuff, pretty complicated but not as complicated as people think.

A lot of our great triumphs have been based on relationship and this is one, where I mean, it's just been a different story. You saw when they were showing us around, when they were showing President Moon and myself around, and they were talking about two and a half, three years ago, it was really dangerous out there.

You couldn't move. People were being killed. A lot of bad things were happening and they said, since Singapore, it's been a whole different ball game. And I was telling, I was telling Chairman Kim that, actually, to me, Hanoi was a great success. The press reported it the opposite.

But you need that and you sometimes need things like that to happen. But it was a great success, because we maintained our relationship. So we're going to have teams. They're going to meet over the next few weeks and they're going to start a process and we'll see what happens. And I'd like to have, first of all, I guess you'll do a little

interpretation and then we'll have the president say a few words.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Korean).

[04:00:00]