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Impact of Bolton's Departure on Foreign Policy; Analysts: Blackmail Part of North Korea's Playbook; Contaminated Water from Meltdown Could End Up in Ocean. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired September 11, 2019 - 00:00   ET




NICK WATT, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Bolton gets the boot: the U.S. president fires his controversial national security adviser after fierce divisions on policy.

Israel's prime minister makes a controversial campaign promise pledging to annex large parts of the West Bank.

And why Japan's environment minister says that his country might have to dump radioactive waste water into the Pacific Ocean.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us all around the world, I'm Nick Watt and this is CNN NEWSROOM.


WATT: He claims he resigned; President Trump claims he gave John Bolton the boot. Either way, he is the third national security adviser removed from the West Wing in less than three years.

House cleaning, routine churn or another sign of chaos in the Trump White House. From Afghanistan to North Korea, Bolton famously clashed with the president, the hawk versus the wannabe dealmaker. CNN's Kaitlan Collins has more.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For John Bolton, the firing came via Twitter. As President Trump announced today he informed his national security adviser his services is no longer needed at the White House.

But in a surreal moment, 12 minutes later, Bolton denied he was fired, tweeting, "I offered to resign last night and President Trump said 'Let's talk tomorrow.'" Bolton was seen by CNN cameras outside the West Wing this morning after sources said he got into a bitter disagreement with Trump the night before.

TRUMP: The alternative was the White House and you wouldn't have been happy with that, either. COLLINS (voice-over): They argued over the president's decision to host Taliban leaders at Camp David, a meeting Trump later canceled.

HOGAN GIDLEY, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON: John Bolton's policies and priorities just don't line up with the president's.

COLLINS (voice-over): Bolton's pushback to inviting the Taliban on U.S. soil and allegedly telling reporters about his feelings afterward may have been the last straw. One source telling CNN that the leaking was what got him.

But in recent weeks, Bolton found himself isolated from the president and iced out by the chief of staff and barely speaking to the secretary of state.

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: There were many times Ambassador Bolton and I disagreed, that's to be sure.

COLLINS (voice-over): Bolton was scheduled to be at this afternoon's briefing alongside Mike Pompeo and Stephen Mnuchin.

STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: The president's view of the Iraq War and Ambassador Bolton's was very different.

COLLINS (voice-over): But after the president's tweet, a White House official said Bolton is no longer in the building.

TRUMP: I like conflict. I like having two people with different points of view.

COLLINS (voice-over): Trump once claimed he likes the chaos of a West Wing with multiple opinions, but he grew irritated by Bolton's hard- line positions in recent weeks.

TRUMP: I actually temper John, which is pretty amazing.

COLLINS: And until the president announces his fourth national security adviser, which he says he'll do next week, Bolton's deputy national security adviser, Charlie Kupperman, will take over his duties for the time being -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.


WATT: CNN global affairs analyst David Rohde joins me now.

David, with John Bolton out of office, is the world a safer place?

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think first off, Iran is a safer place. I think this is a big movement forward for a possible deal between the Trump administration and the Iranians.

Bolton opposed that and he was very much a hardliner so I think the president wants to have talks with Iran's leader at the U.N. General Assembly in a few weeks in New York and Bolton's director (ph) makes that much more likely.

WATT: And what was the main cause of disagreement between Bolton and Trump in your opinion?

Was it Trump's desire to cozy up to the likes of Kim, Rouhani and Putin?

Was that the issue?

ROHDE: I think the president wants to make a bit bold and diplomatic deal that will help his reelection and he tried to do that with North Korea and it hasn't really worked. He tried to do that with the Taliban and that hasn't worked.

And now Iran is next. And Bolton I think privately opposed many of these agreements and many experts agreed with him, that there was no substance and no serious negotiations happening with North Korea.

The Taliban process, Trump's sudden involvement at Camp David threw off those talks.


ROHDE: so in terms of traditional patient diplomacy, Bolton was backing that approach and the president wants the big moment and a big quick deal.

WATT: This coming so close after the Taliban talks planned for Camp David were canceled, is that timing purely a coincidence?

Or was that the final nail in the coffin?

ROHDE: There were reports that the president was very upset that Bolton opposed the Afghanistan deal. I think there was a movement apart from the two of them. I think Bolton did favor use of force not to spread democracy, George W. Bush style, but use of force to send to American interests in.

I spoke recently with another senior Trump administration official. Donald Trump does not want war. This official said he hoped that one of Trump's legacies would be not embroiling the United States in another war in the Middle East.

So that division over the use of force is really what torpedoed the relationship between Donald Trump and John Bolton.

WATT: Secretary of state Mike Pompeo said that, with Bolton gone, there will be no change in U.S. foreign policy.

Do you think that's true?

ROHDE: I think there is more of a chance of a deal but this gets back to this issue of Trump's style in diplomacy. He won't use military force and that's maybe to his credit. But his opponents don't feel like he's a serious adversary.

I think China is waiting him out to see if he wins reelection in terms of trade disputes and I think Iran will be a very tough negotiation partner. They will not want to even give Trump a big photo opportunity at the U.N. General Assembly unless there's some concession on sanctions.

So the president is having these toothless threats from him and with John Bolton gone, I think there's less credibility that he would never use military force against any of these adversaries.

WATT: I want to touch briefly on Venezuela. John Bolton was pushing strongly for the government to support Juan Guaido. That didn't really pan out and Nicolas Maduro is still in power.

Was that perhaps a factor here as well?

ROHDE: It was. But again, this points out the contradictions in Trump's foreign policy. He wants to tell everyone around the world what to do and he wants to give up their nuclear weapons and yet he will not use force or take any real risks and he will not aggressively intervene in any of these conflicts.

So these empty threats from Donald Trump don't lead to deals because there is no follow-through. So Bolton maybe was too aggressive but there was a threat of major American intervention in these different conflicts. That doesn't really exist anymore that's why I think Donald Trump keeps failing to get any major deals internationally.

WATT: David Rohde joining us from New York, thank you very much for your time.

ROHDE: Thank you.

WATT: What could John Bolton's exit mean for the U.S.-China trade war?

We'll find out later this hour with a live report from Beijing.

With just a week to go for another election in Israel, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu just made a controversial campaign pledge that could radically alter the map of the West Bank and damage prospects for peace. CNN's Oren Liebermann reports.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With a down-to-the-wire campaign move, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is promising to expand the boundaries of Israel if he wins reelection next week. He announced a stunning plan to annex parts of the contested territory of the West Bank.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Today, I'm announcing my intention to apply Israeli sovereignty into the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): It's a sweeping plan and critics say a play to his base that comes with strings attached.

NETANYAHU (through translator): I will not do anything without getting a clear mandate from the public. And so, the citizens of Israel, I ask you for a clear mandate to do this.


LIEBERMANN: The 69-year-old Israeli leader has made promises of annexation before but never like this. Pulling out a map, he showed specific areas in the West Bank he would make official Israeli territory, areas he says are crucial to national security but are held as occupied territory by most of the international community.

TRUMP: Taking place many decades ago.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Facing a tough reelection bid here, Netanyahu has staked his future on his close ties to U.S. president Donald Trump. Tuesday night's announcement was no different. The Israeli prime minister connected his annexation plan directly to Trump's soon-to-be-released plan for Middle East peace.

NETANYAHU (through translator): The most important question facing us in this election is who will negotiate with President Trump?


NETANYAHU (through translator): Who will recruit him to our side?

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): A Trump administration official tells CNN there is no change in U.S. policy at this time but adds that Netanyahu's announcement doesn't get in the way of the peace plan.

Two weeks before Netanyahu's last election in April, Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights, a political gift to his friend Netanyahu. Trump also put Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps on a terror list and he had his secretary of state visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Tonight, Arab politicians in Israel and Palestinian leaders are slamming Netanyahu's new plan and accusing him of working to liquid (ph) the Palestinian issue and eliminating the possibility of a two state solution and peace.

Netanyahu says Trump's peace plan is coming soon, telling the Israelis he should be the one to handle negotiations but only if he wins the election.

LIEBERMANN: Netanyahu's announcement was certainly the big story here but only for about an hour. That's because the resignation or the firing of John Bolton quickly overtook Netanyahu's announcement. Bolton is seen as a very close ally of Netanyahu's, especially when it comes to Iran and his sudden departure from his job a blow to Netanyahu -- Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.


WATT: Meanwhile, back here in the U.S. a new CNN poll could spell trouble for Trump's reelection hopes. The president's approval rating is the lowest it's been since January amid concerns over that trade war with China and a possible recession. Six out of 10 Americans now saying that Donald Trump doesn't deserve

to be reelected. The poll between September 5th and 9th found Trump's approval rating at just at 39 percent and his disapproval rating at 55 percent. The poll findings are similar to those in a new ABC News "Washington Post" poll conducted earlier this month which found a majority of Americans believe a recession is, quote, "very likely" or "somewhat likely" in the next year.

Mr. Trump tweeted Tuesday that many polls are fixed and, quote, "internal polling looks great. The best ever." CNN's Stephen Collinson explains why all this could be trouble for the president.


STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's always been well below 50 percent in almost all the other categories that voters are asked about -- immigration and gun policy and foreign policy.

But the economy is what was keeping his approval rating up above 40 percent and I think there is a case to be made that his declining appeal on the economy we've had a lot of talk over the last month or so about warning signs and a potential recession, economic slowdowns in Asia and Europe, which could impact the United States. That weakening confidence in Trump's economic management is actually dragging down his wider approval rating, which was already far too low for comfort for a president a year ahead of a reelection race.


WATT: A final note on that CNN poll, in a gender and racial breakdown, Trump is polling above 50 percent only with white males. With that group, he gets a 54 percent approval rating. With black women, on the other hand, the president is at just 3 percent.

And it is a waiting game in Britain, 50 days to go until the Brexit deadline, when prime minister Boris Johnson says that the U.K. will leave the E.U. do or die.

In just a few hours his government is expected to release documents related to Operation Yellow Hammer. That is the contingency plan for a no-deal Brexit.

Meanwhile, a day after controversially suspending Parliament for five weeks, the prime minister has dismissed accusations that he is being anti-democratic.


BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: We need a Queen's Speech. That's why parliament is in recess now, because you always have a recess before a Queen's Speech. And anybody who says it's all -- this stuff about it being anti-democratic, I mean, donnez-moi un break. What a load of nonsense.

We were very, very clear that if people wanted democratic moment, if they wanted an election, we offered it to the Labour opposition. And mysteriously, they decided not to go for it. So we're going to get on.

JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: So a general election is coming. But we won't allow Johnson to dictate the terms and I can tell you this, we are ready for that election. We are ready to unleash the biggest people-powered campaign we've ever seen in this country and in this movement.


CORBYN: And, in that election, we will commit to a public vote with a credible option to leave and the option to remain.


WATT: Next, taking it to the terrorists. Hong Kong's pro-democracy demonstrators turn a football stadium into a protest.

And nearly one-fifth of the population of the Bahamas has been left homeless by Hurricane Dorian. Officials now fear many of those leaving the country might never come back.




WATT: Now to the Bahamas and the staggering number of residents there who have lost pretty much everything. Around 17 percent of that country's population is now homeless, that's 70,000 people. The death toll right now stands at 50 and will surely rise.

The prime minister has promised to rebuild. But those living in the hardhit northern islands face food and water shortages and weeks or even months without power. CNN's Patrick Oppmann has been there since before the hurricane hit. He has more now on the grim situation facing the survivors.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bahamian officials have said that it is a joyless and dark time for the Bahamas. They're tragically talking quite literally because, here on the Island of Grand Bahama and in the Abacos, we are without power, we are without water. A very tough condition.

Seventy-thousand people have been left homeless by this storm, it's an incredible number and even more incredible when you factor in. This is an island that only has a population of about 500,000 people. So, you're talking about a significant, perhaps overwhelming number of people in dire need.

We have seen images of women carrying the children waiting on docks in the sweltering sun just trying to get out however they can. The United States have said that people with the proper paperwork, with the proper documentation will be able to travel the U.S. But so many people here have been left with nothing, just the clothes on their bag.

Bahamian officials are quite concerned that the people leave may never come back. They are vital. It is a country. The parts that have been destroyed by the hurricane will ever be rebuilt. The Bahamian prime minister says that people would be welcome back no matter how long they are gone for.


OPPMANN: But right now, it's an open question if the people who are fleeing these islands will ever return -- Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Freeport, in the Bahamas.


WATT: And in Hong Kong, prodemocracy activists are now taking their protest to the pitch. Listen to what happened as the Chinese national anthem played ahead of China's World Cup qualifying match against Iran in the city.


WATT (voice-over): Yes, those are loud boos from the crowd. Some even turned their backs in protest. The crowd also sang "Glory to Hong Kong," which is the common anthem for the pro-democracy movement.

Meanwhile the city's chief executive says she wants to talk, at a press, conference Carrie Lam says she wants to mend the rift in society. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout was there.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: The withdrawal of the extradition bill has failed to quell the protests as, well as the unrest, so what do you plan to do politically to bring back a relative peace to Hong Kong?

And also what's the way of setting up a COI or independent inquiry?

CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: Thank you, Kristie. If you read my video statement, the offer of four actions, not just the formal withdrawal of the bill, is not directly to stop these protests or the violence.

It is really to extend my sincerity to start a dialogue with the people. So in our view, violence should be stopped for the benefit of Hong Kong. But going forward to mend the rift in society and to bring back peace, then we are very willing to engage people directly in a dialogue.

So that is our current position. And as I've said in my introductory remarks, we are gearing up to go into the community, to have that dialogue directly with the people.

But I make the further appeal here, that the first priority, in order to achieve the objective of bringing peace and order to Hong Kong, is for all of us, all people of Hong Kong, to say no to violence.


WATT: As Carrie Lam seeks dialogue, China has plenty to say about Hong Kong activists. Joshua Wong's visit with German officials, including the foreign minister, Beijing berated Germany, saying, quote, "It is extremely wrong for German media and politicians to attempt to tap into the anti-China separatist wave."

Wong is looking for German support in his pro democracy fight in Hong Kong.

Sources tell CNN the U.S. extracted a high level Russian informant, in part because of President Trump's handling of classified information. Now we are learning that the president objects to the gathering of information from sources like that, putting him at odds once again with the intelligence services. Jim Sciutto reports.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Sources tell CNN that President Trump has privately and repeatedly expressed opposition to using intelligence from covert sources including oversea spies. A crucial tool for U.S. intelligence against its adversaries.

Since being elected, the president has repeatedly attacked the U.S. intelligence community.


TRUMP: The intelligence agencies have run amok.


SCIUTTO: Sources say the president's concerns about using foreign operatives is that using them can damage his personal relationship with foreign leaders. The president's views have at times spilled out publicly including his response to a report that CIA recruited North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un's half-brother as an asset.


TRUMP: I saw the information about the CIA with respect to his brother or half-brother and I would tell him that that would not happen under my -- under my auspices, that's for sure.


SCIUTTO: The president has also expressed doubts about the credibility of the information for an informant's provide because he, quote, "believes there are people who are selling out their country."


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Generally speaking, I'll say, human intelligence is extremely important and in many cases more important than even, you know, electronic intelligence in all areas.


SCIUTTO: Both the CIA and the White House declined to comment for the story. The revelation about Trump's views comes as CNN is learning new details about a covert source who helped the U.S. spy on Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

That spy was extracted from Russia by U.S. intelligence in 2017 amid concerns about the informant being exposed and in part, because of concerns about how the president and his administration handle intelligence.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): The spy was considered the highest-level source for the U.S. inside the Kremlin, high up in Russia's national security infrastructure according to a source familiar with the matter and a former senior intelligence official.

Sources tell CNN the spy had access to Russian President Putin and could even provide images of presidential documents.

Today, secretary of state Mike Pompeo who was CIA director in 2017, pushing back.


POMPEO: The reporting there is factually wrong.


SCIUTTO: To be clear, Pompeo decline to comment to CNN before the story was first published. And today, he did not specify that he was alleging was incorrect in CNN's reporting which relied on multiple administration officials with direct knowledge of the extraction.

In a statement the CIA says, quote, "CNN's narrative that the Central Intelligence Agency makes life or death decisions based on anything other than objective analysis and sound collection is simply false."

For a sitting U.S. president to say that he has no interest in intelligence that is sourced from inside foreign countries, including the governments in those countries, particularly the hostile countries, really flies in the face of what intelligence agencies do, not just for the U.S. but intelligence agencies around the world, trying to find information, often secret information, about what those countries intend.

Do they intend to carry out attacks or other hostile acts?

It's a remarkable rebuke to the work that U.S. intelligence agencies have done for decades to keep the country safe.


WATT: A Kremlin spokesman calls our reporting on the extraction, quote, "pulp fiction."

The U.S.-led coalition against ISIS says it has gone after members of the terror group on an Iraqi island in the Tigris River with 40 tons of bombs. American warplanes bombed the island north of Baghdad, described by the military as being, quote, "infested with ISIS members."

The coalition says it defeated the caliphate in Iraq in 2017. But ISIS sleeper cells have carried out of deadly bombings since.

And you'll want to be with CNN for an eye-opening special report on the resurgence of ISIS in Syria. CNN's Arwa Damon traveled to the country's northeast, to a sprawling camp where some 70,000 people living in cramped conditions, many of them family members of ISIS fighters.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the anger, the seething hostility that strikes you. To step into this campus to witness a strange mutation of the caliphate, kept alive by the widows and wives of ISIS.


WATT: You can see Arwa's full report starting Wednesday night in New York in London and all day Thursday right here on CNN.

Another high-level official pushed out of the Trump administration. Coming up, a look at what John Bolton's departure could mean for U.S. foreign policy and the world.

And we look at North Korea's so-called blackmail diplomacy. It just might be working. That's next.


WATT: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Nick Watt with the headlines this hour.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he'll officially annex parts of the West Bank if he's reelected next week. Specifically, the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea.

Most of the international community considers the West Bank occupied territory and all Israeli settlements built on it illegal.

Nearly a fifth of the population of the Bahamas is now homeless in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. That's 70,000 people, and officials fear many of those leaving the islands might never return. The death toll stands at 50 and likely go much higher.

John Bolton, national security adviser, and President Trump have parted ways. Sources say the two men had argued over the president's plan to invite Taliban leaders to Camp David. Bolton says he offered to resign. Mr. Trump insists he told them to.

President Trump says he will name Bolton's replacement next week. Whoever that is will be the president's fourth national security adviser since January 2017. Bolton had long been at odds with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo didn't even try to deny that, while insisting the president's foreign policy will now change in any material way.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Everyone has talked about this for an awfully long time. There were definitely places that Bolton I had different views about how we should proceed. The president is entitled to the staff that he wants at any moment. This is a staff person who works directly for the president of the United States, and he should have people that he trusts and values and whose efforts in judgments benefit him in delivering American foreign policy. It's what, as cabinet members, Secretary Mnuchin and I try and do each and every day. And when the president makes a decision like this, he's well within his rights to do so.


WATT: And Steve Mnuchin was asked if it's a sign of chaos in the White House. He said that's the most ridiculous question he's ever heard.

There were areas of fundamental disagreement between Bolton and the president right from the start. Bolton has an itchy trigger finger, while Trump fancies himself as a talker, a deal maker that clashed over Iran policy, those now-canceled Taliban talks, cozying up to Kim. Also, Bolton urged the president to throw his weight behind the opposition in Venezuela, and it didn't work. Nicolas Maduro still remains in power.

Now Bolton leaves as the White House remains in that escalating trade war with China. So for more on the implications of his departure for U.S. policy in Asia, CNN's David Culver joins us now from Beijing.

David, this trade war with China seems a very Trumpian escapade. Is Bolton's departure going to make any difference?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think it's a question that's certainly being asked amongst leaders here in China, as well as in North Korea. This could go, really, a couple of ways in the general sense.

One is that we can look at Bolton's departure, and you can see, perhaps, this will lead to progress into trade talks. Mind you, just last week, it was announced that both sides will get back together in early October, and these high-level talks will continue.

So a hint of Congress there. So with Bolton's departure in that you also see of the rhetoric that he brought around this trade war, so very strong rhetoric slamming China on many occasions that will likely subside. So those tensions will ease a bit. The other side of this is one of, really, chaos in the White House. That's kind of the perception here, certainly amongst Chinese media. In fact, they're looking at the question of did he really resign or was he fired? They put that as a headline in one of their articles.

So it's really this question of instability. So will it really bring any sort of progress, if you will, because of the unknowns on who's on the other side of the table. Even though the Chinese know that Bolton wasn't directly involved with these trade talks, he still had the president's ear.

And so it's something that they're certainly mindful of. As far as his departure on a personal level, certainly no love lost here. I mean, just two weeks ago, Bolton was in Ukraine, warning Ukraine not to be lured by China's orbit. The foreign ministry here in China responding, saying that it was essentially an effort to smear China and to create a wedge between China and other countries.


WATT: And David, what about North Koreans? I mean, the North Koreans were no fans of John Bolton. I read -- don't know if the translation's correct. He was called by Pyongyang officials human scum. The fact that Bolton is out of the way is, that going to help Trump? Is that going to help him in trying to come to some kind of deal?

CULVER: It is interesting looking at some of the wording that North Korean leadership uses when they reference Bolton.

And to your point, even one of them saying that he's a warmonger who whisperers war into the president's ear. So certainly, they have no care for Bolton and perhaps his departure here will lead to some success in those talks.

In fact, we know late Monday that North Korea said that they wanted to move forward with those talks again in late September, a sign of progress.

I think the real question here is also -- is the shifting away from this hardline stance, from this rhetoric that we see come from the president, as well. And perhaps entering this place of diplomacy, necessary space. And that's what North Korea seems to be trying to work its way around. Mind you, they're also testing missiles and rockets in the past weeks, and it's continuing.

WATT: David Culver in Beijing, thanks for joining us and welcome to CNN.

Now North Korean media report that it was Kim Jong-un who oversaw the test firing of what it calls a super large multiple rocket launcher. It's only the latest in a series of military tests by North Korea and, as Brian Todd reports, the launching of missiles is a diplomatic gamble that North Korea is losing, and it appears to be working.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just hours after Kim Jong-un's regime issued a statement, saying it was ready to restart nuclear talks with the U.S., the North Korean dictator once again ordered the firing of two short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan.

A U.S. official telling CNN the missiles are the same types of missiles North Korea has repeatedly tested in recent weeks. Experts tell CNN North Korea is using what they call blackmail diplomacy, and they say it's working for Kim Jong-un.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North Korea's negotiating style is to threaten destruction to launch missile tests as a scene setter. There's not a cost. It incentivizes Pyongyang to keep doing what they're doing.

TODD: There's been no cost for Kim, analysts say, because President Trump has repeatedly downplayed the nearly two dozen North Korean short-range missile tests since May.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He likes testing missiles, but we never restricted short-range missiles.

They are short-range missiles. And very standard missiles.

TODD: But missile experts say that's not true. They say while Kim Jong-un sends letters to Trump and talks about a grand bargain, he's been perfecting three types of short-range missiles that pose a major threat to U.S. forces in Asia and their allies.

RICHARD FISHER, INTERNATIONAL ASSESSMENT & STRATEGY CENTER: Two of them are capable of maneuvering, meaning that they can complicate interception by American missile defenses and South Korean missile defenses. And eventually, all of these missiles will contribute to North Korea's ability to produce solid fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at the United States.

TODD: One group of missile analysts estimates that the short-range missile Kim has tested recently constrict six U.S. bases in South Korea and two in Japan. And the threat doesn't end there.

FISHER: Eventually, it could be a tactical nuclear warhead.

TODD: Experts tell CNN Kim Jong-un may not have the grand nuclear deal he wants from the Americans yet. But the deal he has right now with Trump allows them to use all of these threats to his advantage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It allows them to keep expanding their missiles, expanding their capabilities. They are moving the ball two, three yards, four yards down the field; and there's nothing we're doing about it. So they're going to play the ground game and keep defending their arsenal.

TODD (on camera): And during all his diplomatic overtures, North Korea has been perfecting its threat capability against the U.S. in other ways. U.S. intelligence officials have estimated that since that Singapore summit last year, North Korea has produced enough fuel to make several new nuclear weapons. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


WATT: Coming up. A dilemma for Japan. What to do with the million tons of radioactive water from a nuclear disaster.



WATT: It's been more than eight years since Japan Fukushima nuclear disaster. Now the country is facing a dilemma. What to do with a million tons of now-contaminated water that was used to cool the reactors. And as Michael Holmes explains, the options aren't good.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami triggered Japan's worst nuclear disaster. Three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant melted down and released radioactive material into the air and ocean.

Tokyo Electric Power Company or TEPCO, which operates the part has since collected more than a million tons of water over the years and used to cool damaged fuel cores.

Now the country's environment minister says they're running out of room to store it. He believes their only option is to dump it into the Pacific Ocean and dilute it. But Japan's chief cabinet secretary says that a final decision hasn't yet been made.

YOSHIHIDE SUGA, JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY (through translator): I understand that the environmental minister's comment means that the government should fully discuss the matter. And it was his personal opinion.

HOLMES: The Japanese government is waiting for a report from experts before it figures out how to dispose of the water. But environmental groups have warned of potential dangers of releasing it into the Pacific. Surrounding countries like South Korea have also expressed their anger about the idea.

Bilateral relations between those two countries already at a low point. In a statement, South Korea's foreign minister has asked Japan to work together and take a wise and prudent decision on the issue.

Michael Holmes, CNN.


WATT: Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Nick Watt. WORLD SPORT is next.