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U.S., U.K. to Help Australia Build Nuclear-Powered Submarines; Future of Women's Rights under Taliban Rule; SpaceX Sends First All- Civilian Crew into Orbit. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired September 16, 2021 - 10:00   ET





SCOTT MORRISON, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: AUKUS is born, a new, enhanced, trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and

the United States.

MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Australia's getting nuclear powered submarines under a new alliance. China and France aren't happy. We'll tell

you why. Plus:



MULLAH ABDUL GHANI BARADAR, AFGHANISTAN DEPUTY MINISTER AND TALIBAN CO- FOUNDER (through translator): Praise be to God I am fit and well. And with regard to the media claiming that we have internal disagreements, that is

not true at all.

FOSTER (voice-over): Rumors are swirling about the internal power struggles amongst the Taliban. But the deputy prime minister denies there

are any rifts.


FOSTER (voice-over): And deadly drone strike in the Sahel. France claims it took down the head of an ISIS affiliated group.


FOSTER: I'm Max Foster in for Becky Anderson. Welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.

China says the U.S., U.K. and Australia are playing a geopolitical game, a game that undermines peace and stability. At issue is a new security pact,

in which the U.S., United Kingdom, help Australia establish a fleet of nuclear powered submarines.

They have dubbed the partnership AUKUS. Keep in mind these are not submarines with nuclear weapons on them but, nonetheless, China sees this

new pact as a threat. We are covering the story from all angles. Nina dos Santos in London, Cyril Vanier is in Paris.

We begin with Kylie Atwood in Washington.

This did catch a lot of countries out.

What was the White House thinking behind this plan?

What was the message?

Because it didn't mention China in this unveiling.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY ANALYST: China wasn't mentioned front and center in this unveiling. And administration officials tried to say this

isn't all about China. But as we well know, this is really all about China.

President Biden said yesterday that this is a new alliance that relies on those alliances, the United States' allies, to strengthen those, to better

be prepared for the threats of today and tomorrow.

And I think that this is a very forward-looking partnership, right. He talked about not only these nuclear-powered submarines that the United

States is going to be sharing technology with Australia, so that they can develop and that they can get out as part of their fleet, but also about

artificial intelligence, some forward-looking defense issues that aren't necessarily front and center when we talk about a defense and foreign

policy every single day.

It's significant that these nuclear powered submarines are able to do more than conventional submarines are able to do. They can move more quickly.

They don't have to come up for air -- come up to the surface of the water, rather, to get fuel as frequently.

So this is a very powerful tool for the Australians to have. Of course, in the backyard of the Chinese. And for the Brits, this is a way for them to

get back involved in the Indo-Pacific.

After World War II, they haven't had as much of a presence in that region, so this is bringing together these three countries to do that.

Now we should note, as you said, China has been frustrated by this. Our other reporters will get to that. And, of course, France feels that they

were left out by this. It's clear from the statements, from the French, they weren't given a heads-up that this was coming.

So that is something that is going to potentially cause some tension between the United States and France right now. But the Biden

administration being very clear throughout their time in office, over the last nine months or so, that competing with China is front and center. And

this is demonstrative as to how they plan to do that.

FOSTER: Kylie, thank you.

Nina, this possibly wouldn't have happened in this way pre-Brexit, would it?

It is, as Kylie was suggesting, an opportunity for the U.K. to assert itself on the world stage, as an independent state, fully independent


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: That's right. And a country that has a long history of producing avant-garde military technology here.

When it comes to submarines in this country, BAE Systems makes the submarines, we've also got Rolls-Royce that makes the engines powered by

this nuclear propulsion technology, that is at the heart of why Australia has pivoted away from France.

It originally had a deal to offer more conventional diesel-powered submarines. Now it has access to this nuclear powered technology that is so



DOS SANTOS: And Britain is in a position, with its big engineering history -- something that, by the way, the Boris Johnson government is keen to

bring back and showcase here on these shores, to offer that as a key partner.

These are three countries that know each other very well, particularly in the information and intelligence space. They're part of the so-called Five

Eyes agreement for intelligence.

But what we're talking about here is strategic hardware that is also a crucial deterrent in a part of the world, where U.K. has been sending

warships and also big aircraft carrier recently to try and beef up its presence in this part of the world.

Boris Johnson had the chance to update members of Parliament earlier this morning about this. And this is how he pitched this to them.


BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Only six nations possess nuclear- powered submarines. And to help another country join this tiny circle is a decision of the utmost gravity, requiring perhaps the closest relationship

of trust that can exist between sovereign states.

I hope I speak for the house when I say that I have no hesitation about trusting Australia --


JOHNSON: -- a fellow maritime democracy, joined to us by blood and history, which stood by Britain through two world wars at immense

sacrifice. Today, the U.K. and Australia defend the same interests, promote the same values and face the same threats.


DOS SANTOS: You could see the new foreign secretary, as of yesterday, Liz Truss, who was one of the winners of the big cabinet reshuffle, by his

side. She is responsible for very recently cementing a post-Brexit trade deal with Australia, Max.

One thing the PM was pressed upon by the former prime minister, Theresa May, in the House of Commons, what his position would be, essentially, if

there were to be skirmishes over Taiwan. On that issue he demurred.

He said more or less, this is not intended to be focused at anyone. This is not at all that is intended for military purpose, to be adversarial -- Max.

OK, Nina, thank you.

And, Cyril, this has caused tensions between countries and many people might be surprised to hear that France is upset. They had a deal, didn't

they, with Australia to produce submarines. But also the E.U. had its own plan for Indo-Pacific relationships.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Max, France is more than upset. France is furious because they've put in five years of work, commitment, planning, to

provide conventional submarines to Australia.

And all that of work now has -- is for naught. And France's efforts are collateral damage of Joe Biden's new foreign policy priorities. As a

result, the French foreign minister did not hold his punches this morning, speaking on French radio. Listen to this, Max.


JEAN-YVES LE DRIAN, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): It is really, to put it plainly, a stab in the back. We have built a relationship

of trust with Australia. This trust has been betrayed. And today I'm angry with plenty of bitterness regarding this break. This is not done between



VANIER: You do not hear this type of language between allies, even when there is a skirmish, when there is a spat. This goes deeper than that.

France has had a deal with Australia since 2016. Plans were underway to build submarines.

But because the United States changed its foreign policy priorities and made aggressive containment of China in their -- in the Indo-Pacific, the

foreign policy priority of Joe Biden and because the U.S. deemed that equipping Australia with nuclear-powered submarines was a key part of that

priority, well, France's efforts have been reduced to nothing, really.

And France feels that it has had a long-standing commitment in the region, that helping Australia by providing conventional submarines was going to

cement its position in the region. But none of that will come to pass.

Now of course, France is saying that it has contracts with Australia, that these need to be honored so there might be legal implications. Frankly, all

of that is a footnote of history.

What matters here is the world's superpower decided things were going to be one way, which is Australia would be part of this new three-way alliance

between the U.K. and U.S., and that now what is going to happen.

The lesson for France and, beyond that, for Europe, to quite a large extent, Max, when the White House feels that its strategic interests are at

play, then its European allies cannot expect any form of niceties or favors from Washington.

FOSTER: Cyril, thank you. Also Nina and Kylie as well in Washington.

Now as we mentioned, China slamming the deal, saying it will intensify an arms race. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson told reporters the

chancellor of U.K. technology for geopolitical purposes is extremely irresponsible.



ZHAO LIJIAN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): The cooperation between the United States, Britain and Australia on nuclear

powered submarines has severely damaged regional peace and stability, intensified the arms race and undermined international nuclear

nonproliferation efforts.


FOSTER: Beijing bureau chief Steven Jiang joining us now live from the Chinese capital with more on the reaction to this trilateral partnership.

Were they completely caught out by this, Steven?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER, BEIJING BUREAU: Not really. The response has been swift and not surprising as you have just heard that

spokesman saying these quite strong words.

That pales in comparison to what we have seen in some state media outlets here. The "Global Times," for example, in a scathing editorial published on

Thursday called Australia the running dog of the U.S. and warned Australia of deadly consequence if it ever gets involved in any conflict with China.

It actually added that Australian troops are likely to become the first Western casualties in the South China Sea if the Australian government

continues down this path of its current China policy.

So very, very belligerent language and even mentioning that military installations in Australia are certainly to become targets for Chinese

missiles, if Australia fights China anywhere in the region, be it Taiwan or South China Sea or anywhere else.

This very specific warning obviously not doing China any favor because it almost reinforces Australia's need for an upgrade of its military

capability, exactly for this reason, dealing with an increasingly assertive, some would say aggressive China, trying to dominate this region.

Another point worth noting, Max, I think Kylie mentioned, these submarines are nuclear powered, not nuclear armed. That's a distinction that seemed to

make little difference in the eyes of the Beijing leadership.

As she mentioned, these subs are going to be capable of traveling farther without -- in deeper waters. And that, according to Chinese state media, is

going to pose a strategic threat to the People's Liberation Army. So they have to deal with that with counter measures.

Underneath all of this kind of Chinese government jargons (sic) and very harsh rhetoric in Chinese state media, there is one concern being shared by

many experts; that is, this deal, this pact is indeed a milestone in this regional arms race in the Indo-Pacific -- Max.

FOSTER: When they talk about a Cold War mentality, is that just for the headlines, an effective message?

Or is that something that people genuinely believe could happen again, that the West gangs up against other countries, in the way they have done in the


JIANG: I think you really hit the nail on the head there, because that's exactly how the Beijing leadership feels every time you see this kind of

announcement. That is, they feel the Biden administration is carrying on its goal of forming this united front against China with its allies and

partners increasingly.

And containing China, encircling China, not just politically and diplomatically but increasingly now militarily. That's something they feel

they have to deal with head-on and that, of course, is going to have consequences, not only for bilateral relations between Canberra and Beijing

but more importantly between Washington and Beijing.

And despite that phone call last week between Xi Jinping and Joe Biden, with both sides pledging to avoid direct contact. But this kind of pact,

the trilateral security, a strategic kind of alliance would definitely make that kind of pledge a lot more challenging -- Max.

FOSTER: OK, we'll be watching, Steven. Thank you so much.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, live from London. Still ahead, why the Taliban co-founder says he needed to tell the world that he's alive and


Plus, a women's rights activist on why Afghan women fear segregation and even worse under a Taliban rule. That's all just ahead.





FOSTER: In Afghanistan, the Taliban are downplaying reports of internal risks, even as they ask the United Nations to recognize their interim

government and lift sanctions. The acting deputy prime minister appeared in a video to deny reports that he had been injured or even killed in a clash

between rival Taliban factions.


BARADAR: Praise be to God I am fit and well. And with regard to the media claiming that we have internal disagreements, that is not true at all.

Praise be to God, we have a lot of kindness and mercy amongst us such that might not even exist in a family.


FOSTER: Meanwhile, Afghanistan is the focus of a two-day summit, starting today in Tajikistan, that features heads of state from the region,

including Pakistan, Russia and China. CNN international diplomatic Nic Robertson joining me now from Kabul -- Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, Max, the denials by the Taliban, that there are rifts and the fact that Mullah Baradar, the

main interlocutor of the United States in Doha to bring about the cease- fire, essentially pave the way for the Taliban's military forces to be able to take the capital a month ago, really has disappeared from the scenes and

disappeared completely earlier in the week, leading to these rumors.

Finally late last night, he appeared on camera with that statement that you heard. We've heard as well from the very powerful Haqqani Network within

the Taliban, Anas Haqqani, the brother of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who has a $10 million FBI bounty on his head for connections to Al Qaeda and to

terrorism, saying that, in fact, you know, this is really a propaganda project for the West, who, for 20 years, have been trying to bring down the


That's the reason all these questions are being raised about Taliban unity. But you know, when you talk to diplomats here in this city, there certainly

is an understanding that there are differences in the Taliban, that there are, you know, challenges, who should run which ministry, who should have

how much power.

That appears to be what we're seeing the effect of at the moment. The Taliban are trying to play it down; you know, diplomats here will tell you

it's not going to lead to the collapse of the Taliban.

But on the streets, you get a different feeling here, Max. People here really understand Afghan politics. And they fully comprehend and understand

that there really is a power struggle going on within the Taliban at the moment.

And they will tell you that the Haqqani Network is coming out ahead. And the deputy prime minister, the political negotiator with the U.S., is

really sort of being marginalized. And that's very important for the international community to understand and divine precisely what's happening

-- Max.

FOSTER: OK. Nic, thank you very much. And we're going to keep across all of that because there's lots of talk about the Taliban infighting. But it's

difficult to get a lot of the information getting out of Kabul, to get that verified.

There is a lot of fear and worry about what will happen to the women of Afghanistan under the Taliban. My colleague, Becky Anderson, has been

talking exclusively to Imran Khan, the prime minister of neighboring Pakistan.

He says education is key, pointing to the Taliban's promise to allow Afghan women to go to school. And while he says the international community should

engage with the Taliban to promote human rights, it cannot arbitrarily imposes its will.

He also points to his own country saying, Pakistan has passed what he calls the maximum number of laws to protect women.


FOSTER: Amber Rahim Shamsi is a former BBC journalist and a local anchor in Islamabad. She weighed in on the prime minister's views with Becky. Take

a listen.


AMBE RAHIM SHAMSI, FORMER BBC JOURNALIST: Well, they have passed a number of laws. But I wouldn't say they passed the maximum number of laws. But I

think the problem at the moment is we see this clash between 21st century feminism, that is concentrated in the hands, perhaps in the cities.

And then you have the reality of a number of very high-profile cases against women -- gender-based violence, rape, lynchings as well -- as well

as the sort of reaction by the prime minister Imran Khan and his government spokespersons to those cases of gender-based violence.

So while we see that there have been a number of laws -- the rape laws I think are a good example of an effort to address these issues -- we also

have, for instance, a domestic violence bill that was presented in parliament by a female minister, a human rights minister within this


But was then sent to the Council of Islamic Ideology by the government. So I feel as if this contradiction, where there may be laws but there is also

rhetoric that, I would say, that victim blames and explanations that don't sort of cut it.

An example is the prime minister talked about how, in the context of gender-based violence, how men are not robots in terms of how women dress,

whether they're provocative.

It took the prime minister three interviews to unequivocally say that, you know, women are not responsible for the rapes that happen to them.

So I think that contradiction that you see in the government, that you see in the prime minister himself, on feminism and the role of women, you know,

some good things; a lot of mindsets that need to change. It only happens when the leadership at the top, you know, unequivocally supports women who

protest against these cases.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Is it obvious -- I want you to hear part of the discussion of Imran Khan and I had earlier on Thursday. Have a



ANDERSON: Do you support calls for more empowerment, more rights for Pakistani women?

IMRAN KHAN, PAKISTAN PRIME MINISTER: Of course. But Becky, my basic thing -- look, my family, my -- one of my sisters is a doctor. One is an

economist. One is a business woman. We have strong women in our family.


Because they're educated. I believe if you educate your women, they will get their position in society. They will fulfill their potential.


ANDERSON: Imran Khan talking from a position of privilege somewhat, when he's talking about his own family members.

So on a scale of 1 to 10, as it were, how much is being achieved?

And what more do you want to see at this point?

SHAMSI: I think in terms as a score card or a rating, I would say at the moment 4, because look at the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap

Index. Pakistan has fallen two places in the last few years while Imran khan's government has been in power. We are actually just one spot above

Afghanistan in South Asia, (INAUDIBLE) countries.

Afghanistan is worse than Pakistan. It ranks six amongst most dangerous countries in the world, according to Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2018.

So what needs to be done is beyond legislation. There needs to be a whole of society sort of approach, which includes legislation, which is great.

But it also includes changing mindsets through education. The curriculum of the government is very keen on imposing a national curriculum across the

provinces. That's one starting point.

Then you have strengthening the legal system in courts, as well as the rhetoric and changing the mindsets. Again, if men in power were to

unequivocally say that women should not be lynched, raped, mobbed or honor killed, they are not responsible; it is the fault of the person who

perpetrates it. I think that would also go a long way.

ANDERSON: What's the future for women in Afghanistan?

SHAMSI: I would not feel, you know, speaking from a point of -- position of privilege in Pakistan, it's really hard to say. But some of the

indications -- and I've spoken of harmed (ph) women as well -- it is a future that is segregated. It is a future that is scary, where you

constantly see women are barred from participating in sports.

The kind of segregation that you see in universities and schools would obviously inhibit their education and therefore their economic

opportunities; their right to protest is severely curbed as well. You could call it banned.

Political participation, which is really important in terms of where they're represented in cabinet, you know, it's something we talk about in

Pakistan as well. You don't see them there.


SHAMSI: So I see a further degradation or regression for women of Afghanistan.

ANDERSON: Even Khan seems fairly optimistic that things will be OK for women in Afghanistan.

He said women's rights, within the context of the Taliban's ideology, as it were, which means what really at the end of the day?

SHAMSI: I think that we've seen a reflection in the weeks since Kabul was taken over as well as the response of the Taliban in terms of the protests

or appointments within the cabinet, you know, the provisional sort of cabinet or government that's in place as well.

I think that's indication enough what the Taliban think of women in positions of power, what the Taliban think is -- is important in terms of

education. The indication, I believe the education minister said it isn't the PhD that is important but your piety as a Muslim.

There is already, from what I've seen as well at universities, how much -- how many women are in a position to teach. A couple of good moves in terms

of -- and this is probably in comparison to the '90s, where there weren't enough women doctors and they weren't allowed to. You see that.

But you also see lots of videos of floggings. So I think there is a public face. There is limited or subscribed or a certain conception of freedom or

emancipation for women that the Taliban have. And it does not sit well with Afghan women, particularly in the urban areas.


FOSTER: Now another major ISIS figure has been killed in what's being hailed as a major victory against terrorism.

France is claiming the strike against the man they called public enemy number one in the Sahel. Details ahead.

Plus, Japan's defense minister is opening up about the security threats which keep him up at night and how his country is preparing to handle them.

The one on one exclusive interview is ahead in our second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD.




FOSTER: Welcome back. I'm Max Foster in London and you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Returning to our top story and that's fury in China as tensions flare at the unprecedented security alliance between the U.S., U.K. and Australia.

Under the partnership Australia would receive help from the U.S. and Britain to obtain nuclear-powered submarines with American technology.

They will not be equipped with nuclear weapons. But China says this just serves to intensify an arms race in the south -- in the Asia-Pacific



FOSTER: Now Beijing is calling the deal extremely irresponsible. A Chinese state-run tabloid are warning Australia's military of a deadly defeat if

confrontation broke out between the two countries in the contentious South China Sea.

France, meanwhile, hailing the targeted drone strike killing of a terrorist leader they called public enemy number one in the Sahel. French officials

say the founder of the ISIS affiliate in the Greater Sahara was killed last month in a French drone strike in Mali.

Ten other ISIS members were also killed in the operation. French president Emmanuel Macron called it, quote, "another major success in our fight

against terrorist groups in the Sahel." CNN's Melissa Bell joins me now from Paris.

Melissa, the State Department in the U.S. have announced this very big reward for any information leading to the capture of what must have been a

very high-level ISIS figure.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He was. This was a man, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, who split off from Al Qaeda in 2015, to create a group he

affiliated to the Islamic State and then carried out a number of attacks.

He claimed responsibility, I'm sorry, if you'll remember that attack, in Niger, back in 2017, that had seen four American soldiers die as well as

four Nigerian special forces in an ambush at the border with Mali.

He also claimed responsibility for the killing of six French humanitarian workers just an hour away from the Nigerian capital last year. It is that

border region, the tri-border region, as it's known, between Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso that has grown increasingly dangerous.

Not only because of the presence of the Al Qaeda affiliated regional group but this the Islamic State offshoot he created in 2015 in which carried out

a number of attacks on security forces, both U.N. and French.

His killing, say the French, will be a crucial blow (ph). But this war has been largely unnoticed by the rest of the world, where local grievances

between nomadic and sedentary groups, Tuaregs and non-Tuaregs, have been exploited now for many years.

So there is that local anchoring now of these, with the battle between the two groups for influence in the region at a time where France has announced

it is going to be drawing down its troop levels in the region.

FOSTER: It's interesting. You get a real sense of what ISIS is right now. It's lots of affiliated groups, not necessarily one united body working

against the West. But it's an illustration of how ISIS in Afghanistan is a new challenge for the West right now.

BELL: That's right, Max. And what's been happening while the world is focused on what's been happening in those territories captured by the

Islamic State these last few years is that in this very volatile region where there is a great deal of poverty, where there is very little state

structure in place to combat it, they have been quietly progressing, with groups joining, choosing to affiliate themselves with them over the course

of the years.

So how big a blow will this be?

In a region where so much violence has gone unnoticed largely by the rest of the world for so many years and where the regional forces if left to

themselves, simply don't have the means, the weaponry to cope with groups that are extremely mobile and determined on causing as much chaos as they

can -- Max.

FOSTER: Melissa Bell in Paris, thank you.


FOSTER: Let's get you up to speed, then, on some other stories that are on our radar now.

"Humanity has a history of friendship with vaccines," the words of Pope Francis, who says he's puzzled by the COVID anti-vaccination movement. The

pontiff is a prominent advocate of getting the shots. He said fear or misinformation may be behind some people's skepticism.

France is getting tough with health care workers who refuse to get the vaccine. They tell French media 3,000 workers have been suspended. Back in

July, president Emmanuel Macron announced anyone who works in hospitals or nursing homes must be fully vaccinated by September 15 or risk losing their


China is dealing with an outbreak of coronavirus in the Fujian province. The cases are linked to the Delta variant. At least 200 people have been

testing positive since last week.

The country's now implementing mass testing, checking millions of people in just days. China's national health commission says more than half of the

people infected in the Fujian outbreak were students and school staff.

Coming up, clean energy technology have moved away from fossil fuels. United Arab Emirates has found a country to invest in. We'll have more

details in moments.


FOSTER: Plus a history making Champions League win for a team whose true homeland is in dispute. "WORLD SPORT" just ahead, too.




FOSTER: So this year, the United Arab Emirates, where the show is usually based, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. To mark the occasion, the

country is launching a wide ranging new investment strategy.

That's why the crown prince of Abu Dhabi is here in London today, where he met the British prime minister. The two signed a multi-billion dollar deal,

focusing on infrastructure, energy and technology. Joining me now from London with more details with Anna Stewart.

What is the thinking behind this deal, Anna?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think from the UAE standpoint here, they're looking very much to diversify their economy away from oil. No

secret there. They've been trying to do it for some years.

They had a target they were going to reduce their dependence on oil to 20 percent of GDP by 2021. They also announced in the last few weeks they have

a 10-year plan. They want to double the size of their economy by 2030.

And with this deal, it builds on what they announced back in March, with the U.K., which was already a $5 billion -- sorry, 5 billion pound

investment deal. Doubled it to 10 billion lbs. It's a little under $14 billion. And it is looking as you said, it's a really high-growth potential


For instance, clean energy, infrastructure, technology, as well as life sciences, which it had already committed some of those funds to.

I also think it's very interesting that they're making this bilateral deal away from the GCC, the regional bloc they often trade with, with these

international deals. They are clearly hoping to strengthen economic ties with the U.K. but perhaps also diplomatic ones. I think this is a great

example of economic diplomacy.

FOSTER: For the U.K., we saw them sign the deal with the U.S. and Australia, the security deal. Then you've got this major figure from the

Middle East coming here as well, signing a deal.

Is this a post-Brexit Britain that Boris Johnson wants to promote here?

STEWART: I think you're probably right. I think this is certainly part of the U.K. strategy, repositioning itself on a global stage, carving out what

it calls global Britain. As you mentioned, there have been a flurry of trade deals the last two years. Many have replicated what already existed

with the E.U.

There have been a couple of fresh ones, though, one with Japan signed last year, one with Australia earlier this summer. Also this comes just a few

weeks before a big global investment summit that will be hosted by prime minister Boris Johnson and also Her Majesty The Queen.

FOSTER: We'll watch out for that, Anna. Thank you very much indeed.

The world's first all-civilian space flight crew is now orbiting somewhere above the Earth.




FOSTER (voice-over): That was the SpaceX rocket taking off on Wednesday with no professional astronaut on board, would you believe. The four person

crew led by billionaire Jared Isaacman who founded the mission, dubbed it Inspiration4. CNN's Kristin Fisher has more details.



KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE & DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: It was a spectacular and a successful nighttime launch from the Kennedy Space Center. And what

makes this Inspiration4 mission so extraordinary is how ordinary the crew. Is none of them are professional astronauts.

And yet they will be orbiting the Earth for the next three days before splashing down into the Atlantic Ocean. On, board a 29 pediatric cancer

survivor and physician's assistant at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

There's also Dr. Sian Proctor, who applied to be an astronaut back in 2009, came this close, didn't make the cut. She was devastated. Now she gets to

achieve her lifelong dream.

There is also another person who was watching a Super Bowl commercial, entered a sweepstakes. His friend got the golden ticket but gave it to him.

And then the commander, a billionaire business man and entrepreneur, a pilot. And he is the brain child for this mission. He went to SpaceX back

in October about something completely different, mentioned in a passing comment, saying, if you want to send me to, space I'd be. Game

Now here he, is in orbit. Less than a year. Later


JARED ISAACMAN, INSPIRATION4 FLIGHT COMMANDER: I wouldn't say pressure because pressure would mean I'm nervous about the outcome here.

I think that responsibility is really the word, right?

And that this is a big responsibility. And we have to execute really well and get this right so that the door can stay open for all the other

missions to follow.


FISHER: Jared Isaacman talks a lot about opening up space travel to everyone and democratizing space. This is central to SpaceX's founding

mission, to make humanity multi-planetary, to colonize Mars.

To do, that you have to prove that your everyday person is capable of dealing with the rigors of orbital spaceflight. That is exactly what the

Inspiration4 crew will spend the next days doing -- at the Kennedy Space Center, Kristin Fisher, CNN.