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China Announces Changes after Nationwide Zero COVID Protests; Qatar Announces Deals to Supply Liquefied Natural Gas; Inside the Battle for Bakhmut in Eastern Ukraine; China Sends Astronauts to New Space Station. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired November 30, 2022 - 10:00   ET





MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All right, you can hear the incoming rounds. The incoming rounds from Russian artillery fire

are really intense here, as we have entered the outskirts of Bakhmut.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): CNN goes inside one of the most fiercely contested towns in Ukraine. This conflict forcing Europe to cut

its dependence on Russian gas and Qatar stepping in to plug that energy hole. I'll be speaking to the country's energy minister this hour.


ANDERSON (voice-over): And amid more anti COVID protests in China, some local authorities there partially ease lockdown measures.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD live from Doha. We begin this hour with World Cup fever

here in Qatar.



ANDERSON: In China, the people demanded it and they may actually be seeing some real change. Anti COVID measures there rolling back in at least two

cities today. A short time ago in Beijing, officials announced testing requirements are being slightly loosened.

In the manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, lockdowns have just been fully lifted in four districts and mass testing there scrapped. Guangzhou is home

to the largest iPhone factory in the world. It is one place the Chinese authorities have not been able to stamp out these protests.

In a dramatic standoff on Tuesday night, protesters threw bottles at police and security forces responded with tear gas. CNN's Ivan Watson has been

covering these protests since they began. He joins me tonight from Hong Kong.

Many of these protests have been shot down by authorities but they do continue in some places.

Is the easing of restrictions in Beijing and Guangzhou now a sign that the protesters' message has at least been heard?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, we are just trying to parse what we're seeing. But I do think the government strategy,

it is twofold.

On one hand, the security forces threatening, vowing to strike hard, coming out in force, using all the levers of the Chinese police state to

intimidate people, to censor them and repress them and stop them from coming out into the street.

And with threats as well, despite that, these remarkable scenes you saw in Guangzhou last night, of locals, residents clashing with police wearing

hazmat suits and carrying these shields.

You can just see them using this kind of tortoise shell defense approach. That's remarkable to see in a Chinese city. On the other hand, we have the

Chinese health authorities and city governments announcing the relaxation of --


WATSON: -- some of these onerous COVID restrictions that have gotten people so angry in the first place; notably, in Guangzhou.

The morning after these clashes in that very same city, lifting lockdowns on four districts there, saying they are not going to stop sending close

contacts of COVID cases to government quarantine facilities. That's while Guangzhou is still counting more than 6,000 new cases a day, which makes it

a hotspot by Chinese terms.

Beijing relaxing some restrictions. Shanghai lifting lockdowns from 11 out of 24 districts that have been under lockdown.

So again, this twofold approach, trying to deal with the biggest display of anger at the authorities across the country that China has seen in a


Let's move to another development here. The protests aren't getting on the front pages of Chinese newspapers. But what is is the death of the former

Chinese leader, Jiang Zemin, who passed away today at the age of 96 from leukemia.

His death is being marked by the most senior Chinese officials. Xi Jinping, the leader, calling for deep condolences, saying it is time to turn grief

into strength. And we can anticipate a state funeral in the days or week ahead.

But one big question is, will the Chinese authorities allow Chinese people to gather at this tense moment in the country, for vigils to show their own

condolences, for a man who led the country into opening up to the outside world, as opposed to the current leader, who has been pulling China away

from the rest of the world?

It is very hard to get a visa to get into China right now because of the COVID restrictions -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, interesting. Interesting day for that. Thank you.

Well, Spanish police are investigating an explosion at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid. The Spanish interior ministry says one person who was

handling a letter was slightly injured there and was taken to a hospital.

Ukraine's foreign minister is asking for security to be stepped up at all Ukrainian embassies. Spain, a NATO country, has sent military equipment to


You are watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD, live from Doha. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up, football is not the only story coming out of

Qatar this week. We've got some important news from off the pitch with a very important guest for you, after this short break.

Plus, Ukraine's military fights back against bombardment from Russian forces. We will take you to the front lines, in one of the most fiercely

contested towns in this entire conflict.





ANDERSON: Welcome back. You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from Doha in Qatar. CNN has been bringing you live coverage of the 2022 FIFA World

Cup, the most popular sporting event on the planet, watched by billions of fans worldwide.

Qatar isn't only hosting a major football tournament. It is also playing a pivotal role in the global energy market, especially as Europe looks to

slash its dependence on Russian energy supplies.

Qatar has announced it will supply liquefied natural gas to Germany under two new deals. Berlin saying it doesn't, quote, expect any energy from

Russia anymore. This comes a week after QatarEnergy signed a 27 year deal to supply China's Sinopec with liquefied natural gas, calling that the

longest gas supply agreement in the history of the LNG industry.

Following the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine, competition for other LNG supplies has become intense. That's why I want to bring in someone who

could speak for one of the world's largest producers, Qatar's energy minister, Saad Al Kaabi, joining me in Doha.

Of course, you are the head of QatarEnergy. It's great seeing you here. Firstly, congratulations on what has been a fantastic tournament so far.

Given that you have helped bankroll this event through the success of QatarEnergy and the build of this infrastructure here, it must feel

fantastic that it's coming together, doesn't it?

SAAD AL KAABI, QATARI ENERGY MINISTER: Thank you very much, first of all, for hosting me on CNN and to be with you again. Thank you for your kind

words about the World Cup. We are very excited to have everybody join us here, particularly a football party, if you will.

And we are very happy to have everybody join us here. I think you see the atmosphere, you have been to some of the matches. It's just electric.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Let's talk about this deal with Germany, the first long term LNG deal in Europe since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Why Germany and why now?

KAABI: As you know, we've embarked on an expansion exercise, if you, will of announcing the expansion of our energy production from 77 to 126 million


ANDERSON: That's significant.

KAABI: And it's going to come online in 2026. Also, some volume is going to come from the U.S., for 2024. We have been working very hard on putting

together agreements for all the volume we will bring online which you've heard is just two deals, the Chinese deal and the German deal.

Two of many deals that we are working on and people are lining up, really. And we could be really oversold in the next year or two, with people

talking to us from around the world.

ANDERSON: That's fascinating. The Chinese deal, a 27 year deal; the German deal, a 15-year deal. I know how important this is and I think we should

impress upon our viewers how important it is for a producer like you, that you get these long term deals locked in.

You don't want to look at these kinds of short term deals.

So why 15 years with the Germans?

KAABI: Actually, most of the deals you hear about going forward are 25, 27 year deals for the very long term deals we are looking at. We are

discussing with many people, 27 years. That deal that we signed yesterday is a 27 year deal.

The reason we have announced it's 15 years plus is because Germany has put a restriction of their requirement to import gas into Germany at that

point. So if you think from 26 until 15 years from 2026, when we start taking gas into Germany, then it stops when the German government says that

we want to stop gas.

We don't think that will happen. They will probably need it for longer and it will be available for longer. The actual deal will go longer, if not for

Germany, it will go somewhere else.

ANDERSON: The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has said this deal is an important building block in the country's strategy toward weaning itself of

Russian gas. And it had a significant dependence on Russian gas.

Do you think that you will play a very significant part in replacing that gas in the European energy market?

KAABI: If you look at what we've done at QatarEnergy, even before the Ukraine, we went and booked capacity in the west of France and in the U.K.

We already have the largest LNG terminal in the U.K.

So we've been working on that because of the expansion to have a big chunk of business in Europe. Europe is a very important continent for the gas



KAABI: So we have already been, we have been planning for supply to Europe before the Ukraine. What the Ukraine war has done is basically turns some

like the Germans, that didn't want any LNG import, to having zero energy terminals to going about five in the very near future.

Really, the change, if you will, is imports in Germany that changing it. Our plan has always been to serve Europe and Asia. And we look 10 years

from now to be probably 50 percent Europe, 50 percent Asia, market makes. It could be skewed to 60-40 either way, depending on how deals --


ANDERSON: That is a significant change, that which you currently have, of course.

KAABI: Not really. If you look at what we serve as a market today, we have a terminal in Italy; we have a terminal in the U.K., with 20 percent of the

gas energy going into the U.K. So we've already been in Europe. We're just expanding.

ANDERSON: I wanted to mark that, the U.K. deal and indeed, this German deal, with the following. The German interior minister has brought some

controversy ahead of her trip here, to watch the Germans' opening game, accusing Qatar of human rights violations.

So this is her wearing a One Love armband during that game. Your foreign minister even accused Germany of double standards. Yet you have signed this

deal, the German and British media have been extremely critical in the run up to and during this tournament about Qatar hosting this tournament.

In signing this specific deal with the Germans, there seems to be a clear signal that you certainly can separate business from politics.

Do you have any reservations?

KAABI: No, we have always maintained that, if you look at all the statements that came out from Qatar, from our leadership, from our position

on energy and business, we have always separated our business dealings from our politics.

And people who have a political position, unless governments change and we are serving in Germany now, a lot of people look at the U.K. or whichever

country we serve, we have deals with private enterprises in these countries or some government owned enterprises.

We see these deals, like the one we have just signed, of 15 and 27 years, we would look for these to outlast governments and deals and ministers like

me, with something that would serve the people, whether that's a game for the people of Qatar in sending gas or a game for the people of that

country, in terms of the best possible fuel available to mankind. Today

ANDERSON: So there is no risk to what is becoming, for the U.K. at least, quite some dependence on QatarEnergy, as a result of this sort of the buzz

that's going on around this World Cup?

KAABI: We don't appreciate what's going on as far as the rhetoric that is going on. We have a view that a lot of it is negative, that's unjustified.

But regardless of that, business will continue and will not really have business affected by politics.

ANDERSON: We talked about how important these long term deals are. They are important, not least, because of Qatar's long term economic outlet, in

getting these long term deals in place.

Can you just explain how strategically important the story of LNG is and will be to the sustainability of Qatar's economy?

As you are not now just a domestic producer and exporter; QatarEnergy plays a much wider role around the world.

KAABI: Long term deals are important for a seller like QatarEnergy. But it's very important for security of supply for the buyers themselves. If

you look at what's going on anywhere in the world, today especially, you look at the security of supply as something that is paramount and very

important in every government around the world.

So having a secure gas deal, if you look at Poland and what they've signed with us, an energy deal a very long time ago; you look at Europe, you look

at Italy, some of these countries that have signed the long term deal with us, today enjoy a price much cheaper than the price in the market.

So securing a long term supply is beneficial for both sides.

ANDERSON: Certainly, at the moment, your position of negotiation must be quite strong. Your oil and gas revenues have surged this year. You've

talked about Qatar's energy, international expansion in the past with me.

Do you see yourselves going bigger and bolder?

What does that look like in reality?

Are you looking at further international expansion?


ANDERSON: More acquisitions?

KAABI: What we are doing is we are expanding from, as I, said from 77 million to 126 million tons per annum of LNG energy. We are looking to

possibly do more in the future, particularly with technical issues in the field and what we think we can do from our reserve point of view.

From the oil perspective, we are also developing oil in country. Outside the country, we are producing in the range of 55,000 barrels of oil. In the

next 10 years, that will be 5000 barrels a day.

We are one of the largest owner of exploration blocks or rights for exploration around the world. And we are only going to grow. In addition

to, that. we have (INAUDIBLE) terminal in the U.S. for energy expansion.

Outside Qatar, we have the largest petrochemical project in the world that has just been announced for construction in the U.S. for (INAUDIBLE)

billion dollars.

In Qatar, on the petrochemical side, we are also building one that is a petrochemical plant that is going to also be the largest in the Middle


ANDERSON: Just looking at your schedule, by the way, I'm aware of where you've been as of late, it's exhausting just to look at your schedule. Your

international scope is really quite remarkable at present.

Does QatarEnergy consider, at this point, or will consider an IPO?

KAABI: No, we are not considering an IPO. This is a state owned company. It will remain for the state and the plan for the foreseeable future for

that revenue to go to the state and expand Qatar investment authority for generations to come.

ANDERSON: Always a pleasure having you on. Thank you very much.

KAABI: Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: An incredibly important story at a time when the European energy security story is absolutely critical. Still ahead, we're going to take you

to Eastern Ukraine and the battle for one city.


CHANCE: All right, well, you can hear the incoming rounds.

ANDERSON (voice-over): CNN is on the ground, as Ukraine's military fights back against constant bombardment from Russian forces.


ANDERSON (voice-over): And is there a new leading nation in space?

A look at how China is claiming its spot in orbit after this short break.




ANDERSON: Right, welcome, back I'm Becky Anderson in Doha at the World Cup here.


ANDERSON: You are watching what is a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD.

America's top diplomat says the brutalization of Ukraine's people is, quote, "barbaric." Antony Blinken is vowing ironclad support for Kyiv, in a

two-day NATO meeting in Romania.

He said Russian president Vladimir Putin is focusing his ire and fire on civilians, as Ukraine sees its momentum on the battlefield. Russia has

bombed more than a third of Ukraine's electricity and water supply in the past few weeks.

Meanwhile, NATO ministers are pledging more arms and equipment to help Ukraine restore its decimated infrastructure. You can hear more from the

secretary of state. Antony Blinken sat down for an interview with my colleague, Christiane Amanpour, on Wednesday. Here is part of that.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: What we're seeing, to put it in one, word is barbaric. And precisely because Putin is not able to succeed

on the battlefield, he is taking the war to Ukraine's civilians.

And he is doing it in a very deliberate way, going after the entire energy and electric infrastructure, to turn off the lights, to turn off the water,

to turn off the heat.

And that, a time when, of course, Ukraine is heading into winter. The head of the NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, talked about weaponizing winter. And that is

exactly what Putin is doing.

It's also why not only are we seized with making sure that Ukraine has the systems it needs to defend itself, we are also seized with making sure that

we are doing everything possible, again, as quickly as possible, to help them repair and replace everything that's being destroyed by the Russian



ANDERSON: And you can watch that interview here on CNN later. It's coming up less than three hours from now, 6 pm London time, 10 pm if you are in

Abu Dhabi. I quote that, because, if you are regular viewers, you will know the show comes from Abu Dhabi normally.

We'll take you to the front in Ukraine. A brutal battle in one critical city. Fierce fighting is now underway in the city of Bakhmut. That is where

Russia is sending wave after wave of its forces. One Ukrainian commander says it feels like one constant, nonstop assault. CNN's Matthew Chance has

more on this 21st century battle.


CHANCE (voice-over): The brutal fight for Bakhmut where Ukrainian troops have battled Russia's onslaught. These exclusive images from the soldiers

themselves, their Commanders tell us dozens of lives are now being sacrificed here every day.

The road into town is heavy with thick smoke and danger. Explosions ahead force us to pullover before another slams into a building close by.

CHANCE: All right, well, you can hear the incoming rounds -- the incoming rounds from Russian artillery fire are really intensive here as we have

entered the outskirts of Bakhmut, which is, you know, certainly everything we're seeing, everything we've been told is now the most fiercely contested

patch of ground in the entire Russia-Ukrainian conflict.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

CHANCE (voice-over): So fierce, we made a rapid exit, leaving the relentless barrage behind.

Much of this battle is fought avoiding the artillery threat. In underground bunkers like these, where local Ukrainian Commanders like Pavlo (ph) can

respond to Russian attacks.

"They are assaulting our positions from early morning till night," he tells me. "But the real problem is we are heavily outnumbered," he says.

But the innovative use of low cost tech is helping to bridge that gap. In another front line bunker, we saw how commercially available drones are

giving Ukraine an edge.

CHANCE: Wow. That's incredible because we've just seen an artillery strike in this position that the Ukrainian drone operators have identified as

being full of Russians like you can see Russian soldiers as we look at them live now running for cover as Ukrainian artillery pounds their positions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, this is our position.

CHANCE (voice-over): But battery commanders at the front line like Tuman (ph) tell me they are running low on ammunition rounds.


CHANCE (voice-over): That even guns sent from the United States are breaking under such constant strain.

They need more of both, they say, if this battle of Bakhmut is ever to be won -- Matthew Chance, CNN, in Bakhmut, Eastern Ukraine.


ANDERSON: Well, let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories on our radar right now.

And two members of a far-right militia group have been found guilty of seditious conspiracy for their involvement in the January 6 riot at the

U.S. Capitol in 2021. Both men are members of the so-called Oath Keepers.

Prosecutors say the two conspired to forcibly stop the peaceful transfer of power from then president Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

America's oldest ally is the Biden administration's first statement, French president Emmanuel Macron is meeting at this hour with U.S. vice president,

Kamala Harris, at NASA headquarters. He and his wife arrived on Tuesday night.

The Biden administration is looking to revitalize ties after a surprise U.S.-Australian submarine partnership torpedoed France's own sub deal with


And a new drug could potentially slow the progress of Alzheimer's disease. The Alzheimer's Association says newly published trial data shows that

lecanemab could give dementia patients more time to live independently. But another advocacy group warns this is only a start in the fight against that


Still to come, the future of mankind in space, how China is staking its claim to be the dominant nation in the stars.

And they were once the big power couple in the entertainment industry. Now Kanye and Kim are divorced and the details of who is paying what to whom

are after this.





ANDERSON (voice-over): Well, that was the liftoff of what China calls the Divine Vessel, carrying three astronauts to China's new space station in

orbit. They arrived at the space station earlier, ready to begin six months of construction and experiments.

China plans to have a continuous human presence on that station for the next 15 years. The International Space Station, of course, due to be

decommissioned by 2030 or sooner. China might soon have the only operational space station in orbit.


ANDERSON: Our space correspondent Kristin Fisher joins us now with more on China's plans to become, quite frankly, to establish itself as a major

power in space. The International Space Station will be retiring, as I said in 2030.

How is the Chinese effort compared to that ISS?

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE & DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, the United States is looking at ways to get a new commercial space station up

and running once the International Space Station retires in about 2030.

What happened was a very big moment for China's space agency, really the entire country because, up until this point, it was only the United States

and its international partners at the International Space Station that had the technical prowess and the money to pull this off.

A continuous human presence in low Earth orbit, that was something only they had done for more than two decades. That all changed yesterday with

this launch right there and that change of command ceremony.

What this means is that China will be able to conduct experiments in low Earth orbit, in microgravity.

Who knows what kind of experiments they might be able to do that we are not ethically allowed to do by the U.S. and its partners?

But perhaps, Becky, the bigger picture here is they will use this space station as a training ground to get to what they really want. And what

China is aiming to do here is built a base on the south pole of the moon, because that is where you will find water in the form of ice.

Becky, incidentally, that is also where the U.S. and its partners are hoping to land astronauts sometime in the year of 2025 on the south pole of

the moon. So you are setting up this competition of sorts, for resources.

And the training for that always begins at the space station, which is why the new Chinese space station is so important, Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Always a pleasure having you on. Thank you.

We got an update for you on the UAE's moon rover. SpaceX says the launch has been pushed back one day to Thursday. They say that the mission needs

to make additional pre flight checks.

The UAE's lunar mission comes from a partnership with SpaceX and Japan- based ispace, which created the Hakuto-R Mission 1 lunar lander aboard the Falcon 9 rocket.

Buckingham Palace is acknowledging that a household member has resigned over what it calls unacceptable comments made to a British woman about her

heritage. The palace says it takes the exchange extremely seriously and also concerns the Boston visit by the Prince and Princess of Wales in the

coming hours.

It will be William and Catherine's first visit to the United States in eight years. The British royal couple set to announce the winners of their

Earth shot tries, which honors environmental entrepreneurs.

And finally, Hollywood power couple Kanye West and Kim Kardashian have finally finalized their divorce. They were married in 2014 but drifted

apart in recent years. Kardashian filed for divorce more than one year ago. The couple had a prenuptial agreement in place for dividing up their


West has agreed to pay $200,000 a month in child support to take care of their four children. They will share joint custody of those kids.

All right. "WORLD SPORT" is up next with Alex Thomas and my colleague, Amanda Davies, here. We will be back with another round of CONNECT THE

WORLD in 15 minutes.