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American Believed to be in North Korean Custody; Russia Ends Grain Deal, Draws Global Condemnation; Convoy of Wagner Forces Arrive at Belarus Base; International Crews Battle Canadian Wildfires. Aired 11:15-11:45a ET

Aired July 18, 2023 - 11:15   ET





ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR CONNECT THE WORLD: I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi and we've been watching our colleagues at CNN U.S. as they cover some major

breaking news. Former U.S. President Donald Trump has received a letter from a special prosecutor indicating he is a target of the January 6


That special prosecutor is looking into attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election as well as the attack on the capital building that

day. Now we move to a developing story that we've been following an American man is believed to be a North Korean custody after crossing the

border during a tour of the demilitarized zone.

A U.S. official tells CNN the man is believed to be a U.S. soldier who was not in uniform. The United Nations Command which organized the tours says

it is working with the North Korean army to resolve the situation. The orientation tour of the Joint Security Area is open to the public.

Joining us now CNN's Marc Stewart, to give us an update Marc, look you've been to the DMZ. Not many details about the man apart from the fact that he

is a soldier. We don't know how he crossed and why? So what is the latest?

MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest is that right now, efforts are underway to establish a timeline of exactly what happened. I

mean, the questions that you pose are the very questions that we are asking, as well. Let me just tell you a little bit about this area and why

there's so much mystery to the story thus far.

Again, we know that according to a U.S. official that a soldier walked in to the North Korean territory. I was at the DMZ before this is a well

delineated area. There is no question where territorial lines are drawn. So this is not something that can happen by accident, at least from based off

of what we are hearing right now.


This is an area that is basically governed or protected by United Nations forces which in many cases are American forces and then North Koreans.

Again the signage is very clear as to where everything is located there's also a lot of protocol and rules if you will in this area.

There's actually a phone line that United Nations officials can use to call into North Korea, if there is some kind of situation. We don't know if that

was utilized in this specific case. But that's something that is also available. In addition, the force is there, these United Nation forces,

which again, are often American, they are not armed.

And this states back to what's known as the inter Korea agreement that dates back to 2018. They are not armed. But they are there to have a

presence. In fact, there is strict protocol, if someone were to walk so to speak from south into north. These forces cannot go in after them and try

to bring them back.

They are bound by rules would say, there's really nothing they can do. So I think Eleni, the big question that we are trying to figure out, or the big

questions are, who is this soldier? Why did the soldier make this trek into North Korea? And then again, we have no indication at this point as to

where things diplomatically stand but something that we are probably going to be depended on Washington to answer in fact.

GIOKOS: Yes, I mean, exactly and Washington is currently asking those very questions, waiting for details to try and ascertain how and why this

happened. You said you've been to the DMZ. You know, there are so many questions about these terms that are actually quite popular, they're

conducted quite often, and then how this could happen.

I mean, there are questions about whether he deliberately crossed the line or whether it was a mishap or mistake. I mean, there are so many things

around it. But as you've just ascertained, if you give us a clearer picture here, it is clearly marked, it's signed. But could there be a misstep here,

which could have landed him in the situation?

STEWART: Yes, I mean, I don't want to speculate but based off of my experience, that'd be a very difficult thing to do. I mean, it is very

clear where you are. I actually have been into North Korea itself, but I did not enter through the DMZ, I entered in an area known as Kaesong at the

time, it was an industrial area.

And in order to enter North Korea, I had have permission. I was with a group of other journalists. This was back in 2008 actually. We had to take

a bus. In fact, we had to leave our newspapers behind with news from the west because it is that insulated of a nation.

And then when we were there, there were a lot of restrictions about what we could see pictures we could take people we could talk to. So this is not,

it's very rare for Americans to access this area period. And it is it is not a place where Americans are necessarily welcome. So that's why this is

also baffling.

GIOKOS: Yes, it absolutely is. We know that authorities are working extensively of trying to find answers, and of course, the question and in

terms of what is the next step, Marc Stewart, always great to see you. Thank you so much. Russia says it retaliated for Ukraine strike on a key


Ukraine says it shot down a wave of Russian drones and missiles over Odesa overnight. Officials say debris damaged homes and symbolically as well as

practically port infrastructure was damaged. Ukraine uses these ports along the Black Sea to ship its grain under a deal that has now been cancelled by


Kenya is calling Russia's decision to terminate the deal of quote a stab in the back of global food security prices. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

pointed to the disappropriate, disproportionate rather impacts of the decision and how it will impact the Horn of Africa.

And the numbers are staggering 33 million tons of foodstuffs have been exported from Ukraine under the initiative. In 2023, the World Food

Programme has procured 80 percent of its wheat from Ukraine for its humanitarian operations. More than 300,000 tons have been sent to Ethiopia

to Kenya as well as Somalia.

Take a listen to what the U.N. Secretary General had to say after Russia pulled out of the deal.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Ultimately, participation in these agreements is a choice. But struggling people everywhere and

developing countries don't have a choice. And that is of millions of people face hunger and consumers are confronting a global cost of living crisis

and they will pay the price.


GIOKOS: So tonight we ask, will the worlds' most vulnerable pay the ultimate prices? It's time now to bring in Michael Dunford in Nairobi,



He's a Director in East Africa with the World Food Programme, an international organization that provides food assistance worldwide.

Michael, thank you very much for joining us, we've heard the warning from the U.N. Secretary General there. And you know here's the first question,

will the most vulnerable pay the ultimate price for Russia pulling out of this Grain Deal?

MICHAEL DUNFORD, EAST AFRICA REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: I think there's potential for the most vulnerable, certainly to pay a price.

The decision described by the Secretary General as regrettable is very regrettable for the people that the World Food Programme and others are

trying to reach.

I sit in Nairobi, leading the World Food Programme trying to reach in excess of 47 million people. This is a region with almost 80 million people

who are acutely food insecure and anything including this deal that impacts the availability or the supply of grains around the world is most


GIOKOS: It absolutely is. I mean, could you give me a sense of what the status is right now of supply out of Ukraine, what has been communicated to


DUNFORD: Well, because it only happened yesterday, we're still learning about what the implications are? And what are the opportunities

particularly for it to recommence at some time in the near future? But as you said in your introduction, WFP relies very heavily on Ukrainian wheat.

We've already procured over 80 percent of our wheat this year, and much of it has come to this region. And this is a region that is extraordinarily

fragile at the moment, because of conflicts that are happening across the region, because of the effects of climate change. And because of this

economic shock, which includes the effect of the war in Ukraine.

GIOKOS: Yes, I mean, this is what was staggering to me that the WFP procuring 80 percent of its grain from Ukraine, which is up 50 percent from

what we saw in 2022 and 2021. I want you to give it to me in practical terms of what this is going to mean for the communities you serve, if that

80 percent of your grain supply now is non-existent.

What is it mean for inventories? What is it mean for supply and in terms of assisting the communities in which you operate?

DUNFORD: Eleni, what it means is that rather than buying wheat at the cheapest possible price, which has been Ukraine, we will need to go further

afield, we will need to pay a higher price, we will have longer lead times, it will take us longer for us to get the food to the people who need it


And this is at a time when the region which previously was on fire now feels as though it has been doused with petrol. War in Sudan particularly,

is coming at the worst possible time. We expect that in that country alone, over 40 percent of the population, because of the conflict and because the

inability of WFP to scale its operations could be acutely food insecure.

And we see that Sudan is going to have a regional implication affecting Chad, South Sudan and neighboring countries.

GIOKOS: I mean, here's the thing right, the humanitarian crisis that we've been seeing a lot more frequently, for various reasons, as you say, climate

change, you know, various issues, for example, in Sudan, the earthquake and so forth. I mean, the list is absolutely enormous.

You say you'll be able to procure from other markets. We are worried about what the removal of this grain supply is going to mean for food prices.

What does it mean for food inflation? You're obviously doing some scenario planning here. How much more expensive is it going to be for you and for

everyone else?

DUNFORD: Yes, we're waiting to see again, how the markets react. We suspect that the buyers have already factored in this result. But when the grain

last year, we saw prices at 23 percent higher and that's before the initial initiative was introduced. If this break continues for an extended period

of time, there's only one direction that prices can go and that's an increase.

Now, in the U.S., in the U.K., typically a household spends about 10 percent of its budget to put food on the table. In this part of the world,

in the Horn of Africa, sometimes it's 40, 50 up to 60 percent so even small incremental increases have a significant impact on the ability of people to

feed their families.

GIOKOS: It is absolutely dire. I was recently in Kenya and spoke to so many people that were saying to me that often they have to drop the amount of

meals they have per day. So it goes down from 3 and 2 and then dire situations that only have one meal a day. What you're doing is so

important, Michael, we appreciate your time.


Thank you so much for joining us today and Michael Dunford there from Nairobi, Kenya from a WFP. A convoy of Wagner militia forces has arrived at

an abandoned military base in Belarus and at least two more were on their way by Monday afternoon. This is the first time they've been spotted out

and about since their brief rebellion against Russia's leadership last month.

CNN confirmed their movements through an analysis of satellite images. The whereabouts of Wagner's leader Yevgeny Prigozhin remains unknown. Coming up

on "Connect the World" look at the latest relief efforts in helping Canada battle its biggest wildfire on record, we'll be right back.


GIOKOS: Welcome back to "Connect the World". I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi, your headlines the sour, Former U.S. President Donald Trump says he's been

informed by Special Counsel Jack Smith, that is a target of the criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Two sources familiar with the matter confirm that Trump received a letter. It's a major signal that prosecutors could again file criminal charges

against the Former President. He's already facing charges of the handling of classified documents and business fraud.

And American man is believed to be in North Korean custody after crossing the border during a tour of the demilitarized zone. A U.S. Defense Official

says he's a U.S. soldier but was not in uniform. The United Nations Command says it's now in touch with North Korean officials to try and resolve the


Hundreds of millions of people around the world are in danger of not having enough food after Russia pulled out of the deal allowing Ukraine to export

its grain. That is according to a top European Union Official, who urged the Kremlin to return to talks with Turkey and the U.N. who brokered the


And it's all about high stakes talks today in Beijing. Top officials of the world's two biggest polluters are meeting in the Chinese capital to try to

restart long stalled climate negotiations.


U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry has stepped into China's searing heat such as Washington and Beijing work to fix fractured ties. He says the world is

looking at the U.S. and China for leadership on the climate crisis.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL CLIMATE ENVOY: The world really is looking to us for that leadership particularly on the climate issue.

Climate, as you know, is a global issue, it is not a bilateral issue. It's a threat to all humankind.


GIOKOS: As those climate talks carry on 20 U.S. states are under smoke advisories due to the worst wildfire season in Canada's history. The U.S.

is now sending Firefighters in support of the Canadians. Take a look at this from CNN's Paula Newton.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They've come all the way from America southwest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Quebec.

NEWTON (voice over): Now here in Northern Quebec's scorched lands, joining hundreds of other American and international firefighters. Doing what they

can to slow wildfires that just won't quit.

ZAC KROHN, U.S. FOREST SERVICE FIRE MANAGEMENT OFFICER: At this point, we're just trying to secure the edge and make sure that the communities are


NEWTON (voice over): The Silver State hotshot crew is looking for hotspots. They are firefighting crews specially trained and skilled now taking on

Canada's record breaking wildfires.

NEWTON (on camera): I know you're from Montana, Big Sky Country. But this is a big fire -- big territory

KROHN: Yes, in the scope for us in the States, this would be one of the largest fires ever to occur in the United States. So yes, it's a gig of


NEWTON (voice over): The total area burned in Canada already has shattered records. Now 10 million hectares, that's almost 25 million acres, an area

nearly as large as the state of Ohio, and still burning.

MATT RAU, INCIDENT COMMANDER OF SOUTHWEST AREA INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TEAM: And when they burn like this, there's no way to even put people in front of

it even stopped the fire. There's no amount of resources on the ground or from the sky, that's going to be able to stop one of these fires when they

when they get the momentum.

NEWTON (on camera): As shocking and frankly unsettling as it is. This fire is just far too large to extinguish. In fact, the area already burned is

larger than most countries on the planet. It means that not only does the fire burn, but there is going to be a lot of smoke.

NEWTON (voice over): And that means many American cities could be shrouded in smoke on any given day, for weeks or months to come.

RAU: Don't be surprised if it continues. And secondly, this is a problem that is going to go on into the future when it's the year to burn and the

conditions are right. It's just going to continue to burn.

NEWTON (voice over): Here in Quebec, many were evacuated within minutes as the flames threatened towns and fires burned were raging speed. Jimmy

Seaborn is grateful to see American help. He says he had minutes to leave in June and was upset to leave behind the family pets. They were fine when

he returned six days later, but he fears his home will be threatened again.

NEWTON (on camera): Say inquires problem is said by normal way. It's incredible, but it's not normal.


NEWTON (voice over): He says it's not normal. But cautions we should all learn to expect the worst from the weather now. The rain helps it has

finally arrived in some places. But in the words of one Canadian official, it's like a drop in an otherwise empty bucket. The Mayor of this town

Chibougamau says the rain is an answered prayer.

She may not have to evacuate her town again. But they have to adapt. She says no one imagined so much would burn so quickly.

MANON CYR, CHIBOUGAMAU, CANADA MAYOR: Were you scared? I can't lay I wasn't scared. I was mad. And then I have to come down and say Manon you have a

job to do. And that's why you know I stay calm. And I said to my people, let's be patient. Let's do it and keep it Zen.

NEWTON (voice over): It may be difficult to stay calm as Mother Nature rages. The cliche applies here in every way possible. Canada is burning and

it's not out of the woods yet. Paula Newton, CNN, in Northern Quebec.


GIOKOS: Oh here are some tips to help you manage the effects of wildfire smoke and extreme heat. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

recommends paying attention to the air quality alerts. It says it's best to stay indoors and in air conditioning if possible if you have to go outside

using an N95 Mask offers some protection as for the extreme heat.

The World Meteorological Organization says the current situation is a rapidly growing health risk.


PANU SAARISTO, IFRC EMERGENCY HEALTH UNIT TEAM LEADER: Heat waves are really an invisible killer. We all experience hotter and hotter

temperatures for longest stretches of time every single summer here in Europe.


And as we heard it's not a European phenomenon, it's everywhere around the globe.


GIOKOS: Well there are several ways to help manage extreme heat, drink plenty of fluids, use air conditioning where you can take a cold shower or

bath and wear loose, light colored clothing. Ahead on "Connect the World", more protests in Israel ahead of a key vote in the Knesset and Israel's

figurehead Presidents set to visit the White House today. Will the Israeli Prime Minister get a similar invites?


GIOKOS: It is another day of disruption across Israel. Protesters are blocking highways marching on train stations even entering the Israeli

Stock Exchange. They're trying to scuttle the judicial overhaul package that critics say is tantamount to a government coup.

Within days one part of the plan could get into its file of loads and into Parliament's and become the first element of the controversial package to

do so. This is all happening just hours before Israeli President Isaac Herzog. A largely ceremonial figure visits us President Joe Biden at the

White House.

After a phone call Monday Israel said Mr. Biden extended an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to come to the U.S. The White

House did not use the word invitation and isn't offering specifics. It's still not clear when or where they will meet. Earlier this month, President

Biden pledged, hedge rather when CNN's Fareed Zakaria asked him about a potential Netanyahu visit, take a listen to what he said.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, first of all, the Israeli President is going to be coming. We have other contacts. I've been

as I think it's fair to say an unyielding supporter of Israel for over. I've only been around a couple of years but for as long as I've been


And Bibi, I think is trying to work through how we can work through existing problems in terms of his coalition.


GIOKOS: Well, Hadas Gold is with us this hour from Jerusalem, Hadas, always great to see you look Israeli President invited to the White House.

Netanyahu obviously not there the question about whether he will be invited down the line is, you know what, one thing that is on top of everyone's


But the Biden administration has publicly been critical of the far right government while judicial overhaul is imminent. Is this a snub to



HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I think it's been a snub that Benjamin Netanyahu has not been in invited to the White House yet he

came into power in January and his predecessors were invited to the White House quite quickly.

And I think most people had expected or in the tradition of the Israeli- U.S. relationship had expected some sort of invitation to the White House sooner than that. Now, the Israeli President visiting this is ostensibly

connected to Israel celebrating its 75 years as statehood. That's why the Israeli president is addressing the joint session of Congress.

He's actually the only second Israeli President to do so. And the last time in Israeli leader address a joint sessions of Congress in this way was

actually Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015, when he gave his infamous speech against the nuclear Iranian nuclear deal that the American government was

negotiating that was seen, of course, as a largely a slap to the face to the then Obama administration.

And it is interesting to see the difference between how Isaac Herzog is being treated, versus how Benjamin Netanyahu has been treated so far in

just the next few hours. The Israeli President is expected to sit down with Joe Biden with the President Biden in the Oval Office to have a photo op.

He's meeting with several other major American leaders, everyone from the Speaker of the House, of course, to Kamala Harris, the Vice President. And

then of course, tomorrow will be his major speech to the joint sessions of Congress. So he's getting the traditional sort of red carpet treatment you

would expect from a leader.

Now, as you noted, he's really President is mostly a ceremonial figurehead. He is not a member of Benjamin Netanyahu's government. He's not even a

member of Benjamin Antonio's political party has actually been trying to mediate. He had been hosting mediation talks on this judicial overhaul at

the President's residence.

It hasn't been going well. But now of course, there's the question of whether Benjamin Netanyahu actually got an invitation or not the Israelis

are characterizing it as an invitation -- .

GIOKOS: Alright Hadas, I'm sorry, I have to interrupt you. We are going to go shortly to CNN, U.S. our colleagues there have breaking news for us,

Hadas Gold there. Thank you so much for that updates. Now we are here to CNN U.S.