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Isa Soares Tonight
Rescuers In Turkey And Syria Still Managing To Pull People From Rubble; President Zelenskyy Makes A Surprise Trip To The U.K.; Biden Gets Heckled At State Of The Union Address; Turkiye-Syria Earthquake; NATO Chief Meeting Top U.S. Security Officials; U.S.-China Relations; Over 12,000 Dead And Survivors Pulled From Rubble In Turkiye And Syria. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired February 08, 2023 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, rescuers in Turkey and Syria are still
managing to pull people from the rubble. But time is running out for miracles. Then the Ukrainian president heads to the heart of Westminster to
thank the United Kingdom, its lawmakers, its people and its king for their support.
We are live in London and Kyiv this hour. And President Biden reflects on the State of the Union, but not everyone agrees with his status update. But
first this evening, rescue workers are frantically racing against time. More than 60 hours on from the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria.
And freezing temperatures, teams on the ground are still desperately trying to reach any survivors under the rubble. There is still hope with moments
like this one from early on in the day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: And you can hear the overwhelming relief as rescuers pulled a young child safely out of the rubble. But the scale of the loss is
enormous. The death toll is now almost 12,000. And alongside the aching sadness, anger is also building. People frustrated, the government's
response to the disaster. Earlier, you can see their President Erdogan who visited sites near the epicenter and acknowledge there had been
shortcomings. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT, TURKEY (through translator): On the first day, we experienced some issues. But then on the second day and today, the
situation has been taken under control. In some areas, first, we had problems in the airports. We had troubles on the roads. But we are more
comfortable today. We will be more comfortable tomorrow.
Then later, I believe, we will be more comfortable. There is some minor problems with fuel and so forth. But we are handling them step-by-step.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, let's bring in Nick Paton Walsh who is in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, the town closest to the epicenter. Nick, give us a sense of what
you're seeing on the ground.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yes, Isa, just as you were reading today's developments, we've seen two more bodies brought out
from the row behind me. I think too -- it is dark, certainly, one carried out in a body bag and put on a metal tray. Part of the very grim trade
we've seen today.
Now, 24 hours ago, there certainly was some degree of hope, people were being found in the rubble. But as we woke today and saw today progress, the
temperatures, the amount of time that people have spent in the rubble have meant it's been nothing really but sadness.
We've seen emerging from the collapsed buildings here. A four-year-old girl carried away but remains in a blanket, didn't appear to have her parents
around. An 8-year-old girl whose parents were here and mourning her body. And I have to say, and a stream of body bags, tarpaulins containing the
dead they've been bringing out from inside here.
A definite change in pace and how the excavators have been working here to get through the rubble. Finding the dead rather than moving very slowly to
see if they can see any signs of life which might be -- they might be able to save. But certainly, when President Erdogan came here, he will be, I
think probably far enough away not to have felt what we've heard from people here to a sense of anger.
Certainly, one woman who had hoped the medics would rush to her father on top of the rubble here earlier on today. Well, she was furious, saying it's
been two days, why didn't you come up there earlier? There's been weather hampering events here, but It's very desperate state of affairs.
Which I think today is fair to say, the hope that has begun to ebb, if not vanished entirely. But here is what we saw when we arrived last night.
WALSH (voice-over): You can still almost feel the enormity of the tremors here. This is Kahramanmaras closest to the epicenter. One older
neighborhood shredded, it's family warmth huddling on the street.
Dochek's(ph) father is trapped under the rubble here, only his feet protrude. They can't get him out, but can cover his toes. It would be
really nice, he says, if the government had come by. Turan(ph) retrieved his eight-year old daughter, wife and daughter-in-law.
Pray, you never stand over so much of your life. Their final dignity from a carpet. Pushed down, and there are glimmers of hope. These rescuers have
spotted a 12-year-old Mustafa(ph) in the rubble and have to dig down to him. Further along, Ali(ph) helped them find his 65-year-old mother. "She's
in her bed down there", he says, "we'll get her out soon".
There's not much sign of government here. Perhaps, as the scale of this is all too massive. Dusk makes the dust and the immense bulk of the mask
harder still. The cold just an insult in the days of emptiness that lie ahead. And the news from the rubble is as often as bad as it is good.
A body found here carried out. And laid next to this man's nine-year-old daughter, Beren(ph). The black here hiding the intimate agonies buried in
it. The stories with the wrong ending. But suddenly, there is a call for quiet, hush. They think they hear a voice. A pause and then the best noise
Rescuers think they might have found six people alive, but there are hours more ahead of checking. But nothing really goes to plan here, even the joy
seems random. Where Ali's(ph) mother is being rescued, two young people are unexpectedly found and pulled out. A 16-year-old girl, apparently still
(on camera): Extraordinary moment of joy. The kind of thing that really, all of Turkey is desperately hoping and waiting for. Whereas the
temperatures drop in time goes by, it will become harder to come by. But extraordinary to see, somebody pulled so healthily straight out of this
building. Abdullah(ph) seems unscathed, almost untouched by the tremors that altered everything else here merges into.
SOARES: Like Nick was saying there, Nick, there are glimmers of hope, there are moments of joy, but so much heartache. I want to ask you really
by something you mentioned in your report there. You said not much sign of government here. We saw President Erdogan going to where you are in
Kahramanmaras, but there is that growing anger there about the speed of the rescue. What have people been telling you?
WALSH: Yes, I mean, look, certainly, even President Erdogan, I think, accepted in his comments today that the first day of response was
inadequate. But I have to give some fair credit frankly, to the struggle of a government would have faced. And we did, frankly, simply getting through
Utterly appalling to even get to some of these further away towns from major infrastructure centers like Istanbul or Ankara. So certainly, that
hampered matters. When we got here though, a lot of locals digging people out with their own hands. An effort I think everybody doing what they
As today has gone by, the military here in large numbers, large numbers of excavators turning up is that because the president was due hours from now,
we'll never know the answer to that. Could any other government have done better? Well, it's Turkey's government and Turkey's problem.
So, these are the questions I think that many here will be asking themselves as part of their process of shock. You can see behind me, locals
who lived in this area, who still call this home. Burning in fact, parts of the damaged housing here to keep warm, as they wait for the slim,
increasingly slim possibility --
SOARES: Yes --
WALSH: That somebody may be pulled from the wreckage here. There is a torch on high, and another excavation occurring over here. But the machines
do at times fall silent, and then you just feel, frankly, the bitterness of the cold and how perilous that must be for anybody still conscious inside
the dust behind me, Isa.
SOARES: Important reporting there from our Nick Paton Walsh and team in Kahramanmaras. And we'll have of course much more on Turkey and Syria
throughout the show. So do stay with us for that. Meanwhile though, I want to go to the U.K., because Ukraine's president has begun an unannounced
diplomatic tour of Europe.
His second trip abroad since Russia invaded Ukraine. And he's starting here in the United Kingdom. Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with King Charles and
visited Ukrainian troops being trained on British Challenger 2 tanks with British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak. Mr. Zelenskyy is thanking Britain for
And it's calling for more military aid, including fighter jets, longer- range missiles and armored vehicles. Mr. Sunak says when it comes to supporting Ukraine, nothing is off the table. During his address to
parliament at Westminster Hall, Mr. Zelenskyy presented a helmet of a Ukrainian fighter pilot to the Common speaker, and gave an impassioned plea
for jets. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE: I trust -- I trust this symbol will help us for our next coalition. Coalition of the planes, and i appeal
to you and the world with simple and yet most important words, combat aircrafts for Ukraine. Wings for freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Let's get more on this. Scott McLean for us, is here with us in London. Fred Pleitgen is in Kyiv. And Scott, let me start with you. A
Powerful and impassioned speech or I should say, appeal there from President Zelenskyy. Not just for support, but for jets. How likely is this
to happen? Is there a political appetite for this, Scott?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It seems like the door is open just to crack, Isa. You know, we've heard previously from the leaders of France,
the Netherlands, Poland saying that they are open to potentially sending fighter jets to Ukraine. But the U.K. had previously said that, look, it's
not really that practical to be sending fighter jets to Ukraine.
Because these are extremely complex machines. And there is a heck a lot of training that would go into, even getting a Ukrainian pilot to be able to
fly them in the first place. But now, the U.K. has become the very first country to commit to actually training Ukrainian pilots to fly these jets.
Now, what they're not committing is the actual jets themselves. Instead, they said that, look, they're going to ramp up sanctions on Russia. They're
going to provide more training, and they're going to try to accelerate the timeline to actually send the weapons that they have committed already.
But the big question is, why train pilots if you're not going to send the jets? And Rishi Sunak had this to say about that earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RISHI SUNAK, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: First of all, that we've been very clear, and we've been clear for a long time that when it comes to the
provision of military assistance to Ukraine, nothing is off the table. And that's because we're determined to ensure that Volodymyr, the president and
his people, can be victorious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: Yes, and Isa, he seemed to even foreshadow this potential sending of jets in the future even more. A few lines later, when he said the first
step of providing advanced aircrafts is actually training the air-men and air-women to actually fly them. So, potentially, down the road, the U.K.
may be in a position to do that.
But it seems unlikely that they would do it without other European partners getting on board. But as we saw with tanks, it took just one country to
commit to sending them before the others actually fell in line and got on board, including the United Kingdom, Isa.
SOARES: Yes, and Fred, of course, you know, we've heard numerous appeals for F-16s from President Zelenskyy, expect to hear something similar when
he meets with Macron and Scholz. But the support seems to be growing, at least, the door at Scott says, seems to be left ajar. Give us the
importance of the timing of this, given what you and I have discussed about this Spring offensive here.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, first of all, it's extremely important for the Ukrainians to have this
happen in the not too distant future. I mean, obviously, on the one hand, the jets I think they believe is going to take some time.
But certainly, when they talk about tanks, it's called by other longer distance weapons, they say they need those really quickly, and of course,
that was part of what President Zelenskyy talked about today when he was there in the United Kingdom. So that certainly is something where the
Ukrainians say, look, the Spring offensive by the Russians is coming.
They believe that it's going to be a very tough Spring offensive, especially the next couple of months are going to be extremely difficult
for them. So they especially need those longer-distance weapons. But in the long run, they also of course, say that they are going to need new jets for
their Air Force as well.
And I think one of the things that Scott said was so important and so interesting, and definitely something that's very much with the Ukrainians.
As I think they have the experience that if they go to the United Kingdom and they get something from the U.K., they get a pledge from the U.K., good
things tend to happen for the Ukrainians.
I mean, when you talk about the beginning before Russia launched its full- scale invasion, shoulder-launch anti-tank weapons. The U.K., one of the first countries to pledge to give those before the invasion even happened.
Talk about the Challenger tanks. The U.K. was the first country that pledged main battle tanks, said it was going to deliver them, and then
other countries started following suit. The Germans with the Leopard 2s. So, clearly, the Ukrainians believe that the U.K. can be the trail blazer,
is a trail blazer and feel very close to the United Kingdom because of all the support that the U.K. has been giving.
And jets, Isa, are a huge deal for the Ukrainians. We've been delving into this issue here in Kyiv, talking to Ukrainian officials. Over the past
couple of days -- and there is a good deal of optimism here on the ground. Among top officials that over the short or the long haul, this is something
that is going to happen. They're confident that they're going to get jets.
They would like to see F-16s or other western jets because they say that it's something that they desperately need. They say they've heard the same
thing with tanks, government saying it wasn't going to happen and in the end, it did. But right now, their Air Force is still functioning, it's
still very good.
But it also is facing a lot of trouble with spare parts, with attrition, losing aircraft. So over a period of time, they are going to have to get
western jets if they want to stay in the fight. And the other thing is that Ukrainians also say as well, is that, these western jets are just so much
better than the Soviet area jets -- era-jets that they have, or the Russian jets that they believe this is something that could give them a huge
advantage even if it's only a small number of jets.
It was interesting, Isa, because today, I was speaking to the spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, and he said even a couple of squadrons of F-16s or
other western jets would certainly make a huge difference to the Ukrainians. Isa.
SOARES: Fred Pleitgen for us in Kyiv this hour. Thanks very much, Fred. Appreciate it. Well, U.S. President Joe Biden is now visiting Wisconsin
after last night's State of the Union address. The president's speech lasted 73 minutes and set the stage for a re-election run. This trip to
Wisconsin, a critical election state, will be an opportunity to test his message. One sentence stood out last night. Finish the job. A hint that Mr.
Biden wants perhaps another term.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've been saying here to finish the job in my view. Let's finish the job this time. Let's cap the
cost of insulin for everybody at $35.
Let's finish the job and close the loophole to allow very wealthy to avoid paying their taxes. Let's finish the job and get more families access to
affordable quality housing. We want to have the best educated workforce. Let's finish the job by providing access to pre-school for three, four
Let's come together to finish the job on police reform. Do something. Do something. Let's finish the job and ban these assault weapons. And let's
also come together on immigration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, his yearly State of the Union speech was his first in front of a divided Congress. Some lawmakers disregarding the quorum, decided to
heckle the commander-in-chief.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I'll give you a copy -- I'll give you a copy of the proposal.
That means Congress doesn't vote.
I'm glad to see you --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: That was quite animated. Let's go to White House reporter Kevin Liptak, Kevin, good to see you. So, the overall message, he talked about a
growing economy, infrastructure projects. But it sounded very much like a pitch for his re-election campaign. Was it a successful message? How did
Americans take it?
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, certainly, inside the White House, they viewed the speech very enthusiastically. They really do feel
like the president accomplished what he set out to accomplish. Which was to both remind Americans of what he has done over the last two years.
But tell them that he needed more time to sort of complete what his agenda -- what he hopes his agenda will be. And that is why he repeated that line
-- finish the job, twelve times over the course of this speech. And the message was really kind of a populist message. He really honed in on things
like blue-collar jobs, the middle class.
Telling people that he was looking out for the forgotten American. And when you think about it, this is a demographic that has traditionally voted
Republican over the last several decades. President Biden really making an appeal to that group to vote for him, to support him in the next two years.
And when you think about some of the specific things that he talked about in the speech, it was really kind of striking. He got very small kind of.
He talked about things like airline baggage fees or resort fees at hotels. These are not normally things you hear presidents talking about in the
State of the Union address combined with these big lofty ideas.
These were very consumer-based ideas that he thinks has brought appeal. He is almost daring Republicans to oppose them. And that is basically what he
got in that speech last night when the Republicans started heckling him on the issue of social security and Medicare.
This was the split screen that the White House was really hoping for, really demonstrating that in their view, Republicans are not serious and
mature, and that the president is kind of the adult in the room.
The other person who is hoping to avoid that was the Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He's the man sitting behind the president there. Well,
going into this speech, he had encouraged members of his caucus to respect the quorum, to respect the president. That happened for the first 45
But when the president started being heckled, he responded in kind from the podium, kind of sparring with members of the opposing party. That is
something that the White House really does think benefits the president in the optics of this speech. Isa.
SOARES: Yes, benefits the president. And we saw Kevin McCarthy shush as well some members of his own party. How symbolic is this perhaps, Kevin, of
the road ahead for the speaker of the house here?
LIPTAK: Well, I think it does indicate that Kevin McCarthy does not have a full grasp on his caucus. We knew that going into the speech. But when you
think about people like the Republican representative from Georgia, Marjorie Taylor Greene, she's the blond woman with the fur collar that you
saw there, sort of shouting at the president in the middle of the speech.
There's not a lot of indication that they're going to go along with what Kevin McCarthy wants them to do. She did speak a little bit this morning
about her experience last night. Listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I'm a representative of the people, and that's exactly what I did last night. As a matter of fact, I got so
many messages from people in my district and people across the country, it was like I won my election again. You know what?
People are pissed off, and for the president of the united States to come into the people's house and lie like he did about the economy, the border,
and then act like he's terrified of China and unwilling to talk about the fact they spied on us last night. Yes, he got exactly what he deserved, and
I am not sorry one bit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIPTAK: Now, I think if there was one major benefit for the president that came from this heckling, it was -- it sort of injected a certain amount of
electricity into the speech. It sort of brought the speech alive. And when you talk about President Biden, he is considering re-election. He is 80
years old. He would be 86 at the end of a second term.
What the White House really wants to do is demonstrate that he has the ability to keep doing this job for six more years. The State of the Union
is by far the largest audience of the year for the president. Many people who were watching last night may not have seen President Biden or heard
from President Biden in the last year.
If this is their only glimpse of him over the next 12 months, it was a fairly vigorous glimpse of a man who is engaged. Who is ready to be in the
political arena. And I think that is something that White House officials are pretty pleased with this morning, Isa.
SOARES: Thanks very much to Kevin Liptak there in Washington. Appreciate it, Kevin. And still to come, securing enough aid is just part of the
battle. It also has to reach those in need. We'll talk to USAID officials about the urgent efforts to help earthquake survivors. That is next.
SOARES: We want to show you these live pictures coming into us right now from Osmaniye in Turkey. It's 10:25 -- they are -- images, unfortunately
are frozen. But as soon as we've got them corrected, we will fix that for you and bring it back. But of course, the situation on the ground
terrifying with 60-plus hours now, but the recovery -- rescue and recovery operation continues despite of course, the freezing temperatures.
Well, the European Union has just announced it will host a donors conference next month to help really mobilize humanitarian aid for Syria
and Turkey. Aid groups around the world are rushing to help quake survivors even as they struggle to meet the needs of so many others affected by major
USAID is one of the organizations helping with quake recovery efforts. The group's deputy administrator Isobel Coleman is currently visiting Ukraine,
and she joins us now from Kyiv. Isobel, I appreciate you taking the time. I know you have a lot on your plate, so thank you very much. We will talk
Ukraine in just a moment. Let me start though in Turkey.
Because we've just seen so much devastation, so much heartbreak. Give us a sense of what your organization is doing regards to aid, and how quickly
it's arriving primarily.
ISOBEL COLEMAN, DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR, USAID: Thank you. Yes, it is absolutely devastating what has happened in Turkey, it ends in Syria in
both countries. I mean, the reported death toll is now over 11,000 people. Thousands of buildings have just completely been destroyed, just collapsed.
And there are tens of thousands of casualties. People who are injured.
And so, we have immediately deployed a disaster assistance response team. What we call a DART. Two hundred people who are managing our response now
to this complicated situation. We've got a team on the ground of two of our top search and rescue teams, one out of Fairfax, Virginia, the other out of
They deployed already to Turkey. They're on the ground there with 12 dogs that are used for sniffing out people who are trapped in rubble. And they
brought 170,000 pounds of technical equipment with them. Torches and saws and cement movers to be able to move debris and rubble and search for
That is our primary goal right now. It's cold weather, Winter weather, before people die of hyperthermia or their injuries. You know, time is of
the essence. So our immediate response right now is helping to find survivors, but of course, we will have a longer term response helping
people deal with their shelter needs with food, with access to clean water and health care. All of the things that they're going to need in the next
coming weeks and months.
SOARES: And of course, Isobel, like you were saying, you know, we've now what? Sixty-plus hours, and our correspondent Nick Paton Walsh at top of
the hour was saying that he's continuing to see a stream of body bags unfortunately, yes, there are glimmers of hope. There are moments of joy.
But as the hours, the minutes pass, that unfortunately diminishes. What are your teams on the ground saying about the conditions and the efforts there?
COLEMAN: I think in -- you know, you just don't give up hope while there is the --
SOARES: Yes --
COLEMAN: Chance of people being alive. And so they're continuing to work around the clock, through the night. I know that there are other teams from
other countries that are there. In fact, the Ukrainians themselves have deployed search and rescue teams with dogs on the ground. So, it's -- you
know, everyone is doing what they can to search for survivors who might still be alive.
SOARES: And of course, in Turkey, Isobel, you know, Erdogan, President Erdogan has been able to mobilize state institution. But in Syria, the
state has all but collapsed, and the nation as you well know, has been fractured by years of fighting, some 12 years of fighting. How is USAID
helping the people of Syria right now?
COLEMAN: Well, you know, since the fighting began in Syria back in 2015, USAID has had a presence on the ground in Syria. And we have -- a big part
-- portion of our presence is in the northwest of Syria.
That's where you've seen the most damage in Syria, close to the epicenter. So we have partners who are on the ground. There we've done over $15
billion of humanitarian assistance since 2015.
So we have a whole network of partners who are able to quickly respond and quickly re-deploy what they are doing to help address the needs of this
Of course, you're absolutely right. It's harder to respond in Syria than it is in Turkiye. You also have the added complexity of the fact that the one
border crossing between Syria and Turkiye, the road has been damaged. And it is impeding aid getting into Syria.
But I do understand that, tomorrow, the International Organization for Migration, the IOM, is planning to try to get a convoy into Syria with
much-needed assistance there. So we are doing everything we can on both sides of the border in Turkiye and in Syria.
SOARES: Unfortunately, there are so many crises right now. The other one that you have been focusing on for nearly a year now is Ukraine.
As this war drags on, Isobel, what challenges do you face as your team on the ground in Ukraine?
COLEMAN: There are so many challenges, as you noted. But just keeping the Ukrainian people able to respond to the vicious attacks that are coming, in
many cases here in Kyiv. We've had air raid sirens going off. I mean, they just continue.
And people have to interrupt their lives and take shelter. And of, course what's going on in the east is truly horrific. We are very focused on
helping the Ukrainians keep their energy grid intact after just relentless attacks by Russian missiles and drones, that are taking out key
It's taking out electricity. It's taking out heating infrastructure. We're here in the middle of winter, really trying to terrorize the Ukrainian
people in addition to all the other harm that's being inflected on them.
So we have been providing auto transformers and mobile power generators and other things to try to help keep the grid going, portable generators so
that people can keep hospitals and schools connected to electricity and to heat.
Just yesterday, I went to visit a large mobile power generator that was built by GE in Arizona and transported here to help shore up their whole
energy grid here in Kyiv. So we've got a number of different efforts on that front and, of course, continuing to provide much needed health care
and assistance to internally displaced people.
Really just trying to do on so many fronts, help with the Ukrainian, their tremendous effort to survive and win this war.
SOARES: Yes, it's so admirable, isn't it, seeing that effort and seeing that drive. I appreciate it, Isobel.
Thank you very much, Isobel Coleman, there for us in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Still to come on the show tonight, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg meets top U.S. Defense officials as Ukraine renews its call for tanks, missiles and
fighter jets. That is next.
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.
The NATO chief is in Washington for talks with top U.S. security officials. Emergency assistance for Ukraine is top of the agenda. Last hour,
Stoltenberg spoke alongside the U.S. secretary of state, you can see there, Antony Blinken.
He warned that NATO sees no sign that Russia is preparing for peace and that Moscow is readying new military offenses. They also discussed China's
balloon, of course, that floated across the United States last week.
U.S. security correspondent Kylie Atwood is joining me from the State Department.
So Kylie, I imagine there's a lot on the agenda today. Talk to us about what we can expect.
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, listen. The first things that the two of them spoke about were Ukraine. The secretary
of state is saying that it is critical now more than ever to maintain the NATO alliance in supporting Ukraine as we come up on the one year
anniversary of Russia's invasion.
He was asked about Ukraine's continued pleading for fighter jets, given that, of course, President Zelenskyy is in the U.K. today. The U.K. has
said that they're going to start providing some training for those fighter jets.
The secretary of state reiterated what we've heard from U.S. officials, saying, it's an evolving process for the U.S., in terms of providing
support to Ukraine. Not counting out fighter jets at some point down but not saying that those are coming anytime soon.
It was also interesting to hear from NATO's secretary general, issuing a pretty bold and stark warning, saying that what is happening in Europe
today could happen in China tomorrow, noting what China is doing, in building up its nuclear program, threatening Taiwan, trying to maintain
closer relationships within NATO, really warning about Chinese aggressions globally and what that could mean down the road.
Of course, the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down off the coast of the United States over the weekend was something that the secretary of state
was asked about. He spoke about the ongoing efforts to try to recover that balloon, its pieces, to learn more about the Chinese surveillance program
that that balloon is part of.
But he also said that when it comes to Chinese surveillance, it's not just the United States that is targeted. Listen to what he said on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We are doing so because the United States was not the only target that has brought a program (ph) which
has violated the sovereignty of countries across five continents.
In our engagements, we are again hearing from our partners that the world expects China and the United States to manage our relationship responsibly.
That's precisely what we set out to do. We continue to urge China to do the same.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ATWOOD: And NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg also spoke to the Chinese spy balloon, saying that, generally speaking, Europe has seen an
increase in surveillance from China, from satellites and the like, recently. And he said that it's important to acknowledge those threats and
step up efforts to defend against them.
SOARES: Kylie Atwood, thank you very much, Kylie.
The Pentagon is also still talking about the balloon. It says that, despite Chinese assurances, there is no chance the balloon that floated over the
U.S. was collecting weather data. A Pentagon spokesperson spoke just hours ago. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIG. GEN. PATRICK RYDER, PENTAGON SPOKESPERSON: I can assure you this was not for civilian purposes. That is -- we are 100 percent clear about that.
It is a surveillance balloon. It is an intelligence collection capability.
You know, a question I would ask myself is, if, in fact, it was a civilian balloon, a weather balloon, and it was approaching a sovereign nation,
about to enter their airspace, a responsible nation would have put out some kind of public statement, saying, hey, heads up. This is heading your way.
We just want to let you know.
The PRC did not do that. They didn't respond until after they were called out. Let's leave it at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: The U.S. isn't the only democracy that's encountered flyovers. Officials in Taiwan confirm it's happened multiple times there. And they
are saying the incident should not be tolerated by the international community. Our Will Ripley has more from Taipei.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This Chinese propaganda video, released just days ago, shows the military muscle
of China's People's Liberation Army.
The PLA, promising to reunite with Taiwan, planning to build a bullet train across the Taiwan Strait, pledging to take control of this island of almost
24 million, bringing the self-governing democracy under Communist control.
One of the Chinese military's tools: high altitude balloons. They've been testing them for years.
BIDEN: They just shot it.
RIPLEY (voice-over): The U.S. shot down this suspected Chinese spy balloon last week. Beijing calls it a civilian weather balloon.
CNN obtained images of similar Chinese balloons, hovering over Taiwan in recent months, including this one on New Year's Eve and this one a few
At least four balloon sightings in the last two years, says Su Tzu-yun, director of Taiwan's Institute for National Defense and Security Research.
He said the island's relatively small size, about the same as the state of Florida, gives Taiwan's military limited time to intercept balloons or even
shoot them down.
SU TZU-YUN, DIRECTOR OF TAIWAN'S INSTITUTE FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE AND SECURITY RESEARCH: The spy balloon crossed to Montana state, a very
important ICBM site of the United States.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Su says balloons can capture high-resolution images of sensitive sites, potentially making China's ICBMs more accurate. Taipei
says Chinese spy balloons should not be tolerated by the international community.
Last year, dozens of civilian drones from China captured videos of Taiwanese military outposts. Soldiers responded with rocks and flares,
managing to shoot at least one drone down. Taiwan's defense ministry says 121 Chinese military planes flew near the island just last month.
LEV NACHMAN, POLITICAL SCIENTIST: So Taiwan is one of those places that is constantly under this kind of threatening surveillance.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Taipei-based political scientist Lev Nachman tells me the balloon scandal sets back months of crucial diplomacy.
U.S.-China tensions could flare up even more if U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy goes ahead with plans to visit Taiwan, following former Speaker
Nancy Pelosi's trip last year, triggering Chinese outrage and massive military drills around Taiwan -- Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.
SOARES: North Korea's leader is marking a major military anniversary with two members of his family. Kim Jong-un's wife and daughter accompanied him
during a visit to military barracks and then to a lavish banquet. Believe the girl is his second child.
Her appearance is raising questions about whether she's being groomed to someday take over. This comes as the country celebrates 75 years of the
Korean People's Army.
Dutch investigators say Russia's Vladimir Putin may have played a role in the downing of flight MH17 in 2014 in Eastern Ukraine. They say there are
quote, "strong indications" he personally approved the decision to provide Ukrainian separatists with the missile that shut down the Malaysia Airlines
Investigators add they have shared their findings with the families of the 219 victims. Moscow has repeatedly denied any responsibility.
Still to come on the show tonight, the search for survivors after the deadly earthquake in Turkiye and Syria is now in its third day. We'll have
more on the moments of celebration as well as grief. That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES (voice-over): Welcome back, everyone. You're looking at live pictures from Turkiye, where it's almost 11 pm at night there as, of
course, the rescue operations continue into the night. We're 60-plus hours since, of course, that 7.8 earthquake rocked Turkiye and Syria, if you
remember, on Monday.
It is bitterly cold. But the work on the ground continues. The rescue operations are taking an extra urgency, as you can imagine; 60-plus hours
since that earthquake where now more than 11,800 people have died. And so many more injured.
Conditions there are absolutely freezing, our correspondent was telling us, Nick Paton Walsh, at the top of the show. He was saying where he was there
has been a stream of body bags. The excavators have slowed somewhat because, of course, of the timing of the fact that it's been so cold and so
many days now.
But we have been hearing of heartening tales of survivors. There have been glimmers of hope and moments of joy, even 60-plus hours into this. And we
continue to see on the ground, as you can see there, emergency workers, people working throughout the night to try and find more survivors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: We'll stay on top of this story. We want to bring you actually right now the story of miraculous survival mixed with the devastating loss.
A tiny newborn has been rescued in Syria. So soon after she came into the world that she was still attached to her mother's body by her umbilical
cord, as Salma Abdelaziz has her story.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is no way to come into the world, birthed during an earthquake, thrust into a war zone,
orphaned and alone. This newborn girl was found alive, her umbilical cord still attached to her dead mother's body, buried under the rubble of their
This video shows the moments after rescue workers pulled her out of the ruins.
"We found the parents' bodies lying next to each other. Then we heard a faint sound," he says.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): "Still tied by her umbilical cord. So we cut it off and sent her to hospital."
The rest of baby Jeanne Doe's immediate family lies in the back of this pickup truck, all dead before they even knew she was alive.
An entire generation of Syrians has been born into war. Now those traumatized children face yet another catastrophe.
Diplomatic efforts are underway to open a humanitarian corridor. But already, there are concerns access is being politicized. The Damascus
government, heavily sanctioned by the West, insists it should be the sole coordinator.
BASSAM SABBAGH, SYRIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: So if it happened to your country or to his country, it will be the same. Without the control of the
government, without permission of the government, without approval from the government, this is violation. It's very simple.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): But few in a rebel held areas, places bombarded for years by president Bashar al-Assad, believe the government that once
leveled their neighborhoods would care to save them now. And the clock is ticking to find any survivors under hundreds of collapsed buildings.
Like Maryam (ph); this social media video shows her more than 36 hours after the quake, soothing her little brother, Elav (ph).
"(INAUDIBLE), please," she says to the rescue workers. "Please help us. I'll do anything if you could just help us."
The siblings are eventually extracted and brought safely to their terrified parents. In another rare moment of triumph, an entire family is retrieved
by emergency responders. Just watch the crowd's reaction as they bring them out one by one. Dad, daughter, son -- in Syria, just surviving is a
victory -- Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, Istanbul.
SOARES: That does it for us for tonight. Do stay right here. We will be back after a short break with "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS." See you in a bit.