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Quest Means Business
China Vows Targeted Operations As Pelosi Lands In Taiwan; German City Restricts Power Use In Public Places; Uber Shares Pop On Strong Revenue, Positive Cash Flow; Hanover To Reduce Hot Water Consumption This Winter; U.S. Kills Al-Qaeda Leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri In Kabul; Brittney Griner Back In Court As U.S. Negotiates; Columbian Pres.: I Will Continue To Defend Democracy. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired August 02, 2022 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: There is an hour left of trading and the Dow -- look at the number -- it is lower and in fact, it has gone low.
There are all sorts of undertones, undercurrents, which we will discuss over the course of this program that give you an idea of why the market is
unhappy. It is not falling out of bed. It's unhappy today, and we'll discuss why the markets and the events that are causing it.
One of them, China is promising a forceful response after the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has arrived in Taiwan.
In Germany in Hanover, they are cutting the hot water and heating in public places and buildings to save energy. The Mayor of Hanover is with me
And Uber shares surge. The company is finally positive cash flow, which would be a norm for 90 percent of the world's businesses, but with Uber,
well, you never know.
Well, I'm in New York. It is Tuesday, it's August the 2nd. I'm Richard Quest, I mean business.
It's the middle of the night in Taipei, where the visit by the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has inflamed tensions with Beijing. China's response,
swift, seething. Its military has been placed on high alert off the coast of Taiwan, and the country announced targeted military operations around
The Chinese government says Pelosi's visit is a clear violation of the One China Principle and policy that the US has signed up for. It accuses the
United States of using Taiwan to try to contain China.
Talking to us earlier on CNN, the Chinese Ambassador to the US warned of consequences.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QIN GANG, CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO THE US: We will take whatever we can to respond and to protect, to safeguard our sovereignty and territorial
integrity and our response will be very formed, strong and forceful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Well, we got the message. It'll be strong and it'll be forceful.
Tensions over Taiwan sent a chill, strong and forceful chills through the Asian markets. The grid shows Hong Kong, the Nikkei, they're all down
sharply. But obviously the Chinese most affected, the ones of Hang Seng in Hong Kong and the Shanghai A Index down more than two percent, so the
market is off in Asia.
Selina Wang is with me. Selina is in Beijing.
Selina, why do the Chinese get so exercised over a visit by a US politician? Look, they are going to make this more of an event than it
would otherwise be by their reaction?
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there are a number of areas here to kind of really understand the context of this. First of all, the
Taiwan issue is a core part of the very DNA of the Communist Party and its legitimacy. This has always been a sensitive and touchy issue. You also
have a leader in China, who is China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong and he has made it one of his goals to reunify the Mainland, the
Motherland with Taiwan.
Now, China does not buy what the US is saying basically, what you're saying that this is just another congressional visit. From China's perspective,
they're saying, we think that this is a violation of the One China Principle that America agreed to by sending in the person who was second in
line to the presidency.
So a very, very touchy issue for China and it is also coming at a time when Xi Jinping cannot afford to look weak. We're just months away from a key
political meeting when he is expected to be re-anointed for an unprecedented third term.
So a lot of the threats that you're hearing they are, of course, directed to the US, but they're also directed to the domestic political audience
here that we've seen a lot of nationalism and patriotism get whipped up as a result of this meeting. It is actually distracting from a lot of the
problems at home right now.
But in terms of the actual reaction, we are seeing a show of military force as was expected from the fiery language from China's military leading up to
this. Taiwan's Defense Ministry said that they had now 21 warplanes --
QUEST: Sorry. Let me just jump in, if I may, forgive me, but I just want to focus. I know the planes have been sent in and have been sent in before.
But aside from -- I mean, the Chinese are unlikely to want to get into a shooting match over this.
But on the economic front, the sort of damage that they could inflict, either on Taiwan or on the United States, are they minded to do that
bearing in mind their own economy is so weak as a result of COVID under the Zero COVID Policy?
WANG: Well, Pelosi has only been in Taiwan for a few hours now, so we're still tracking the reaction. And so far, all we've been able to confirm is
the fact that they had the war planes flying into Taiwan's self-declared airspace, as well as the promise that they're going to have a series of
targeted military operations and more military drills around Taiwan.
The economic blowback is possible, so is diplomatic blowback, but to your point, it's not in China's self-interest for this conflict to escalate,
especially at a time when the economy has been devastated by the pandemic. You're still having cities here going into snap lockdowns.
So the key here is striking a balance where China can show the world that we care about this issue, we're extremely angry and it saves face while
also not escalating this into a crisis that would have serious damage to the people and to the economy here.
QUEST: Selina in Beijing, early morning for you there, 3:00 AM. Thank you for staying up late tonight, I expect, you've got a few days of that ahead.
China says the US is playing with fire in Taiwan. The experts are worrying the flames could spread to the global economy as we were just discussing.
After all, that's let's take the Taiwan Strait as an example on global trade. Now, about 90 percent of the world's largest container ships sailed
through it this year. A conflict in the Strait would just devastate, worsen supply chains.
And there is more of course, Taiwan supplies 90 percent of the world's semiconductors, TSMC. The most advanced of makers says if China were to
invade factories there, it would be rendered inoperable.
Max Baucus is the former US Ambassador to China, a former senator from Montana, the former Ambassador is with me now. And same question to you to
start off with, because obviously, when you were there, between '14 and '17, you had the same niceties to worry about that you didn't appear to
sort of give any succor to the idea of Taiwan independence or democracy.
So when you see Nancy Pelosi there, what do you think?
MAX BAUCUS, FORMER US AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: Well, first, Taiwan is existential to the Chinese, not just to President Xi Jinping, but also to
the Chinese people. They very much really want Taiwan to be part of China.
Second, the last few years, the situation is more dire, for many reasons. One is we're just not talking to each other.
When I was serving as Ambassador, there were many conversations, many delegations, President Obama met several times with President Xi. There are
virtually no visits now, part of it is because it COVID. But irrespective of the reason, there are still visits, and just the relationship has gone
south, it's much more intense now.
China feels it is an equal partner of the United States, they feel that way now. They did not feel that way as much a few years ago. So because it's
existential, because they feel they are a major part -- a major player in the world today, this is a very huge problem.
My view, frankly, is that she should not have gone. The goal of US foreign policy is to reduce tension with China, not increase tensions, and her
visit clearly is increasing tensions. There was no foreign policy reason for her to go. The Taiwanese know that we support them.
QUEST: But Ambassador, surely the Chinese are savvy enough to know that there is an element of US domestic politics, there is an element of -- and
that by -- I mean, if they just ignored it, and just sort of said, "Oh, US politician is going. Fine, go. Do what you won't." Would it be such a
disaster for China?
BAUCUS: Well, the problem is this: Her visit, if you read her statement explaining why she is going, it just reeks of very a strong rhetoric in
favor of Taiwan and very much hatred, virtually of China. It's an amazing statement, frankly.
And so she's not just a visitor, she is not just a Member of Congress, she is a Speaker, and she is saying what she is saying, but again, this is an
existential issue to Taiwan.
The more Taiwan starts to look like it's becoming more independent, the more China is going to take aggressive action, they have no choice.
QUEST: Can you believe -- I mean, what happens economically as a result of this visit? Do you think the Chinese just focus on saber rattling in the
Strait? Or do you think they actually take some economic measures wider?
BAUCUS: Well, that's a very good question and I think you're right to focus significantly on the economy. Already, we have huge supply disruption
issues and the Chinese economy is not doing well. Yes, the US economy is not doing that well, either, frankly. The world economy is not doing that
well due to COVID and the Ukraine War, et cetera.
And so -- and remember, Chinese as much as anything, worships stability, and they want to be stable. They don't want to be disrupted very much and
the US is the same way. So they're -- I'm guessing there will be very significant actions, it may not be military, they could be something else,
it could be economic. There is a whole range of issues that China could undertake, but it will be significant. No question.
QUEST: And I'm just finding that statement that you were talking about. The Speaker said, "Our discussions will focus on reaffirming our support
for our partner. America's solidarity with the 23 million people is more important than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and
democracy." Take that President Xi, one could say.
BAUCUS: I think it was a bit disingenuous. And add to that, you know, she's a Member of Congress. She could do what she wants. She is not the
President. She doesn't have to worry about foreign policy worldwide. The President does, but she doesn't, but that's a problem because she is the
Speaker and people listen to her.
QUEST: Right. Finally, you obviously have still a very good contacts and strong relations with China. From your view, is there -- is there a wish,
by the Chinese to improve relations with the United States? Or are they content with the current level of, if you like saber rattling, not talking
to each other, basically, rivals on the global economic stage?
BAUCUS: I spend a lot of time talking to my friends in China. It's clear they would rather work with the United States. You know, it's changed a bit
in the last several years.
When I was over there, my gosh, Chinese -- they almost revered America. Open space, blue skies, the mountains, democracy, the form of government. I
mean, almost revered.
It's changed now partly because of the tension and because the propaganda machine in China has ramped up its rhetoric against the United States. But
by and large, deep down, most Chinese want to work with America. Why? Because they're just like American people. What do they care about? They
care about food at the table, decent income, take care of their kids, and they know that that's more likely the more that they work with the largest
country in the world, the United States.
QUEST: Ambassador, thank you, sir, joining us from the magnificent State of Montana. I'm grateful that you're here with us. Thank you, sir.
BAUCUS: Thank you, Richard.
QUEST: In a moment, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, cold showers and turn off the lights. Well, it's all part of the policies of Hanover to try to save oil.
He'll be with me, the Mayor will be with me, next. The city cutting down on its use of energy.
QUEST: The G7, that's the group of seven industrial countries, largest, is considering actions that would curb Russia's oil profits. They are saying
they could prohibit transportation of Russian oil unless it is purchased below a specific price, we're back to the cap or floor.
The idea would be to cut Russia's income and curtail its ability to wage war. This is coming from the Foreign Ministers of the G7 and they have
accused the country of using energy as a tool of geopolitical coercion.
Lithuania's President, he is not a G7 member, but obviously a member of the EU claimed to CNN earlier today exactly that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GITANAS NAUSEDA, LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT: We have a lot of experiences and examples that this dependence was used just for manipulation and
blackmailing. And now we see that Russia is doing the same to our partners in European Union, especially Germany.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now as Russia continues to squeeze the gas supply to Europe, Hanover is enacting the harshest energy restrictions that Germany has seen
in some five decades.
The idea of course: Conserve energy.
So buildings -- public buildings will no longer have hot water or lights on in the evening, heating will be reduced, and public fountains are being
The Mayor of Hanover says the goal is to reduce energy by 15 percent. There seems to be public support, or at least for this degree of sacrifice. A ZDF
TV Network poll asked people in Germany if they would continue to support Ukraine, despite the rising cost of energy, 70 percent said yes.
Belit Onay is the Mayor of Hanover, and is with me now.
I guess, of course, when one hears these things, "turn off the lights, turn off the fountains, switch down the heat, and no hot water," and you ask
yourself, how realistic is it? How much of this is tokenism versus measures that will actually have an appreciable benefit?
BELIT ONAY, MAYOR OF HANOVER, GERMANY: I mean, we see that we own an absolutely unpredictable situation when it comes to Russia's energy policy
and it is coming -- becoming more and more hard to know what the next steps Putin and Russia have, that means we have to get prepared in Russia in
Germany, and especially in Hanover, in big cities like Hanover. And I think these measures we are working on when we presented last week are --
QUEST: Oh, well. Oh, well. The line is breaking up, sir. I'll have one more go with a question. Then we'll move on. We are having difficulty. You'
got breakup on the picture.
Well, I'll tell you what, why don't we move on? And then we'll come back to you, Mr. Mayor. Hopefully we'll have a better connection, because you're
talking about important things that I wish to hear about, and our dear viewer wishes to hear about.
Uber says it made more money than it spent for the very first time. Second quarter ridership surged. The company's Q2 cash flow was $382 million, a
huge turnaround from Q2 last year, when it plunged nearly $400 million, arguably, of course, pandemic-related.
Uber shares are up strongly today as the revenue beat out what everybody was expecting. The company, Uber, still reported a net loss of $2.6 billion
from investments in similar companies like DiDi and Grab, of which we've spoken about many times.
Rahel is with me. Let's look at this cash positive business. This is the norm in most companies, but for Uber, it is the exception, but have they
turned -- pardon the pun -- the corner?
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Richard, the question was never is Uber a real business, right? It was, can they make money and Uber
is showing in this quarter and last, that if you look at its core units, its core business -- Uber Eats, Uber Delivery; rides, for example, it is
I just got off the phone with an analyst who covers the company very closely, Dan Ives, who said that, look, they are making money. Let's look
at some of the financials. So $8.1 billion for the quarter, Richard, compare that to last quarter, $6.9 billion. So a nice bump there on
earnings, adjusted earnings $364 million, compare that, I think we can pull it up for you to the last quarter, and that was $168 million.
So look, they're making more money. And again, the question wasn't do they have a business? Do they have a service? We all take Ubers, right? I mean,
there are 21 million trips per day, according to the company. It was, can they save money? Can they generate cash? And they're showing that they can
They were able to do that, Richard, this quarter, by sort of finding efficiencies in terms of average cost per transaction. So, through the
algorithm, they were able to make route more efficient, more profitable. And that's part of the reason why we're seeing the numbers we're seeing
QUEST: Right. I mean, let's not dwell on the misery of DiDi. The QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, dear viewer, will be well aware that we bought four stocks,
four shares in DiDi, and I'm not sure, it's an over the counter stock. Now, we haven't quite discovered where they are. But we will.
Back to Uber. Is this a sign of success of the use of their management?
SOLOMON: I think so. In fact, Dan Ives said that this is the new normal. Richard, you might remember a few months ago on this very show you and I
were talking about that note that leaked from Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi to workers about a seismic shift in the market and how the company was
going to have to start focusing on cost cutting. Well, this is that.
Dan Ives, pointing, too, this saying that this is a result of that note, in part that they started to manage their costs. And when I asked, will we see
more of this? He told me yes, because this is a new normal.
Uber cannot continue to just build businesses, look at other businesses, they do have to show that they can make money.
QUEST: So where do they grow?
SOLOMON: Well, I think they're going to have to continue to grow from efficiencies, right? I mean, the company pointed --
QUEST: No. That's out growth. That's not -- no, no. That's not growth. That is massaging if you will, efficiencies, where do they organically
SOLOMON: Well, I mean, they're already in 70 countries, right? So if you're making the point that they're already saturated, perhaps you can
make that point. However, the company would point to its Uber Eats business and its Uber Delivery business.
You could argue one of the most sort of sensitive areas for any company right now is COVID. And you could argue with COVID, Uber is sort of
shielded, right? I mean, if you see a COVID spike in a country, while you see less ridership, but you see more delivery for its Uber Eats business.
So it certainly is the biggest player; some might say, it is saturated. Uber would say it's the biggest player and it can continue to benefit on
QUEST: Rahel, that's brilliant. Put it in beautiful perspective. Thank you. Grateful.
BP stock is higher up high, and today, the company had its most profitable quarter in 14 years, hardly surprising when you think about the oil prices
have risen $8 billion in Q2, triple what it made a year earlier. Energy companies struck gold after Russia's invasion sent prices soaring.
CNN's Clare Sebastian now reports, people are getting very hot under the collar at the profits of the oil companies.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: This is becoming a running theme for Big Oil this quarter. BP joining a suite of its rivals in coming
out with eye-watering profits of $8.5 billion in the three months to June. That's more than three times what it earned in the same quarter last year
as Russia's war of course, has led to energy supply disruptions and soaring prices.
The company said that the profits were driven by strong refining margins, likely the result of a global shortage in refining capacity, and what it
called an exceptional quarter for oil trading.
Now, what's BP doing with all that cash? Well, a lot of it is going straight back to shareholders. The company increased its dividend by 10
percent and announced another $3.5 billion share buyback program on top of the more than $4 billion it's already bought back in the first half of the
Now of course, none of this looks very good politically, adding fuel to an already heated debate about whether these oil companies should be raking in
so much cash when UK energy consumers are facing a historic cost of living crisis and probably another big rise in energy bills in the autumn.
Greenpeace UK said in a tweet: "There's something particularly obscene and cruel about gas companies like Shell and BP making record profits while
consumers are going to struggle to keep warm this winter."
The Secretary General of Unite, one of the UK's biggest trade unions also weighing in calling this, "An epidemic of unfettered profiteering." The UK
has already imposed a windfall tax of 25 percent on energy companies. Critics, of course, saying it's not enough, especially with BP forecasting
energy prices will remain high through the next quarter.
Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.
QUEST: Right. Hopefully, we've now got the Mayor in Hanover, who is back with me? Mr. Mayor, are you with me?
ONAY: Oh, yes, I can hear you. Hello.
QUEST: Excellent. Excellent. Excellent.
So what we're just -- again, this idea of that, I suppose it is a question that everybody how has to be prepared for significant sacrifice,
particularly if you look at Germany, and the need to get the level of oil imports from Russia down by nearly as much again, as it has already fallen?
ONAY: I mean, we see that Germany as a special situation due to the dependence on Russian gas. So that means we have a special responsibility.
We need to prepare ourselves for the winter. That means we have to save energy right now. That's what we are doing in Hanover.
Like you already mentioned, we turn off the lights for monumental buildings, we use just cold water for swimming pools and showers in the gym
and the sports halls. We will prepare ourselves for the winter and have like midterm or long-term measures for the winter, just heating up to
maximum 20 degrees and that means every kilowatt hour counts to prepare ourselves for the winter.
QUEST: What's the most you can do, do you think? Because at the end of the day, we look at Germany's requirement for this to reduce capacity of oil
from Russia, how much more can you do?
ONAY: I mean, we see that these measures, this limitations are quite heavy. I mean, it is okay for the summer, we have like 30 degrees at the
moment, it's not that problem to take a cold shower, or to go to the swimming pool with cold water. But when it comes to the winter, I mean, I'm
quite afraid of having a social shift maybe.
And so I think we need to prepare ourselves the best way possible, to save energy as much as possible within the European Union, as well to, yes, as
an act of solidarity with the other European countries and also as an act of solidarity with the people in the Ukraine.
I mean, Kyiv is just two hours flight distance from Hanover. There is a war going on in the middle of Europe and that means we have to share solidarity
and show what we can.
QUEST: And this idea of cutting Russian oil, I suppose the lesson we've learned is that post Crimea, a lot more should have been done. And I'm
guessing for policymakers like you, you never want to find yourself in this sort of situation again.
ONAY: I think we should change our energy policies. This situation we are now facing as Germany is the result of 20 years of lot of mistakes in
energy policy. That means we have to invest much more in renewable energy, we have to cut off Russian gas and that means we have to prepare ourselves
for the next two winters.
It's not this year, actually, the next year will also be a problem because if we get independent from Russian gas, it will take at least two years to
invest as much as possible in LNG terminals and other renewable energies. So, I think this is a way for Germany -- it is a very hard time for us.
QUEST: Right. One area I just want to quickly ask you about, obviously the inflation that's now in Europe at the moment, for somebody like yourself
who has to run city services, who has to balance the procurement of everything from salt for the roads, to things in schools, to the wages for
city employees, it's going to be a very difficult 12 months to balance your books.
ONAY: Absolutely, I mean, like I mentioned, I think these limitations during the summer is not that hard, it is not that a problem, but when it
comes to the winter and the heat costs explode and we have a high price risk, actually we are facing for the winter, and inflation is also going
So I mean that's a very explosive mixture for social shifts and for social problems, also, you in Germany and the whole European Union.
I mean that's why we have to prepare and save energy right now to face this problem and on the other hand, we need also help and invest from the
Federal government and from the European Union, like we had like for example during the corona pandemic when companies and different social
agencies got help from the European Union directly.
QUEST: Mr. Mayor, grateful, sir. The Mayor of Hanover joining me live tonight from Hanover.
Which means business as oil companies revel in their record profits the people -- I do beg your pardon. As we coming -- come along tonight, U.S. is
expanding sanctions against Russian officials. Vladimir Putin is -- well, there's one particular person who's being sanctioned within his inner
circle, you might say. We'll explain after the break.
QUEST: Hi, I'm Richard Quest. A lot more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS as we continue tonight. U.S. is preparing to sanction one of President Putin's
closest confidants, his reputed girlfriend. We'll talk about that. And the White House is preparing to deliver its first press briefing since Speaker
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan. We will get to it all after the headlines, because this is CNN, and here, the news always comes first.
U.S. says the Taliban could face consequences of having harbored al-Qaeda's leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. The White House says it located the head of the
militant group in Kabul and carrying out a drone strike that killed him. President Biden said he authorized the attack after long and careful
planning. Ukrainian forces say Russia is bearing down on the eastern part of the country with intense shelling. And it says the attacks have been
targeting civilian infrastructure in the Donetsk region. Ukraine started the mandatory evacuation of civilians in Donetsk.
The first grain ship to leave Ukraine since Russia invaded is now anchored off the coast of Istanbul. It's the first major stop on its journey to
Lebanon. It will deliver 26,000 tons of corn. Turkey says officials will inspect the ship on Wednesday before it continues on its way. The American
basketball star, Brittney Griner was in court again a short while ago in Moscow. She's been detained in Russia on drug possession charges. It was
her seventh hearing and her first appearance since it was learned the White House was offering to exchange a Russian arms dealer for her and another
U.S. citizen. If convicted, she faces 10 years in prison. She's set to return to court later in the week.
Officials in the U.S. State of Kentucky say the death toll from the number of severe flooding has climbed to three dozen. Extreme heat in the coming
days is going to pose challenges for survivors who are stranded or didn't have electricity. The Kentucky Governor says more than 1300 water rescues
have been performed since last week.
Our top story, Nancy Pelosi has arrived in Taiwan -- excuse me -- despite China's threats of retaliation. The Speaker of the House says she went
there to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to freedom and democracy. The outgoing Colombian President has said he's worried about democracy around
the world. I spoke to President Ivan Duque Marquez only days before he hangs over Petro, his successor, next weekend. The president criticized
leaders that he says, use democracy to turn their countries into autocracies. And he said he'll continue to use his voice once his left
IVAN DUQUE MARQUEZ, OUTGOING PRESIDENT OF COLUMBIA: It comes to an end. And there's a new moment in life. So, my life is -- it doesn't depend on the
presidency, I've served my country with pleasure, with honor, with decency, and also willing to accomplish more than 90 percent of my electoral
program, and 85 percent of my -- our national development plan in the middle of epidemic, so I feel satisfied of those accomplishments. But now a
new type -- a new moment in life will begin, and I will continue to serve globally in environmental matters and migration. And also, in the defense
of private initiative. There have been items that I have defended for a long time, and definitely the defense of democracy.
QUEST: Do you worry your successor will unwind many of the policies -- I'm thinking, for example, oil and gas and exploration, and coal, the sort of
things where he has very different views than you?
MARQUEZ: Well, I think, Richard, when you're in the opposition, you might have some points of views. But when you come to government, you have to
serve everybody. And for the good of Colombia, we need to sustain the possibility of expanding our fortitude in terms of oil and gas. Actually,
last week, we announced the biggest gas discoveries since 1992, that doubles our reserves. And when you look at -- what we have done here in
Colombia, in the last four years, we have been able to expand our production. And basically, we have reached record highs in financial
results in a corporate role.
And the reason why Colombia needs oil and gas is because this sector represents more than 40 percent of the exports, it represents, roughly
speaking, 35 percent of the foreign direct investment and represents almost 40 percent of the foreign exchange market in Colombia, and is also the main
source of royalties, and actually is also one of the sectors that contributes the most in tax collections. So, if you kill that golden hen,
what you lose, you lose the main sources of resources in order to contain poverty and to expand public investments. So, I consider that you can be
good in oil and gas, as we have done, but also be good at the transition. And Colombia has now a very clean energy matrix. Colombia is leading the
energy transition in Latin America, so I think both things can go in a balance.
QUEST: Do you worry about the state of democracy in Central and South America? Do you worry --
MARQUEZ: I'm worried about the future of democracy worldwide, Richard. Some people take it for granted. And what happens with democracy is that what
happens to health, when you have it, you take it for granted. When you start losing it, you then want to come ferociously to defend it. And I
think we have to be preventive enough to identify those things that can harm democracy all over the world. And I think that defense of democracy
has to be something that we reflect, that we ride with the scars that we travel around the world, explaining to other countries, to other people, to
other leaders how to prevent a democracy is not harmed by populism, by post-truth, by polarization, and by autocrats that are emerging in times of
high inflation, that are emerging in times of political debate. So, I think we have to be conscious about that.
QUEST: Well, wasn't it always like this? I mean, I -- you know, you think back to how the most awful dictators of history came to power, obviously,
Germany, potently, before the Second World War is the -- is the number one example of how a leader comes to power, gerrymanders the rules, turns it
into an autocracy, and everything follows from there on. And yet, at the same time, people still are attracted to strong leaders, that is an
MARQUEZ: Yes, but I think there's something that in which I consider the world has also evolved. And it is, Richard, that having the separation of
powers, having the possibility of renewing the political power every certain time or defined time, that serves the people in a good way. But
you've said something very important. Now, you don't want to replicate those examples that we saw in the 1940s, in the 1930s. Because if you don't
know history, you're content -- you're condemned to repeat it. So, we have to be able to tell the people today, which speeches, which discourses are
trying to replicate those moments of despair, and those dark moments in history, because it can happen. And it has been happening in other
When you see I was thinking on going on in Nicaragua is very complicated. And the same thing has happened in Venezuela. But there are other leaders
around the world, we're looking at that example, who want to have unlimited re-elections, then capture the court system, then capture the Parliament,
and then try to thread the independent media until they capture the whole essence of power. And by that time, what you have is a fully emulation of
liberties. So, I think being able to systematize that, to tell the story, and look at the positive cases and the negative cases. I think it's very
important. And I think that's a commitment that I have and that I will sustain once I finished my presidency, because those are values that I
QUEST: And that's the President of Columbia, the outgoing. Now, the White House are press briefing, the first since Nancy Pelosi arrived. Let's join
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The crucifix of that operation and the extension also of truce in Yemen, which is incredibly
important. And any other foreign policy news of the day. With that, I give you John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic
Communications. All right, there we go.
JOHN KIRBY, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: Thanks, Karine, I appreciate it. That's a mouthful.
JEAN-PIERRE: It's a mouthful.
KIRBY: OK, it's pretty noted that you all obviously been tracking the President's announcement yesterday, that on the 30th of July, the United
States undertook a precision counterterrorism operation in Kabul that targeted and killed al-Qaeda's leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Zawahiri was the
world's most wanted terrorist, he was Osama bin Laden's deputy during the 9/11 attacks and became his successor in 2011 following bin Laden's death
during a U.S. counterterrorism mission.
Zawahiri continued to pose an active threat to U.S. persons, interests, and national security. As President Biden has consistently said, we will not
allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists that might bring harm to Americans, to the homeland. We met that commitment. This action
demonstrates that without American forces on the ground in Afghanistan and in harm's way, we still remain able to identify and locate even the world's
most wanted terrorist, and then take the action to remove him from the battlefield. That is the definition of this mission of when we talked to a
year ago of over-the-horizon counterterrorism capability. What we did this past weekend is a perfect, clean example of what that capability looks
Now on to Taiwan, as you have all seen, the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan earlier this morning, East Coast Time. As we have
said, the Speaker has the right to visit Taiwan. And the Speaker of the House has visited Taiwan before without incident, as have many members of
Congress over the years, including this year. Now, this trip was the Speaker's decision and Congress is an independent branch of government; you
all know that. When we're obviously monitoring her travel, as we always do, for members of Congress, and we've taken all appropriate measures to ensure
the safety of her travel throughout the region.
Let me be clear, the Speaker's visit is totally consistent with our longstanding One China policy. We've been very clear that nothing has
changed about our One China policy, which is guided, of course, by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three joint U.S. PRC communication, the six
assurances. We've said that we oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side. We said we do not support Taiwan independence, and we
said, as I said again yesterday, that we expect cross strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means.
And we have communicated this directly to the PRC at the highest levels, including in last week's call between President Biden and President Xi, the
National Security Adviser, Secretaries of State and Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have also made this very clear to Beijing in
half a dozen recent high-level conversations. Now, we've seen a number of announcements from the PRC in just the last several hours. That are
unfortunately right in line with what we had anticipated and what we talked about yesterday. Now, there's no reason, as I said yesterday, for Beijing
to turn this visit, which is consistent with longstanding U.S. policy into some sort of crisis, or use it as a pretext to increase aggressiveness and
military activity in or around the Taiwan Strait now or beyond her travel.
And again, as I made clear yesterday, before the Speaker's travel was confirmed by her, China has positioned itself to take further steps. And we
expect that they will continue to react over a longer-term horizon. I couldn't give you a date certain of what that horizon looks like. But we
certainly would expect them to react even beyond her trip, including announcing additional large-scale live fire exercises. Of course, they've
already started doing some of that today, flying across the median line, I've seen press reports of them doing that today. And using economic
coercion. It's exactly in line with the playbook that we anticipated and talked to you about yesterday.
The United States will not and does not -- will not seek and does not want a crisis. We are prepared to manage what Beijing chooses to do. At the same
time, we will not engage in saber-rattling, we will continue to operate in the seas, in the skies of the Western Pacific as we have done for decades,
we will continue to support Taiwan, defend a free and open Indo-Pacific and seek to maintain communication with Beijing. We'll keep doing what we are
doing, which is supporting cross strait peace and stability.
And then just real quick, lastly, Karine hinted at this at the top. The President welcomes today's announcement of an extension of the truce in the
Yemen conflict. The truce in Yemen, of course, was a key agenda item during the President's visit to Saudi Arabia, where he met with the King and the
Crown Prince, and with leaders from across the region. We're grateful for the leadership of Saudi Arabia throughout this truce process as well as the
Sultan -- as well as for the Sultan and leaders of Oman, who have also played an important role throughout. Now, this truce is now going on five
months, has brought a period of unprecedented calm in Yemen, saving thousands of lives and bringing tangible relief for countless Yemenis.
Five months, which may not sound like a lot, but when you're talking about seven years of war, and thousands and thousands of Yemeni lives, it counts
for a lot. And now, we have a chance to extend this another two months. So, we urge the Yemeni parties to seize this opportunity to work constructively
under U.N. auspices to reach an inclusive comprehensive agreement, that paves the way for adorable Yemeni-led resolution to the conflict. Advancing
the peace process is going to require courage and dedication from all sides. United States will remain committed and engaged in efforts to
advance peace in Yemen and to bring relief to the Yemeni people. And with that, I'll take some questions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. The Economist, John. Thank you. John, how concerned is the administration right now that the Afghanistan has become a
safe haven for terrorists?
KIRBY: I think if you were to ask some members of al-Qaeda, ask them how safe they feel in Afghanistan right now. I think we proved to a fare thee
well, this weekend, that it isn't a safe haven, and it isn't going to be going forward.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What will the repercussions be for the Taliban harboring al-Zawahiri?
KIRBY: I'm not going to telegraph moves and decisions that we might weigh. I'm certainly not going to get ahead of anything at this point. I would
just make two points. One, the strike itself shows how serious we are about accountability, it shows how serious we are about defending our interests.
And we're going to maintain, as I said at the outset, we're going to maintain this over the horizon capability. In fact, I'd go so far as to say
we're going to continue to try to improve that capability going forward. And number two, we've communicated very directly with Taliban leaders. Our
views of their willingness at some level, of course, to harbor Zawahiri and his family. And we have made it clear that, not we believe, not we think,
not we suppose, but we know that that's a violation of the Doha Agreement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, obviously, John, just to follow up on that, clearly, this shows accountability for Zawahiri and for al-Qaeda, wherever they are,
as you got in Afghanistan, but it doesn't show accountability for what the Secretary of State described as a gross violation of the Doha Agreement.
So, can you commit that there will be some act to demonstrate that they will be held accountable in some way? And how do you do that without it
looking like, yes, we'll just take out one by one, you can keep allowing more in.
KIRBY: Well, again, I'm not going to telegraph punches that hadn't been thrown yet, or decisions that haven't been made yet. We're going to stay
vigilant to the threat. We've made it clear to the Taliban that we know what they did, and we know who they harbored, and we know some of the steps
they tried to take after the strike to cover up the evidence of it. So, we're mindful of it. But I'm not going to get ahead of decisions, policy
decisions haven't been made.
I mean, the -- it's not that we take the Taliban at their word, but just indulge me for a second, they claim they want a relationship with the
United States and with the West, they claim they want to open up and be part of the international community. They claim they want financing. That's
exactly right, Peter. So, if that's true, if that's what they really want, then it would behoove them to pay close attention to what we just did over
the weekend, and to meet their agreements under the Doha Agreement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without identifying them, how many other al-Qaeda individuals or leaders do you assess are presently living in Afghanistan?
KIRBY: I'm not going to get into intelligence matters, Peter. We said, even before we left Afghanistan last August, that we knew al-Qaeda was present
in Afghanistan in relatively small numbers. And we know that there are still some al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan. I would, again, without
getting into classified information here, I would say the number is not very large. And that's al -- and that's core al-Qaeda. There are also
offshoots, like ISIS-K, which we know are very active in Afghanistan right now. The other thing that I want to say, and I know rightly, we're focused
But again, I want to take you back in time a little bit to about a year ago when we talked about this threat. And then our departure from Afghanistan,
we know that al-Qaeda has metastasized, both in terms of character, now they've got different offshoot groups, al-Shabaab, ISIS, and ISIS has got
splinter groups of its own. But they've also metastasized geographically, they're not focused as much and at presence in Afghanistan. They're in
North Africa, they're in (INAUDIBLE), they're throughout the Middle East, and they're in Yemen. So, I mean, there's -- there are other
counterterrorism threats in other parts of the world. We're going to stay focused on them all. I get -- I get that we're focused on Afghanistan right
now. But we're not taking our eye off the rest of the world, either.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John, something you just said is not consistent with what we were told last year, you're saying that you've always known there
was a small number of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. President Biden said, what interests do we have in Afghanistan at this point? With al-Qaeda gone?
KIRBY: Yes, I mean, in a major way, al-Qaeda was not playing -- now, wait, let me -- let me finish. They weren't playing a major role in operations or
resourcing or planning in Afghanistan. But, Peter, I have no -- specifically because I was at a different podium a year ago, and we talked
about the fact that al-Qaeda had a presence in Afghanistan, but small, and not incredibly powerful or potent. And I think, again, without getting into
the numbers, we would still assess that to be the case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we know that the Taliban was harboring the world's most wanted terrorist. You guys gave a whole country to a bunch of people
that are on the FBI most wanted list. What did you think was going to happen?
KIRBY: Take issue with the premise that we gave a whole country to terrorist groups. I mean, again, I'd encourage you to ask --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) the world's number one terrorist, how's that not giving a country to a terrorist sympathizing group, if not giving them
permission to have terrorists just sit on a balcony?
KIRBY: The question -- I mean, Peter, the way you asked that, it makes it sound like we owned Afghanistan a year ago. It wasn't our country. It was
an independent sovereign state. And the President made a bold decision to end a war that had been going on for 20 years, because he believed then and
still believes now that our national security interests are best met by meeting the threats of today, not the threats of 2001. And we -- you know,
I don't want to relitigate the whole war here. But obviously, no one anticipated the Ghani government to fall as fast as it did. But we said at
the time, that as we depart Afghanistan, we're going to keep vigilant, we're going to stay ready. And we're not going to let Afghanistan become a
safe haven for terrorists who threaten our homeland. And this this past weekend, we proved that case precisely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But -- so now that you know that the Taliban is not living up to the part of the deal that they made with the U.S. to not let
Afghanistan be a place that terrorists feel like they can be safe, what are you going to do about it?
KIRBY: Well, like as to Peter's question, I'm not going to telegraph decisions that haven't been made or policy and issues one way or the other.
I would just say --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we waiting for some spectacular terrorist attack in the U.S. to then say, Oh, well, there's terrorists. And if (INAUDIBLE) --
KIRBY: If we were, Peter -- if we --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- in Afghanistan, now we can go get up --
KIRBY: If we were, Peter, then we wouldn't have taken the hit on Saturday, the strike that we took on, Mr. Zawahiri, if we were just waiting. This
isn't about waiting, it's about watching. And we watch very closely, and we acted on what we learned. And I would go so far as to say not only the
American people are safer as a result of President Biden's decision, but the rest of the world is safer. Does that mean that the threat from al-
Qaeda is over? No, of course, it's not. Now, we'll have to make some decisions here. And we'll watch that, too. And if we discern a threat to
the American homeland again from them or any other terrorist group, the President will reserve the right to take that action again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to go around here and (INAUDIBLE)--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. John, now that the House Speaker is actually in Taiwan, can you give us a sense of President Biden's thoughts on the
matter? Does he support that? And then secondly, what kind of lines of communication (INAUDIBLE) are ongoing today between the two governments?
KIRBY: Well, I mean, you have the Speaker of the House that it's in Taipei right now. Of course, she's going to be meeting with government leaders. We
have stayed in touch with our Taiwan counterparts, of course. And we've stayed in touch with Speaker Pelosi's staff as she has progressed through
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to clarify, I meant with Beijing.
KIRBY: I don't have any specific good conversations with the -- with the PRC leaders to speak to today. But we -- as you know, we have an ambassador
there, we have an embassy. I mean, we are in routine communication with the leaders in Beijing, but I'll refer you to the State Department for anything
that they might or might not have communicated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And about President Biden, is he --
KIRBY: I've said -- I said this yesterday, the President, as a former senator, fully respects the right and the prerogative, frankly, the
responsibility of Members of Congress to include the Speaker of the House to travel overseas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But that's a different question, or that's a different response. Does he support her going?
KIRBY: He respects the Speaker's decision to travel to Taiwan.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks. I wanted to ask about Ukraine, specifically, the refugee situation, the President has committed to accepting 100,000
refugees from Ukraine. And I know that whole idea is that they would stay here temporarily for two years. Is the expectation that -- or is that still
the U.S. view that they should be here for two years, or would you -- or would the President consider extending that given that the worries are
ongoing and not know when people may or may not be able to return home?
KIRBY: I don't -- I don't have any policy changes to speak to today. So, I mean, I can happily take that question and refer you to State Department,
but I don't know of any changes to the essential decision by the President to provide a place for Ukrainian refugees to come, even if it is just
temporarily. I mean, what we've seen over the course of now almost six months of war, is that a lot of Ukrainians who left in the early weeks are
going back for various reasons. And in the early weeks of the war, we were seeing families cross the border, and then either the mom or the dad or --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Admiral Kirby, the Strategic Communications Director at the White House, a testy sense of exchanges with the media and the press. Firstly, on
Afghanistan, where the focus was primarily on the U.S. leaving Afghanistan allowed in the words of one to become a hotbed of terrorism. That was
refuted by Kirby. And then on the question of Taiwan and Nancy Pelosi being there, really, very little gained on that other than we are in contact, and
it is the Speaker's prerogative to go where she will, and the President respects the Congress on that.
The last few moments of trade on Wall Street, I do need to update you. The Dow is set to finish lower. We've had a bit of a (INAUDIBLE) but not a
nasty tumble. It fell on Nancy Pelosi arriving in Taiwan, it's been down, it's had a bit of another fall as well. I wouldn't say it's been out of
fall out of bed, but they are down (INAUDIBLE) about 400 points. When all is said and done, the components. Caterpillar on investment is at the lows,
you don't often see that. It missed earnings this morning. So, Caterpillar is sharply down. Salesforce, Travelers, and Walmart, they are at the upper
end. And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight, I'm Richard Quest in New York. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it is profitable.
The closing bell is ringing on Wallstreet. "THE LEAD" comes next. See, I told you, 400 points. There we go. That's done.