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Putin to Meet With Trump; North Korea Nuclear Fears. Aired 3- 3:30p ET
Aired July 5, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: We continue on, top of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Here's what's happening now.
The United Nations Security Council is holding this emergency session here after a North Korean missile launch raises the stakes and escalates the tensions. This meeting came at the request of the United States as the president is on his way to Europe for the G20 summit, which takes on an even greater urgency now.
And we have this new video of that missile test by North Korea. This is what Kim Jong-un is calling "a basket of gifts for American bastards."
Experts say the missile could reach Alaska.
And in a CNN exclusive, U.S. defense officials say that the two-stage missile is a brand-new weapon that has not been seen before.
So, let's begin this hour.
Michelle Kosinski is standing by for us, our CNN senior diplomatic correspondent.
And first just on this emergency meeting, what are we expecting to hear from Ambassador Haley?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brooke, this is going to be big. It's an emergency session called by the United States in the midst of a crisis.
It's not just after yet another missile launch by North Korea. It's them ramping it up and now testing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could potentially strike the United States.
So, the pressure is on here. I think this is going to be one of the strongest rebukes and warnings that we have heard so far against North Korea. But it gets to a point where what really more can be said at this point? Over the last few months, we have heard the United States and others talk about the potential of military action, that all options are on the table.
There's a thought of the U.S. going it alone in trying to counter North Korea, if necessary, calling on other nations to do more. So the administration now is feeling that this is the time for action.
What does that mean exactly? Well, it means more calling on nations, especially China, to cut off North Korea and to really tighten the screws and try to get them to act before they ramp up their program even more.
You know, China has been resistant to that. They're not ready to take the kind of action that the U.S. is calling for. So I think this is also going to be some of the strongest language we have heard so far, urging China to do that.
But then we go back to what's already said, and it's been, you know, the U.S. using words like complicit and aiding and abetting, talking about China in allowing so much trade with North Korea to continue. So, this could be a day where there is an agreement to condemn North Korea.
We will see if that can be unanimous, because, at the same time, we're seeing now China and Russia teaming up, yesterday putting out a statement together that was essentially a rebuke of how the U.S. has handled this so far.
So, we will see if any action, even if it's something symbolic like a condemnation, is taken today. What's really important, though, is what this spurs nations like China to do from here on out, Brooke.
BALDWIN: I know you will be listening. We will be listening for Ambassador Haley. We will take her live. Michelle Kosinski, we will say goodbye for now.
And just a short time from now, the president will be touching down in Poland for his second international trip since taking office.
So, let's go to Warsaw to our senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, who is there.
And, Jeff, he is facing a number of foreign policy tests the second he hits the ground.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, no question about that.
I mean, the North Korea situation that Michelle was just explaining, of course, is the most urgent threat the president is facing, but so many more are also waiting for him here as he arrives back within the hour or so on this continent for the second overseas trip of his presidency, really some six weeks after he visited the first time, Brooke.
And I can tell you that the relationships and the tensions across the board are pretty fraught, but it is still that meeting on Friday with the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, that is the most high-stakes moment of this presidential trip.
But you may be wondering why he is coming here to Poland before going to Germany for the G20 tomorrow. That is because the White House intentionally selected Poland as a place to begin this, and the president is going to be giving the biggest overseas speech of his presidency here tomorrow in Krasinski Square here to some potentially 15,000 people or so.
And, Brooke, we are seeing on social media and talking to other folks here, they are essentially bussing people in from across Poland to come and listen to this president. Now, his populist rhetoric, his populist agenda is similar to what is going through the strains here in Poland, and it's one of the things that separates Poland from the rest of the E.U. or other parts of the E.U.
So, so interesting tomorrow when the president gives that big speech. He will also be holding a press conference, at least a short one, with the president of Poland, having a couple questions on each side. That comes tomorrow morning, Brooke.
But this high-stakes trip, of course, concludes on Saturday when he flies back to the U.S., but so much business to be done between now and then -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: But, again, noteworthy that tomorrow morning he will be taking questions.
Jeff Zeleny, thank you for all of that in Warsaw.
With me now, John Park, the director of the Korea Working Group at Harvard. And Joe Cirincione, he is the author of "Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late."
But, Joe and John, thank you so much for being with me.
And let's just initially -- I really want to drill down on this ICBM.
So, Joe, we know that this brand-new missile has not -- seen before. According to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, the first stage of this missile is believed to be a KN-17 liquid-fueled missing which U.S. satellites had seen evidence was being prepared for launch. It's well-known to U.S. intel, but at some point prior to launch, the North Koreans attached a second stage atop the missile.
All of these details, Joe, what does that tell you about how advanced their program is?
JOSEPH CIRINCIONE, PRESIDENT, PLOUGHSHARES FUND: This is a very serious weapon. This is a sophisticated two-staged mobile intercontinental ballistic missile that from North Korea can strike Singapore, Australia, or Alaska.
It's a mobile missile, meaning it was brought to a pre-fixed launch pad, quickly erected, filled with fuel, and then fired. It traveled farther than any U.S. experts expected to see by this stage in North Korea's development.
We don't know whether the reentry vehicle survived all the way to the target. We don't know how accurate it was, did it hit the spot they were intending to? But this is a formidable capability and we haven't seen the end of it. There are at least two other ICBM prototypes I would expect to see tested, as well as further tests of this missile. These guys are on a tear.
BALDWIN: John, you say, because of all of what he just outlined, that this particular launch crosses a red line.
JOHN PARK, CENTER FOR CONFLICT ANALYSIS AND PREVENTION: It is a red line.
I think when you look at it from the ICBM, the intercontinental ballistic missile, red line, this is something that has been discussed for a while. But what's catching everyone by surprise is how quickly North Korea's crossed this line.
And a lot of it, I think, points to the notion that North Korea is getting good at what they have proclaimed that they would do, eventually develop a nuclear ICBM. So, those are developments that are happening at a very startling pace.
BALDWIN: The obvious question is, what do we do about it, right?
I understand there's a couple options on the table, Joe. Let me just run through some of these, shooting down the missiles before they come anywhere near the U.S., bolstering the American naval presence off the Korean Peninsula, you step up economic sanctions and up cyber-warfare to sabotage missile launches.
Of all those and I'm sure many, many more, Joe, what is the most realistic option?
CIRINCIONE: The negotiations are really the best of the bad options. There is no real military option.
BALDWIN: Do we like best of the bad?
CIRINCIONE: Best of the bad, no, because negotiations are tough and there's no guarantee they will work.
But what is guaranteed is if you just keep doing what we have been doing, this is going to get a whole lot worse, though. It will fail. Pressure has failed. Sanctions have failed. Ignoring the problem has failed. Hoping the regime will collapse has failed.
The only thing that has slowed down North Korea's program has been negotiations, about an eight-year pause in their plutonium production program beginning in 1994, an eight-year pause in their ballistic missile program from 1998 to 2006, because of talks.
But those talks collapsed, the agreements collapsed, and it's been off to the races ever since. It's time to do what our allies are saying, South Korea, Japan. Even China and Russia are urging us to go back to the table to discuss without preconditions whether we can get a freeze on North Korea's program. That would be in U.S. national security interests.
BALDWIN: Let me just remind everyone what Secretary Mattis said in June about North Korea. "The regime's nuclear weapons program is a clear and present danger to all. It would be a war like nothing we have seen since 1953, and we would have to deal with it with whatever level of force was necessary. It would be a very, very serious war."
I mean, John, I feel like the secretary hammered it home perfectly in how he said it, but explain to us, unlike any other war we have ever experienced. This is like in a totally different stratosphere.
If you look at it, the Korean Peninsula is a very small land, mass in the sense that if there were military operations, you're looking at civilian populations that are intermingled in terms of some of these targets.
BALDWIN: Forgive me. Forgive me. Let's jump in.
Let's listen to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley here at the emergency meeting.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Their illegal missile launch was not only dangerous, but reckless and irresponsible.
It showed that North Korea does not want to be part of a peaceful world. They have cast a dark shadow of conflict on all nations that strive for peace. Yesterday's act came from the same vicious dictator who sent a young college student back home to his parents unresponsive and in a coma.
For Americans, the true nature of the North Korean regime was painfully brought home with the images of two guards holding Otto Warmbier up as they transported him from a prison he should never have been in.
Otto Warmbier is but one person out of millions who have been killed, tortured, or deprived of their human rights by the North Korean regime. To Americans, the death of one innocent person can be as powerful as the death of millions, because all men and women are created in God's image.
Depravity toward one is a sure sign of willingness to do much more harm. The nature of the North Korean regime is clear. Only the scale of the damage it does could become different. That's why yesterday's escalation is so alarming. If North Korea will treat an innocent young student the way it treated Otto Warmbier, we should not be surprised if it acts barbarically on a larger scale.
The United States does not seek conflict. In fact, we seek to avoid it. We seek only the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and an end to the threatening actions by North Korea. Regrettably, we're witnessing just the opposite.
Make no mistake. North Korea's launch of an ICBM is a clear and sharp military escalation. The North Korean regime openly states that its missiles are intended to deliver nuclear weapons to strike cities in the United States, South Korea, and Japan. And now it has greater capacity to do so.
In truth, it is not only the United States and our allies that are threatened. North Korea's destabilizing escalation is a threat to all nations in the region and beyond. Their actions are quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution.
The United States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies. One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must. But we prefer not to have to go in that direction.
We have other methods of addressing those who threaten us and of addressing those who supply the threats. We have great capabilities in the area of trade. President Trump has spoken repeatedly about this. I spoke with him at length about it this morning.
There are countries that are allowing, even encouraging, trade with North Korea, in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. Such countries would also like to continue their trade -- such countries would also like to continue their trade arrangements with the United States. That's not going to happen.
Our attitude on trade changes when countries do not take international security threats seriously. Before the path to a peaceful solution is entirely closed, however, there remains more that the international community can and must do, diplomatically and economically.
In the coming days, we will bring before the Security Council a resolution that raises the international response in a way that is proportionate to North Korea's new escalation. I will not detail the resolution here today, but the options are all known to us.
If we are unified, the international community can cut off the major sources of hard currency to the North Korean regime. We can restrict the flow of oil to their military and their weapons program. We can increase air and maritime restrictions. We can hold senior regime officials accountable.
The international community has spoken frequently against the illegal and dangerous actions of the North Korean regime. For many years, there have been numerous U.N. sanctions against North Korea. But they have been insufficient to get them to change their destructive course, so in order to have an impact, in order to move North Korea off its military escalation, we must do more. We will not look exclusively at North Korea. We will look at any
country that chooses to do business with this outlaw regime. We will not have patience for stalling or talking our way down to a watered- down resolution.
Yesterday's ICBM escalation requires an escalated diplomatic and economic response. Time is short. Action is required. The world is on notice.
If we act together, we can still prevent a catastrophe, and we can rid the world of a grave threat. If we fail to act in a serious way, there will be a different response.
Much of the burden of enforcing U.N. sanctions rests with China. Ninety percent of trade with North Korea is from China. We will work with China. We will work with any and every country that believes in peace.
But we will not repeat the inadequate approaches of the past that have brought us to this dark day. We cannot forget the multiple missile tests this year or yesterday's escalation. We cannot forget Otto Warmbier and others North Korea continues to hold. We cannot forget the threats to our friends and allies around the world. We will not forget. And we will not delay.
BALDWIN: That was Ambassador Nikki Haley there. This is this emergency session that was called at the U.N. Security Council all because of this ICBM test over North Korea, which has alarmed a lot of people, as we were just talking with my panel.
Let me bring these two guys back, Joe Cirincione and John Park.
We were just talking about, quoting Secretary Mattis' words on what sort of war this would look like. But hearing her very strong rebuke there, saying time is short, action is required, we must do more, John, on the we must do more point, we were talking about the best of the worst, you know, solutions. Where do you stand on that?
PARK: So, there are two points from what Ambassador Haley just said, Brooke.
One is the notion of trying to stop the North Korean regime's ability to make more money. But one of the inconvenient facts, though, is the North Korea regime has amassed large sums of funds from their coal trade in the second of the 2000s with the Chinese. Those are the funds that are onshore inside of China.
And for the North Korean regime, the ability to draw on those funds to finance the proliferation, that is a target priority, I think, and one area that some of these measures don't get at directly.
(CROSSTALK) BALDWIN: Let me just jump in on that point.
Secretary Mnuchin addressing from the White House Briefing Room in the last week, saying that they would be sanctioning that one Chinese bank, precisely for that reason. Are you still with me?
PARK: Oh, my apologies. I thought we were going to...
BALDWIN: No, no, no, my point just being they're actively laying down the law, at least with regard to one bank.
There is that effort. But my point is that these funds currently reside inside of China. Where is specifically unclear. But using Chinese national laws, their domestic law enforcement capabilities is something that we haven't looked at.
So, the notion of looking at it from China's priorities, this is a big concern. If they can do things like redistrict their anti-corruption campaign apparatus, this is a massive machinery that is going after corrupt party officials in China. If we know the facts here, and the very clear one, that private Chinese companies are linked to corrupt party officials, to break up that part of the equation and working with North Korean clients is a huge area that I think we can get more of the Chinese cooperation on.
That's an area that we can further explore in greater detail, and that can slow down the procurement process for North Korea's further development of their nuclear, as well as ballistic missile programs.
BALDWIN: What about the leader, Joe, just Kim Jong-un? What is his mind-set through all of this?
CIRINCIONE: Well, that was a very powerful speech. I agree with you.
But Kim Jong-un's not going to see it that way, empty words as far as he's concerned. He's looking at this that the military exercises, the powerful military might that the ambassador spoke about, it's aimed at him. He thinks the U.S. is coming after him, both from his megalomaniac view of the world and because he looks at recent history and he believes that if he -- he looks at Iraq, he looks at Libya, he looks at Iran, and he thinks if he gives up his weapons, America will kill him.
They see that he just concluded a deal with Iran, and yet there's increased talk of going to war with Iran. So, that's why he's not -- he's going to be very reluctant to give up his weapons. Can he freeze the weapons? Can he pause the program? Yes, I think -- I think he can. And that's where sanctions can come in. China's willing to put the screws on. Even Russia's willing to put
the screws on, but they see the sanctions as a tool to get to the bargaining table. I'm afraid the administration here is looking at it as an answer, as if sanctions can coerce North Korea into compliance or collapse.
That's never happened in history. It's not going to happen here.
BALDWIN: But what about Otto Warmbier? I thought it was noteworthy. Ambassador Haley led with him off the top, looped back to him at the end, the American student who was sent back by North Korea who passed away days later.
John, why do you think she led with him?
PARK: It's a very tragic story, and I think when we think about the North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile threat, it's become background noise for some.
The threat has been elevated for a number of years now. But I think the sad fate of Otto is a part of it that puts a different aspect to the regime and how personal, how directly connected it is to the United States through this very sad story.
And I think that's a part of the narrative that Ambassador Haley used for her speech at the U.N., to make it different from previous statements.
BALDWIN: Yes. Yes.
CIRINCIONE: I agree.
And it embodies the brutality of this regime. You saw how they dealt with one person. They deal with tens of thousands of their own citizens just this way. That's why it makes it so difficult for Americans to think about negotiating with this odious regime, but that's what you have to do in order to stop an even greater threat.
BALDWIN: And let's not forget we know Otto's story. There are still several other Americans being still held in North Korea as we speak.
John Park and Joe Cirincione, for now, thank you both so much on that...
CIRINCIONE: Thank you.
BALDWIN: ... and for listening to Ambassador Haley with me.
We do have more on the breaking news, though, including President Trump's arrival, soon arrival in Warsaw, Poland. We have that.
Also, Vladimir Putin stepping up his gamesmanship ahead of this high- stakes meeting with the president of the United States. We will talk live with someone who knows all about Putin's charm, his mind-set, and what really could set him off.
You're watching CNN.
BALDWIN: Minutes from now, President Trump will be arriving in Warsaw, Poland, for his high-stakes overseas trip, his second as being president, in which he will have his first face-to-face with Vladimir Putin.
After months of controversy and information leaks surrounding Russia's meddling in the U.S. election, and possible ties to the Trump campaign, President Trump will shake hands with the Russian president on Friday, and the world will be watching.
Joining me now is Ben Judah. He's the author of "Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In and Out of Love with Vladimir Putin."
Ben Judah, you know a lot about Putin, the man, his character, his personality, his power moves. I was -- there was a former national security official who says he expects -- quote -- "an Olympian level of macho posturing."
What's Putin's first move behind those closed doors?
BEN JUDAH, AUTHOR, "FRAGILE EMPIRE": Well, typically, when Vladimir Putin first meets Western leaders, he likes to see how vulnerable they are to intimidation or how vulnerable they are to charm.
For example, when he first met Angela Merkel, he knew that she was frightened of dogs and he brought along one of his pet Labradors to sit next to him during the meeting to see just how vulnerable she was to that form of intimidation.
When he met the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the first time, his aides say that Putin, for the initial first part of the meeting, went into a very aggressive power move, saying that he could destroy him, he could rip him apart politically, and frustrate all of his political ambitions, but then said, if you cooperate with me, I'll make you the king of Europe.
When he's met former British prime ministers, Putin has tried to really throw them off their balance by reminding them that Britain is a shadow of its former self, internationally. So, when Putin first meets Trump, he will either be seeing how vulnerable he is to charm or how vulnerable he is to intimidation, and likely a mixture of both.
BALDWIN: I wonder what that thing would be with President Trump.
What, Ben, do you think, what's the one thing that he could do -- that President Trump could do to really set President Putin off?
JUDAH: Well, Vladimir Putin's greatest weakness is that the Russian system, the relationships between oligarchs, their cash flows, the ties that bind between the Putin oligarchy and the elites of the Russian military industrial complex and the successor agencies of the KGB is their money.
And all of their money is laundered or located in Western financial jurisdictions within the West. It's located in luxury apartments in London. It's laundered through the British Virgin Islands. A lot of it is hidden in offshore shell companies in Delaware or in other American states.
And if President Trump wanted to do a real power move that would unnerve President Putin, he could say that the United States was going to radically move toward financial transparency and they were going to end the process where kleptocrats worldwide can hide their money behind anonymous shell companies in the United States.
These anonymous shell companies can be set up within 15 minutes online and are practically impenetrable to law enforcement both here and internationally.
BALDWIN: So you just -- you outlined the power move, the counter- power move. What about just even straight-up on respect?
Because we don't know what the rapport would be like between both presidents. It's a total mystery. We have this video. Let me roll this. This is from May. This is when President Putin was asked about -- it was a moment some weeks or months ago in the Oval Office. President Trump was with Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak and revealed some classified information.
So here is President Putin's response to talking about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I can't find any other explanation for the accusation to the president in revealing some secrets to Lavrov. Incidentally, I had a talk with him about it today.
And I will have to reprimand him because he hasn't shared those secrets with us, neither with me nor the Russian special services. And that was very bad of him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Ben, I mean, do you think it's possible that President Putin could charm President Trump into talking more than he should?
JUDAH: The thing to remember about Vladimir Putin is, as far as Western leaders are concerned, he's seen it all.
He first started meeting them when they visited St. Petersburg when he was the deputy mayor of St. Petersburg. And he's now seen four U.S. presidents. He's seen a lot more European leaders.