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Syrian President Meets with Putin in Moscow; Netanyahu Criticized for Holocaust Comments; Iran's Supreme Leader Approves Nuke Deal with Conditions; Paul Ryan Says He'll Take Speaker Job; Hillary Clinton to Testify at Benghazi Hearing Thursday; Fire Sweeps through Migrant Camp in Slovenia; Tuition Hike Protests Escalate in South Africa; Cameron and Xi Hold Talks at Downing Street; Back to the Future Day. Aired 10-11 ET
Aired October 21, 2015 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center. Thanks for joining us.
Well, the Kremlin calls it a working visit but it's much more than that. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has traveled to Moscow to sit down with
Russia's leader, Vladimir Putin.
It was an unannounced trip and it came three weeks after Russia launched its air campaign in Syria. Mr. Assad praised his Russian counterpart,
who's also his biggest political ally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASHAR AL-ASSAD, PRESIDENT OF SYRIA (through translator): I thank you for standing up for Syria's unity and its independence.
And more important than that, this is being done within the framework of international law.
And I have to say that the start of these political steps that you have been undertaking since the beginning of the crisis, they have prevented the
situation from developing into a more tragic scenario.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Bashar al-Assad there.
For more on his comments, I wanted to bring in Jill Dougherty, former CNN Moscow bureau chief. She's now with the International Center for Defense
Hi, there, Jill.
This is believed to be the first time President Assad has left Syria since the start of the civil war. What's clearly evident here, I think, also
clearly evident in that handshake photo between Putin and Assad is the confidence the Syrian leader is showing.
JILL DOUGHERTY, INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR DEFENSE AND SECURITY: Yes, I think that's a very good point. The mere fact he left Syria at what
President Putin said, you know, is a very difficult moment and a dramatic moment, the fact that he was in Moscow not looking very besieged, he looked
He did not look like a person who is hiding out in fear because, of course, he has the Russian air force behind him now. That is making a difference
on the ground, with the Syrian forces being able to move into places that they hadn't been able to move into before and push back some of those
terrorist groups of opposition fighters, et cetera. So he's more confident.
I think, Robyn, you know, the question that is not clear here is what happens next because President Putin was talking a lot about a political
settlement. And one of the issues in a political settlement is what happens to President Assad. And that wasn't really defined at all.
In fact, a spokesperson for President Putin didn't confirm either way that they had even discussed the future of President Assad. But that is one of
Would Russia use whatever influence it has -- and presumably it has more than even before -- to push President Assad to do something, accept some
deal, move aside, whatever it might be?
Would they use their influence to try to bring this to an end?
It also gets more complicated with the opposition troops because before the opposition were saying, well, maybe we can deal with Assad if eventually
it's clear he will go. Now they're being attacked by Russia, supported by the United States and it's become quite a bit more complicated.
CURNOW: Messy, definitely.
Let's talk about that influence you referred to. President Putin is also reaching out to the Turks, to the Iraqis. He's clearly got a plan for
Russian influence in the Middle East.
DOUGHERTY: Well, he does, to be a global player, you can see it. All eyes are on Moscow right now. The trip by President Assad is very high profile.
The role of Russia right now, President Putin is looking very much in his element as a global leader. That's precisely what he wants.
There were questions, there were some statements today that perhaps if the Iraqis were to ask for help in fighting ISIS, perhaps Russia would listen
to that and consider it.
There are all sorts of implications. President Putin, in fact, did call President Erdogan of Turkey and discuss this meeting today with Assad. So
the ramifications are very broad and as we've been reporting and you know very well, Robyn, there are a lot of players involved in Syria, especially
at this moment.
CURNOW: Absolutely. Thank you so much, as always, Jill Dougherty. We can keep on talking but we've got to move on. There's more news to tell.
Thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.
Well, as I said, more news. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing backlash for controversial comments about the Holocaust. He's --
CURNOW: -- accusing the Palestinian who was Grand Mufti of Jerusalem before the start of World War II of inspiring the Holocaust.
Well, Ben Wedeman joins us from Hebron in the West Bank.
What's been the reaction to these comments?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Robyn, these comments were made at this 37th Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, where he
suggested that Adolf Hitler, his original plan for the Jews was simply to expel them.
And it was only after meeting Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was a Palestinian leader at the time, who told them, don't expel them because they'll only
come to Palestine. He said, burn them.
Now, reaction has been strong from many quarters, from Holocaust scholars themselves in Israel saying that simply isn't the case, that the final
solution was already afoot when Hitler met with Haj Amin al-Husseini.
Now the Palestinians have strongly condemned this, essentially absolving Hitler of responsibility of the Holocaust and suggesting that the
Palestinians could have done it, which they find rather odd.
And, in fact, what we're hearing is from some -- one Palestinian columnist, who said that, what's next, is Netanyahu going to blame the Palestinians
for bombing Nagasaki and Hiroshima? -- Robyn.
CURNOW: OK. So in the midst of all this, we also know that Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary-general, has urged an end to violence; John Kerry will
be meeting with leaders.
But they're on the ground, do those calls, does this global diplomacy really make any difference?
WEDEMAN: Nobody's really listening to it. Nobody's really hearing it. Certainly on the streets of Hebron, where we've had hours and hours of
clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces here, there's a complete disregard for all this.
Not only that, we're hearing some disdain for the Palestinian leadership itself, of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, saying that
all of these diplomats, political leaders don't seem to be able to change anything on the ground, which may explain why so many of these people -- of
course, they're not around here now because they ran away after a few booms -- they're not listening.
Simply it doesn't seem to make any impact or effect whatsoever on the reality, here in Hebron at least -- Robyn.
CURNOW: In Hebron, Ben Wedeman, as always, thanks so much.
Well, Iran's supreme leader has conditionally approved the nuclear deal with Western powers.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has endorsed implementing the accord in a letter on his official website but the message says the deal will be rendered void if
any future sanctions are imposed on Iran by any country and under any pretext. The letter is addressed to Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani.
You're at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Still to come, it's one of the most powerful positions in American politics and Republicans are just struggling
to fill it. Now a potential candidate steps up to fill the leadership vacuum in the U.S. House of Representatives. But Paul Ryan has some
Plus, remarks soon from the leaders of China and Britain. We'll bring that to you live. Stay with us. You're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK.
CURNOW: Welcome back, everyone.
A seemingly reluctant candidate has stepped up to be U.S. House Speaker after weeks of lobbying by senior Republicans. Former vice presidential
candidate Paul Ryan says he'll take the job but only if certain conditions are met. Senior political reporter Manu Raju tells us exactly what he
wants and when he'll make his decision.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE: I have left this decision in their hands.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The ultimatum is set this morning by Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan.
RYAN: This is not a job I've ever wanted.
RAJU (voice-over): After days of handwringing by House Republicans, essentially backing him into a corner --
RYAN: I think our country is in desperate need of leadership.
RAJU (voice-over): The 45-year-old former vice presidential nominee is stepping up, saying he's willing to replace House Speaker John Boehner.
But not so fast. Ryan says if and only if the three largest coalitions in the GOP House back his candidacy and agree to the following conditions by
Friday. Ryan demanding that, first, the Republican Party goes from, quote, "an opposition party to being a proposition party."
RYAN: We think the nation is on the wrong path. We have a duty to show the right one. Our next Speaker has to be a visionary one.
RAJU (voice-over): Second, Ryan appealing to the House Freedom Caucus' request for an update to House rules, making it harder to overthrow a
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have the Freedom Caucus. Where you have the grassroots, they're concerned about Paul Ryan's past.
RAJU (voice-over): Alabama Republican Mo Brooks, a member of the House Freedom Caucus says, quote, "There's growing concern in my district because
of amnesty and open borders immigration position.
JOHN BOEHNER, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think Paul would be a great Speaker. I think he's got the skills to do the job.
RAJU (voice-over): Still, time is running out as Boehner makes it clear he wants out soon.
BOEHNER: I expect to be out of there by the end of this month.
RAJU (voice-over): Well aware of the 100-hour workweek Boehner says he frequently clocks in as Speaker, Ryan's last condition concerns his wife
and three children.
RYAN: I cannot and I will not give up my family time.
RAJU (voice-over): A family he does not want to let down.
RYAN: My greatest worry is the consequence of not stepping up, of someday having my own kids ask me, when the stakes were so high, why didn't you do
all you could do?
CURNOW: Manu Raju reporting for us there.
If Ryan ultimately feels he can't unite the party and passes on the job, Republicans are getting worried that there's actually no one else who
could. We'll keep you posted on that story.
Hillary Clinton now takes the hot seat on Capitol Hill. That's again on Thursday to testify about the fatal attacks on U.S. installations in
Benghazi, Libya, three years ago. She was the secretary of state at the time and is now of course running for the Democratic nomination for
Global affairs correspondent Elise Labott reminds us of what happened in Benghazi and what other investigations have found.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): September 11, a date that forever changed America would once again turn deadly. The year
2012. Extremists overrun the U.S. diplomatic mission, setting it ablaze before moving to a nearby CIA annex to continue their assault, taking the
lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens, information officer Sean Smith and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Four patriots --
OBAMA: -- they loved this country. And they chose to serve it and served it well. They didn't simply embrace the American ideal; they lived it.
LABOTT (voice-over): An independent investigation commissioned by then- secretary of state Hillary Clinton found grossly inadequate security at the U.S. facility. Four employees lost their jobs but the report said Clinton
was not responsible.
Seven congressional committees arrived at similar conclusions. Among the most scathing, a Senate intelligence report blasting State for failing to
connect the dots and increase security after numerous intelligence reports warned of a potential attack.
Like the State Department Accountability Review Board, the center report gives Clinton a pass but an annex written solely by committee Republicans
placed the blame squarely at her feet saying, quote, "final responsibility for security at diplomatic facilities lies with the former secretary of
The Pentagon was faulted for not having military assets in the region to respond that night. And the intelligence community took heat for talking
points used on Sunday talk shows by then-ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, which created the false impression the attack was prompted by an
anti-Muslim video that sparked violent American protests at U.S. embassies across the Middle East.
SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: What our assessment is as of the present is, in fact, what it began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction
to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo, where of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this
LABOTT (voice-over): The GOP charged the Obama administration with trying to cover up a terrorist threat and predicted Clinton's own legacy on
Benghazi would stop her presidential ambitions.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The fact is, we had four dead Americans.
Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans?
What difference at this point does it make?
LABOTT (voice-over): House Speaker John Boehner created the Select Committee on Benghazi last year. It has seized on Clinton's use of a
private email server, which has dogged her on the presidential campaign. Democrats have accused the GOP of turning a tragedy into a political side
show to take Clinton down.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?
But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee.
What are her numbers today?
Her numbers are dropping.
REP. RICHARD HANNA (R): This may not be politically correct but I think there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after
people, an individual, Hillary Clinton.
LABOTT (voice-over): After a string of Republicans labeled the committee a political vendetta, Clinton pounced.
CLINTON: This committee is basically an arm of the Republican National Committee. It is a partisan vehicle, as admitted by the House Republican
majority leader, Mr. McCarthy, to drive down my poll numbers. Big surprise.
LABOTT (voice-over): The committee chair, Congressman Trey Gowdy, strongly denies he's playing politics.
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), CHAIRMAN: I have told my own Republican colleagues and friends, shut up talking about things that you don't know anything
The seven members of my committee are much more focused on the four dead Americans than we are anyone's presidential aspirations.
LABOTT (voice-over): On Thursday, both sides will face off in what could be a defining moment for Clinton's presidential campaign and for the future
of the GOP-led probe.
CURNOW: CNN will have extensive live coverage of the hearing on Thursday as Hillary Clinton testifies. You'll want to tune in for that. We'll also
have more news here on the IDESK after this short break. So stick around.
CURNOW: Migrants making their way to Western Europe have suffered another demoralizing setback. A fire swept through a refugee camp along Slovenia's
boarder with Croatia. Several tents were charred. It's believed the blaze spread from a bonfire used to keep people warm.
Thousands of migrants are trying to pass through Slovenia after Hungary shut its border with Croatia last week. But bottlenecks and dropping
temperatures are complicating the journey. Our Atika Shubert joins us now from Berlin.
Hi, there. Just another example of all the risks involved.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. What's happening in this case is that these transit camps, where refugees are supposed to register, are
completely overwhelmed. In one camp usually they're sort of at the capacity of about 400 or 500 people but they've had upwards of 5,000 people
a day coming through.
And the weather is just miserable. It's a lot of rain and mud. And understandably, they're trying to keep warm. And so a number of fires,
campfires, were set by refugees. This may have been the reason for the fires sweeping through this one refugee camp, setting ablaze several of the
So yes, just goes to show some of the risks of overcapacity of these refugees coming through. Slovenia is trying to move them on as quickly as
possible, allowing many to go on through to Croatia and ultimately, of course, many of those refugees trying to get here, to Germany -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Thanks for that update. Appreciate it.
Atika Shubert there.
Well, let's go to South Africa now, where police have used tear gas and stun grenades on crowds of protesters. Students there are protesting
David McKenzie is joining us now live from Johannesburg.
Hi, there, Dave.
First of all, what's happening but also broadly, this is another example of frustration at the ruling ANC, isn't it?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think so, Robyn. That's certainly what the student leaders have been saying explicitly, saying that the
African National Congress, the ANC, when it came into power after the democratic transition here in South Africa, that they promised free
education, including tertiary education.
And according to the student leaders, they haven't kept up that promise. We saw a flashpoint today. At the parliament in Cape Town where most the
University of Cape Town students seemed to gather quickly, speaking to each other on social media as part of this process, moving onto the parliament
and downtown Cape Town and pushing past the barricades.
As you can see from the dramatic footage, police there and parliamentary security pushing back the students, using force as well to get them back,
barricading them outside of parliament.
Very ironic scenes also playing out as a sort of routine budget address was given inside parliament while the students were chanting that their fees
must be scrapped, the fee increases.
This is all basically about the fact that the government and universities said they wanted 10 percent to 12 percent increase next year in tertiary
education fees. A lot of students here in South Africa, that's a major financial burden.
And it's not just in Cape Town. This movement certainly has spread in the last week throughout universities in South Africa. Some of the best
universities in Africa grinding to a halt because of this fee dispute -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Indeed. These are very powerful images. The last time -- I mean, we're both South African. These images of --
CURNOW: -- students protesting, rioting, particularly in Cape Town, takes us back to those anti-apartheid protests. This is the first time I think I
can remember in post-apartheid South Africa that we've seen students across the country uniting in such a way.
MCKENZIE: Certainly such a broad-based unity amongst students is rare. And it is -- the images certainly do remind one of the protests that
happened in Cape Town in the late '80s, very early '90s, when you had protests which were put down by the Nationalist Party.
You have these images of the president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, sitting impassively in the parliament as the leader of the opposition called on him
to show leadership and to address the students.
Now the higher education minister here in South Africa, Blade Nzimandi, was attempting, last time we checked, to address those students with the
handheld loudhailer. And so certainly there's a lot going on here.
It's not just about the student protests but it's also about dissatisfaction with the ruling party and the promises they made. But
speaking to professors at University of Cape Town, they do say that there is difficulty in financing these fees and the money has to come from
somewhere -- Robyn.
CURNOW: OK. As always, David McKenzie, thanks so much for giving us the view there from South Africa. Thanks for joining us.
You're at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Smiles and handshakes from the British prime minister and Chinese president. They're expected to speak soon at
Downing Street. Of course, we'll bring you those remarks. Stay with us.
CURNOW: You're watching CNN. We want to take you to London, where Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, and David Cameron have just had a meeting.
They're now making comments. Let's listen in.
DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER, GREAT BRITAIN: -- . the relationship between our countries has progressed in the intervening period. A strong
relationship is in both our countries' interests, not just because it brings investment and jobs and higher living standards for our peoples,
vital, though, those things are.
The more we trade together, the more we have a stake in each others' success and the more we understand each other, the more that we can work
together to confront the problems that face our world today.
The stronger the relationship between our countries, the more we'll be able to have a serious dialogue. We may not always agree but we can discuss
issues openly and constructively. Today Britain and China have strong diplomatic relations. Our businesses are creating deeper ties. And our
people-to-people links are close.
But there are opportunities to do so much more. We should go further on trade and investment, not only for China to invest in the United Kingdom
but also for British businesses to expand --
CAMERON: -- and grow in China. We should increase our financial and economic cooperation with the U.K. as the partner of choice for China in
the West. And we must do more to work in partnership on the global issues that affect us both, from climate change to tackling poverty and global
health issues, working together to combat instability and extremism.
As President Xi said yesterday, our task is now to seize these opportunities. And I'd like to say a word on some of the key areas for
First, trade and investment: since the last state visit in 2005, our exports to China have quadrupled. In the last five years, they've
increased by 140 percent, growing to almost 20 billion pounds per year, making us the second largest investor into China.
And investment both ways with has also grown, with Chinese investment into the U.K. reaching over $5 billion in 2014. So I want to see more trade
flowing between our countries, like Geely, owner of the London taxi company, announcing a 50 million-pound investment in the United Kingdom
today. We have Chinese companies investing in Heathrow, in Thames Water. We have got U.K. architects designing Chinese cities.
And I'm pleased to announce today that we're signing an historic deal to build the Hinkley Nuclear Power Station, providing reliable, affordable
energy for nearly 6 million homes and creating more than 25,000 jobs, all the while working together to build a low-carbon future.
Turning now to our economic and financial relationship, China is well on its way to becoming the largest economy in the world. Last year, the
United Kingdom was the fastest growing economy in the G7 and we are the leading champion within the European Union of open markets and free trade
Here again we're determined to take our relationship to the next level, including through the Asian infrastructure investment bank, which will be
of enormous benefit to the region, as well as opening up more opportunities for British business to help drive growth and jobs.
And we were the first Western economy to issue an renminbi bond outside China, which will be of great benefit to London.
Today President Xi and I have discussed how we can build on these ties through the U.K.-China infrastructure alliance. This will place U.K. firms
at the forefront of opportunities to work with Chinese companies on infrastructure projects, including President Xi's one belt, one road
initiative and our own northern powerhouse.
We've also discussed the excess global supply of steel and how we can tackle it. But our relationship goes beyond trade and investment. China
and Britain are both global powers with a global outlook.
We share an interest in a stable and ordered world in which countries play by the rules and work together to address threats to our security and to
We've discussed today how, as permanent members of the Security Council, we can deepen that cooperation across the board.
We've already worked together successfully to deliver an agreement to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and we've talked about some of the
less familiar challenges we now face, such as how to tackle anti-microbial resistance, where the U.K. Is a world leader. And I'm pleased today to
announce that we've established a new fund to support vital research and development on this issue.
We also discussed ways in which we can work together on international development so the U.K. and China will work more closely to tackle global
poverty and promote economic development in Africa, global health, international disaster relief and opportunities for women and girls.
It's testament to our strong relationship that we're able to work on these important issues and also that we're able to have open discussions on more
difficult issues, such as cyber, where we've reached a new agreement on cyber-enabled commercial espionage and on human rights.
So this visit marks the start of a new era. Some have called it a golden era in relations between Britain and China, an era of stronger economic
ties, deeper trade links, closer relations between our peoples and meaningful dialogue on the issues that matter to us both.
And all of this is rooted in a relationship between our two old countries, a relationship fit for the 21st century, benefiting not just our nations
and our peoples but also the wider world.
Thank you -- President Xi.
XI JINPING, PRESIDENT OF CHINA (through translator): Mr. Prime Minister, friends from the media, good afternoon.
First of all, I wish to convey a cordial greeting and best wishes from the Chinese people towards the British people, the royal family and government
of the U.K. have accorded to me (INAUDIBLE) arrangements and warm hospitality. I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude.
China and the U.K. --
XI (through translator): -- are both major countries with significant influence. This year is the beginning of the second decade of China-U.K.
comprehensive strategic partnership and this relationship has come to a new starting point.
I'm making this state visit to the U.K. to build on past achievements, elevate our political mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation in all
fields and take China-U.K. ties to a new level.
Yesterday I had a full program of a state visit accorded to me by Her Majesty the Queen and I was deeply impressed by the pageantry and warmth
throughout. And just now I had a productive meeting with Prime Minister Cameron.
And we reached important consensus on many issues and agreed and announced here we will build a global comprehensive strategic partnership between our
countries in the 21st century and jointly open up a golden era of an enduring, inclusive, win-win China-U.K. relationship and jointly create an
even brighter future for our relations.
During the visit, we achieved a string of outcomes. The prime minister and I witnessed the signing of some intergovernmental and business cooperation
documents, which include the Hinkley Point power station with the involvement of Chinese company.
And this is a flagship project of cooperation between our countries in recent years and it will lead to more practical of this kind between the
Our financial cooperation continues to lead the way. China will issue in London renminbi sovereign bond outside China for the first time and the
Peoples Bank of China will issue in the U.K. 5 billion renminbi central bank bills.
And the two central banks will extend bilateral currency swap from 200 billion to 350 billion renminbi. And the first renminbi green bond will be
issued in the U.K.
There is a saying in English, one today is worth two tomorrows. And the Chinese people often say --
XI: (Speaking Chinese).
CAMERON: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I think we have got one question from the British press and one question from the Chinese press.
We'll start with (INAUDIBLE) from the BBC.
QUESTION: Thank you very much, Prime Minister.
Prime Minister, if you were a steel worker who had lost their job yesterday at the same time as seeing President Xi being ferried down Whitehall in a
golden carriage, how would you have felt?
Is there any price that's worth paying in order to further our business interest with China?
And President Xi, why do you think members of the British public should be pleased to do more business with a country that is not democratic, is not
transparent and has a deeply, deeply troubling attitude towards human rights?
CAMERON: Well, let me deal directly with the issue about steel because we discussed today the importance of the steel industry.
I want a strong and robust British steel industry. And we discussed the problem of global oversupply and China itself has plans to reduce that
But I would completely reject the premise of your question, that either you can have an exchange with China about the issue of steel or, indeed, about
human rights, or you can have a strong relationship with China, which is good for business investment and growth.
My argument and my contention, after five years of doing this job, is that you can have both. Indeed, you must have both.
The stronger our economic trading business and other partnerships, the stronger our relationship and the more able we are to have the necessary
and frank discussions about other issues. And it's those discussions and that --
CAMERON: -- relationship that leads to that greater understanding that makes that positive.
What I would say to steelworkers in Britain is we will take action here in Britain. We'll take action on energy costs. We'll take action to help
make sure that we procure British steel for British projects.
Where we can take action on tax and other issues, we will take that action. Where we can take action in the European Union, we will take that action.
But actually, the investment we're talking about today, we're going to build a nuclear power station in Britain that's going to have British
steel. We're building cross rail under the streets of London right now, the biggest construction project anywhere in Europe, employing almost
exclusively British steel.
The infrastructure partnerships we're talking about, the investment we're opening up, means more demand for British steel because that's the way
we're going to make sure procurement works in Britain.
So I totally reject the idea you either have a conversation about human rights and steel or you have a strong relationship with China. I want both
and we're delivering both and it's when you have that strong relationship and the strong partnership we have you're able to discuss all of these
issues -- President Xi.
XI (through translator): (INAUDIBLE) not asked me but I'd like to say on my initiative to (INAUDIBLE) the reporter has asked to the prime minister,
in the recent years, globally the steel industry has a overcapacity problem, not just in Britain.
This is mainly because of the financial crisis in the world, which had reduced the demand. Currently the steel industry in China has a
overcapacity issue as well. China has taken strong measures. We have reduced the problem. We have reduced 77 million tons of steel production
capacity and lots of our workers need to be relocated and transferred.
Today U.K. enterprises have become a most important destination for investment in China. After 2014, the investment in U.K. is 200 -- 21.8
billions and they created lots of jobs in U.K.
This year we're going to sign a series of agreements to produce more employment in U.K. And China, too, has been appreciating the Britain's
attitude on free trade and hope we could enhance our exchange in trade and also reduce trade frictions and trade protection to promote a healthy
development of relationship in trade between U.K. and China.
As to the human rights issues raised by the reporter, we highly respect -- we will highly -- pay high attention to the protection of human rights and
we connect it to the actual situation of China. We have a development road for human rights that is suitable for China, protect our human right in
China, in the world.
There is no best but only better for any country. We need to enhance and improve human rights situation to suit the development of the world and of
the times. In the human rights issues, the biggest -- the people would be the -- be able to say their opinions.
China wants to discuss with Britain and other countries to enhance the exchange and the cooperation in the human rights issues.
Next, I'd like to ask a Chinese reporter, the New China -- the "Xinhua" reporter.
This is a northern powerhouse which is trying to match the one belt and the one road initiative of China, one belt and one road initiative is for the -
XI (through translator): -- Asia-Pacific economic zone. And it also connects to, on the West, it connects with Europe economic zone and in
(INAUDIBLE) with 16 countries. But actually, it's a global initiative.
It will bring all the countries on the line in order to have new opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation.
The initiatives proposed has received a warm welcome from the countries. And the -- Britain has also showed great reception. We hope that we'll be
able to do the West (INAUDIBLE) -- and this is a good thing. It's an open one belt under one road is open initiative.
We want to promote the construction with -- matching with relevant planning of Britain. And we hope that both U.K. and the Chinese enterprises will
participate, actively participate in this initiative. We have also gone to visit Manchester. And I expect to see many good things there.
CAMERON: (INAUDIBLE) discussion that we've been having here today and we'll have tomorrow in Chequers is to better understand each other's
economic strategies and how we can have the maximum benefit for both our countries from them.
And I've been explaining to the Chinese president how we've made some choices in Britain, a choice to prioritize infrastructure investment, like
high-speed rail, the choice to rebalance our economy and build the northern powerhouse, the choice to give a priority to the high-tech and skills jobs
and training, just as the president has been explaining to me the one belt, one road initiative and what that means for China and how other countries
can benefit from investing in that vision.
And that's very much -- and back to answer the original question, that's the point of such a dialogue, is to better understand each other's economic
needs and priorities for mutual benefit.
But thank you very much for coming.
Thank you, Mr. President.
CURNOW: Well, there you have it. A press conference in London with Xi Jinping and David Cameron, the Chinese and British leaders, respectively.
I want to go to our Nima Elbagir. She's at 10 Downing Street.
We heard all these happy comments about trade and investment. But before we get there and talk about the details of this, I just want you to comment
yourself on the fact that Xi Jinping took a tough question from a BBC journalist on human rights and answered it.
What does that tell you?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And answered it, referring back to this new strategic partnership, this golden era, as he called it, in
relationships between Britain and China and actually made reference to the fact they're hoping to deepen an understanding and an exchange with Britain
on human rights.
That certainly will help Prime Minister David Cameron answer many of the criticisms he's been receiving here in the U.K,, that he's putting money
over and above Britain's traditional stance on democracy, not just on activism and human rights and democracy in Hong Kong and on the Chinese
Just a few hundred meters from where I'm standing now, across the street from Downing Street, protesters have been standing all morning, Robyn,
desperate to have their voices heard.
Whether this reference will be enough, it is definitely more than we're used to hearing from the Chinese president or any high-ranking Chinese
official. To say that China is willing to learn from any other outside partners, that, in and of itself, will be quite a big deal to those
listening here today -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Indeed. If the translation was correct and if I heard it correctly, he wants China to enhance and improve their human rights.
Let's talk, though, also about this nuclear deal. Controversial and also has political implications.
ELBAGIR: Absolutely controversial. It's a flagship project, it's essentially the centerpiece of this new environment that China and Britain
find themselves in. This strategic shift -- just behind me, actually, they're coming out right now. President Xi Jinping is moving to his car,
having just bid farewell to Prime Minister David Cameron.
CURNOW: And as we watch him leave 10 Downing Street there, Nima, he referred to his appreciation and how impressed he was with the pageantry
yesterday. He was hosted by the Queen. The red carpet really has been laid out for the Chinese leader.
ELBAGIR: Both literally and figuratively. It has been an extraordinarily warm welcome. This is really what Britain does best. You've seen it
yourself in the past, Robyn. This is how Britain punches above its weight continuously on the international stage. They really, really put on the
He was in the Diamond Jubilee state carriage. He came down the mall. He's expected to also be hosted by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge
in Lancaster House. From here, that's where he's going. They really have pulled out all the stops.
This is actually one of the reasons why state visits to the U.K. are always very high up on the agenda for international leaders. Even Barack Obama,
who, I imagine, isn't impressed by much, he said this is one of his favorite visits. But it all comes back to the money. It all comes back to
business and Hinkley, which he mentioned, that nuclear project, yes, it has been very contentious here in the U.K.
But it also, as they announced today, will be creating 25,000 jobs. And for those who have been critical about what the impact is going to be
environmentally, what the impact is going to be in the longer term, David Cameron can now show them 25,000 reasons why he believes this was a really
important thing for the United Kingdom -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Nima, thank you so much. Of course, that red carpet is right behind you. Appreciate you giving us some perspective on those comments
given there by the Chinese leader and the British leader.
I'm Robyn Curnow. You're watching CNN. We'll have much more after this short break. Stay with us.
CURNOW: Hi there. Welcome back, everyone.
I'm sure you all know it's Back to the Future Day. Jeannie Moos now looks at what's come true from that classic 1980s film and what is still just
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is called --
CHRISTOPHER LLOYD, ACTOR, "DOC BROWN": Back to the future.
MOOS (voice-over): -- but now the future is becoming the past as the time traveling machine's destination and the actual calendar match.
"BROWN": Where we're going, we don't need roads.
MOOS (voice-over): A flying DeLorian might not but we 2015ers still do.
Flying cars likes the AeroMobil exist; as a business they're barely off the ground. Ditto for the hover board. Up until now they have hardly hovered.
People riding --
MOOS (voice-over): -- seem to do most of the flying -- off.
The actors who played Marty McFly and Doc Brown reunited.
"BROWN": . of those self-tying sneakers.
MICHAEL J. FOX, ACTOR, "MARTY MCFLY": I'm waiting for those.
MOOS (voice-over): -- waiting for Nike to match the movie.
"MARTY MCFLY": Power laces! All right!
MOOS (voice-over): An outfit called Power Lace claims to have the technology.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slide your foot into the shoe.
MOOS (voice-over): Though they haven't yet tied up the financing and the lag in laces is being mocked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put these on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, rad. I bet they are futuristic self-lacing sneakers, right, Doc?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?
No. They are called Crocs.
MOOS (voice-over): And this seemed to be a crock as well.
"MARTY MCFLY": This thing doesn't fit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am adjusting fit.
MOOS (voice-over): It's 2015 and there's still no self-sizing, no self- drying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drying mode on.
MOOS (voice-over): Remember when Marty McFly ordered a drink?
"MARTY MCFLY": All I want is a Pepsi.
MOOS (voice-over): His Pepsi Perfect came with a straw built into the lid.
MOOS: But Pepsi's special commemorative bottle is just a regular twist-off with plain old Pepsi inside.
MOOS (voice-over): Pepsi created 6,500 of the bottles and is selling them for $20.15.
Get it? 2015?
"Back to the Future's" most astounding prophecy was this:
"MARTY MCFLY": Cubs win the World Series -- against Miami?
MOOS (voice-over): Twenty-six years ago, there was no team in Miami but there is now. And the forever hopeless Cubs are in the playoffs.
The ride service Lyft is offering free rides for a day in DeLorians. Mercedes jumped on the bandwagon with a spot mimicking the movie's floating
robot dog walker.
In real life, we're dog years behind.
With all this "Back to the Future" hoopla, here's a toast to the past.
How time McFlies when you are hydrating pizza.
LEA THOMPSON, ACTOR, " LORRAINE MCFLY": Hydrate level four, please.
MOOS (voice-over): Jeannie Moos, CNN.
"MARTY MCFLY": Boy, oh, boy, Mom. You sure can hydrate a pizza.
MOOS (voice-over): -- New York.
CURNOW: Also seems to be a day where we're all very nostalgic for what seemed like a very innocent time.
Thanks so much for watching. Enjoy the rest of your day wherever you are. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. This is the INTERNATIONAL DESK.