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North Korea Test-Fires Ballistic Missile; Putin Ready to Meet Trump. Aired 2-2:30a ET

Aired February 12, 2017 - 02:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hi, thank you for joining us. I'm Cyril Vanier. We continue to follow breaking news out of North Korea. Pyongyang has test-fired another missile.

A U.S. official says it was an intermediate range ballistic missile. Sources say it was launched from a province in the country's north and traveled some 500 kilometers before landing in the Sea of Japan known as the East Sea.

This happened just as U.S. President Donald Trump was hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Florida. Standing side by side, both leaders made brief statements about Pyongyang's latest provocation.


SHINZO ABE, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): North Korea's most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable. North Korea must fully comply with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.

During the summit meeting that I had with President Trump, he assured me that the United States will always with (sic) Japan 100 percent. And to demonstrate his determination as well as commitment, he is now here with me at this joint press conference.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister.

I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent. Thank you.


VANIER: Let's go straight to South Korea now. Matt Rivers is standing by in Seoul.

Matt, there was a lingering question, since the beginning of the Trump presidency, as to how committed Mr. Trump would be to allies South Korea and Japan.

Can we unequivocally answer that question now?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it does appear that way, given what you heard there from President Trump and also what you have seen from his administration over the past several weeks.

And those doubts really originated with President Trump himself. When he was a candidate, he brought up repeatedly the fact that perhaps the United States should back away from some of its historic alliances and its military partnerships with South Korea and Japan, because, as he put it, they weren't paying enough for U.S. services, U.S. presence here in this part of the world.

But there you heard President Trump, after spending several days with Prime Minister Abe, you saw him there, 100 percent committed to Japan, talking about the United States.

And it was just within the last 14 days or so that Secretary of Defense James Mattis chose to make his first overseas trip as Secretary of Defense to here, South Korea first and then onward to Japan.

That really sent a strong message, I think, both to South Korean officials as well as to Japanese officials that these long-term alliances, that the United States has had with both Korea, South Korea and Japan, are here to stay, especially given this latest provocation, this latest missile test that we have seen from the North Koreans.

VANIER: Matt, the other question of course, what is the threat here to the United States?

RIVERS: Well, the threat really lies to the United States in the form of North Korea's ability to potentially launch an intercontinental ballistic missile with a lot of range to it, that could potentially hit the United States.

And most experts will tell you that they don't believe that North Korea, despite what Kim Jong-un says, actually has that capability right now. That said, they quickly hedged those statements by saying North Korea is fast approaching that point, that they're doing everything in their power to make sure that developing those long- range missiles is something that is very, very high on their priority list in terms of their nuclear weapons program because they know that, in an international playing -- an international stage that is increasingly stacked against North Korea, the North Koreans know that the one card they really have to play is the threat of their weapons program.

And so they're really trying to do all they can to develop that ICBM; how far along they are in this process we are not really sure yet. We are even expecting that this latest test, when we first heard about it this morning, we thought it could have even been an ICBM before Defense officials quickly clarified what, in fact, this test was, that it was intermediate range missile. But I think most experts will tell you that, at some point in the

relatively near future, we would be talking about a missile test but instead of an intermediate range missile, Cyril, we could very well be talking about a long-range missile test.

VANIER: All right. Matt Rivers, reporting live from Seoul, South Korea. Thank you very much.

And CNN's Athena Jones has more now on the White House reaction.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, that's right. We did hear brief statements from Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and --


JONES: -- an even briefer statement, I should say, from President Trump here tonight at Mar-a-lago, the president's estate here in Palm Beach. Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan, saying that North Korea's most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable, saying North Korea must fully comply with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.

That second line there is an echo of a line from the joint statement put out by the U.S. and Japan after those two leaders, Prime Minister Abe and President Trump, had first official meeting at the White House.

In that statement, they urged North Korea not to make any further provocative actions or not to take any further provocative actions and they talked about the need for it to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions.

So you heard the prime minister echoing that call tonight. He also said that, during the summit with President Trump, Trump assured him that the United States will always come to Japan's defense and said that the president and he completely share the view that we are going to promote further cooperation between the two nations and also we are going to further reinforce our alliance.

After the prime minister spoke, President Trump took to the podium and delivered a very brief statement, saying, thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister. I just want everyone, everybody, to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent. Thank you.

Now I can't stress enough that that is a statement that does not at all address what happened. It does not address the fact that North Korea launched this missile. It was a cautious statement, dare I say, a timid statement, not the kind of language that we heard from Candidate Trump or President-Elect Trump, a clear signal that the White House is responding very, very cautiously to this, its first real national security test, now barely not even a month into the presidency.

So that is the statements we are getting so far from the White House and the Japanese prime minister in response to this latest provocation from North Korea.

And I should mention this is something that North Korea likes to do. They look to test new administrations. They fired -- they fired off their second nuclear test early in President Obama's first term and their third one just a month into his second term.

So this is not something that was not predictable. In fact, U.S. intelligence picked up on movements in the past month or so, that indicated this could be coming.

And yet we get a very, very brief statement from President Trump, a bit of a longer one from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in this, this first response to a missile launch. Back to you.

VANIER: All right. Athena Jones reporting there from Florida.

All right, let's look at the rest of world news now. Protesters showed up outside the White House on Saturday to denounce a wave of arrests by immigration officials.


VANIER (voice-over): Authorities have arrested undocumented immigrants in 12 states from coast to coast, the latest being more than 200 in the Midwest. Officials say most of the people that they locked up had already been convicted of crimes. Rafael Romo has more on this.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: The detentions over the last week are in the hundreds and have been across the country, especially in states with higher concentrations of immigrants.

In California alone, officials say they detained 160 individuals. According to authorities, 150 of the detainees had criminal histories and the rest were in deportation proceedings for other reasons.

Activists say the raids have terrorized the immigrant populations and caused widespread fear in these and other states. But Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says the raids are in compliance with the law and not just random operations.

JOHN F. KELLY, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: First of all, they're not rounding anyone up. The people at ICE apprehend are people who are illegal and then some. ICE is executing the law.

ROMO: A labor union representing a school district in Texas has published a flier that tells immigrants what to do in case immigration authorities come knocking on their doors. A union spokeswoman calls the raids a crisis and says providing this information is important to students and parents at the school district.

A local official reacted with indignation to the raids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have heard of several confirmed ICE actions in Austin. We are here to denounce those actions and to let the community know that we have their backs.

ROMO: Immigration and Customs Enforcement published a statement about the raid, saying the following, "The rash of recent reports about purported ICE checkpoints and random sweeps are false, dangerous and irresponsible.

"These reports create panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger. Individuals who falsely report such activities are doing a disservice to those they claim to support."

President Donald Trump made cracking down on illegal immigration a --


ROMO: -- central focus of his presidential campaign -- Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


VANIER: Russian president Vladimir Putin says he is ready to meet with Mr. Trump in person. Mr. Putin reiterated his hope on Friday for a dialogue to fully restore U.S.-Russia relations. So far, there's no date set for that meeting. But there may now be a venue. Our Clare Sebastian has details from Moscow.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Two weeks since Presidents Trump and Putin first spoke on the phone, the question of where and when they might meet in person is back in the headlines here in Moscow.

At a press conference with President Putin in the Russian capital Friday, the Slovenian president offered his capital city, Ljubljana, as a possible location for their first meeting.

This what President Putin had to say in response.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): As for Ljubljana and Slovenia as a whole, of course, it is a wonderful place for such talks. However, it depends not only on us but on a wide range of circumstances and day-to-day business.

If these meetings take place, we have nothing against Ljubljana; we have already held such meetings in Ljubljana and I would like to thank in advance if there is such an opportunity. Mr. President spoke about that. I would like to thank Slovenia for its willingness to organize such a meeting.


SEBASTIAN: Now of course, Slovenia might appeal to the U.S. side, being the birthplace of first lady Melania Trump. It's also the location of the first-ever meeting that took place between then- President Bush and President Putin back in 2001. President Putin also making the point, though, in that press

conference Friday that while he is ready and willing to restore the U.S.-Russian relationship, he says they can't start dialogue in earnest until the U.S. side finalizes its team and decides who will be dealing with Russia on certain key issues.

Those comments echoing a source at the Russian foreign ministry speaking to CNN earlier this week and expressing some frustration at the lack of counterparts at the U.S. State Department, saying that they are trying to understand who is dealing with what.

Now as for when we might find out more about that first face-to-face meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin, the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, has said that he hopes to meet with his counterpart, secretary of state Rex Tillerson, at one of several high level meetings set to take place in Germany at the end of next week.

That meeting could pave the way for the first face-to-face contact between the two countries' presidents -- Clare Sebastian, CNN, Moscow.


VANIER: And clashes erupted again in a Paris suburb on Saturday over the alleged rape of a young man by police officers.

More than 2,000 people were involved in the riots and four vehicles were set on fire. The protests began when four police officers were accused of beating the 22-year-old man and raping him with a baton.

The interior ministry says all four have been charged with aggravated assault in the February 2nd incident; one of the officers has been charged with rape.

And that's it for us. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. "MARKETPLACE AFRICA" is next. Stay with CNN.