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North Korea's Latest Missile Launch Fails; V.P. Pence Arriving in South Korea; Turkish Vote Could Change Presidential Powers. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired April 16, 2017 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
IVAN WATSON, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. vice president lands in South Korea just hours after North Korea test-fires another missile. We're live in Seoul and Pyongyang this hour.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And reaction to that failed missile launch from the United States and China, major powers with a great deal at stake on the Korean Peninsula.
WATSON: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Ivan Watson in Hong Kong.
HOWELL: At CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, I'm George Howell.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Natalie Allen. And this is a special CNN NEWSROOM. It begins right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
WATSON: U.S. vice president Mike Pence is now in South Korea for the first leg of a trip to Asia and Australia. His visit comes amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and another provocation by Pyongyang.
Early Sunday the regime of Kim Jong-un tried but failed to test another missile. South Korean officials say the launch attempt was made from the port city of Sinpo on the east coast. A U.S. official says the land-based rocket malfunctioned almost immediately and then exploded.
CNN correspondents are covering these developments from around the region from Seoul, from Pyongyang and Beijing.
Let's begin with Alexandra Field who's in South Korea at the headquarters of the U.S. military and South Korean militaries there.
Will Ripley is one of the few Western journalists in North Korea.
And Matt Rivers, of course, in Beijing. Let's start with you, Alex.
What can you tell us about the missile launch and the string of missile launches that North Korea carried out in recent months?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It didn't come as a surprise to much of the world, Ivan. I can tell you that. Everyone anticipated that Kim Jong-un could pull off a provocative action of some sort, timed around the most important day on the North Korean calendar, which was just yesterday.
So daybreak in this part of the world, you did have this failed missile launch. Officials in the U.S. are saying it appears it was some kind of medium-range missile that they attempted to launch but that the whole thing crumbled just four or five seconds into it. So they are considering this a complete failure.
And it is because of that that you really won't see much of any response from Washington. Washington has acknowledged that the failed test happened. As for a response beyond that, they're saying they really won't have one and that clearly is because they do not want to give any more attention, cast any more sort of endorsement of the fact that Pyongyang has been carrying out these provocative measures.
You did have these U.S. warships that have been moved into the waters off of the Korean Peninsula. The U.S.S. Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group, it is meant to be there as a deterrent against provocative actions. And it has raised the level of tension here on the peninsula as many wonder and ask what the U.S. would do, how they would respond to a provocation.
This is not being considered by Washington to be a provocation that rises to the level of meriting any response -- Ivan.
WATSON: All right, thanks, Alex.
I want to move north of the demilitarized zone now to Will Ripley, who's live from Pyongyang.
Will, has the regime acknowledged at all this missile launch?
Are you hearing any reaction from North Koreans in that tightly controlled society?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: North Korea's government has not and will not most likely acknowledge this failed missile launch attempt. I have been in the country before, where similar things have happened and it's never reported to the general public. So most North Koreans will never know.
What I will say, though, Ivan, and I've also experienced this, based on previous failed launches is they will try again. We don't know when but we know that April is a very important month. Of course yesterday, as Alex mentioned, was the Day of the Sun, North Korea's most important holiday. But there are other major events coming up later on in the month. There's a major military anniversary coming up on the 25th of April. In fact, the United States has believed that there could be some sort of provocative act between the Day of the Sun on the 15th and this second holiday on the 25th.
So now we have a period of 10 days where we need to watch very closely the actions of North Korea.
Could they attempt another missile launch or could North Korean leader Kim Jong-un push the button on that highly anticipated sixth nuclear tests, which U.S. and South Korean intelligence analysts believe really could happen at any moment and they've thought that for several weeks now.
WATSON: Will, you witnessed this massive military parade that was held in Pyongyang yesterday. We've been showing images from that.
Can you help explain a little bit the rationale behind these kinds of demonstrations of military force in North Korea?
RIPLEY: They're designed not only to rally the troops but to rally the public as a whole. North Koreans, when they see these images of strength on television, when they see their nation's tanks and artillery and extremely disciplined goose-stepping soldiers, when they see people in uniform from various conflicts, all the way dating back to the Korean War, to the most modern special forces troops, it instills a sense of national pride.
And then it's also an opportunity for North Korea to unveil, as they did on Saturday, their latest missiles in their arsenals. So we saw the Scud missiles. We saw the submarine missiles and land-based ballistic missiles that are powered by solid fuel, a major technological development for North Korea.
And then we saw these potentially new types of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Analysts don't know and have really no way of knowing how far North Korea has come in the development of these weapons, the perfecting of these weapons.
Military parades always show mockups because putting real missiles on display in front of huge crowds and the leadership of the nation would be very dangerous. However North Korea claims that they are perfecting this technology and even the most skeptical analysts believe that it could just be a couple of years before North Korea has a viable intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the mainland U.S.
So they have their missile program, the nuclear program. They're developing it very quickly. These parades showcase those efforts to a North Korean audience to reinforce the propaganda that their government is standing strong against the imminent threat of invasion by the United States a narrative that's helped keep the Kim family three generations in power for the last 70 years and it also sends a very clear message to the rest of the world, a warning, if you will, that North Korea is prepared to fight back.
WATSON: All right, let's go to China now.
And thank you very much, Will, reporting from Pyongyang.
We're going to go to Matt Rivers, who's in Beijing right now and, of course, successive American administrations have asked China to try to crack down harder on its economic trading partner, North Korea.
Matt, is China uncomfortable with these scenes, with these missile launches and with the threat of nuclear tests coming from its neighbor, North Korea?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Uncomfortable is a really good way to put it, Ivan. I think that the Chinese are certainly not happy. If China wants anything, it's stability. Stability means that the Communist Party here can retain power and can focus on more domestic issues, like the slowing economy.
China, in an ideal world, doesn't want to be dealing with these issues, they do not want to see a nuclearized Korean Peninsula. They do not want Kim Jong-un to continue to provoke the rest of the world with these nuclear tests and with these missile tests.
But the fact is that they now have to deal with it and what China is going to say is that they want all sides to refrain from provocative action. That would include the United States and South Korea and these joint annual military drills that they do.
And China will consistently say, as they have for well over 10 years now, that only the way to solve this crisis in a lasting and peaceful way is to return to the negotiating table.
So, yes, China is very uncomfortable with the instability that the Kim Jong-un regime brings to the Korean Peninsula. But we'd be remiss if we didn't say that China also has a very strategic use for the Kim Jong-un regime and a regime hostile to the West in North Korea.
North Korea acts as a buffer against South Korea and the tens of thousands of U.S. troops stationed that are stationed on the Korean Peninsula. If something happened to the Kim Jong-un regime, were it to collapse, Korea may unify then under South Korean leadership.
Would that mean that there are now tens of thousands of U.S. troops on China's border?
That's something they would not want at all. So, yes, they don't Kim Jong-un very much in terms of how provocative he can be. But China has a very, very high level of strategic interest to keep a North Korea that's hostile to the West in power in that part of the world.
WATSON: And, Matt, It's worth noting that, in the years they have been in power, neither Kim Jong-un nor the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping have ever really met face to face, a sign of some of their strained relations.
Matt Rivers, live from Beijing, our man in China, thank you very, very much.
And I want to go back to South Korea to Yongsan, where Alexandra Field is standing by because, again, Mike Pence, the U.S. vice president, just arrived in South Korea.
And I guess the big question is, Alex, what can the U.S. really do if it wants to stop North Korea from carrying out another nuclear test short of triggering another war?
FIELD: Yes, what can they do to be effective and what can they do that would be different?
You'll remember that the U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson was out here in the region in Seoul just a month ago and he made a lot of headlines for that trip, declaring that the era of strategic patience was over that 20 years of --
FIELD: -- diplomacy had failed and that Washington would be looking at all options, including even a military option, when it comes to dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat. That was something that raised a lot of eyebrows here in South Korea, to say the very least.
It left South Koreans with a question, what role would South Korea play and would they be at the table as the U.S. charts this new course forward?
How involved would they be with the U.S.' decision-making process?
Those concerns were escalated with the presence of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson being sent back to the waters off of the Korean Peninsula. So what you'll have in the next couple of days is Vice President Mike Pence first coming here to meet with the servicemen and women who are stationed in South Korea, some 30,000 U.S. forces who are here.
And he'll also be meeting with their counterparts, their South Korean counterparts. This will be an opportunity for him to show the administration support for the work that these men and women do here.
But the high level conversations will be happening over the next few days when he sees South Korea's acting president and when he goes on to Tokyo, where he will meet with the Japanese prime minister.
That's when these top level officials will be talking about how to proceed when it comes to dealing with the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. And as Will pointed out for you, it is everyone's belief that North Korea is ready and capable of carrying out a sixth nuclear test.
The question that the U.S. and its allies need to talk about right now is what the response to that will be.
WATSON: All right, Alex Field, live from Yongsan in South Korea; Matt Rivers, live from Beijing and Will Ripley, live from the North Korean capital. I want to thank you for your excellent reporting. Our fine three correspondents there.
Now for analysis of North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions, we're joined now by Martin Navias. He's a senior fellow at the Centre of Defence Studies at King's College in London.
Thank you for joining us, Martin. And I guess --
MARTIN NAVIAS, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTRE OF DEFENCE STUDIES, KING'S COLLEGE: Thank you.
WATSON: -- in your opinion, at this stage, is there anything that Washington can really do to stop North Korea and its efforts to further develop nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles that could carry potential nuclear warheads as far as North America?
NAVIAS: Yes, I think there's still an option for negotiation. For some time now there's been talk of entering what we'd term a grand bargain with the North Koreans. I mean, President Trump has already indicated his willingness to talk to Kim Jong-un.
And I think, provided the United States and its allies set realistic objectives, then an agreement could possibly be reached with the North Koreans. And to understand what you can achieve, we must understand two things.
Number one, the North Koreans will never give up their nuclear weapons. That horse has long bolted. Anybody who talks about the North Koreans being prepared to denuclearize is living in a fantasy world. We are going to have to accept that the North Koreans will continue whatever agreement is reached to retain their nuclear weapons.
The second parameter of these discussions is this, that I cannot believe that any U.S. administration would tolerate the capability of the North Koreans to target the continental United States with nuclear armed missiles.
So within those two parameters, negotiations are going to have to take place.
WATSON: Let's just be clear; with the saber-rattling, with the aircraft carrier strike group from the U.S. that is now steaming toward the Korean Peninsula, you have got both sides flexing their muscles now.
But if one side was to shoot, the potential consequences on the Korean Peninsula would be catastrophic, wouldn't they?
NAVIAS: Well, yes. War would be catastrophic. I remember participating in an academic war game in the late 1990s, even before North Korea had nuclear weapons. And the view then was that escalation would be terrible. We're talking about two types of North Korean missile activities. One
is a test. One is an actual strike on the United States. The North Koreans don't have the capability to hit the United States at the moment. But they are working irrevocably and at speed to hit that capability.
What we can see in the next few weeks even or months is a North Korean test of a very long range missile. And then the United States has to decide what to do.
There's been talk of Americans trying to shoot down that missile. There is a weapon called the Aegis III Block 2A, which apparently, according to some reports, can shoot down an ICBM test in its same phase. Whether that is possible, I don't know. That's all --
NAVIAS: -- classified material. I'm not even sure if that weapon exists in deployable form yet. But if such a thing happens, well, obviously, yes, a miscalculation could lead to escalation, even if both parties don't want to escalate.
WATSON: All right. Martin Navias, discussing some of the potential implications here of this ratcheting up of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, thank you very much, Martin, for your analysis there.
And I'll turn now to Natalie and George at CNN Headquarters.
ALLEN: Thanks, Ivan.
And now we're talking with someone else about analysis over North Korea and what to do moving forward ahead here in this hour.
HOWELL: Other news we're following this day, it is Easter Sunday around the world and happening this hour at the Vatican, Easter Sunday mass is underway. The live images where Pope Francis is leading the service in St. Peter's Square.
Easter Sunday is the most important day of the year for some Christians, celebrating Jesus' rising from the dead.
ALLEN: The pope celebrated the Easter vigil mass Saturday night, where he urged Catholics to feel the pain of the poor and the immigrant.
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ALLEN (voice-over): Next here, Turkey could make history today as voters go to the polls. We'll take you live to Istanbul to tell you what it's about.
HOWELL (voice-over): Plus, they were finally leaving their besieged homes when they were then attacked. We'll tell you about the blast that could end the fragile evacuation deal taking place in Syria.
Live around the world and in the United States, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: Welcome back.
The polls are open in Turkey. Voters will decide whether to give sweeping powers to the president.
HOWELL: It is called the so-called power bill and it would turn Turkey's parliamentary system into a presidential system. Following the story, CNN international correspondent Ian Lee, live in Istanbul, Turkey, this hour.
Ian, what more can you tell us about what's at stake with this vote?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: George, the polls are open. People are going to them. They have until 5:00 pm tonight to cast their vote. And really it boils down to this yes and no vote. Yes meaning there would be a shift from the parliamentary system to a presidential system, giving the president executive power, dissolving the prime ministership.
It also gives the president more powers over the judiciary. And when it comes to making laws and the no vote would keep that prime minister, keep that parliamentary system.
HOWELL: And given what we know about what happened in Turkey, that nation has been rocked by attacks in recent months.
Given such a critical juncture with this vote, what can you tell us about security?
LEE: Security is very tight today, George. Just in the lead-up to this referendum, we're seeing in state media the police saying that they have arrested at least 49 alleged ISIS suspects that were planning attacks around this referendum.
And this is a country that has dealt with ISIS attacks for a number of years now, most noticeably this last New Year's Eve where many people were killed at a night club. And so police want to make sure that this whole referendum process, the voting goes by smoothly.
HOWELL: CNN international correspondent Ian Lee, live for us, following this vote in Turkey, thank you for the reporting. We'll stay in touch with you.
ALLEN: We turn to Syria now, where at least 100 people were killed as they headed to safe ground.
Just cannot seem to get forward with safety in this region. It happened near Aleppo when a blast targeted buses evacuating Shiite
villagers who backed President Assad.
HOWELL: And that was under a deal that also allowed the relocation of rebel supporters from other besieged areas. Our Nick Paton Walsh picks up the story.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Dozens of bodies recovered from this scene, absolute carnage, pictures posted on social media, Syrian state television, very hard to see, frankly. People torn apart in their seats on these buses.
They had hoped perhaps this was a journey on the way to a moment of respite. I'll give you a context as to why these evacuation buses were quite so important.
The ones attacked were leaving two towns north of Syria, Foua and Kefraya. Now these are full of regime sympathizers but were in a rebel-held province of Idlib and besieged, had been for months, years.
Also in the south of the country were towns full of rebel sympathizers, Madaya and Zabadani. But they were besieged by the regime. So the U.N. brokered a kind of swap, if you like, allowing a simultaneous evacuation of these two towns that were regime-loyal in the north, Foua, Kefraya, while rebel sympathizing towns in the south, Zabadani and Madaya, were also being evacuated.
But it was those who were leaving Foua and Kefraya, the regime-loyal town, that came under attack today. We don't know precisely whose territory they were in when this blast hit. But we think it was a car bomb and it does appear to be that the evacuation still continued after this tragic, horrifying episode.
In the past, buses from Foua and Kefraya headed there have come under attack from people who clearly were extremists. It wasn't quite clear which group they were affiliated with but nothing like the scale of the devastation today.
This, of course, has many worried in rebel sympathizing areas of some sort of regime reprisal as a result of it but still eyes focused very much on the terrifying toll on civilians in those buses.
As I say, dozens of people of the 3,000 who were leaving Foua and Kefraya, losing their life from this car bomb as they felt they were on their way to safety. These towns had suffered from besieging, starvation, lack of medical supplies for months.
These swaps, some say, will alleviate that suffering but, at the same time, do potentially change the demographic ethnic map of Syria permanently, taking regime sympathizers away from rebel areas entirely, they're often here with rebel areas often Sunni, Syria still seeing absolute savagery on both sides now as this war limps into its seventh year -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Irbil --
WALSH: -- Northern Iraq.
HOWELL: Nick, thanks for the report.
ALLEN: Next here, the White House is watching Pyongyang. We'll talk with an expert on international politics about U.S. efforts to rein in North Korea.
ALLEN: Plus violence breaks out between Donald Trump supporters and opponents. We'll tell you what led up to multiple injuries and arrests at a university campus. Stay with us.
WATSON: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Ivan Watson in Hong Kong.
ALLEN: Hello to you, Ivan. And at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, I'm Natalie Allen.
And I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.
IVAN WATSON, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to go to the Korean Peninsula now, where North Korean state media so far has not reported on Pyongyang's failed missile test early Sunday. South Korea says the rocket was launched from the North Korean port of Sinpo on the east coast.
The U.S. military says it blew up immediately so there wasn't much time to gather data. This latest provocation came just hours before U.S. vice president Mike Pence arrived in Seoul for the first leg of a trip to Asia and Australia. And we have reporters on both sides of the demilitarized zone.
CNN's Will Ripley is reporting from Pyongyang. And CNN's Alexandra Field is at the U.S. military headquarters in Seoul, South Korea.
Let's start with you, Will.
What do North Korean officials tell you when you ask about these warnings that come from the U.S. and their allies in the region not to carry out nuclear tests, not to carry out ballistic missile tests, which are all, of course, banned under multiple United Nations Security Council resolution resolutions.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: To put it simply, Ivan, they feel the United States is hypocritical. They feel the United States doesn't really have room to talk considering the fact that they're the only country in the world that has ever dropped the nuclear bomb on civilians, being Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan back in 1945, a fact that history that is repeated constantly in North Korean propaganda, along with their version of events in the Korean War.
They claim that the United States started the Korean War, which is contrary to the view of the majority of historians, certainly outside of this country, and so they also feel that the United States is the provocateur and that they're engaging in these military exercises with South Korea, something that always enrages Pyongyang.
And then they look at Donald Trump's order, President Trump's order to launch that missile strike on the Syrian regime and all of this fits into their narrative that they've told people for 70 years, through three generations of Kim family leadership that the United States is an aggressor, waiting at their doorstep, ready to invade or perhaps even to drop nuclear weapons on this country.
People here believe, because their government controlled propaganda tells them, that the United States could try to drop a nuclear bomb on North Korea at any moment and so they say that their government is justified in spending an extraordinary amount of its scarce resources on developing these weapons of mass destruction, even if it means hardship in other areas.
They will say that the missile program and the nuclear program should continue to get full funding even if the country has to cut back in other areas that are already pretty scarce in some instances because of increased economic pressure from, for example, China.
WATSON: Will, does this, in some way, feel like a test?
Like North Korea is trying to get the measure of a new U.S. administration that's had less than 100 days in office?
RIPLEY: There is a sense of uncertainty as to what the Trump administration is capable of. North Korean propaganda always says that war with the United States is imminent and they always are in a militaristic stance. There were plenty of times during the Obama administration that tensions flared on the Korean Peninsula.
And North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said that the station came to the brink of war but what's different this time is there is a new administration that really is untested in terms of its international policy.
They do not know what the Trump administration is capable of. All they have to go on are President Trump's actions and, frankly, his tweets. And a North Korean official at the military parade on Saturday, marking the Day of the Sun, told me that the special operation in North Korea last week involving commandos jumping out of planes, practicing combat exercises, this official told me that operation was in direct response to President Trump's tweets about North Korea in regard to the China issue. So clearly they're watching and they are trying to get a sense of what
the United States is capable of here. And I should also note that while, when you go on the streets and you hear unanimous support for the direction of the leadership of this country is taking, you always have to keep in mind when reporting about North Korea that it's an authoritarian government, where political dissent is not tolerated.
But on the surface, you ask anybody and they think that their leader, Kim Jong-un, is doing absolutely the right thing and taking this country in the right direction, even as many around the world look at North Korea's actions and feel that the country is headed to a path of further isolation and even perhaps a more dangerous situation than that if things were to escalate.
WATSON: And we do have to point out how limited your access is when you're on the ground there. From my previous trip there --
WATSON: -- I felt like it was like looking through a keyhole at a country because you are not free to move around. You're not free to talk to anybody you want to and they have to be careful about what they say.
Will Ripley, live from Pyongyang, thanks very much for your update.
And I'm going to go to the southern side of the heavily mined demilitarized zone to Alexandra Field, our correspondent, who is live from Yongsan. That's the headquarters for the U.S. military and its some 30,000 troops in South Korea.
The U.S. vice president, Mike Pence, is visiting that country as we speak, Alex, but he's also visiting at a very delicate time internally in South Korea because you've just had a president impeached and jailed there.
What real power does the interim administration have to deal with this crisis right now?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a question that a lot of members of the public here in South Korea are frankly asking, Ivan, and they have got their eyes on this presidential election which will happen in just a few weeks and a key issue here is how their five candidates would deal with not only the challenges of taking on the North Korean nuclear threat but how these candidates will want to work with the U.S. and how these candidates see this relationship, this alliance forging forward.
It's really interesting to point out that while the Trump administration's full focus and attention does seem to be on the issues here on the peninsula, the fact that they sent out three top diplomats now, the secretary of state, the Secretary of Defense and now the vice president, all of these U.S. officials are speaking to an acting president who won't have power, won't be in office in just a couple of weeks. They don't know who they're getting next, who will come to the table
next. What is clear is that South Koreans are committed to this relationship, to the (INAUDIBLE). What (INAUDIBLE) about here, Ivan, is that while in (INAUDIBLE) questions about how the Trump administration will act and how it will respond, those are questions that are also being asked here among the public in South Korea.
They want to know and understand what the U.S. means when they say that if China doesn't handle the North Korea problem, the U.S. will go it alone. They want to make sure that they're being consulted, that they're working in conjunction and in cooperation with U.S. leaders in terms of any decisions that are made about how to deal with North Korea, particularly when you hear words coming from Washington, like the fact that all options remain on the table and that a military option could be considered.
That's a very important issue to people here in South Korea because they do know and understand very clearly that any kind of preemptive strike on North Korea could put them in harm's way -- Ivan.
WATSON: That's right. And we do have to point out that South Korea has perhaps more to lose than anybody else with the capital where you are right now within artillery striking distance of the North Korean military.
That's Alexandra Field, live from South Korea, thanks very much, Alex.
And I'm going to hand over to Natalie and George at CNN Headquarters for more news.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Ivan, thank you.
And here in the United States the U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued this statement about that failed launch.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It said, "The president and his military team are aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment."
Let's talk more about these developments with Scott Lucas, a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham. He joins us now via Skype from England.
Thank you, Scott, for joining us again.
And where do we pick up from here?
We've just heard our reporters, Alexandra and Will Ripley, who was in North Korea. The defiance of North Korea perhaps testing this new administration.
ALLEN: Yes, go ahead. I'm sorry.
SCOTT LUCAS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: I think we take a step back and draw breath, to be honest with you because even though North Korea carried out this failed missile launch, it's quite interesting that it did not, as U.S. officials said they expected, carried out a nuclear test this weekend.
It's also been very noticeable that the Chinese have been very vocal, I think, in calling on both sides, North Korea and the U.S., to step back from any confrontation and I think Mike Pence's visit out to South Korea is a continued shift which, while talking about military preparations, is probably moving to political and diplomatic steps.
Let's talk about context here. What North Korea did is nothing new. They have been testing U.S. administrations through both nuclear and missile launches for well over a decade.
The question here was, the reaction for many people at Donald Trump, who has been seen as unpredictable as well as untested. But to be honest with you, what we're seeing is not really as much Trump but other American officials, Pentagon, National Security Council, Mike Pence sort of say, all right, said let's get a hold of this. We've had our show. We've sent the U.S. carrier group out there. It's really time to try to deescalate this.
And that's what I expect to happen in the forthcoming days.
ALLEN: Yes, because it was interesting that they said that the president would have --
ALLEN: -- no further comment, that he had commented certainly before this and that seemed to ratchet up the response from North Korea. They even called him out on a tweet. And we can certainly see and we've talked about it a lot, what a president tweeting can do to a situation, especially one that could be as dangerous as North Korea and military intervention.
LUCAS: A combination of North Korea propaganda and Donald Trump on social media is like two guys in a bar who just keep bumping chests on each other and saying, look what I'm going to do. You'd best back off. Look what I'm going to do.
And someone had to come in and separate them, to be honest with you. And U.S. bureaucracies had to do that. But, again, I emphasize, if anyone has taken on more prominence out of this episode, it's China, it's Beijing because I think increasingly Beijing will be seen by countries in the area not as a possible antagonist but as someone that is essential to keep temperatures down there.
And that's a big shift in the regional dynamics. I'm not saying U.S. will not be very influential in the region but I think the Trump administration's got to have a rethink, not just about North Korea but about whether its postures are good with relations beyond North Korea politically and militarily in the long run.
ALLEN: And it seemed like Xi Jinping and Mr. Trump found common ground there at their meeting in Mar-a-lago. Mr. Trump had said going in it was going to be tough but they came out of it and seeming to have had a positive meeting.
And as a result, China did give some extra pushback to North Korea. All at the same time, though, it does seem like the world has continuously just tiptoed around the fact that North Korea is building and building and lately the rapidity of their building has put the world on notice.
LUCAS: We need to have a bit of a reality check here and that's the North Koreans declare that they're making these rapid strikes. And we had the show yesterday of missiles which looked like intercontinental ballistic missiles. But this is the second missile test this month that has failed.
And this test was not of an intercontinental ballistic missile; it was of a very much smaller one. North Korea is a regional threat. Let's be very clear about this. But North Korea really is not in a different position than it was when Kim Jong-un took power. I think it's more of a question, which continues to be an ongoing question, of how you contain North Korea.
Regime change is probably out of the question. There's no way of forcing that.
So how you basically deal with a country which will make these postures but where you know that you really don't want to start a military confrontation?
And, again, I think the U.S. will have its place there. But we're probably going to be looking in the forthcoming weeks to a number of the countries in the region, reassessing this while making sure that no one tries to escalate the language of confrontation.
ALLEN: Scott Lucas, as always, thank you for joining us in your analysis.
Coming up here, violent clashes break out in Berkeley, California. We'll explain how it's all related to the new president, Donald Trump.
ALLEN: Welcome back. News from the U.S.: more than 20 people have been arrested after fighting broke out at dueling protests in Berkeley, California. The Patriot Day rally was originally organized to show support for the U.S. president, Donald Trump.
HOWELL: Eventually police had to use pepper spray to subdue the crowds. Our affiliate from KRON, Spencer Blake, has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SPENCER BLAKE, KRON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Though the pro-Trump and anti-fascism groups started the day somewhat organized, the delineation between the two eventually melted away, as the counter demonstrations poured into the streets of Berkeley.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're sick people, they're (INAUDIBLE) and they're sick. They're angry and they're sick.
BLAKE (voice-over): Every so often, the masses would swarm from one side of Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park to the other. Several times, groups within the crowd would scatter. That was usually either followed or preceded by the sound of a smoke bomb.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I kept my distance, pretty much, throughout the whole event. And whenever I see something, I kind of just keep that distance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a couple fights, you know, people punching each other, grab the back of their shirt and pull them away.
BLAKE (voice-over): Tensions would ease for a few minutes but soon people on opposing sides of the rallies would be at it again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're crazy. But I was hoping that in some way we could stop them from doing what they do. But they did it anyway.
BLAKE (voice-over): The longer the protests went on the more bloody faces, posters and streets we saw. Weapons included sticks, rocks, glass bottles and fists.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These guys are cowards. This is all they do, they hide with their masks, (INAUDIBLE), they sucker punch you, they hit you in the back of the head with sticks. (INAUDIBLE).
BLAKE (voice-over): Protesters made it up to Shattuck Avenue before things finally started to die down.
HOWELL: And that is our affiliate, KRON, thank you so much for that report.
A new report has been released highlighting how climate change in the U.S. is negatively effecting people's health.
ALLEN: Derek Van Dam is looking into that for us.
DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know I feel it myself. I'm an asthmatic and with air pollution even in and around Atlanta it can really exacerbate and make your asthma that much worse. And what we're finding out of this report is that it's not only here in Atlanta but it's across many of the major cities on the East Coast and the West Coast. We're going to try and highlight them here for you.
You can see on this regional map here -- by the way, this is from the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health. This is that latest report; climate related health risks, extreme
temperatures, weather events, poor outdoor air quality and contaminated food and water, mosquito-borne infections, increases in wildfire, it's all highlighted in this report and trying to break it down for you.
The big thing that came out of this report, it's interesting to note that globally there's around 12.6 million people that die each year due to environmental risk factors. That's globally but now we're focusing in on more of a U.S. audience because we're talking about an increase in temperatures and how that impacts your health at home.
HOWELL: Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, it's one of the most important days of the year for many Christians around the world. We go to the Vatican, where the pope is leading Easter Sunday celebrations. That story ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN (voice-over): Live video for you there, Pope Francis leading Easter Sunday mass. The Vatican marking an end to Holy Week. Easter of course, the day Christians around the world celebrate Jesus rising from the dead.
HOWELL: CNN's Delia Gallagher is following --
HOWELL: -- events live from Rome at this hour.
Good to have you with us, Delia. We have been talking a great deal here in the news about Egypt and Syria, events in the Middle East. These are issues that the pope has spoken out about as well. It does seem that there's a somber tone to the messages he's (INAUDIBLE).
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, George. In fact, just after this mass, the pope will go up to the central balcony of St. Peter's and he gives his traditional Urbi et Orbi address. That means to the city and to the world.
And that is the time when the pope in particular normally focuses on situations around the world which he thinks need to have particular attention, something he has been doing throughout this Holy Week. As you say, George, given the circumstances around the world right now, so many of the attacks that we are reporting on and hearing about, unfortunately, I think the pope has really taken it even a step further with his message of asking the world not to close their eyes to the injustices and to the suffering of various conflicts around the world.
As you might imagine a lot of extra security for today's event. It's also the 90th birthday of the pope emeritus, Benedict XVI, who was not at the mass but Pope Francis has wished him well. Lots of celebration at the Vatican today, too -- George.
ALLEN: Nice to hear. Thank you, Delia Gallagher, for us.
Thank you for watching this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell here in Atlanta.
WATSON: And I'm Ivan Watson in Hong Kong. The latest from North Korea is coming up in just a moment as the news continues here on CNN.