Return to Transcripts main page


U.S. Fires Warning At North Korea; Violence Escalates In Venezuela; Trump To Deliver Speech In Warsaw Ahead Of Summit; Trump Stops In Poland On Way To G20. Aired 1-2a ET.

Aired July 6, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, an action is required. The U.S. says it is prepared to use military force again against North Korea. And Donald Trump arrives in Europe where he will put his foreign policy approach to the test at a critical summit in Germany. And a very violent government supporters storm the national assembly hurting lawmakers in the clashes. Hello, and thanks for joining us. I'm Michael Holmes and this is NEWSROOM L.A.

Welcome, everyone! U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley, says the U.S. does not want to take military action against North Korea, but it will if it has to. She delivered a blistering speech at an emergency Security Council meeting warning not only North Korea but its main trading partner: China. The Pentagon says the missile, North Korea, launched on Tuesday is a brand new type of rocket the U.S. has not seen before. Defense official says it could potentially hit Alaska. Haley says the U.S. is prepared to defend itself and its allies.


NIKKI HALEY, AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The United States does not seek conflict. In fact, we seek to avoid it. We seek only the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and an end to the threatening actions by North Korea. Regrettably, we're witnessing just the opposite. Make no mistake. North Korea's launch of an ICBM is a clear and sharp military escalation. The North Korean regime openly states that its missiles are intended to deliver nuclear weapons to strike cities in the United States, South Korea, and Japan. And now, it has a greater capacity to do so.


HOLMES: Let's head out to Seoul, South Korea that's where we find our Paula Hancocks standing by. Paula, strong words from the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. there, calling out China, calling for more to be done and promising measures but we don't have the details. How's that playing out?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, what we're seeing here in South Korea is when you look at local media, for example, a concern that there's more of a: them versus us mentality now. The U.S. and South Korea are on one side; China and Russia on the other side. And certainly, that's what many in the U.S. are thinking as well. This isn't new that China is suggesting that, for example, there should be a freeze on the U.S./South Korea military drills and in return, there would be a freeze of North Korea's nuclear and missile program and the testing.

Now, that China has mentioned before. They plighted it for some time and the U.S. has said no. They haven't responded this time, but the fact is that the response to the ICBM test by North Korea was joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea. So, really, you have your answer there. We're seeing stronger words though from South Korean leaders. The President, Moon Jae-in, for example, who is pro- dialogue, he's pro-engagement. He has said, while in Germany, that he wants stronger sanctions now.

This isn't something he has been publicizing before. We've also had the Defense Minister making comments yesterday, backed up by the Defense Ministry briefing today saying that they are making much progress, significant progress when it comes to miniaturization of a nuclear warhead which, of course, if you put a nuclear warhead on top of an ICBM and both are functioning properly, then North Korea has its stated goal of being able to hit the United States with a nuclear- tipped ICBM. Michael.

HOLMES: And Paula, we also heard from a U.S. Commander in the region with some unusual comments; fill us in on that.

HANCOCKS: That's right. This is General Vincent Brooks; he's the U.S. forces in Korea Commander, also ahead of U.N. forces here. And he says that self-restraint, which is a choice, is all that separates armistice and war. So, stronger words than we usually hear from General Brooks, saying that even though these are military drills at this point, they are ready if they have the order to go to at any moment. Now, there is more talk in the United States of potential military options, but some in the U.S. are saying that we need to move away from that.


[01:05:07] BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Well, the first realistic response is: stop talking about the pre-emptive military strike. That's not going to work. So, the next venue is at the United Nations' sanctions, possibly involving other countries not just the surrounding six-party Asian countries. That makes sense. But I think what you have to do is be careful that you don't get China or Russia to veto any strong sanctions at the U.N.


HANCOCKS: Now, President Moon will be meeting President Xi on the sidelines of the G20 meeting later this week as well. He said he wants to talk to him about North Korea. Michael.

HOLMES: Plenty to talk about too. Paula Hancocks in Seoul, thanks so much for your reporting there.

Well, North Korea is expected, of course, to dominate talks at the G20 Summit in Germany. U.S. President Donald Trump is headed there, but first, he stopped off in Poland where White House officials say, he will deliver a speech outlining his vision for transatlantic ties. Western European leaders have been critical of Poland's crack down on opposition media and constitutional reforms. They're concerned that the visit could actually deepen European divisions. Nic Robertson is in Hamburg, Germany with what's ahead at the G20 Summit. But first, let's go to Melissa Bell, who's standing by in Warsaw. Melissa, a lot of people are waiting to hear what Mr. Trump's going to say about his transatlantic vision and also Poland as well. He's on friendly political turf there.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Much more friendly, no doubt than the reception that's likely to greet him by the time he gets to Hamburg. It is, really, that he's much more popular, Michael, he's more popular here Poland about 23 percent approval rating according to latest polls. It is -- there is a government whose policies really mirror many of those same attitudes of Donald Trump to a number of key questions. It's a populist government that has, to just remind you as Michael, has worried Brussels a great deal, but it is very pleased to be able to welcome Donald Trump.

In a couple of hours, he'll be meeting with the Polish President, before going to then a summit to deal with energy. This is a part of the world that really wants to decrease its energy dependence on Moscow. Donald Trump wants to be able to help than to do that by providing more natural gas from the United States. Then there'll be this speech; the one that you refer to, Michael. And the words that are chosen and the script, whether it is stuck to or not, for instance, will be extremely important because the whole world, really, is watching to see precisely what role Donald Trump chooses to play on the international stage and in particular, within the NATO alliance.

Clearly, the hosts here in Poland are really hoping for a much stronger commitment from the part of the American President to that principle of mutual defense in case of aggression of one NATO ally or another. So, a great deal of attention will be paid to that. But clearly, poles have been encouraged to come out and welcome the American President. They're being bussed in from all over the country. Three transportations (INAUDIBLE 08:17) and after the big speech they're being offered a patriotic picnic. So, the Polish government determined here to deliver on that promise. To make the Americans and Donald Trump will be well received.

HOLMES: All right. Melissa thanks so much; Melissa Bell in Warsaw. Let's go to Nic Robertson in Hamburg. Nic, tell us about the atmosphere President Trump is going to arrive in. Fellow world leaders that he's loudly at odds with on a lot of things from trade to climate change and so on.

NIC ROBERSTON, CNN INTERNATION DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. I mean, the sort of atmosphere here is one of the popular protests on the streets. You know, there were 11,000 people in a sort of a big dance off in one of the streets; I'd rather dance and go to the G20. And I think President Trump is certainly going to see and hear from people in Germany that there is a feeling of frustration, anger, even over some of his global policies on climate change and trade. And those are things that are going to come up in the meetings here. You have the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, writing that the United

States sees globalization in a different way to the way that she does. That was something that was echoed by the European Union as well. There's a sense that the United States sees globalization as a sort of a winners and losers situation where a few can profit whereas a view here in Europe is something of there be -- you know, it should be a win/win. There should be a sort of an economic benefit for everyone. There's going to be issued on trade about protectionism versus the free trade that Europe wants.

Some of that will probably embody today with a new E.U./Japan free trade deal that will be, perhaps, expected to be signed in Brussels. That's just one part of it. Then, of course, the North Korea part, you know, President Trump coming here with the sort of language that he's been using in his tweets. The language that Nikki Haley was using in the expectation that there could be some trade sanctions put on China, particularly on the issue of steel. President Trump's been critical of that in the past.

So, you know, President Trump is going to arrive here needing to win people over to his side on the North Korea argument that there should be steeper and tougher sanctions on North Korea. But he's going to be frustrated in trying to convince people of that because there were so many other issues that he's at odds with them on. And then, of course, the important and much-anticipated meeting with President Putin; the first time they're meeting. And we got insight into what may come in that meeting from Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, speaking late yesterday:

[01:10:49] He said, that Syria was going to be an important point in the conversation that relationships with the United States have been strained and he gave the first indication here that the United States is looking beyond the defeat of ISIS in Syria. What does it want next? And he talked about the need to stabilize Syria in the absence of ISIS. And that's something they need to do in conjunction with the Russians. But he indicated, really, that the most important thing out of that meeting that could happen would be that the two leaders: Putin and Trump, would sort of find a way forward and sort of a joint understanding of the way the countries view themselves at the moment because the relationships are so strained. Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, indeed. On a whole raft of issues as you report. Nic Robertson in Hamburg and Melissa Bell in Warsaw, thanks. Well, David Rohde is a CNN Global Affairs Analyst and Online News Director for the New Yorker, joining us from New York via Skype; always good to see you, Sir. Donald Trump tweeted back in January, you'll probably recall that a North Korean nuclear missile capable of hitting the United States "won't happen." But it looks like it is happening. Where does that leave the President as he heads to the G20?

DAVID RODHE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST AND ONLINE NEWS DIRECTOR FOR THE NEW YORKER (via Skype): I think this is, you know, the most important week in the diplomacy of Trump's presidency. He did kind of, you know, he has tried saber rattling with North Korea; that hasn't worked. Kim Jong-un, you know, continues to these tests. And then he sort of embraced, you know, the key player in all this. Chinese President Xi, at a bat, appears to not have worked as well. So, this is very high stakes 48 hours for Donald Trump and it's not clear how he's going to perform.

HOLMES: You make a good point. The President put a lot of eggs, so to speak, in the Chinese basket urging and pretty much, hoping in many ways that they do more. And of course, they have not, at least not as much as the U.S. would like. Now, the U.S. is promising more action in the U.N. The fact is, really, though, that nothing has worked when it comes to Kim Jong-un's ambitions. Is -- the most likely outcome here in your view just accepting a nuclear-armed North Korea and then tries to contain it?

ROHDE: I think it is, unfortunately. Again, China's the critical player. You know, there's lots and lots of attention on this meeting between Trump and Putin. But I think the meeting between Trump and President Xi is just as important. You know, it kind of remains largest trading partner, but most of the reports out of Beijing say that you know, the Chinese government is more concerned about instability in North Korea.

They don't sort of want massive flows of North Korea refugees coming into China. So, they're not willing to cut off trade in the way that U.S. Ambassador, Nikki Haley, called for today. So essentially, yes, Kim Jong-un succeeds and I agree with what Nic said, you're going to see very little agreement at this G20 meeting. The various international powers are I think more divided than they have been in years on many, many issues.

HOLMES: That's because the options are so limited. It was interesting you mentioned Donald Trump and Mr. Xi, he tweeted, of course, earlier "that trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40 percent in the first quarter. So, much for China working with us, but we had to give it a try." I'm curious, given that he seemed to be fairly chummy with Mr. Xi, what do you make of the tone of that tweet? You know, something that perhaps might work domestically but how will it go down with the very face-conscious Chinese? It's sort of that foreign policy in 140 characters again.

[01:14:35] ROHDE: Yes. I don't think it's going to have much impact at all. Again, it might resonate with an American as you said, but he's now trying to get tough with China. There were new sanctions the U.S. announced last week against Chinese banks that do business in North Korea. There was this -- the U.S. ship sailed, you know, close to an island that China claims as its own in the South China Sea. So, now Trump's trying to get tough with Xi and I don't think again that works well, publicly, with China. They won't want to lose face. So, Trump's, you know, the strategy is kind of, we'll use military force and they're just talking about trade. You know, Ambassador Haley talked about that again. Neither of those things seem to be working. He has to kind of settle down and have clear strategies or I think many rivals, you know, Xi, you know, Putin, you now, European leaders, Merkel, who don't trust him, you know. He's going to lose his credibility unless he performs very well and is very calm and has clear strategies again in these crucial meetings. [01:15:38] HOLMES: To that very point, how much pressure then, is President Trump under on the world stage? Is this sort of America first policy unfolds? You have international leaders who are peeling off and looking for leadership elsewhere, all sorts of differences from NATO to climate change. What sort of pressure is he under? What does the world order look like right now?

ROHDE: I think he is under enormous pressure and certainly, this is the most important week of diplomacy in his Presidency. And his rhetoric, you know, will be shown be as hollow if his threats don't lead to changes in behavior that is not happening in various places around the world. And the meetings are critical and the importance is creating alliances. If there is a more unified approach to North Korea and joint sanctions against North Korea, that could, you know, if that was done quietly but broadly and effectively, maybe that would lead to a change in China's approach to North Korea, who knows, but you need credible threats or strong alliances and we'll see in the next 48 hours if Trump can produce either one.

HOLMES: Yes. And also coming up, of course, the meeting with the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin. Early indications from the U.S. administration was there was no formal agenda, there were suggestions that the Russian meddling in the U.S. elections might not even be raised by Mr. Trump. The State Department always provides advice and tactics ahead of such meetings that woefully understaffed. Do you think that Mr. Trump is prepared to handle a well prepared and experienced Vladimir Putin?

ROHDE: I think he can. I want to give Trump credit. He has done things like this throughout his life but the stakes are much, much higher. If he grants a unilateral concession to Moscow, his political opponents in the U.S. will be all over that. Let's see how Trump performs. Maybe he will handle the meeting well. He has done better with foreign leaders than many expected. So, we'll see how he performs. But again, these stakes are just enormous and this is a critical period for him on the international stage and it will impact the rest of his Presidency.

HOLMES: David Rohde, as always. Our thanks for your expertise. Appreciate your time, thank you.

ROHDE: Thanks.

HOLMES: The Pentagon has alarming new details about the missile that North Korea tested on Tuesday. What makes it more dangerous and mysterious than Pyongyang's previous hit? That's still to come on the program.

Also, Donald Trump once gave China's President chocolate cake and a big welcome at his Mar-a-Lago Resort. But is Kim Jong-un coming between them? We'll be right back.


[01:20:43] HOLMES: Welcome back, U.S. Military Official say the missile North Korea launched on Tuesday is a kind they have never seen before. Estimate show the missile could potentially hit the U.S. and if Pyongyang figures out how to put a nuclear warhead on it, that could be catastrophic. Here's CNN's Tom Foreman.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN BROADCAST JOURNALIST: North Korea is on track to have more missile tests this year than any other. More than a dozen so far and each one is telling us a little bit more about how far they can project their weapons arsenal out into the world. This latest one is a milestone. Analysts saying, for the first time, it looks like they could actually hit U.S. soil somewhere up here in Alaska.

So, let's take a look at a life-size model of this thing. It's about 55 feet tall. It's about as a basketball court is wide. It did not go terribly far horizontally less than 600 miles. But what has excited the world is how high it went. Look at these numbers here. Even if that estimate is too high and it's much less than that it's still much, much higher than the International Space Station. So we know this left the atmosphere, went into space and came back into the atmosphere seemingly under control. That tells us they have made real strides in propulsion and guidance.

So where do they stand on the overall scheme right now? Range, this gets a green light. They figured out how to make it fly a long way. If they keep advancing this way, they slowly bring Hawaii and Oregon and California into their range. Accuracy is still a cautionary yellow here because simply getting something to fly that far and hit what you're aiming for, that's a different matter altogether.

They may still have real challenges on that front. And lastly, the stopper is the nuclear part of the equation. The reason you build an ICBM is to carry a nuclear weapon. That's it. And there is no indication yet, according to the experts around the world that they managed to make a nuclear weapon small enough and reliable enough to be carried by any of their missiles. Nonetheless, put it altogether, what you see is a country on a break-neck pace of progress with their missile program, and a very worrisome pace for the rest of the planet.

HOLMES: Tom Foreman reporting there. Now, even in its testing phase, North Korea's latest missile could do real damage to relations between Washington and Beijing. The Trump administration sending a warning to China about doing business with Pyongyang. Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N, saying, "The world is on notice." And she is urging Beijing to take a tough economic stand against North Korea.


NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Much of the burden of enforcing U.N. sanctions rests with China. Ninety percent of trade with North Korea is from China. We will work with China. We will work with any and every country that believes in peace. But we will not repeat the inadequate approaches of the past that have brought us to this dark day.


HOLMES: President Donald Trump began his Presidency as a big fan of China's leader. But will this tough talk take a toll on the relationship? Well, it's complicated. Andrew Stevens shows us why.


DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: A man that I've gotten to like and respect.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR 9voice-over): It was hailed as a budding bromance. All smiles as Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Trump met at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in April. A key issue for the two leaders, North Korea. Trump said he listened to Xi explain Chinese/Korean history for ten minutes and made him realize, "It's not what you would think." But in the months since, Trump has had a lesson in real politics. This week's missile tests showing that on North Korea, the U.S. and China are still miles apart.

TONG ZHAO, FELLOW, CARNEGIE NUCLEAR POLICY PROGRAM: The issue with North Korea is quickly becoming a major barrier in the actual relationship between Washington and Beijing. Both countries see North Korea as a major headache. They both want to resolve it earnestly but they are not on the same page how to most effectively deal with North Korea.

[01:25:13] STEVENS (voice-over): Trump appears to believe that China is still the key to controlling North Korea, judging from his tweets on China over the past few days. China is North Korea's closest and main trading partner and Trump wants China to apply more economic pressure on Kim Jong-un. China says it has implemented U.N. sanctions including blocking coal exports from North Korea which cuts off a key source of hard currency for the Kim regime.

The U.S. says that's not enough and the bromance has been turning sour. President Xi this week complaining of "negative factors" which is complicating the U.S.-China relationship. China is dismayed with a recent U.S. arms deal with Taiwan, U.S. sanctions on a Chinese bank with alleged ties to North Korea, and the U.S. Navy sailing through disputed waters in the South China Sea claimed by China as its own.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are almost at the end of a honeymoon. They are doing things that are getting under China's skin. It's a combined sort of now we like you but on the other hand now we're going to press you. And as if to say, we can manipulate China into behaving the way we want to. I don't think that works too well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is not the way to play China?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think so. I don't think China, expecially now, Xi Jinping has to look strong and consistent and be the man of stability. He's not going to do something that is at Trump's bidding.

STEVENS (voice-over): China is also clear it does not want regime change in North Korea.

ZHAO: The dilemma is as follows. In order for economic sanction to be able to force North Korea to denuclearize, the sanction has to be so tough that it threatens the stability of the economic system and therefore threaten the stability of the regime. ANDREWS (voice-over): Most experts agree that china and the U.S. need to work together to contain North Korea. But as the two leaders prepare to meet at the G-20 in Germany, there is little sign that either side is prepared to change their position. Andrew Stevens, CNN, Hong Kong.


HOLMES: Well, the feud between Qatar and its allied neighbors could be getting worse. How a crucial impasse failed to produce a solution. That's coming up after the break.

Also, Venezuelans turning to a neighboring nation for critical medical help. We'll have that story too here on NEWSROOM L.A.


[01:30:10] HOLMES: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Michael Holmes, thanks for being with us. The headlines this hour.


HOLMES: Qatar is not complying with the list of demands given by the Saudi-led coalition that cut ties with Doha last month. As a result, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and United Arab Emirates say they will maintain their boycott until Qatar gives in. But neither side of this feud looks ready to blink any time soon.

The Qatari foreign minister striking a defiant tone when he spoke to our Christiane Amanpour.


MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN BIN JASSAM AL-THANI, QATARI FOREIGN MINISTER: If you are looking at the demands, there are accusations that Qatar is supporting terrorism. They are shutting free speech and shutting the media outlets, expelling people of oppositions violating international law by -- with their own citizenship from some of the people and return them back home. So there are a lot of demands which are against -- against the international law --



AL-THANI: We are not going to comply with anything against the international law. We are not going to have something that just singles out Qatar.


HOLMES: Joining me now from the Saudi capitol, writer and political commentator, Salman al Ansari.

Thanks so much for being with us.

As we said, neither side in this dispute wants to lose face. What happens now? This is surely destabilizing for the immediate region.

SALMAN: WRITER & POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. Thank you so much. I think there is a huge concerns among the Arab and Muslim world to basically confront all terrorist advocates and terrorist sponsors and terrorist sympathizers. Because if you look at the Riyadh summit where more than 50 Muslim leaders met with the president of the United States, they made it clear that there would be zero tolerance with any terrorist sympathizer or advocate or sponsor. So I think Qatar needs to get back to its mind. Qatar needs to basically get back to the GCC council by abiding by, not only by the regional laws but the international laws. We know that Qatar has one thing -- (INAUDIBEL) -- which is al Qaeda-affiliated group in Syria. And they are not shy of saying so. And they are supporting -- (INAUDIBLE) -- and they're supporting the Muslim Brotherhood around the Arab and Muslim world. This is destabilizing and dangerous.


Salman, a lot of people have pointed out of course in the past that Saudi Arabia itself has stood accused of exporting or at least allowing the export of extremist ideology. Just this week, the Henry Jackson Society in the U.K. issuing a report saying that Saudi Arabia is the chief foreign promotor of Islamist extremism in the U.K. How is that allegation being received, particularly in the context of the allegations Saudi Arabia makes against Qatar?

AL ANSARI: Thank you for asking this question. I've read the same report that you have mentioned two times. And I can tell you this, very genuinely, this report is completely baseless and has nothing to do with it. And I'll tell you why. Because the name that he mentioned in the report and wanted to link them to the Saudi government, where actually more of sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood that we are trying to confront and to combat. So I think the report was not respectful enough --


[01:35:20] HOLMES: I think, Salman, that the report I think is pointing out the origins more geographically by country than accusing the government directly. It was saying that the funding for extremism is coming from a number of gulf states, and Iran as well. But it points out Saudi Arabia as spending millions exporting Wahhabi Islam, going back to the 1960s.

AL ANSARI: Let me tell you something. This is good that you brought this because it is very important that the people can understand when it comes to the idea madrassas and religious school and Wahhabism, as people call it. Let's look at the fact. Where does ISIS operate officially? They operate in Libya, Syria and Iraq. And guess what? None of those countries in the past and in the present time have ever allowed Saudi Arabia to build any mosque or any madrassa. So that in itself proves the point that Saudi has nothing to do with this. But let me be frank with you. We all know terrorism is a global

phenomenon. We cannot combat it independently. We should all get together and battle it together.

What I'm so happy about is just the outcome of the Riyadh summit. It made it very clear. We are not going to have a gray area any more. It's either black or white. If there is a terrorist group or a sponsor of terrorism or any state sponsor of terrorism, such as Qatar or Iran, will be held accountable. Saudi Arabia has -


AL ANSARI: -- the United Nations fund of combatting terrorism with $110 million. And it's the biggest contribution from any government in the world. So and, at the same time, Saudi Arabia, we have the biggest military coalition, the biggest (INAUDIBLE) coalition in history just to combat terrorism in foreign countries. So we are taking a very serious approach, the Saudis, and -- (INAUDIBLE) -- has been putting a lot of emphasis on the importance of combatting the ideology of extremism. That's why he opened the - (INAUDIBLE) -- President Trump --


HOLMES: Still a long way to go, obviously, on that issue for a number of countries in the region. I wish we could go on more, but it's not a great line. So we'll leave it there.

Salman al Ansari, always a pleasure. Thank you.

AL ANSARI: Thank you.

HOLMES: Government supporters, armed with pipes, stones and sticks, throwing Venezuela's national assembly into chaos on the country's Independence Day.




HOLMES: You can see there, they stormed the building and attacked lawmakers and journalists in the hallways on Wednesday. Blood was spilled. The national assembly president says at least 12 people were injured in the clashes.

President Maduro was at a military parade when the clashes broke out and he condemned the violence.


NICOLAS MADURO, VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT (through translation): At the door and hallways of the national assembly there were incidents of unrest and violence. I absolutely condemn these acts. Whereas I understand it at this time, I will never be an accomplice of a single act of violence. I condemned them and I've ordered an investigation so that justice will prevail. I want peace. I want peace in Venezuela. I don't accept harm done to anybody.


HOLMES: Venezuela's worsening crisis is taking a toll not on the country but also on its neighbor, Colombia.

Here's CNN's Leyla Santiago.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This woman couldn't take one more step. She barely made it across the border into Colombia. She needs a doctor, like tens of thousands of others desperately crossing the border for medication and food.

Once one of Latin America's wealthiest countries, Venezuela's civil unrest and humanitarian crisis has left the country on the brink of collapse.


SANTIAGO (on camera): She's saying if she didn't bring him here, her child would have died.


SANTIAGO (voice-over): The 20-year-old mother tells us her baby has meningitis. Doctors in Venezuela diagnosed him but did not have the medicine to treat him.

As recently as March, the country is lacking 80 percent of basic medical supplies according to one of Venezuela's pharmaceutical trade groups.


[01:40:12] SANTIAGO: This doctor sometime feels powerless when the patients get to Colombia, and it's too late. The emergency room is so full, patients from Venezuela are now lining the hallways. Doctors say it's costing the hospital more than just money. It's compromising quality of care.

(on camera): As people come and go between Venezuela and Colombia, the largest public hospital in this region says it expects to treat double the number of Venezuelans this year as it did last year. It could be enough to collapse the health care system, they tell us. But they also say that even if they don't have a bed to spare, they refuse to turn anyone away.


SANTIAGO: If the doctor had her way, she would give every patient a chance to survive.

The lifeline many have found in this border town, this health care system, doctors are now warning, is unsustainable.

Leyla Santiago, CNN. Colombia.


HOLMES: The so-called Islamic State is on the verge of losing its two biggest cities, Mosul in northern Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. In another war, that might be called victory. But in this one, winning now is just a small piece of a puzzle.

Nick Paton Walsh reports.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm about 40 miles from Raqqa city itself. How things have changed since we were here 18 months ago. This used to be the front line but now ISIS are surrounded entirely, cordoned off in what they still call the capital of their self-declared caliphate. Coalition backing the Syrian and Kurdish Arab fighters behind me and moving into, remarkably, they said, in the last 48 hours, the old city area of Raqqa itself. Pushing through a substantial wall around it using air strikes and being able to bypass the mines and defensive positions that ISIS put into place to try to slow this attack down. It seems to be moving very fast, indeed. We have seen American military vehicles moving around here at a reasonable frequency. This fight is moving fast. And it's the last population center that ISIS control because they are pretty much days away from losing the largest city they ever had, which was Mosul in Iraq. There are matters of hundreds of meters now for Iraqi special forces to clear. They smell victory but it's pretty far away. Because the people they are facing are suicide bombers with civilians being used as human shields. A very difficult task there. But still, a difficult task later, after that, when they try to rebuild. Iraq fractured as a society between the Sunni ethnic group that backed ISIS, many of them, and the Shia that dominate the military and the government. They need healing so they can rebuild. And here in Syria, too, the broader question of what happens when Raqqa is finally liberated of ISIS? Who rebuilds it? Who moves in? Not really answers satisfactually. The U.S. have a plan to move in quickly and try and get things going but they probably haven't got the budget or the patience to stick it out until the end. And the Syrian regime is very close by with an eye on getting back as much territory as it possibly can.


HOLMES: Nick Paton Walsh there.

Next on NEWSROOM L.A., some of the world's most powerful figures join the fight over Charlie Gard. The White House and the Vatican move to intervene for the parents of the desperately ill infant. That, and much more when we come back.


[01:45:41] HOLMES: Welcome back. The parents of Charlie Gard are expressing fresh hope that they can still take back control of what happens to their infant son who clings to life in a British Hospital. The White House is trying to intervene in the terminally ill baby's behalf, as are the pope and a children's hospital in Rome.

But as CNN's Diana Magnay tells us, it is unclear if the courts will allow them to step in to help.


DIANE MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Charlie Gard's parents say they have been in touch with the White House, that President Trump has a good understanding of this case and that his offer of help to Charlie was not an off-the-cuff tweet. They also say the messages of support from the pope and the U.S. president have given them hope and they have been in regular contact with the Bambino Gesu Hospital at the Vatican, who offered to take in Charlie. And clearly, what they're trying to do is to assemble a team of international experts who could theoretically provide this therapy for him.

The president of the Bambino Gesu Hospital said this was about empowering the parents, giving them the final decision as to Charlie's treatment.

MARIELLA ENOC, PRESIDENT, BAMBINO GESU HOSPITAL (through translation): The hospital has told us that the board, for legal reasons, cannot transfer the baby to us. Therefore, this is now the sad note of this event. He will wait there for the mother. And if scientific evidence can be shown that this treatment can do something, I don't know. We will continue to dig on the subject. And our scientists, when they have news, they'll speak directly with the mother.

MAGNAY: Still, the court order, for now, means that Charlie cannot be moved. Great Ormond Street Hospital where he is, delaying turning off his life support presumably for the parents' sake. But it is highly unlikely this court order can be reversed, barring the sudden arrival of fresh medical evidence that could make the doctors who have been examining Charlie's case change their minds.

Theresa May in parliament today expressed her sympathies both for the family and the team of doctors looking after him.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Any parent would want to do everything possible to -- and explore every option for their seriously ill child. But I also know no doctor ever wants to be placed in the terrible position where they have to make such heart-breaking decisions. The Honorable Lady referred to the fact that we have that court process here. I'm confident that the Great Ormond Street Hospital have and will consider any offers or new information that has come forward with consideration of the wellbeing of a desperately ill child.

MAGNAY: An impossible situation for a terminally ill baby boy, born healthy, whose parents understandably want to pursue every option before they will be able to let him go.

Diana Magnay, CNN, London. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: The maker of a popular soy-based drink in Hong Kong is looking to expand. Vitasoy was started decades ago and is tapping into the growing demand for more plant-based nutrition. CNN discovers the company's secret to long-lasting success.

Here's Kristi Lu Stout with more.



KRISTI LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): People here frequently eat out, so the city has thousands of dining options. They range from upscale eateries to local diners, known as (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE), which translates to tea restaurants.


STOUT: On the menu, you'll find instant noodles, eggs and thick toast. Of course, tea is always served in a variety of ways. Milk tea is a Hong Kong staple, but lemon tea is also popular.


STOUT: These classic flavors are also captured by local beverage maker, Vitasoy. The company started in 1940 and the story begins with a soy bean.

Kwee Seong Lo wanted to develop a drink to fight malnutrition so he mass-produced soy milk as a cheap source of protein. But the business struggled for several years to make money. Today, Vitasoy products are available in 40 countries with sales of $700 million in U.S. dollars

ROBERTO GUIDETTI, CEO, VITASOY: The beautiful thing about Vitasoy is the mission that was of the inception of the company in 1940 about plant-based sustainable nutrition somehow is extremely relevant today.

[01:50:12] STOUT: CEO Roberto Guidetti says he tasted Vitasoy's original soy milk for the first time nearly 20 years ago while working in China. The mainland is now Vitasoy's biggest market, accounting for half of its revenue. Vitasoy has four factories there as well as operations in Singapore and Australia.

Products for Hong Kong consumers are still made locally. This factory opened 30 years ago. And Man Cheung has worked here for 20.

MAN CHEUNG, OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, VITASOY, HONG KONG: We focus on maintaining the classic recipe. Hong Kong love the traditional taste.

STOUT: The company strives to blend tradition with innovation, launching new products every year. Vitasoy expanded its lineup to include coconut and almond milks. GUIDETTI: There is a consumer trend, there is a market trend for

healthier, higher-quality plant-based products. We see this all over the world.

STOUT: Guidetti hopes to accelerate Vitasoy's international expansion. The family-controlled firm recently established a new joint venture in the Philippines, hoping this beloved Hong Kong brand can master the recipe for success overseas.


HOLMES: The diplomatic row in Qatar largely revolves around one thing and that is money. We're going to break down some of Qatar's foreign investments and how they play into this, coming up next.


HOLMES: Qatar has long held a reputation as a big spender on the global stage but it's diplomatic isolation by Arab gulf neighbors could have them tightening their purse strings.

Our John Defterios looks at some of Qatar's holdings abroad, starting in one of the world's financial capitols.


JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR (voice-over): From its co ownership of four million square meters of office space on the Canary Wharf estate on the east, to the Sharpe (ph), Western Europe's tallest building in the financial direction, Qatar owns a fair chunk of the London's modern skyline.

(on camera): But its portfolio extends to fabled British institutions as well, such as Harrods, which it bought back in 2010 for a reported $2.3 billion.

(voice-over): Adding the high-end Claridge's Hotel to its luxury collection of boutique hotels right here in London.

(on camera): It boils down to the size of Qatar's sovereign fund. Qatar has been acquiring assets in central London for years. And with new additions like the U.S. embassy here in Mayfair, which become a luxury hotel the tiny gulf state owns more of the capitol than the queen herself.

(voice-over): And buying big has bought them legacy and influence.

TIM MACPHERSON, LONDON RESIDENT SALES, CARTER JONAS: I think they have been the number one force behind high-end development in prime central London over the last decade, with their acquisition of hotels, with their acquisition of Harrods and various other buildings that they've bought. I think they have driven the property market forward and changed the landscape of what is possible and what can be achieved.

DEFTERIOS: After two decades of exporting gas, Qatar has built a $335 billion war chest, allowing the former emir, Sheikh Hamad Khalifa al Thani, and former prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim al Thani, to embark on grand plans that went well beyond property.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do think it's bold and it was in line with the general diplomatic strategy of Qatar. It was very broad, not exactly risk averse, very outward looking. And in the context of the Qatar crisis, has come back to bite the Qatar leadership.

[01:50:24] DEFTERIOS: Qatar has promised to investigate invest over $6 billion in the U.K. and $10 billion in the U.S., doing so with high-profile press conferences on both sides of the pond.

But the diplomatic row, lower gas prices, and a football World Cup to prepare for, Qatar may be forced to rethink its priorities.

With how much of that they can actually do, how much money they have to deploy, given the boycott increases, the costs at home, it's a different question.

DEFTERIOS: It is a multi-billion-dollar question that can't be answered just yet, as Qatar ponders whether the boycott hurts its grand plan abroad.

John Defterios, CNN Money, London.


HOLMES: The feud in the Arab gulf began with an accusation that Qatar is financing terrorism abroad. Its denied that, although not always definitively.

Here's the Qatari foreign minister with our Christiane Amanpour.


AMANPOUR: Can you categorically state that no Qatari money comes here to fund hate preachers or any kind of terrorist organizations?

AL THANI: Just let me respond to you about the funds of Qatar, which is going outside Qatar to fund --


AMANPOUR: See, the problem is that's a yes-or-no answer. Either Qatari funds are going --


AMANPOUR: -- to terrorist organizations or they're not.


HOLMES: And you can see much more of Christiane's interview with the foreign minister next hour on CNN NEWSROOM.

International summits often include loud, passionate and sometimes violent protests against capitalism and other issues. The mood was much quieter and a little eerier in the G-20 host city of Hamburg, Germany, on Wednesday as hundreds of zombies lumbered the streets. More than a thousand activists covering their bodies in clay. Organizers say they used the symbolism of "The Walking Dead" to drag people out of their apathy and get them politically involved.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Michael Holmes. I'll be back with more news right after this.