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Trump Threatens to "Destroy" North Korea; President Macron: Rejecting Iran Deal Would be a Mistake; Mexico's PM Takes Comfort in Solidarity; Australia's Foreign Minister: What North Korea is Doing is Illegal; President Macron on What Love Means to Him
Aired September 22, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:01:20] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Good evening from the United Nations in New York, where this week President Trump delivered his first
address to a global audience here and he delivered a doomsday warning to North Korea.
Also, will he tear up the Iran nuclear deal? The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says that would require a very high cost to the United States.
And the French President in an exclusive interview tells me it would be a huge mistake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: My position for Iran is if President Trump wants to say, look at the situation on North Korea, I don't want to
replicate the situation with Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour at the United Nations in New York, where this week, President Trump in his inaugural
address to the world body left everyone in no doubt as to America's vision for its place in the world.
In the end, his speech was consistent with the populous rhetoric that brought him to power. He told his fellow president, prime ministers, kings
and emirs that he would always put America's interests first, but in ways that starkly departed from the views of his predecessors. He lashed out at
the North Korean, regime which he called a band of criminals and delivered this strong warning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons
and missiles. The United States has great strength and patience. But if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to
totally destroy North Korea.
Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And he called Iran a rogue nation.
By the end of the week, he was still being cagey about exactly what he would do with the Iran nuclear deal that had been brokered by his
predecessor President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an
embarrassment to the United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it. Believe me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: When it was President Rouhani's turn to take to the podium, he condemned Resident Trump's, quote, "ignorance of world affairs." And in
response to being called a rogue nation, he lashed out at Trump calling him a rogue newcomer to the world of politics.
I sat down with President Rouhani for an exclusive interview, and I asked him what would happen if Trump does decide to ditch or even reopen the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Exiting such an agreement would have -- would carry a high cost for the United States of
America. And I do not believe that Americans would be willing to pay such a high cost for something that will be useless for them.
It will yield no results for the United States, but at the same time, it will generally decrease and cut away and chip away at international trust
placed in the United States of America.
AMANPOUR: A security adviser to the president of South Korea told me that if the Obama administration had spent one-fifth of the time it spent with
you and Iran on North Korea's nuclear program, it may have had some success. It hasn't spent any time, very little time has been spent trying
to make a deal with North Korea.
[14:05:00] ROUHANI (through translator): In any ways, North Korea was on track of talks and dialogue and those roads were blocked and both sides
chose non-dialogue actions.
And I think what the Iranian experience shows is a good experience that can be replicated elsewhere and executed elsewhere. But keep in mind, please,
that if the United States wishes to withdraw from the JCPOA, why would the North Koreans waste their time in order to sit around the table of dialogue
with the United States because they will think that perhaps after years of talks and potential agreement, the next year's administration could step
over or pull out of the agreement achieved.
So the Trump administration's such action -- such potential action by the Trump adminiration will block such potential road to success in resolution
of regional problems around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Given the context of the North Korean nuclear crisis, French President Emmanuel Macron was also concerned about what ditching the Iran
deal would signal to Pyongyang.
I sat down with him for his first international television interview. And we spoke about all these matters.
AMANPOUR: Mr. President, welcome to the program.
President Trump has told the U.N. in his first global speech that this is the worst deal that he's ever seen in history and that, one way or another,
they - the deal is an embarrassment to the United States. And I don't think you've heard the last of it, believe me.
In a sign that he's preparing to weaken the deal, what do you take from that? Do you think he's going to pull out? You've spoken to him about it.
MACRON: I hope no.
And I think it would be a big mistake. I think if president -- I don't say that this Iran bill, this nuclear deal with Iran, is the outcome of a deal
of everything about how to deal with Iran.
If President Trump considers it's not sufficient, I do agree with that. We have this deal. I think that the outcome of this deal is that now we have
the money to reprocess with the international agency following the situation. And I think that it's better than nothing. OK?
Why? Because if we stop with this bill, if we just stop with the nuclear agreement, so we will enter into a situation very similar to the North
Korean situation before what happened this summer. So I think it would be a big mistake.
Now this deal has to be completed. And probably I will try to convince President Trump that the best way to address his concerns regarding Iran is
to work into that direction.
First, we have to work in order to have a monitoring process on ballistic missiles and ballistic activity of Iran. That's a concern. It's a concern
for the whole region. We have to work on it and we need a new agreement.
And we can work on sanctions and agreements on this ballistic side.
And second, we have to complete the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran for the period post-2025 because this agreement just covers until 2025 the
AMANPOUR: But on balance, it makes the world a safer place to have this nuclear deal?
MACRON: Definitely. You know, you have today some governments not compliant with international rules and trying to get nuclear weapons,
that's it. That's the situation we have with North Korea. And that's the situation we have with some other countries.
MACRON: The more you contain the situation, the more you monitor, the more you put international agency and you follow the situation very carefully,
the more you can intervene and contain sanctions. I want to follow this line.
And I think if we just stop with the deal because it was a deal negotiated by Mr. -- by President Obama, I mean, it's not a good reason to stop with
the 2015 deal.
AMANPOUR: And what about President Trump at this moment, a maximum global crisis over North Korea, calling him at the U.N. "rocket man," talking
about destroying the capabilities, that very, very provocative language?
MACRON: Look, I think what we have to do and what we need is to be efficient. I think that North Korean president is probably not very
sensitive to what happened to the U.N. He's not a great client of the city and the United Nations. The guy is in his own world.
[14:10:00] My point is not to increase pressure and words against words. What we have to do is to find the appropriate answer to decrease tension
and protect people.
AMANPOUR: Sometimes the president seems to indicate that there's a military solution to North Korea.
MACRON: Look at the map. If you think there is a military solution, you speak about a lot of victims. I do believe in militarism because I do
believe in negotiation, I do believe in how to control -- I do believe in building peace. And I think that what we -- exactly what we have to do in
AMANPOUR: The president told the United Nations in his speech that he wants a tougher, better deal. He's very concerned also about North Korea.
I spoke to the Iranian president, who says the U.S. will pay if they pull out of this deal.
What is your view on that? And what have you said to Mr. Trump? Because I know you discussed it last night.
MACRON: First of all, our main anxiety today regarding nuclear weapon is about North Korea. And this situation is to be handled very carefully. We
have to avoid military answer. We have to increase pressure on North Korea, especially coming from China and Russia because North Korea is very
dependent on those two countries. And we have to decrease the pressure and stabilize the situation.
But North Korea is a very good illustration of the what-if scenario from nuclear arm deal with Iran.
Why? Because we stopped everything with North Korea years and years ago. We stopped any monitoring, any discussions with them. And what's the
They will probably get a nuclear weapon.
So my position for Iran, is if President Trump wants to say, look at the situation on North Korea, I don't want to replicate the situation with
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about how you deal with President Trump because he says some things in person; he says some things on Twitter. His
ministers say other things.
How do you deal with the leader of the free world in this kind of situation?
Some have described it as kind of chaotic. Some say they don't quite know who to listen to.
What does President Macron use to deal with the President of the United States?
MACRON: I have very direct discussions with President Trump. I do appreciate him. We have very good personal relationship. And I have very
direct discussion with him. I don't think the fear in domestic policies and what you describe as indifferences or discrepancies between different
members. For me, there is one voice.
You elected your president and this is the voice I consider and there's a man I speak with. And it's always the same thing. We share our views.
He's very direct. And I think he listen to what I propose.
AMANPOUR: What are the main areas of disagreement right now?
MACRON: I think the very first disagreement is very well known, is about climate. And as President Trump decided to leave Paris agreement, that's
his choice and I do respect his choice. And he was elected on the basis of such a decision.
But I do regret the decision. And I do want to convince him to come back to this agreement because, for me, that's core agreement for climate. And
I do believe that, especially after these hurricanes we just had, both in the U.S. and in France, we do see the direct consequences of CO2 emissions
and all this climate change.
We have to fight against this climate change. And we need the global modernization for that. So we have a disagreement on this issue but I will
keep pushing. We have direct discussion yesterday. We will implement Paris agreement on our own, at the French level but the European level as
We have a strong agreement with the Chinese and the other players and I think it's very important to present this multilateral approach.
And now that's an issue for the U.S. itself, to see what they want to do and what President Trump wants to do with climate. But we have to deal
AMANPOUR: The president says this is a bad deal, we can get a better deal. It's bad for the economy. It's bad for the climate. It's bad for the
What do you say when he says that to you?
MACRON: First of all, its not bad for the climate and environment, definitely. And especially if he decides to leave, it will be worse
because the U.S. is a very great contributor in terms of CO2 emission. So that's an issue.
And if you don't fix the situation in the U.S., you are not credible to tell the others what they have to do. And you have direct consequences of
So no, this agreement is not bad for climate. It's wrong.
AMANPOUR: And while all the world leaders were here, a powerful and deadly earthquake struck Mexico. Condolences flowed to the government there.
After a break, my interview with the Mexican foreign minister who calls this not just a moment of sorrow, but potentially one of hope for his
country as well.
[14:16:40] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program here at the United Nations on the banks of the East River.
And while world leaders were gathered inside the building, way away in Mexico, a terrible tragedy was unfolding.
Hundreds of people have been killed and many more are missing after a powerful and deadly earthquake struck the capital city and surrounding
regions in the second major quake to hit Mexico in as many weeks.
Homes and schools have been flattened and a frantic rescue operation has been under way to try to find survivors. Here I spoke to the Mexican
foreign minister Luis Videgaray as the rescue operation was kicking into high gear and he told me that speed was of the essence.
LUIS VIDEGARAY, MEXICO'S FOREIGN MINISTER: This is a moment of grief, a very difficult time. But it's still a time of hope.
When you see thousands and thousands of people, mostly young people that are suddenly turning into rescue -- rescue crews with full of energy. And
also a time where we are receiving tremendous international solidarity and support, by the way, with strong advice from the United Nations and our
partners around the world.
AMANPOUR: And I understand, the United States, at least the state of California has sent a fire brigade, a special rescue brigade from L.A.
VIDEGARAY: The United States has the specialized teams, the equipment that is particularly helpful for the rescue operations. The U.S. government is
already providing help.
President Trump called President Pena Nieto a few hours ago. They talked. And these specialized -- this highly, highly technical teams are coming to
Mexico. We need here a very specific help.
These are large blocks to move concrete blocks that need to be separated so technology matters. The expertise matters. But most important, the timing
So we're getting help. Countries like the U.S., Israel, Japan but also countries from Latin America.
The first crew to arrive to Mexico City today came from El Salvador. And they are already on the ground. A team from Panama is following closely.
A team from Colombia, experts from Chile.
So this is time also, this is a time of deep pain, deep grief but also a time of hope as the international community is embracing Mexico.
You can imagine that there are always some sort of dark clouds in these instances. We've heard already some complaints on the ground that the
civilian and military rescue operations are sort of not really working as closely and as quickly as they could have done.
Were there some difficulties at the beginning trying to coordinate all the teams?
VIDEGARAY: I guess when we have this, a lot of people are trying to work on the same site. These are 50 sites, where recovery effort, the rescue
operations are happening. And there might be in the beginning some coordination issues.
But what is important, that we have the people and that we get the right equipment and the expertise.
Some rescue operations are easier than others. Others have wide complaints and the timing is of essence because there might be lives to save and we
need to get there very quickly.
[14:20:00] AMANPOUR: Can I just make a sharp turn. I'm sorry to have to do this, but Mexico is obviously the center of a pretty big brawl with the
United States, with President Trump. You're all here.
The wall is still something that President Trump talks about building. And we also understand that potentially NAFTA renegotiation may be in some
Give us sort of a broad picture of where your government stands on these two issues.
VIDEGARAY: The United States is an extremely important country for Mexico. Mexico is an important country for the U.S. We have some public
differences with President Trump. Those are very clear, but we're also working together on many issues including trade.
Our trade agreement is relatively old. 25 years since it was negotiated initially. So it's still very active and we're working for that. It's a
professional process. It's a serious process and it's an ongoing process.
AMANPOUR: Do you see areas where you can renegotiate?
VIDEGARAY: Absolutely. There are many updates that are needed. I'll tell you a couple.
Environmental protection, labor rights protection, intellectual property, including energy.
E-commerce. E-commerce didn't even exist when NAFTA was crafted.
So there are -- yes, of course, there are many issues where we can make the treaty better and we're working in good faith.
Obviously, this is a process and it will take time and effort. And there may be sometimes a stress. It can be also a colorful process at times.
AMANPOUR: Colorful indeed.
VIDEGARAY: But we are -- we're taking this very seriously. Most importantly very constructive.
AMANPOUR: President Trump apparently has sent through various Facebook, sort of targeted memes, more ads about building the wall.
And you've seen -- you know, sometimes he's saying no, sometimes he's saying yes. Where do you think he stand -- what has he said to you?
VIDEGARAY: We don't talk about the wall. The wall is not a bilateral issue and it's not part of our conversations.
AMANPOUR: Pass on that.
VIDEGARAY: Right now, I should tell you right now, on a day like this, things are put in perspective. What matters is that the U.S. and the
countries of Latin America and throughout the world today are proving that they're good friends with Mexico.
AMANPOUR: I also spoke to the Australian foreign minister and the threat of the North Korea nuclear crisis dominated our conversation. She met with
President Trump and afterwards said that now is the time to put maximum pressure on the regime in Pyongyang because the crisis affects her region
JULIE BISHOP, AUSTRALIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER: What North Korea is doing is illegal. It presents a threat not only to our region, but it is a global
security risk. And the president was very much highlighting the North Korean regime's provocative and threatening behavior, and the need, the
desperate need for all countries around the world to be part of a collective strategy to enforce North Korea to change its behavior.
AMANPOUR: You in your region have had to deal with this North Korean threat for a long, long time. Obviously South Korea, Japan are closer.
But nonetheless it's a real threat to the region.
President Putin of Russia said, you know, trying to put more sanctions on means nothing. He quote said, "You know, there are ready to eat grass in
Pyongyang rather than give up their nuclear ambitions."
Given that, what is the real, practical way to deter them from ever using - I mean, they've got them. You can't un-get them. They have the weapons.
BISHOP: Up until now, these sanctions have been against individuals and entities. But for the first time, the U.N. Security Council has
unanimously, and that's important, unanimously enforced a sanctions regime that is the toughest and most comprehensive yet across whole sectors of the
North Korean economy.
And these sanctions must be given time to work. I don't accept that these sanctions have failed because this is the toughest, most comprehensive
package we've seen so far. And it will take some time for them to have an impact.
It is a collective strategy. And I believe that we must exert far more political diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea to compel it back
to the negotiating table.
AMANPOUR: And next we take a break from high-stakes diplomacy to ask a question about love and truth. And who better to talk about that than the
new president of France.
[14:25:45] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, after all this talk about war and peace, crisis, sanctions, nuclear deals and climate change, I wanted to
end this week with some talk about truth and love.
We imagine a relationship under fierce global scrutiny and all because of an age difference.
AMANPOUR: I would like to ask you, if I say to you "love," what does love mean to you?
The world is actually obsessed right now with your marriage and your relationship with your wife. Tell us about it.
MACRON: Look, it's always hard to speak about that because it's part of intimacy. Love is part of my life and my balance. And I do believe that
you don't build something great and you don't behave properly, if you don't -- if you are not balanced and have a strong couple.
I've been with my wife for a decade now. And she's part of me. So...
AMANPOUR: Is it important for a world leader to have that part of their life?
MACRON: At least for me, it's very important. For me, it's very important. For my personal balance, to have somebody at home telling you
the truth every day because access to truth is one of the main challenges and somebody with her deep convictions and knowing you for what you are and
loving you for what you are, not for what you represent and your role or the honors and something very specific at a point of time.
So I know I chose her and we're together for, as I told you, decades. And that's very important to me because that's my anchor at the end of the day.
AMANPOUR: Your anchor?
AMANPOUR: President Macron, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
MACRON: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: And on that note we end our program for this week.
Remember you can always listen to our podcast, watch us online at Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for watching and good-bye from the United Nations in New York.