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Amtrak Derailment Due to Overspeeding; Trump Laid Out Security Policies; New Life Awaits for Libyan Migrants; Derailed Amtrak Train Going 80 MPH in 20 MPH Zone; K-Pop Fans Mourn Death Of Shines Singer Jonghyun Suicide; China Responds To Trump's Security Strategy; Puerto Rico's Long Road To Recovery; Secretive U.S. Military Program Investigated UFOs. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired December 19, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amtrak, 501, emergency, emergency, emergency, we are on the ground.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm still figuring that out, we got cars everywhere and down on to the highway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were catapulted at the seats in front of us. Our car had crumpled at portion and we were went down an empty bank.

Donald Trump, PRESIDENT OF THE United States: We are closely monitoring the situation. It is all the more reason why we must start immediately fixing the infrastructure of the United States.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: Ahead on CNN Newsroom, we will have the details on the deadly train derailment in the U.S. State of Washington, and we will hear from a young man who put his Eagle Scout training into action helping to rescue people from that crash.

Plus, U.S. President Trump calls out Russia and China in a national security speech. We will reaction to his America's first strategy. And the U.S. officially blames North Korea for one of the most extensive cyber-attacks ever.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. CNN Newsroom, starts right now.

U.S. federal investigators are working through the night in Washington state trying figure out what caused an Amtrak passenger train to fly off the tracks.

Here is what we know so far, three people were killed, more than a hundred others were injured, ten seriously and many of the train cars tumbled off am overpass down on to the highway during the Monday morning rush hour.

It's not clear how fast the train was going, but the speed limit on that part of the track is 30 miles an hour. Some witnesses say the train with 86 people on board appeared to be going much faster than that.

Joining me now is a man who witnessed that tragic trail derailment, Daniel Konzelman. Thanks for being with us. You rescued people from the wreckage and you stayed to comfort victims pinned under a train car that had flipped over.

So, let's talk about that, describe to us, if you wouldn't mind, what happened when you approach today, bridge in your car just before the derailment happened?

DANIEL KONZELMAN, EYEWITNESS TO AMTRAK DERAILMENT: Yes, I was headed southbound on interstate 5, parallel to the train tracks that are headed south. And the train, we were going about 65 miles per hour and the train was headed south parallel with us, going probably 25 miles an hour faster than we were.

And I had never seen a train on that particular track, let alone going that fast. So, it did catch my attention. But I was like, you know, train conductors know what they are doing. I did not think anything of it and then when we got to the bridge, and car were stopped.

I didn't know what was going on and I didn't automatically assume anything had happened with the train. And so, as we were sitting there, I looked up at the train bridge and realized that the same train that had just passed us was sort of precariously hanging off the bridge, and I realized, my gosh, there's been a major accident.

And that incident I realized like, if I'm in shock, everybody is in shock and I need to get out of traffic as fast as I can and park where I can get to the train tracks and help people in any way possible. So, that's kind of what I was going through. Before and kind of as the accident happened.

And then, once it did happen, and you found a place to park your car, what did you do then?

KONZELMAN: I was in a suit on my way to work. Not dressed for any type of emergency response. But luckily I had an emergency light in my car and some boots. And we kind of bushwhacked through the forest down to the train tracks.

And we were the first ones, my girlfriend, Alicia and I were the first ones down there on the track and we were able to sort of engage the people who were involved in the accident, a lot of them were in shock. A lot of them did not know what was going on and we were able to sort of assess what their injuries and needs were.

And then get them down to the freeway where, the first responders were to arrive shortly.

CHURCH: And you comforted some people who were actually pinned under one of those car trains. Talk to us about what happened then as far as authorities responding, how quickly did they get to the scene, and what did you do in the meantime?

KONZELMAN: Sure. Took authorities probably 15 to 20 minutes to get there. But the crash was so extensive that they didn't get to certain areas of the crash and certain victims for 20 to 30 minutes. Maybe even more than that.

[03:05:06] And so for the people that were there for 20 or 30 minutes we sort of had a good idea of where the worst injuries were, and I personally had worked, gone through, probably 7 of the 14 cars before any first responders got there. And then, was able to probably get 15 people out of the car before I found the more serious injured people who were trapped underneath the car.

And luckily, around that same time, that we found those people, the medics arrived and the police arrived. And I felt privileged that I was kind of able direct them and say, hey, like, we need help here. This is where the most seriously injured people are and we were able to get -- unfortunately, that we did lose some, I think there's four deceased in that car.

But the three that were pinned we were able to rescue and I think, two of them walked away in their own strength and the other we had to carry out. But, they survived and which is amazing because the train literally landed on them. It was, that was miracle.

CHURCH: I'm sure it was the longest 30 minutes in your life. But what you did at the scene would have helped so many people through such a very difficult and emergency situation. And we thank you so much, Daniel Konzelman for sharing your witness report with us. Many thanks.

KONZELMAN: Thank you. God bless.

CHURCH: Joining me now in the studio is Gary Wolf, he is a railroad safety consultant. Thank you, sir, for being with us. When you look at the details that we know so far, what do you think went wrong here?

GARY WOLF, RAILDROAD SAFETY CONSULTANT: Well, the early indications are that speed may have a factor in any train derailment, you look at basically four things. You look at the track and infrastructure and you look at the equipment, you look at the human factors and in some cases signal and control systems.

And from looking at the video evidence, that was gathered today, the news footage, the track looked to be in good condition. The lack of marks on the rail would indicate a fairly sudden departure from the track of the train.

Given the sharpness of the curve there leading over this bridge, it most likely had a speed component. It does not appear to be infrastructure related or equipment related at the point although that needs to be looked at.

CHURCH: Right. And we understand that going into the curve it should have been around 30 miles per hour and we understand from our information that the train was going between 70 and 80 miles per hour, which is significantly above what the speed limit was which goes back to the human element then, doesn't it?

WOLF: Yes.

CHURCH: Because why would the driver have approached that curve at such a high speed?

WOLF: Well, we don't know first of all, we don't have facts. But the speed limit on the track is 79 by federal regulation. So, if he was going in the range of 70 to 80 miles an hour, that would be in the range of an overturning speed for that degree of curvature.

That curve was posted from what I've read at 30 miles an hour. So he significantly, if in fact is true that he was going that speed over that. Now what would cause it? Perhaps driver inattention. You would have to look at braking systems. Maybe he did applied brake and they didn't work.

Again, we don't know until more evidence comes out and more investigation. But those are the things you would look at in an over- speed situation.

CHURCH: And we understand that there had been some concerns raised before this fast train took this particular track. Why do you think nothing was done? Why do you think they would have gone ahead with it, if there had been these concerns already raise?

WOLF: Well, I don't know who's raised concerns. My understanding is there's been extensive testing of this route starting back in the spring. And as the route was retrofitted or upgraded to accommodate this train set, there's extensive testing done and I don't know why the concerns would be raised, the track is good for 30. That's what it was posted at.

Now if a train was going 70, just like on your automobile, if you go down the interstate a 130 miles an hour you might flip your car over. Does not mean the interstate is poorly designed.

CHURCH: Right.

WOLF: It means that you have over speed. And as I said, it seems to be the indications here that perhaps where the train ended up to the outside curve of the side on its side that sort of the footprint of an overspeed derailment.

CHURCH: And of course, it's not the first time that we have to deal and report on an accident like this. Where, the train has been going too fast for a corner. And there's been a situation like this.

And there are efforts under way to have an automated system to bring the speeds down. That's not in place just yet. So, what needs to be done? What does this signal to you needs to happen to stop accidents like this occurring again?

[03:09:58] WOLF: Well, the positive train control system, which you eluded to there is in implementation right now, the railroad industry in the U.S. has spent somewhere between 10 and $12 billion equipping 100, somewhere between 50 and 1,000 miles of track with thousands or tens of thousands of sensors, the equipment has been -- or let's say, the positive train control equipment has been installed on many, many locomotives in this country.

The radio systems are being developed, the antennas are going up and the computer software is being developed. All that work is progressing at a pretty rapid place right now and it's heading towards an implementation date of 2018 for installation.

But you got to bear in mind, when Congress mandated the system in 2008, the system didn't exist. It wasn't something you could pull it off the shelf and say, here put this on trains. This whole system had to be developed from scratch. And much development work had to be done starting in 2008.

So, we have made a lot of progress in the last seven or eight years on getting the system in and hopefully in the next couple of years. This system will have prevented, if this was in fact, an overspeed the positive train control would prevent an inadvertent overspeed like this if it occurred.

CHURCH: Gary Wolf, thank you so much for coming in and sharing your analysis with us.

CHURCH: Thank you for having me. OK.

CHURCH: And this just in to CNN, we now know the speed of the train before it derailed. A spokeswoman for the NTSB has announced the train was traveling 80 miles an hour, about 130 kilometers an hour in a 30- mile an hour zone. And that is based on information from the rear locomotives events data recorder. We'll continue to follow that story.

But we do want to turn to this another big story we have been following. U.S President Donald Trump outlined his national security strategy Monday. But his foreign policy message was mixed. He called out Russia and China as challengers but avoided any mention of meddling in U.S. elections.

Jeff Zeleny has our report.


TRUMP: America is coming back and America is coming back strong.


JEFF ZELENY, SENIOR White House CORRESPONDENT, CNN: President Trump laying out his national security blueprint today, offering a broader look at a strategic world view.


TRUMP: We also face rival powers, Russia and China that seek to challenge American influence, values and wealth. We will attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries but in a manner that always protects our national interests.


ZELENY: But the president did not specifically call out Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. Even though it is directly mentioned in the formal national security strategy released by the White House that says, "Actors such as Russia are using information tools in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies, instead he pointed out a friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin who he's talked to twice in the last four days.


TRUMP: I received a call from President Putin of Russia, thanking our country for the intelligence that our CIA was able to provide them concerning a major terrorist attack planned in St. Petersburg where many people, perhaps in the thousands, could have been killed.


ZELENY: He outlined a strategy with these four pillars. Defending the homeland, American prosperity, advancing American influence, and peace through strength.


TRUMP: We know that American success is not a foregone conclusion. It must be earned and it must be won. Our rivals are tough. They are tenacious and committed to the long-term but so are we.


ZELENY: The president's remarks at the Ronald Reagan building only blocks from the White House were part campaign valedictory and part forward looking strategy. Today he blasted the work of presidents who had before him, taking aim at policies of the Obama and Bush administration.


TRUMP: American citizens as usual have been left to bear the cost and to pick up the tab.


ZELENY: Now, even as President Trump criticized previous administrations for their handling of North Korea and Iraq, he also talks significantly about his own campaign promises a bit of domestic campaigning as well, talking about what he called the biggest tax cut coming in to of course this week. He hopes to sign that bill into law before heading to Mar-a-Lago his Florida retreat for a Christmas vacation.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.

CHURCH: Joining me now to talk more about this is CNN's national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem. Thank you as always for being with us. So, what stood out to you in President Trump's national security strategy speech?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, CNN: Well, I think the primary thing that stood out was really the omission. And it's being talked a lot about here, which was, it's failure to adequately address Russia's deliberate attack on our democratic processes.

[03:15:07] There's sort of sleeping language that recognizes that Russia is determined to undermine elections in western democracies and that nations are using cyber warfare for all sorts of purposes.

But there's no direct acknowledgment for a variety of reasons of what the American intelligence community and law enforcement community have all concluded, which is Russia's engagement with the 2016 election.

It's the equivalent, I have to say, literally the equivalent of talking about, you know, Japan's aggressions in World War II and not mentioning Pearl Harbor in America's national security strategy. I mean, it's just the omission , sort of overwhelmed almost every other aspect of the strategy.

CHURCH: Yes, analysts are still trying to figure out why he keeps doing that. But also, Mr. Trump called China and Russia, rival powers and was critical of Russia in some instances. What does that shift signal to you?

KAYYEM: So, I think that President Trump and his team are sort of willing to acknowledge sort of Russia's threat as a competitor. But China and Russia are very different from America's perspective.

Obviously, Russia is a threat in term of its attempts to undermine, you know, western democracies as we see in Europe and elsewhere. But China will take advantage of America's retreat, as Donald Trump's doctrine is, you know, America first.

And in the U.S., we tend to think of, it's a good thing that you know, we're looking at America first. But what we need to understand is, it's not like other nations are waiting around. So we retreat from the Paris accord on climate change, it's not like all the other countries are saying, we'll just wait for the United States to figure it out.

They are making trade deals or green energy deals with other countries and China clearly knows that it can benefit from this vacuum of America's retreat.

CHURCH: And let's turn to the Russia probe now. And the Russian influence in the 2016 election. Just listen for a moment, if you would to what the White House national security spokesman Michael Anton had to say about that.


MICHAEL ANTON, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY SPOKESMAN: The idea that his campaign colluded with a foreign power is false. He has admitted on three instances -- he has affirmed, I should say on three instances that I can think of off the top of my head.

The first in January of 2017 in the transition after he was briefed by Intel agencies on what they judged the Russians had done in the U.S. elections system.

And second time in Warsaw, standing next to the president of Poland and also, really twice in Warsaw, once standing next to the president of Poland and the second addressing the Polish people, he talked about the Russia's destabilizing behavior.

And the third and most recent time was in a press conference with e president of Vietnam in Vietnam, he was asked this question specifically by the press corps traveling with him and he reaffirmed yet again what he believed about Russian interference.

So, I don't know why you all keep coming back to this as if this is something that he's been denying or in any way doubt. He has affirmed that many times, he keeps getting ask the question. People don't seem to believe his affirmation and then he repeats it. I think it's time CNN and everyone else took yes for an answer and moved on.


CHURCH: Juliette, what's your reaction to that and to news that President Trump now expects to receive a letter of exoneration and he also thinks that the Russia probe is going to come to an end so? What do you think?

KAYYEM: Right, so, on the first part, no one who follows Donald Trump or his behavior over the last year believes that Donald Trump has affirmatively made those concessions or confirmations about Russia's involvement.

Those three instances that the national security spokesperson said, two of them were out of the country and one of them was before he was the president. The behavior of the president, including, in particular his attack on the CIA, the intelligence community and now the FBI.

Leave no doubt where the president is headed on this, even if it's just, you know, he feels like it undermines his presidency and I'd say, you know, that continues with this even questioning whether the involvement of Russia even happened.

A lot of times when he says it, he says, it could have been Russia or it could been the guy in the Philippines or whoever.

On the second issue that you ask about, about the investigation, Donald Trump wants this investigation to end. There's no real evidence to suggest it will. His statements about getting exonerated are coming from nowhere and certainly don't have a confirmation by the activity of Robert Mueller who, you know, in a very short time have indicted two close associates of Trump and two have plead.

That's a very -- there's a lot of people around Donald trump. So whatever Donald Trump says about this investigation really what we need to focus on is basically the evidence gathering by Robert Mueller, which at least based on reporting today suggested that it may go well into 2018.

[03:20:03] This is a marathon because in the end this was our democracy that was attacked, and whether Trump colluded his family members colluded or no one colluded, but this is just a series of coincidences that's why Robert Mueller is taking this investigation seriously and slowly.

CHURCH: Yes. Certainly, no signals that we're seeing that it's coming to an end any time soon.

Juliette Kayyem, thank you so much, we appreciate your analysis.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, the U.S. is now officially blaming North Korea for being directly responsible for the Wannacry cyber-attack back in May.

The Wannacry malware affected hospitals, banks and other businesses in at least 150 countries. It even forced some patient appointments to be cancelled in the United Kingdom.

Experts have widely suspected Pyongyang was behind that virus which demanded ransom to unlock computers. North Korea has denied any involvement.

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, the White House security adviser delivered a stern warning to North Korea saying this. "Stopping malicious behavior like this starts with accountability. It also requires governments and businesses to cooperate to mitigate cyber risk and increase the cost to hackers."

And in just a few hours we could learn more about this attack in a briefing expected in Washington.

We'll take a short break here, but still to come, we'll get regional reaction to Donald Trump's America first security plan.

Plus, for some African migrants, today is the first day of their new lives in Europe. After CNN's recent reporting on slavery in Libya provokes action. Why some officials are likening the response to a dam bursting. We're back in a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Dozens of African migrants are getting a fresh start in France this week. The country has organized safe passage flight for pre-screened migrants who were removed from Libya taken to Niger and now flown to Paris.

Twenty five migrants arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport just a few hours ago and more are expected on Wednesday.

The International Organization for Migration also plans to repatriate 15,000 migrants from Libya this month.

This all follow CNN's exclusive reporting on slave auctions in the North African country.


NIMA ELBAGIR, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Big strong boys for farm watch, he says. Four hundred, 700, 700, 800.

The numbers roll in. These men are sold for 1,200 Libyan pounds, $400 a piece. You are watching an auction of human beings.


[03:25:04] CHURCH: The IOM says the dam burst with CNN's report and that it embarrassed the world into doing something.

CNN's Melissa Bell is live for us now in Paris.

So, Melissa, that latest flight as we mentioned, has landed, so what's happening to those 25 refugees who were on board and how difficult was it to get them and the other refugees from Libya to France?

MELISSA BELL, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: What we are seeing here, these evacuations from Libya, Rosemary, are incredibly complicated for all of the organizations taking part, the paperwork that has to be organized, the access to the detention centers in order that they'd be rescued. The safe passage out to countries like Niger and Chad where most of them are given the opportunity of going home.

But here, France gave those who can get asylum the chance of applying in those third countries, Niger and Chad, and that's what we've seen arriving here this morning. This very first, very lucky ones who have been evacuated from Libya despite all those complications and have had their asylum applications approved.

They have been fast tracked here to France. And what we have seen is this very few, 25 in all today, but as you say, 55 in all this week is the very first refugees arriving and coming through Charles de Gaulle, the ones that arrived this morning are currently, Rosemary, on a bus heading to Alsace for their new life.

Very small town in eastern France, with just 800 people, but where authorities say the preparation, the welcome that is being prepared for them has been exceptional with lots of locals giving their clothes in order to try and help those arriving to make their way to their home today and over the next few days, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, I wanted to ask you about that, because what's so, and it is fantastic to hear that they are being received so well. What impact ultimately will their arrival likely have on such a small village?

BELL: It is, it is in a tiny village, you're quite right and of course, it won't be easy for them to adapt to French life. You're talking about people and these are the ones, again, who've had their asylum applications approved for a very good reason, as if they were fleeing genuine persecution and war found the French authorities. They've been through the hell of Libya. They're now going have to

adapt to a very different kind of life in France. They're going to have to learn French. They have to recover from this psychological wounds that they still carry with them and that say the French authorities in very much going to be the focus of the help they are going to receive in those crucial first few months in that convent they are being housed in for four months before then being allowed on to the rest of their lives here in France.

But clearly, this is a drop in the ocean. You are talking about the very lucky few. There are still so many tens of thousands more, Rosemary, still trapped in Libya and still struggling in countries like Niger and Chad, who can only hope that their asylum applications will one day lead them here to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

But we are talking about a drop in the ocean compared to the numbers of those actually hoping to get to Europe who have any real likelihood of doing so, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Melissa Bell, we thank you for your reporting from Charles de Gaulle airport there in Paris, where it nearly 9.30 in the morning.

Let's take a short break here. Still to come, South Africa's ruling party elects a new leader. Why this move could bring a sooner than expected end to Jacob Zuma's embattled presidency.

We'll have a live report.


[03:30:51] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN SHOW HOST: A very warm welcome back to you all, joining us from all around the world, I'm Rosemary Church, I want to update you on the main stories we are follow thing had this hour. A spokeswoman for the U.S. National transportation safety board said an Amtrak train that derailed in Washington State was going 80 miles an hour, 130 kilometers per hour in a 30 mile an hour zone. That is based on information from the rear locomotive's event data recorder. Three people were killed and more than 100 were hurt when the train flew off the tracks. Many of its car plunged on an overpass on the highway.

Korean pop super star, Kim Jong-yan is being remembered for his love for music, the 23 year-old lead singer of a boy band shiny died on Monday in a suspected suicide. Two weeks ago, he told a friend to post a message on social media if he disappeared, it read in part, I'm broken from inside, the blues that slowly ate at me has finally swallowed me hole. I could not overcome.

Atlanta's fire department said that a fail switch gear box caused the fire that crippled the world's busiest airport for hours. Meanwhile Delta airline its operations are returning to normal, the airline cancelled 1400 flights after the power outage and some airlines told passengers they would have to wait days to board a flight out of the city.

Now, meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joining us with more on how fog and other weather conditions could further impact flight delays. Pedram, this is just been impossible and just awful for people, 11 hours without any power and then of course, so many hours waiting to get to the various destinations.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you know, when you think of the number of flights that were cancelled and delayed the number that were further cancelled and delayed, remember there were further cancelled and delayed and we are talking about an area here of course that is heading to the heart of the holiday season and the busiest travel time of the year. 55 percent of the flights on Sunday in and out of Atlanta were cancelled. Improvement was there on Monday, but still a lot of flights disrupted in that rippled effect that we expect in the sort of scenario. 42 percent of the flights were cancelled or delayed on Monday and we expect that drop in to the several hundred. But that number comes in putting Atlanta's airport as the most impacted in the world for the second consecutive day. Shows you what we are dealing with as far as improvement being a multi-day event. This time of year across the southern U.S. you have gulf moisture coming in from the south and cold arctic air coming in from the north where they meet right now, we have 11 states. You have 47 million people dealing with a dense fog advisory. Visibility is down to less than a quarter of a mile. So, with all that said, even if we get airports back up and running in full operation here to get the flights up in the sky, that will be a problem, the dew points are low and the temperatures are meeting the dew point that means the atmosphere is fully saturated, even if the flights get up, now we will have additional delays related to weather. It a tough set up right now.

CHURCH: It's simply miserable for those people, you feel for them, don't you?

JAVAHERI: Absolutely.

CHURCH: Thank you so much, Pedram we appreciate it. We turn to U.S. Politics now, President Trump on Monday laid out his national security strategy. He explained the four main pillars of his plan. Protect the homeland, maintaining economic security and self-sufficiency, achieving peace through strength and for the American influence starts at home. Mr. Trump also had a direct message for the country's friends and foes alike.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We face rogue regimes that threaten the United States and our allies, we faces terrorist organizations, transnational criminal networks and others who spread violence and evil around the globe. We also face rival powers. Russia and China, that seek to challenge American influence, values and wealth. We will attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries. But in a manner that always protects our national interest.


[03:35:05] CHURCH: All right, let's talk about this with director of the China national association for international studies. Victor Gao joining us from Beijing. Thank you sir, for being with us.


CHURCH: And it has to be said that China has responded to President Trump national security strategy speech and being called a rival power, seeking to challenge American influence, values and wealth. Let's me just read out some of the statement from China's embassy in the U.S. much. Cooperation between China and the United States will result in a win/win outcome, but confrontational only lead to mutual losses. China is willing to live with other countries in the world in peace on the bases of mutual respect, the U.S. included. The U.S. should adopt to and accept China's development. Mr. Gao, Mr. Trump also called out China on its trade practices, what impact might this have on the relationship between the U.S. and China and how confused could China be, given the warmth that was displayed in President Trump's and Xi Jinping during his recent Asia visit?

GAO: Well, President Donald Trump's speech and the national security strategy are very important speeches and documents. However, as far as the remarks and the messages concerning China are concerned, China feels very disappointed, because of the way the President Donald Trump characterize the China- U.S. relations is the wrong way is the wrong way to characterize the relations. China is not an enemy of the United States. It's not seeking to challenge the leadership of the United States. China is very happy to live peacefully and constructively with the United States going forward.

And I think, not only the Florida summit meeting that happened in April, but more recently the summit meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were viewed very constructively not only in China and United States but globally. And hopefully the momentum can be maintained instead of disrupted by this Presidential speech and the national security strategy. China wants to be a good friend and partner with the United States. And hopefully the United States can look at China in a more accurate way, and engage China in a constructive way so that both our countries can benefit and world peace can prevail.

CHURCH: And Mr. Trump made references to North Korea in his speech. Although not by name. He called it a rogue nation that is threatening the U.S. and its allies and he said that the U.S. will develop new ways to counter those who use cyber and social media to attack and threaten the country. Now, this comes as the U.S. officially blamed North Korea for the war cry cyber-attack the history than 100 countries back in May. How concerned are you about the increased pressure clearly being out on North Korea, what do you think it could signal?

GAO: I think the situation on the Korean peninsula is deteriorating and I feel it may sooner or later reach a tipping point. China's position is clear cut that is to demand for the complete denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. China and United States seems to have that same strategic goal. What is differs between Washington and Beijing, is China wants to achieve this through peaceful negotiation and diplomacy and sometimes messages coming out of Washington are very confusing and mixed. Sometimes they threaten to use all the fire and power to annihilate DPRK. Sometime they imply that possibility of a negotiation is still there.

So, we hope that the United States will come up with consistency and the stability of their message and China and the United States can work very closely and not only between ourselves but more importantly winning the United Nations security council frame work. So, we all are in the same boat. We all do the right thing. To put the right pressure on DPRK, so eventually we will achieve denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. The nuclear weapons of DPRK are not just a threat to the United States and other countries, it's a threat to China too, as well and the China's people do not want to see a nuclear armed DPRK, we want to work together with the American people to achieve this very important goal on the Korean peninsula.

CHURCH: All right. Victor Gao, thank you so much for joining us we appreciate it.

GAO: Thank you for having me.

CHURCH: We will take a short break here, hurricane Maria devastated much of Puerto Rico and three months later, many in the island still desperately need help. We head back there for an update on the recovery.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do believe, for example the Puerto Rico that we kept the island from complete a total collapse.

[03:40:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think so?




CHURCH: In the coming hours a U.S. delegation will be in Puerto Rico to discuss the recovery from hurricane Maria that hit in September. And meanwhile, Republicans in U.S. house proposed an 81 billion aid package for those areas affected by national disasters this year including Puerto Rico. The measure would likely be attached to a government funding bill. The money may not be coming soon enough. Puerto Rico's governor has ordered a review of deaths related to hurricane Maria and the official death toll stands at 64. But a CNN investigation revealed that number could be much higher. The aide group, refugees international said that Puerto Ricans are in urgent need of help. This Wednesday marked three months since the island was devastated by Maria and left without power for week. CNN Bill Weir was there after the storm hit and return to see how things are going today. Here is his report.


BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When we first met Deana and Miguel in hills (inaudible), they had made it through the worst storm of their lives. But the fight for survival was just beginning. The Vietnam vet had just a few doses of insulin spoiling in a powerless fridge. A month later, the transmission tower that nearly crushed them inside their home was back up.

Wow that is a good sign, look at that they got it back up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you? Folks at the V.A. had seen our story and sent help. Miguel was resting and her spirits were high. I'm going to keep fighting she said. And then pointed up. They put a flag on top of the tower. But just before thanksgiving, her hope turned to grief. And she wept over the flag atop Miguel's coffin. The aftermath was just too much for him. But will he be counted as a victim of hurricane Maria. After reporting by CNN and others spark an official review. The fatality number could jump from 63 to over a thousand. But that is just one horrible puzzle to solve here.

How the hell did you this contract? White fish, the tiny company promised $300 million to help fix the grid was fired just weeks in to the job. The head of the island's power authority quits under the scandal and now, as the army core of engineers struggle through jungle terrain, a third of the island remains in the dark.

About 23,000 blue roof tarps are installed and another 50,000 are waiting and Puerto Rico is one of disaster ever zones from the Caribbean to California, nearly 5 million Americans have filed for federal aid in the last few months and among those begging for help is the guy in charge of helping.

[03:45:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have not been here six months yet and what I hope to do is inform Americans about how complex this mission is. It may be a time to sit back and, say, are we in charge of too much?

WEIR: After a career as an emergency manager in Georgia and Alabama, he was tapped by President Trump before one of the most destructive summers in American history. But he has been there long enough to say FEMA is broke. And the system is broken. Many of his 19,000 personnel have worked such long hours they've hit a pay cap and will have to give back overtime.

What does it do for moral, do we have people working for free?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to fix that problem. I have been vocal in congress. Yeah, it impacts moral, we cannot do this alone. Any time FEMA is the first responder and the primary responder, likely in Puerto Rico, it's not an ideal situation, but I do believe you know for example Puerto Rico, that we kept that island from a complete total collapse.

WEIR: You think so?


WEIR: But things are so dire there now, 10 percent of the island has evacuated to Florida. Stephanie and Victoria are among the quarter million Puerto Ricans that fled so far. They are grateful to Miami's St. Thomas University for taking them in. But they are worried about an entire future in flux. Do you feel like Americans?

On that island, do you feel like second class Americans?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's like, we felt, we feel, we are not a priority, you know. We are not being taken the care we deserve to be taken on the island. We need the help. We are really needing the help.

WEIR: When the president goes to Puerto Rico and throws paper towels to storm survivors what message does it send and how are you graded based on that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump has been incredibly supportive of our emergency management. At one point we were having day-to-day conversations with the White House. And he is highly involved. He calls me directly. He is very engaged. His message to me is help people. And expedite the processes to do so. People were excited and asking, hey, what about me? Back here? He picks it up and he throws it and the media captured it and spin that story anyway that they want. But I was in the room. He genuinely cares about the people in Puerto Rico, about the people in California, about the Americans and Texas and in Florida as well.


CHURCH: Bill Weir with the report. Well, celebrations are erupting in South Africa after the country's ruling national congress elected a new leader. Now, it's all but certain he will take Zuma's place as President when south Africa holds national elections in 2019 and it could happen even sooner than that. CNN Dave McKenzie's joins us now from Johannesburg. David, now that Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected what does it mean for the Party, the country and ultimately Jacob Zuma.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well the question is will take up Zuma as you say, he had to leave office before his term is up in 2019. So depending on how the vote went would had been a very difference scenario for the old national president. So, Ramaphosa coming in, certainly it is a relief to the markets, investors, some who would like to see a clean break from the allegations of corruption that have (inaudible) the party. But there's a reality check the day after, because the rest of the leadership within the ANC that was voted in, very tight races.

Some of those people are very much attached to that corruption in terms of allegations in the past. So, Ramaphosa might not have the mandate right off the bat to clean up the party aggressively. We will have to just wait and see there's still disagreement on the results, but in essence, Ramaphosa will be the leader of the ANC, and something he has wanted for a very long time. He narrowly missed the chance more than 20 years ago, but now-- less than 20 years ago in fact, but now he is there and people hope he make as clean break. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Of course, South Africa's economy is suffering. What will they make ultimately or is he not really in a position at this point to do very much?

MCKENZIE: I think, we will have to wait and see. He is a very successful business man who left politics from his position in the Party and then, returned to politics, so, he definite lies that skill set, many think, to lead the count out of its economic doldrums. South Africa is facing a very high unemployment rate and it just creeped out of a reception, but the growth rates are very, very minimal right now. They will be a lot of anticipation and expectation that he will pull the country out of these economy doldrums, but it is not going happening immediately. He still is only head of the Party and not of the country and he has that somewhat limited mandate to this stage. So, he will have to see if he can use it to help the country's economy. Rosemary?

MCKENZIE: We will as you say, keep watching this and see what happens. David McKenzie joining us with the live report from Johannesburg where it's nearly 11:00 in the moving.

Ethiopian airlines is making history with the first flight within Africa, operated entirely by women. The pilots and cabin crew and flight dispatchers were all women and fly to Nigeria on Saturday. And they flew two years ago, an all women crew outside of Africa, hey want to encourage African women to pursue careers in male dominated industries. Well, the U.S. government spent millions dollars to find out if UFO's are real and if they threaten national security. Former Pentagon official who uses to run the program said the evidence is hard to overlook.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My personal beliefs there's compelling evidence that we, we may not be alone.


CHURCH: The truth is out there, and we will look for it. That is next.


CHURCH: What are UFO's after all and could they pose a national security threat to the United States, those were some of the questions a mysterious U.S. military program trying to answer. Skeptics have criticized the UFO project as a waste of time and taxpayer's money. But the former Pentagon official who was in charge said he believes we may not be alone. Here is Brian Todd.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Commander David Fravor still can't explain what he said he saw that day. November 2004, the navy fighter pilot was on a training mission west of San Diego when he was ordered to check out something in the water not far away. On a clear day, over a smooth ocean, he saw the object. Waves breaking over it. And said, he saw something hovering above it. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's randomly moving, north-south, east west, just

random, just stopping a going the other direction. Like you can do with a helicopter but a little bit more abrupt. It looks like a 40 foot long tic-tac with no wings.

TODD: He said he and his four man team tracked the object for several minutes until it just disappeared. CNN has learned the Pentagon had a secretive program to research UFO's, like the one Flavor spotted. The project was called advanced aviation threat identification program. Run by an official named Luis Elizondo.

LUIS ELIZONDO, ADVANCED AVIATION THREAT IDENTIFICATION PROGRAM: What I wanted to do is to allow the data to speak for itself and then use that data to inform leadership about the potential threat that these type of technologies pose to national security. Through the observation, scientific methodologies that were applied to look at the phenomenon, that they are displaying characteristics that are not in the U.S. Inventory nor a foreign inventory that we are aware of.

[03:55:00] TODD: A defense official tells CNN that the program cost at least 22 million over five years before it was shut down in 2012. According to The New York Times and Politico, which first reported the story, 10s of millions dollars for the project were pushed through by former senate majority leader Harry Reid, those publications say that a lot of the money for the Pentagon UFO program went to a company called Bigelow aerospace owned by a longtime friend of Reid's, Robert Bigelow, a big believer in UFO's, it showed that he contributed $20,000 to Reid and his political action committee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That campaign contributor got research contracts from the program that is a bad picture. It hard to imagine that something that came about that way and profited somebody who pushed for the program was a good use of taxpayer money.

TODD: A Pentagon spokesman told CNN the program was shuttered because there were other higher priority issue that merited funding.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It definitely crazy to spend $22 million to research UFO's. Pilots are always going to see things they cannot identify and we should probably look in to them, but to identify them as UFO's to target UFO's to research, that is not the priority we have as a national security matter right now.

TODD: But pilots like Fravor who said he saw something sees merits in the program.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it's real, and I think it's real because saw it? What if there more of them and we do nothing?

TODD: Senator Reid responding to CNN saying his quote, proud of the program and its ground breaking studies speak for themselves and Reid it's silly and counterproductive to politicize the serious questions raised by the work of the UFO program. The head of the aerospace fun Robert Bigelow did not respond to CNN's multiple requests for comment. Brian Todd CNN Washington.


CHURCH: And thank you for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church, remember to connect with me any time on twitter. The news will continue next with Isa Soares in London. Have yourselves a great day.