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Trump Taunts Kim Jong-Un in Nuclear Tweet; Iran's Supreme Leader Blames Enemies for Unrest; Trump Threatens to Cut Palestinian Aid; North Korea Says It Will Restore Hotline with South; Palestinian Teen Charged after Punching Soldier. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired January 3, 2018 - 00:00   ET


[00:00:04] SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.

Ahead this hour --

U.S. President Donald Trump taunts Kim Jong-Un tweeting "My nuclear button is much bigger and more powerful than yours."

Mr. Trump also lashing out at the Palestinian Authority threatening to cut aid to force peace talks.

And passing off the blame -- Iran says enemies are responsible for stirring up a week of unrest.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Sara Sidner. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

In a nuclear brinkmanship between the U.S. and North Korea U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to take another step closer to the edge in his New Year's Day address.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said the nuclear button is always on his desk. But in a tweet just a short time ago, Mr. Trump raised the ante taunting Mr. Kim by saying "I too have a nuclear button but it is much bigger and more powerful than yours. And my button works."

Bruce Bennett joins us now from Layton, Utah. He's a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation. Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate your time -- Bruce.


SIDNER: So when Kim Jong-Un says he's going to mass produce nuclear weapons, that he has a button on his desk and then the President responds and one-ups him by tweeting about how big his nuclear button is, is this the way to go about dealing with diplomacy? Are we going to actually see not just a war of words but actual nuclear war?

BENNETT: We have to remember that the North Korean style of politics, of diplomacy is totally different than the American style. President Trump has chosen to adopt the North Korean style in dealing with Kim Jong-Un on threatening back the way that Kim always threatens the United States. So I don't think this is likely to lead that way. The fact is that after the U.N. General Assembly speech that President Trump made Kim Jong-Un made every indication in his response that he was actually very scared of President Trump and what President Trump had said. That's a good thing because that will constrain him to some extent.

SIDNER: You've just mention this, too. You've been studying the region for a long time and President Trump's tactics are certainly different than past administrations. Do you think that this sort of tit for tat verbal sparring actually works? And is it directed not just at North Korea but also for example at China as well, to sort of scare the region into trying to take care of the some of the issues there?

BENNETT: Well, sure. This is a broader strategy. It's also focused on South Korea.

I mean Kim Jong-Un in his New Year's Day speech was not just speaking to the North Koreans. He was speaking to the South Koreans and saying "Come on, let's unify under my leadership." He uses the word "reunification" 12 times in his speech focused on both countries.

So President Trump has to say well, you know, you have to understand that Kim Jong-Un poses a threat but we can make a much bigger threat to him. He has to be much more careful than what he's threatened.

SIDNER: Let me touch a little bit on that because Kim Jong-Un also did extend an olive branch. He talked about sending an Olympic delegation, so sending his athletes to the Olympics in South Korea. Is he trying in some way to sort of freeze out the United States and create a dialogue to try to diminish the United States' power in the region?

BENNETT: Well, South Korea has been under pressure from China, from now North Korea and from the U.S. to accept outside influence. South Korea has in this case been very, very anxious to negotiate with North Korea, to be recognized by North Korea.

So Kim Jong-Un is playing South Korea right now. The South Koreans recognize after the Chinese economic warfare that they carried out in 2017 against Korea that China was not really a good security partner.

I think they will learn the same thing with North Korea and eventually decide that working with the U.S. is really their best option. But they have to do it themselves. That's something they have to decide themselves.

SIDNER: Yes, they have a lot to lose. They're obviously the ones right next to North Korea and in the most danger, if you will.

I do want to ask you if you think that the United States -- there will be repercussions for example if South Korea says yes, we want to have talks and those talks actually happen?

[00:05:06] BENNETT: We've certainly had indication from Congress today that if North Korea's Olympic team is sent to the South Korean Olympics that U.S. would reconsider whether we send our own team. Are we going to allow such a dictatorship with horrendous human rights records, defiance the U.N. and so forth, are they a partner that we should be working with in the Olympics?

That's a question that President Trump and the Olympic committee will have to make a decision on.

SIDNER: All right. Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate your insight into the region there.

Now we're going to go to our political panel. CNN political commentators -- Democratic strategist Dave Jacobson and Republican consultant John Thomas.

Now I'm going to start with the both of you because I'm sure you both have a little something to say about this latest tweet. There was something in the amount of 15 tweets that came from the President today, fast and furious, very strong language. What do you make of this tweet on North Korea? Like we just heard -- it's very similar to the same kind of talk that Kim Jong-Un uses.

I'll start with you.

JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the President is looking to fight fire with fire here. And in fact, he's not wrong. He does have more nukes than Kim Jong-Un does.

So he's just saying, hey look, you can't bully us around. Don't think you're scaring me by saying that you have a nuke that really isn't quite accurate. We can mess you up if we're going -- he's just fighting fire with fire.

I actually like his approach.

Trump's whole style, his whole mantra in the art of the deal and elsewhere is always keep your enemies, your opponents guessing. And I think that's what he's doing here.

SIDNER: There's a mutually -- mutually destruction (ph), right. So there's this sort of military tactic that if you do something we'll destroy you. Is that what he's after or is he just tweeting? What do you make of the tweets that are coming?

DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Two things -- one, like if that's the case it hasn't worked yet because if you remember, it was back in August that he made the fire and fury threat, right.


JACOBSON: Let me jump in here. Let me jump in here. If you look at what he tweeted out today, it begs the question, you know the saying "diarrhea of the mouth". This is diarrhea of the Twitter verse.

The fact of the matter is this, this tweet today begs the question of whether or not Donald Trump is asking, actively asking for World War III. Think about the international waves that he created today -- with Pakistan, with the Palestinian people, with North Korea.

This is unbelievable and unprecedented. And at a time of tremendous turmoil across the globe, he is fanning the flames.

SIDNER: You just respond to that. We have seen a little movement for China but again, it's not stopped North Korea from still blasting off ICBMs for example.

THOMAS: Right.

No, it's true. And we're approaching the point of some thing's going to have to be done. Are they going to have to feel comfortable with letting North Korea have a nuclear weapons program or we're going to have to solve it.

So it's just -- I think that Trump is basically saying to Kim Jong-Un you can't trash the United States and I'm not going to sit here and take it. That's what he's saying.

JACOBSON: And the question is like when are Republican leaders Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, John McCain, other Republicans leaders going to look at this unhinged, unstable president and say, you know what, it's time to put country first.

THOMAS: That's exactly the --

JACOBSON: This is ridiculous. Millions of lives are at risk.

THOMAS: That's exactly what they said about Ronald Reagan and G.W. Bush. Same thing.

SIDNER: Fellows -- we're going to leave it there. But I'm going to come back to you because we do want to talk about Iran, Pakistan, the Palestinians and some of the other tweets that happened today that are creating waves all around the world.

We appreciate your time.

Donald Trump is threatening to withhold future payments to the Palestinians, who he says no longer want to negotiate a peace treaty with Israel. On Tuesday, he tweeted, "We pay the Palestinians hundreds of millions of dollars a year and get no appreciation or respect. With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?"

We are now joined by Mustafa Barghouti. He is the founder of the Palestinian National Initiative and a member of the Palestinian parliament. He joins me now live from Ramallah.

Thank you, Mr. Barghouti, for joining us.

Let me ask you first, what is your response to the President's threat to stop giving aid to the Palestinian territories?

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, FOUNDER, PALESTINIAN NATIONAL INITIATIVE: I do not think that President Trump understands really what he's tweeting about. When he says he's taking Jerusalem off the table, he doesn't understand that Jerusalem is the most sensitive issue.

And according to all peace deals, it should be negotiated between both sides. He's deciding unilaterally to take it off the table and give it to the Israelis. And he's encouraging the Israelis to take unilateral actions on the ground and this is destabilizing the situation completely.

But second, he's participating in violating the international law.

And third he's killing the possibility of the United States playing the role of a mediator by being totally biased to one side.


[00:10:05] SIDNER: I do want to ask you -- Mr. Barghouti, I want to jump in and ask you because you just touched on a point there.

Is the peace process dead?

BARGHOUTI: Unfortunately I would say yes. And it was killed because of the Israeli behavior of building settlements, of creating that system of racial discrimination and apartheid because of the laws that the Israeli Knesset has just passed and because of the recent American positions which are practically taking total bias to Israel.

And I want to say that his threat -- President Trump is threatening to cut the aid, he can cut the aid. By the way, most of the American aid to the Palestinians is benefitting the Israelis because it is funding security for the --

SIDNER: How so?

BARGHOUTI: Because it is mainly funding security coordination between Palestinians and the Israelis. If he wants to take it away, let him take it away.

But one message he should understand, we the Palestinians will not sell our land or Jerusalem for 200 millions of dollars. We have struggled for more than 70 years to get our freedom and a few million dollars will not stop us from continuing this struggle for freedom, for equality, for justice.

You cannot just take the side of Israel and dictate what Palestinians should accept or not accept. Jerusalem is the most sensitive issue. Jerusalem -- Palestinians are determined to have Jerusalem as their capital and they will not give it up.

SIDNER: The U.S. obviously saying that they are going to move their embassy to Jerusalem recognizing it as the capital of Israel. Can you give me a sense in the future if the United States will have any role in your mind in trying to broker any kind of peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians?

BARGHOUTI: Well, unfortunately since Mr. Trump came to power, there has been very serious and dramatic change in American policies. First of all the United States has not tried to restrain Israeli settlement activities which have increased by no less 100 percent since President Trump was elected.

Second, the declared American positions were very biased and totally biased to the Israeli side. And now this declaration about Jerusalem is practically killing the possibility and potentials for the United States to play a role as a mediator and actually has led to a complete and total freeze of any peace talks.

In reality this action has destabilized the region completely. And in my opinion destabilized the area here and it has encouraged the Israelis to proceed with their illegitimate actions including violating international law and continuing settlement illegal activities according to the U.N. Security Council resolution.

SIDNER: What is going to happen -- Mr. Barghouti? My last question -- what do you think will happen if the U.S. does stop sending aid? I mean what will the Palestinian Authority do then? Will they look to others to help fund the Authority and get aid to some of the people there?

BARGHOUTI: I don't think -- again I would say Mr. Trump understands what he's talking about because the Palestinians are not dependent on foreign aid.

In reality today the total foreign aid that comes from the United States, from Europe and from all Arab countries is not more than 16 percent of our budget. 84 percent of the expenditures of the Palestinian Authority comes from Palestinian taxes from Palestinian people.

So he can take away his money, this will not affect us. But he has to understand and everybody should understand that Palestinians I repeat will not sell their country and their future and Jerusalem for some millions of dollars.

SIDNER: Mr. Mustafa Barghouti -- thank you so much for your time here tonight on CNN.

BARGHOUTI: Thank you.

SIDNER: We're going to do back to our political panel now -- a lot to unwrap. Our political pundits -- Dave Jacobson and John Thomas are back again to discuss.

I hope you guys have your diplomatic degrees because we're going to go through a lot.

You just heard from Mustafa Barghouti, who was talking about the Palestinians' reaction to all of this. And he said something that was interesting when I asked him, are we at the end of the peace process. And he said yes, it's pretty much done.

What do you think President Trump's response to that would be because he's supposed to be the deal-maker? And it was the Israeli- Palestinian peace deal that was very high up on his agenda when he --

THOMAS: Right. I mean first of all, this is a very challenging problem for all presidents.

But what's interesting in that interview you just did was that he was making the argument that the money is really irrelevant to them.

SIDNER: Right.

THOMAS: That it's not really much of a stick. The President knows that you cut off the purse strings, you use whatever leverage you have. And that's essentially what he's doing here.

He said look, if they're not willing to negotiate with us why in the world would we subsidize them with giving them hundreds of millions of dollars. I think it's the right move.

I don't -- it sounded like from that interview, it's not going to be enough. But I think it is the right move. I don't know why we should continue to reward somebody who's unwilling to negotiate with us.

[00:15:07] JACOBSON: I guess I go back to like naming Jerusalem the capital or it's like recognizing it. Like I get that the President is an outspoken advocate in support of Israel and that's great. I am, too.

But ultimately if you support the Israeli people and you want to be a neutral broker and this whole process. And your incentive is to like establish peace in the region then like you should figure out a strategy to move the ball forward in terms of creating a peaceful process and bringing both sides of the party or both sides to the table.

And what he did by naming Jerusalem or recognizing it as the capital is that it was basically a vindication for his team basically to say we're not going to have peace talks. I mean like, he essentially created this newfound animosity that we didn't have a month ago.

SIDNER: Do you think it's burning bridges, I mean, with that and saying, you know what, let's just stop giving them funding, the Palestinians if the bridge burned?

THOMAS: I mean things weren't exactly going swimmingly before this. So at least we're getting things moving. I don't think anybody thought this is going to be easy but as far as I see it, it's creating movement.

And really Jerusalem -- well, Trump is creating movement towards peace --


JACOBSON: He got some things done -- I'll give you that.

THOMAS: Trump did something that every president in the last 20 years has said they wanted to do. They just didn't have the guts to do it. JACOBSON: Sure but he also killed the peace process in the process of doing it.

THOMAS: Well, we will see. I don't think -- that's the position they're taking today that it's dead. But time will tell. But this is not an easy process for any president.

SIDNER: This has been an extremely difficult process and you know, when you look at sort of the numbers of how much aid is given.

I do want to look at the numbers a little bit because it does -- sometimes the Palestinians say look at this numbers. Here is the U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority -- it's roughly $250 million per year.

Then you look at the Israelis and they're now getting about $1.3 billion in military aid -- sorry, $3.1 billion in military aid for the next decade per year.

Israel look -- says look, we are the biggest ally for the United States in the region. We have supported the United States they have supported us. We have hostile neighbors. We need this money. What happens, for example, in Gaza happens, you know, in the region.

But the Palestinians look at that and go, well really, it's chump change compared to how much you've given to Israel. So what are we to construe from this?

JACOBSON: Look, Israel is one of America's closest allies, not just in the Middle East but across the globe. And that's a good thing, right.

We need a democratic nation who's a very strong ally of ours strategically in the Middle East. And so like I think that is reflective of that relationship. But I think ultimately like peace in the Middle East, particularly the Palestinian people and the state of Israel is a mutual-beneficial thing for both parties but also the broader Middle East community and for the American people.

And so President Trump, pardon me -- not Obama -- President Trump should be working to that goal and I think this does the precise opposite.

SIDNER: Your response?

THOMAS: The funding is really just a reflection of our close alignment with Israel. And we believe that so goes Israel so goes the rest of the world. So we're willing to, as a country we've been willing to give them massive subsidy to keep that relationship so they can protect themselves. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

But look, this is a messy process but at least I feel like we're getting movement. Today we're at a stalemate but negotiations are constantly in flux and we will see if they actually care about that money or they don't. SIDNER: And we should mention you almost said President Obama but it

was the Obama administration that did give that biggest deal ever to Israel and the biggest deal ever for military aid -- so.


SIDNER: We'll give you that one today.


THOMAS: Score one point.

SIDNER: Thank you -- gentlemen.

We will back with you in a bit.

Up next, Iran's powerful Supreme Leader speaks out on the massive anti-government protest and he's pointing fingers over who's to blame for the unrest.


SIDNER: For the first time Iran's Supreme Leader is speaking out on the anti-government protests that have swelled across the country. He blames Iran's enemies for stirring the unrest.

But the U.S. calls that allegation nonsense and wants the U.N. Security Council to meet in an emergency session. At least 21 people have been killed since the protests began last Thursday. Hundreds have been detained. Pro-democratic demonstrators plan to march in the coming hours to show solidarity with the regime.

We have more now from CNN's Nick Paton Walsh.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: the death toll nearly doubled overnight, most in one place around this police station where six died. It's the worst protest for eight years, stretched into a troubling sixth day.

Largely unanticipated, leaderless (INAUDIBLE) drew a rare statement from Iran's Supreme Leader.

"The enemy is waiting for an opportunity for a flaw (ph)," he said, "through which they can enter."

All those who regain (ph) the Islamic republic those who have money, the policy, the weapons and the intelligence mechanisms -- they've all joined forces.

Iranian security officials amplified claims this largely young and spontaneous crowd seen here unleashing fury at police, and outside probably American help.

But while such claims perhaps once caused President Obama to keep his distance, Donald Trump instead chimed in tweeting, "All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their pockets.

What began on Thursday some say as a protest fomented to pressure the moderate President Rouhani to spiral into the groundswell of angry youth, here with the rare and illegal in Iran, chants of "death to Khamenei", the Supreme Leader.

A quarter under 25, are jobless and repression still bites for many leading their recently reelected moderate president to sound a note of sympathy.

"The problem is not only economic ones", he said.

It's not like people have come to streets to say that we want money, bread, water. They have other demands as well. One demand is allowing a freer environment.

(INAUDIBLE) expected this call, let alone for it to be so big, so wide would last this long.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not only has it been leaderless but it's taken shape in parts of the country that previously hasn't been politically active or at the forefront of the politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

So it's been in small provinces as well as big ones, but small provinces that, you know, even Iranians haven't heard the name of before.

WALSH: Iran's decades' long struggle between conservatism and reform in a new unanticipated chapter.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN -- London.


SIDNER: Joining us now for the latest there, "Los Angeles Times" reporter Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and in Washington Reza Marashi, research director for the National Iranian American Council. Thank you gentlemen -- both for being here.

I'm going to start with Ramin. We're now in day seven of protests. Can you give us a sense of what you've seen or heard about what's happening in the streets today?

RAMIN MOSTAGHIM, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Since last night the protests in Tehran seems diminishing in terms of the number of the protesters. And in terms of the anti-riots police stationed in the (INAUDIBLE), Tehran University and the vicinity.

[00:24:44] And of course, the country also less tension, less backlashes but those who are determined to take to the streets from time-to-time after darkness falls, they take the opportunity to come out at this moment -- the anti-riot police in the side streets (ph). So I can say by Friday we can expect diminishing trend of the riots but we have to wait until Friday for the stations in Tehran because actually there will be a backlash from the pro-government people who counterattack to take to the street to show their power and also flex their muscles to give a lesson to the rioters.

SIDNER: The pro-government protest that is planned -- is that something that was created or cooked up by the government or is this something that it seems, you know, odd for that to suddenly show up now.

MOSTAGHIM: No, every time when we have a demonstration or riot like this there will be a backlash from pro-government institutes. So actually it is a stage. But anyway the government has its own followers and supporters. So no surprise that they also take the opportunity to show that they are -- supporting their own government too.

SIDNER: Thank you so much -- Ramin.

I'm going to -- I've got a question for Reza now. There are some -- what 80 million Iranians. Do we have any sense or idea of just how widespread these protests are especially since some of the social media sites have been shut down by the government?

REZA MARASHI, NATIONAL IRANIAN-AMERICAN COUNCIL: Most accounts though we've been able to gather thus far that the sheer number of people protesting is quite a bit less than the million that we saw on the streets in 2009 after Iran's contested presidential election.

But I think it's fair to point out and important to point out that in a much greater numbers of cities sometimes in places where protests really haven't ever happened before in the history of the Islamic Republic since 1979 you've seen smaller protests take place.

And you've seen it happen from lower, middle class to lower class Iranians who typically haven't had that kind of political engagement who haven't had their economic and by extension political and social aspirations met by successive government.

SIDNER: Do you think that there is some definite -- or you do think there's definite significance that it is more widespread than in 2009. but overall are we seeing something like what we saw in the Middle East during the Arab Spring where young people sort of brought out this intense, intense protest that eventually toppled governments or is this something else or is it just too early to tell?

MARASHI: I think it's too early to tell and I think that because it really does depend on what the government chooses to do over the next week. If tangible. sustainable steps are taken to address the grievances that protesters are articulating, then it is possible that things can get -- can die down and politics can resume some semblance of normality.

But if that doesn't happen and grievances aren't met then really the best case scenario is kicking the can down the road and increasing the likelihood that this could happen again.

Or perhaps I wouldn't say likely that civil rights movement, which I think is what we're witnessing now could potentially turn into a revolutionary type situation. In a worst scenario if the government misplays its hands and gets extremely violent with people which would be the worst possible thing that they could do. >

SIDNER: Twenty-one people already killed there. I do have one last question for you. President Trump has tweeted seven times to the people of Iran and encouraging them to protest. Does that help or hurt the protesters? What sort of reaction would you expect from the protesters themselves or the government -- it played into their hands as well that there is some, you know, outside interference with the U.S. which the U.S. says is not true.

MASHARI: I think generally speaking Iranians appreciate moral support from the international community but more specifically with Donald Trump. I mean this is a man that banned Iranians from entering the United States. This is a man who is on the cusp of reintroducing sanctions at a time the Iranians are protesting their economic dignity.

So it really stretches the limits of believability that any statement that Donald Trump would make about Iranian protesters would be geared towards anything except his own perceived political interests. I don't think he has any interest in supporting legitimate aspirations of Iranians to that Iran.

SIDNER: All right. Thank you so much. That's Reza Marashi and Ramin Mostaghim who joined us, live there from Tehran. We appreciate you -- gentlemen.

And just ahead some breaking news with North and South Korea. Kim Jong-Un making a significant move to open the lines of communication between the two countries.


SIDNER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Sara Sidner. The headlines for you at this hour:


SIDNER: Now some breaking news for you now. Kim Jong-un has given the order to restore the hotline to the South in about an hour. North Korea says it wants to talk about its athletes participating in the Olympic Games.

Earlier a South Korean government spokeswoman said Seoul tried to contact the North twice on Tuesday via the hotline but did not get an answer. For more on this breaking news, Paula Hancocks now joins us now from Seoul.

Paula, thank you so much for joining us.

Can you give us a sense of exactly what the president said there? PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sara, this was a delivery by a North Korean official on North Korean television, saying that Kim Jong-un had given the order to reopen that hotline, that communication channel between North and South Korea.

Now it's at Panmunjom, which is the truce village which spans both North and South Korea, in the DMZ, the demilitarized zone, and it's been closed since February 2016. We did hear from officials here in South Korea that they tried twice yesterday to get through to North Korea. They had been trying at 9:00 am and 4:00 pm every single day since February 2016 just to check if North Korea had opened that communication channel.

So it is significant that North Korea has announced this, it is the next step after that offer of talks from South Korea for next Tuesday, January 9th, at the DMZ. Now the official also said that Kim Jong-un welcomes South Korea's support for their participation in the improvement of relations. He wished them success for the PyeongChang Olympics.

And saying that it is important for them to discuss these details --


HANCOCKS: -- on the delegation and on the North Koreans coming to South Korea for the Olympic Games.

We've already had a response from South Korea, a very swift welcoming of this news, the presidential spokesman saying that this restoration means a lot. It means that there can be communications going forward in the future -- Sara.

SIDNER: You talk about the response from South Korea, is there any worry that there may be a rift there with the United States, that North Korea is playing games, trying to freeze out the U.S. and trying to make a deal with South Korea?

HANCOCKS: I think all of these issues will be considered. I think there will be a lot of caution in the corridors of power. I think there will be some cynicism, or at least you would hope so, as North Korea has made many promises in the past, has made deals in the past, has not kept to all of those.

And so certainly I think there will be some concern as to why now, why is North Korea almost sidelining the United States and deciding to focus on South Korea. Clearly they know that President Moon Jae-in here in South Korea is far more open to dialogue, farm more open to engagement with North Korea than the U.S. President Donald Trump is. But there is also the argument that this U.S.-South Korean alliance is

a long one. It is a strong one. It's stronger than just two men. It's farfetched to think that North Korea wanting to talk to South Korea first could actually put any kind of significant wedge between these two countries.

But it is interesting that despite that very surprising tweet from the U.S. President Donald Trump this morning local time that the North and South Koreans are just forging and going ahead with potential talks.

SIDNER: All right, thank you so much, Paula Hancocks, giving us all the details of the diplomacy happening between North and South Korea, breaking news, that North Korea saying they will reopen the phone lines so there can be talks between the two.

Thank you, Paula.

A teenage girl has become a hero among Palestinians after a video of her punching an Israeli soldier went viral. But the Israeli military has a completely different view, as you might imagine and the teen is facing serious charges. Our Oren Liebermann reports from Jerusalem.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A 16-year-old Palestinian girl who was filmed slapping an Israeli soldier in the West Bank has become something of an icon, especially now that she's been charged.

Israeli military prosecutors charged Ahed Tamimi in juvenile military court with assaulting a soldier and four other charges after she was shown on video slapping and punching that soldier.

The video, show by Tamimi's mother quickly spread on social media, incorporating Tamimi's readout as it went viral. The soldiers are seen in the video not responding to Tamimi and other members of her family.

This isn't the first time Tamimi has become famous in a video like this. A few years ago she was filmed raising her arm to an Israeli soldier in a video that made her a household name among Palestinians.

In her village in the northern West Bank, Friday demonstration are a weekly occurrence and frequently turn into clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers. The clashes are often videotaped and disseminated on social media. It is those videos that have spread Tamimi's fame or infamy among both Israelis and Palestinians. She has fans and critics both for and against what she did in the video as well as arguments about how the soldiers acted.

It seems no one watched the video and remained indifferent. She's either a symbol of Palestinian resistance or an image of Palestinian violence or maybe even something else. Many here have seen that video and come to their own conclusions. Regardless of how that debate ends, each point made seems to increase Tamimi's status as an icon.

Tamimi's mother was also arrested and charged with incitement; Tamimi's cousin is also being held right now -- Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.


SIDNER: When we come back, a storm slams part of Ireland with flooding and high winds and the threat not over yet, where storm Eleanor is hitting next.





SIDNER: Weather wise, it's been a rough start to the New Year in Ireland. Strong winds and flooding from storm Eleanor battered many parts of that country. Some cars and buildings were underwater in the city of Galway.


SIDNER: And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Sara Sidner. "WORLD SPORT" is coming up next. You're watching CNN.