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North And South Korea Promise Lasting Peace For Peninsula; The World Reacts To Historic Summit. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired April 27, 2018 - 17:00   ET


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, from South Korea, the summit heard around the world as Kim Jong-un alongside President Moon Jae-in pledged no

more war on this peninsula and complete denuclearization. My interview with the South Korean president's special adviser Chung-in Moon, who was at

that momentous summit.

Plus, all the latest international reaction as President Trump hails the positive progress on the peninsula. Two longtime career Korea watchers

join me to discuss where we go from here.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in Seoul, South Korea.

A new history starts now. Those words from Kim Jong-un during what has been a remarkable day here on the Korean Peninsula.

The two Korean leaders were, as we've never seen before, standing side by side, smiling, and even joking at times as they dealt with critical matters

like nuclear weapons and peace.

The two men did indeed make history, first standing together at the DMZ and then walking back and forth over the demarcation line between north and

southern parts.

Small Panmunjom declaration, a 3-page document covering several issues, most importantly, a goal to formally end the war with a peace treaty and

joint commitment to denuclearization. Here is Korea's president Moon Jae- in.


MOON JAE-IN, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT (through translator): There will be not be any more war on the Korean Peninsula. A new era of peace has

finally opened. This we declare. Today, Chairman Kim and I have agreed that a complete denuclearization will be achieved, and that is our common



AMANPOUR: And Kim Jong-un delivered this message. No, he did not mention the D-word, denuclearization.


KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER (through translator): We are not a people that should be confronting each other. We are of the same people and

should live in unity. I hope that we should be able to live peacefully in the future.


AMANPOUR: Meanwhile, over at the White House, President Trump is hosting Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, who like Macron, is trying to keep the

US in the Iran deal. Trump took a moment to praise this summit over here.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of very positive things happened over the last 24 hours. We are in total touch with both

North Korea and South Korea. We will be setting up a meeting very shortly. We have it broken down to probably two sites now, two or three sites,

locations. And, hopefully, we are going to have great success. We'll see what happens, but, hopefully, we're going to have great success.


AMANPOUR: Now, as a special adviser to President Moon, my guest Chung-in Moon was present at the summit, socializing freely, he says, with members

of the North Korean delegation and he even chatted with Kim Jong-un's powerful and ever-present sister.

Now, back from the DMZ, he told me all about the day's events.

Welcome back to the program. An amazing day for you. Just tell me how did it feel? There are pictures of you at the banquet. How did it feel to be


MOON CHUNG-IN, SPECIAL ADVISER TO SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT: The banquet was very amicable. And South Korean members could freely go to head table and

propose a toast to Chairman Kim Jong-un.


CHUNG-IN: And at the same time, Madame Ri Sol Ju, wife of Chairman King Jong-un, and Chairman Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong, were on the head

table that made an overall atmosphere much more amicable and lively.

AMANPOUR: It was really as relaxed as it looked.

CHUNG-IN: It was extremely relaxed. People were moving around different tables, proposing a toast and congratulating the success of the summit.

AMANPOUR: And did you expect it to be like that?

CHUNG-IN: No, I didn't expect it. I thought that there might be some kind of tension, some kinds of difficulties in arriving at the kind of

declaration, but I didn't see that kinds of difficulties.

AMANPOUR: How did Kim come across? What was his persona like, his body language? Did you shake his hand? Did he look you in the eyes?

CHUNG-IN: Oh, yes. He is just ordinary and normal, OK? He has a charisma, but he is extremely friendly. He is willing to accommodate any

person's approach, OK? Of course, the setting was a somewhat different, OK? Last night's banquet, OK?

[17:05:14] But, however, he was very, very - he showed very ordinary and amicable behavior toward the other members from South Korea.

AMANPOUR: What was the most important thing for you given how long you've worked on this issue, given the tragedy of the separation of North and

South and how many people have really had their families ripped apart? What was it like for you to see and to be in close quarters with the leader

of North Korea?

CHUNG-IN: Those two leaders declared end of war and the beginning of peace on the Korean Peninsula. That's quite significant. No one could do that

in that audacious way. That's a very, very significant achievement of the third summit.

And another important issue, which is the concern of all of us, that is the issue of North Korea nuclear. North Korean leader agreed to make a

complete denuclearization. And also, both leaders committed themselves to the creating nuclear weapons free Korean Peninsula.

AMANPOUR: So, it's interesting that you're so energized because, of course, so much commentary is still asking what does it really mean. Is

there a time table? Is there really goodwill by Chairman Kim to actually dismantle his nuclear program? What might it mean? What might he really


So, you believe that the wording in the declaration, which says complete denuclearization is what? Is destruction of their program?

CHUNG-IN: That is to be worked out between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un.

AMANPOUR: You mean, you're leaving the hard word for President Trump?

CHUNG-IN: No. Because the whole point of this we really induced North Korea to declare that they wanted to go for complete denuclearization.

That is what comprehensive denuclearization.

Now, devil is in detail, but the devil and detail should be worked out between President Trump and Mr. Kim Jong-un.

AMANPOUR: Do you think that's possible? What makes you think that Kim Jong-un wants to destroy his nuclear weapons? Up until now, he has

considered himself a nuclear power. That's what he told the Workers Congress the other day.

He has told North Korea that this is what we are now and that the nuclear weapons are his passport to regime survival.

CHUNG-IN: No. During the plenary session of the Korea Workers Party on April 21st, Chairman Kim Jong-un made it very clear, now our goal is

economic development. What he calls the so-called reconstruction of socialist economy.

Of course, he has been pursuing so-called byungjin line, simultaneous development of nuclear weapons and economic development. But he knows

while having nuclear weapons, he cannot go for economic development.

No one would make an investment in North Korea. Sanctions will continue. Therefore, it is my understanding that Chairman Kim Jong-un is willing to

give up nuclear weapons if terms are right, if he can really revitalize North Korean economy.

AMANPOUR: And what are the terms? The United States would have to remove its nuclear umbrella?

CHUNG-IN: That could be the one request, but the North Korea has been asking, what you call, what they call the verifiable dismantling of

American nuclear weapons in South Korea. They have been requesting non- deployment of strategic weapons during the ROK-US joint military exercise and training.

They have been arguing that the United States should declare it would not pose a conventional and nuclear threat to North Korea and peace treaty and

ultimately normalization of diplomatic ties between the two Koreas. That is what they have been demanding.

AMANPOUR: That's what they have been demanding. But, again, what has brought them to this point then do you think? I mean, why now?

CHUNG-IN: North Korea argues that it has completed the nuclear weapons. Therefore, it has credible nuclear deterrence. Therefore, they believe

that the United States cannot attack North Korea.

With that kinds of assurance, they wanted to have a talk with the United States. Then their argument is, if the United States can come up with

acceptable terms, then they're willing to give up nuclear weapons.

AMANPOUR: So, you've talked to - privately, I guess, to your North Korean counterpart. What do they say about wanting to engage with the United


CHUNG-IN: That they wanted to be a normal country, normal state, to be recognized by the United States. They want American investment coming to

North Korea. They welcome America's sponsors and multilateral consortium coming into North Korea.

[14:10:07] AMANPOUR: The whole capitalist thing.

CHUNG-IN: Yes, they want Trump Tower. They want McDonald and all these kinds of things, but it is my understanding if there is that kinds of

normalization of relations between the US and North Korea takes place, then there is a real guarantee of North Korean regime.

AMANPOUR: I just want to get back to some of the atmospherics because I think people were really surprised when they heard this man who they know

so little about, Chairman Kim Jong-un, as your President kept calling him, Chairman Kim Jong-un, joking.

At one point he said to President Moon, oh, I understand that all our missile tests have been keeping you up at night. You have to get up at the

crack of dawn and go to special meetings. Well, now you can sleep better. And President Moon said, yes, now, I'll have an easier sleep. I mean,

those are kind of quite sophisticated jokes.

CHUNG-IN: It's an extremely sophisticated joke. Today, you saw, OK, Chairman Kim Jong-un crossed the demilitarized line from North Korea and

South Korea. Then President Moon told him that I have never been to North Korea. Then he said, oh, why don't we go back to North Korea instantly.

AMANPOUR: It's incredible, that.

CHUNG-IN: It is a kind of impromptu response. It's quite amazing.

AMANPOUR: I was also struck by what Kim Jong-un said to President Moon in front of all these cameras about his own country's poverty, its lack of

infrastructure. He basically said that the roads are too bad. If you come to Pyongyang, I'm going to have to meet you at the airport.

CHUNG-IN: No, in fact, President Moon wanted to go to Mount Kumgang - Mount Paektu. Then if you wanted to go there, then - because we do not

have adequate infrastructure, therefore, it will be very hard. That is why I came down to Panmunjom. He made that kinds of statement.

AMANPOUR: But it isn't that odd, isn't it, that a North Korean leader who presents himself to his people as almost god like, as his country being

nirvana, will in front of the world admit that actually things are not all great in North Korea, not even the roads.

CHUNG-IN: That's a new face of current North Korean leadership. He is being very frank and honest. Therefore, what he does not have in North

Korea, then he would admit, I don't have it. He would not come up with some presumptuous argument. I think there is some strong merit of Chairman

Kim Jong-un.

AMANPOUR: And when he signed the guest book, he said, history starts now. That again is pretty dramatic. Were you expecting that?

CHUNG-IN: No, I didn't expect that one. Even I didn't expect that he used the term peace and prosperity. Peace and prosperity have been kinds of a

monopoly of South Korea, not North Korea. But he used those kinds of terms.

Therefore, I think he has been trying to understand South Korea from South Korean point of view. That is why he has been using - choosing that kinds

of words.

AMANPOUR: I just wonder what he would think if he came here. I mean, the difference between Pyongyang and Seoul is night and day. And it really is

interesting that that part of his character that you revealed. But, as you said, the devil is in the details.

They talked about a peace treaty. From your understanding, how serious is that? And how long will it take to actually negotiate that? It's not

within South Korea's purview. It's the United States. It's China. It's other nations that have to sign the formal peace treaty. Is there any

date, aspirational date for that to happen?

CHUNG-IN: No date is set, but they are hoping that they would declare end of the Korean War within this year. And lot of people question, would it

be possible?

But, look, North and South Korea committed, OK? President Trump sent the blessing to the ending of Korean War and Chinese Foreign Ministry made

official statement saying that the we also support ending the war on Korean Peninsula.

Then, North, South Korea, US, China, they all agree. That is a matter of diplomatic commitment on our side and the side of North Korea.

AMANPOUR: If it was you, what would you tell President Trump about Kim Jong-un, the positive and the caution? What would you say?

CHUNG-IN: It would be very positive.

AMANPOUR: You would just be very positive.

CHUNG-IN: I would give a very positive recommendation. I think that North Korean leader can be a person to negotiate with. The person that is

worthwhile for President Trump to have a talk with Chairman Kim Jong-un.

AMANPOUR: These summits have happened before. This is the third. And declarations have been made before. Similar declarations. And they've not

come to anything, anything long term. Do you think this is different?

[14:15:07] CHUNG-IN: Yes, there is a difference because both North Korean leader and South Korean leader share the view that past agreement should

not be violated. They should be honored. That was the first item which was discussed between the two leaders.

And also, in fact, the Chairman Kim Jong-un raised that issue. We made several agreements in the past that they were not honored. This time, we

make an agreement, we should keep them.

AMANPOUR: Well, thank you very much indeed for joining us, Dr. Moon Chung-in. Thank you very much.

CHUNG-IN: Thank you. Thank you very much.

AMANPOUR: Now, if a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step, then you can only imagine the sense of possibility that many Koreans may have

felt as they watch Kim Jong-un cross into the southern side of the DMZ.

So, are we about to see that sense of unity between Koreans, North and South, return? And what will it take to rid the north of nuclear weapons.

Let's bring in David Sanger, the national security correspondent for "The New York Times" and Duyeon Kim, a visiting senior research fellow at the

Korean Peninsula Future Forum.

Welcome to you both. Can I just ask you first about what do you think the reaction is here in South Korea? Are people just sitting on the edge of

their seats? Does it matter? What do you think?

DUYEON KIM, VISITING SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW, KOREAN PENINSULA FUTURE FORUM: My sense is that the South Korean public at large definitely hopeful, but

more skeptical than before because they've seen this move so many times before.

Similar atmosphere. It's not as cheerful and cheery, but similar pronouncements of peace, similar agreements for peace and unification and

no hostilities and an end to war.

But they've seen that the North has never lived up to their end of the bargain. And so, I think, in general, they're more skeptical and they'll

have to wait and see an action.

AMANPOUR: I mean, that's probably a logical thing to do anyway, right, David? Wait-and-see, see what happens next. What did you get out of all

the optics, the declaration, the final communique, particularly as a course setter for a Trump, Kim Jong-un summit?

DAVID SANGER, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, it went about as well as it could go for setting up the Trump meeting. And

it was designed by both of them to do that because Mr. Kim wants to be able to go out and be seen with the president of the United States. That's

never happened with a North Korean leader before.

And Mr. Moon, the South Korean president, knows that he's going to have to play the mediator when the inevitable breakdown comes in these kind of

conversations and will be through many crises between now and the future.

What really struck me, though, were two things. The first is that Mr. Kim has driven this train since the day that the Olympics diplomacy started.

He has been setting the pace. He has been taking all the initiatives. We even saw that as he invited President Moon to step into North Korean


The second thing that struck me is that he recognizes that while the sanctions are hurting - well, I think President Trump deserves a fair bit

of credit for sort of forcing the moment - he's always got the card that he can be the great destroyer of the peninsula.

People have a hard time remembering that, 65 years ago, the scenes behind you here was utter rubble. It looked like Syria today.

AMANPOUR: And that, I think, is so important because you just heard the advisor to President Moon basically talk about now Chairman Kim wants to

essentially create this kind of thing inside North Korea. I mean, that would be the dream, right? He wants economic development.

President Trump has just said, in his meeting with Angela Merkel, and the foreign minister told me yesterday, the South Korean foreign minister, that

there will be no let up of sanctions. Maximum pressure will continue until they actually see action on dismantling and denuclearizing.

What do you think it's going to take to see action? We didn't hear a plan at all in the communique today.

KIM: Today's declaration really was not intended to have specifics and a timeline and sequencing on the nuclear issue. That is the game between

Trump and Kim. And this was really the stage setter to springboard into a Trump-Kim commit, keep that political space open, so that President Trump

can have his meeting with Kim.

And so, that battle will be played between Kim and Trump. and I think the Trump administration is smart to have that stance where they won't lift

sanctions until the North does show concrete steps.

And we've had this. We've had past experiences where the North, as we know - and we can pickup where they left off during the six-party talks

(INAUDIBLE) key plutonium producing facilities. They tried to devise a roadmap for dismantlement. They couldn't even get there because there was

disagreement over verification protocol, whatnot, but those are the types of concrete steps when they're actually taking offline the facilities.

[14:20:15] AMANPOUR: President Trump has also praised this summit and said that he hopes it will lead to bigger and better things.

David, you've, obviously, covered these things before. We've seen a picture that really tells 1,000 words. We've seen the raised hands between

three different South Korean presidents and two different North Korean leaders.

And I know that it's hard to imagine how it's going to get to the denouement that the West wants and South Korea wants.

SANGER: It is because you've got to think that, at the end of the day, Kim Jong-un knows that it's his nuclear weapons that are keeping his family

business going.

AMANPOUR: But do you think that he did think that for the first few years. Now, he's declared himself a nuclear state. He's told his people he is.

And he can sit down as leader to leader and deal with the economics.

SANGER: He can if he can figure out a way in which the world will allow him to basically enter arms control treaties instead of arms elimination


I think he's willing to give up some of his arsenal. We don't even know how big his arsenal. If you believe the CIA, slightly over 20 weapons. If

you believe the Defense Intelligence Agency, maybe 60 weapons.

And this gets to the critical point that (INAUDIBLE) before, which is verifying this, however it turns out, is going to be one big nightmare

because it's a large country, full of mountains, full of tunnels. It's going to be a much harder inspection process than anything we've faced in

Iran, anything we faced in Iraq.

AMANPOUR: I still can't get my head around how the president of the United States could seriously want to pull his country out of the only thing

that's brought at least some security to Iran's nuclear program, but that is what they are saying they may do.

Given what you've just said, given that Iran has a lot of verification, what do you think will happen - what do you think the effect on this Korean

process will be if, in fact, they pull out of the Iran deal?

SANGER: Well, I think the first question is if he does - if President Trump does decide to pull out of it, the message that it sends to the rest

of the world, Kim Jong-un included, is any deal you strike today can get undone by the next president, which gives you sort of a lower level of

confidence out here.

The second message that I think it sends, and I think a harder one for President Trump, he's going to actually get more out of Kim Jong-un than

Barack Obama and John Kerry got out of the Iranian mullahs.

And Iranians ship 97 percent of their fuel out of the country. If there was 97 percent of North Korea's fuel being shipped out of the country and

all of its weapons - the Iranians didn't have weapons yet - there will be celebration in the streets out here.

So, the president is setting a very high bar for himself.

AMANPOUR: And yet, to play devil's advocate, of course, if he did get to denuclearization, it would be a much bigger deal precisely because Iran

didn't have nuclear weapons. This would be a big deal.

KIM: Oh, sure! Like David said, the verification protocol would have to be far more intrusive. But in South Korea, and especially in Japan, sure, we

can imagine a scenario in which Kim Jong-un might be willing to cap or limit some parts of its programs, but that does not solve the problem.

That just means that they can keep their weapons and they'll still be a threat to South Korea and Japan. And so, South Koreans in particular were

not happy to hear Secretary-designate Pompeo in his hearing mention that the problem is really the ICBM and emphasized so much on the ICBM and the

threat to America.

AMANPOUR: That's very interesting. What do you make of what the regional powers have been saying? They've praised it. They've all said this is a

very good step. Japan has its own issues including the abductees, including disputed territories.

China presumably is kind of concerned maybe that North Korea may cut a deal with the United States at its expense. What do you think the surrounding

powers are feeling?

SANGER: They look at President Trump and they see a man who is always looking for a reason to pull American troops back.

In fact, in a set of interviews that Maggie Haberman and I did with him when he was candidate Trump, he talked about pulling all of his troops out

of Japan and South Korea and letting them build their own nuclear weapons.

Now, I think they are nervous that if a deal was struck here, the temptation in the Trump administration is going to be, OK, that problem

solved, we can pull back. And I don't think that they trust very much that the United States could go off and do that and they would be safe.

[14:25:01] KIM: The other phenomenon that we're witnessing here really in a bigger perspective is diplomatic curling on the Korean Peninsula, curling

like the winter sports Olympics sporting event.

So, you've got all the heads of state who want in (INAUDIBLE) Korean Peninsula. And you want President Trump and you want Xi Jinping and Abe

wants in on the action. China is nervous that this whole peace process that they won't be front and center and be able to dictate where that peace

process ends up and where it goes.

And so, everyone really wants to crowd into pie called the Korean Peninsula, I really do think, after the Trump-Kim summit.

AMANPOUR: And very quickly, we've got about half a minute left, what did you make of the optics, quickly to you first?

KIM: Sure, it was historic. But they certainly achieved their goal of creating this atmosphere and mood of peace. It was cheery and cheerful and

friendly. Very different from past summits.

But, again, it really is what happens after the agreement.

AMANPOUR: We'll see. And what did you make? I mean, nobody knew that Kim Jong-un could joke and he did throw a few jokes out.

SANGER: He did. He seemed incredibly comfortable in his own skin. And his father was awkward. His grandfather was pretty awkward. And maybe

that year in Switzerland have a bigger effect on his understanding of the West than we do.

AMANPOUR: And, of course, we haven't talked because it wasn't on the agenda about human rights and about Kim Jong-un's own record as killing his

uncle, killing his brother. It's really quite an amazing situation that happened here today given the whole context.

Thank you both very much indeed.

SANGER: Thank you.

KIM: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program tonight. And remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at And, of

course, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for watching. And goodbye from atop the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History right here in Seoul.