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EARLY START

North and South Korea Hold Historic Summit; Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired April 27, 2018 - 04:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

[04:32:21] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Dave Briggs on an extraordinary breaking news Friday. 4:32 Eastern Time. We've seen pictures of Kim Jong-un sitting down with South Korean president Moon Jae-in. A historic summit on the Korean peninsula. A long conversation between these two world leaders. This is the first time a North Korean leader has stepped into the DMZ since 1953. We remind you, we are still technically in the midst of the Korean War.

ROMANS: That's right. No bodyguards. No aides. Just these two talking to one another. Two hours of talks. Denuclearization, inter- Korean relations, the two main topics here. They planted a tree. They talked about ending conflict and finding peace. Earlier, Kim signed a guest book with this inscription, "A new history begins now." Some sense of the potential significance here, although I will there is a lot of -- a lot of cynicism around this. There's a lot of work --

BRIGGS: And there should be.

ROMANS: There's a lot of work to be done.

Let's bring in CNN's Paula Hancocks live for us from near the Demilitarized Zone. The pictures really speak to how historic the meeting is between these two.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, the optics are incredible. There is no doubt about that. We are now waiting for the substance. What did these two leaders talk about for that half an hour when they were walking around with no audio, no bodyguards, no close aides. They seemed to be having a very in-depth conversation.

We are hoping within the next sort of five, 10 minutes that we are going to see live a signing of a joint declaration between the two leaders. That is when we are going to get an indication of exactly what they decided on today.

The optics have been incredible. There have been historic moments. The fact that Kim Jong-un has crossed the MDL into the South. The fact that -- President Moon Jae-in across the MDL into the North as well. That was not expected. The fact that they appeared to be getting on well. These are two leaders who have not met before. Two leaders of two territories, two countries that are technically still at war.

And of course they know that this is all being broadcast live. We were told this was going to be made-for-TV moments. It clearly is. But where is the substance? What exactly have they agreed on? And of course you have to step back every so often as well even when you're seeing these incredible pictures. And remember that this is a man who is accused of being one of the worst human rights abusers in the world, sitting, walking, talking, smiling, shaking hands with a former human rights activist, a former human rights lawyer.

[04:35:01] So it's really quite incredible that we have got to this point. We know they talked about denuclearization. We know that the South Koreans wanted to nail down what that would have meant to the North Koreans.

Does it mean that Kim Jong-un is willing to give up his nuclear weapons? I have yet to meet an expert on North Korea who believes that he will truly give up all of his weapons. They're also going to be talking about how to end the Korean War. It's still ongoing technically because there was only an armistice signed in 1953 -- Dave, Christine.

ROMANS: Well, you're seeing right there, the image you're seeing on your -- on the right side of your screen the two leaders with dirt and soil from both sides of the -- from both countries planting a peace tree. So that's the symbolism there. Clearly much of this is choreographed. The substance, she's absolutely right, is what we have to see.

BRIGGS: Thank you, Paula.

And we have more than optics, folks. We have some comments from Kim Jong-un relayed by the spokesman of President Moon. Now it's not just seeing Kim's smile. He's apparently been joking with President Moon about disturbing his sleep with missile tests, and I quote, "I will make sure that your morning sleep, won't be disturbed." That was from Kim Jong-un, about his own missile test. Moon saying now I can sleep in peace. Extraordinary optics and words relayed from these two leaders.

ROMANS: And joining us now, chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, live in Seoul.

Hello, Christiane.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Dave, look, I think the world, certainly the region can breathe at least a temporary sigh of relief.

What has happened here today, the words that you've just said, all the reporting that we've just been doing for the last many, many hours, has really shifted the atmosphere in a very real way. Instead of talking about buttons and tests, and nuclear dominance and accidental nuclear conflict or deliberate, all of that tension for the moment has been superseded by this effort at diplomacy.

And this is in no small part due to President Trump according to the South Koreans, to President Moon who insisted on moving towards a diplomatic end and also to Kim Jong-un, for many they feel secure right now to be able to take this step.

What exactly those steps are we will wait to see. But, you know, when Kim Jong-un signed the visitor's book today he talked about this marks a new history. From today a new history begins. Some of his other comments were I didn't expect it to be so easy to cross, why did it take us 11 years, all of these things have been coming up.

He also said to President Moon, he said, you know, the next time I want to come by airplane. My roads are not really good. I know I've just traveled on them from here. This is a real explicit admission that not only their roads aren't good, but their economy is not good, their infrastructure is not good. And they desperately need the world and the economic relief.

The sanctions have bitten very, very hard. They are some of the toughest if not the toughest sanctions that have been implemented not just by the United States or South Korea but by the world. The U.N. Security Council including China, Russia and the others. So this is very, very important.

President Moon of South Korea said to president -- Chairman Kim, it took courage for you to cross over into the South he told him. And that's when Kim said, well, you know, I invite you to the North. Many now is the time to come to the North. And that's when you saw him hold out his hand and practically drag President Moon across the northern part of the demarcation line.

So this is the atmosphere in which today is being conducted. And I spoke to the South Korean foreign minister here in Seoul yesterday. She is also at those talks. And she just said look, this is going to be a flexible summit. We have denuclearization first and foremost, and we need to talk about a peace treaty and normalization of relations between us as well.

So we're going to hear hopefully a joint declaration any time soon. And we'll see whether those key points are on the table in a meaningful way and not just sort of aspirationally and using the same old tired language that proved to be failed language from the past.

BRIGGS: And that foreign minister in the comments to you credited President Trump who deserves an awful lot of credit to getting us to this point. But given the context of the Iran deal and how President Trump has called it insane, ridiculous and the worst deal ever, is anything short of complete denuclearization irreversible and verifiable? Anything short of that, is it a failure, Christiane?

AMANPOUR: Well, it's certainly going to be -- we won't get that kind of clarity tonight. But that is obviously what all these sides use. I mean, all the -- you know, the South Korea, United States, the allies, that is what they want from North Korea. So far all we hear is about complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

[04:40:03] So it will be interesting to hear whether that term is in the final communique tonight, the joint declaration. That is a little bit of a wiggle term. W don't know what it means today. We know what it means in the past when the North Koreans have said it. And it means let's get everyone denuclearized. The United States, the nuclear umbrella. Everything should be denuclearized. Well, that has so far been a nonstarter for the U.S. and for South Korea. So yes, we've got to see a commitment to complete verifiable, irreversible dismantling and disarming.

That's what the south Korean foreign minister has said to me. Unless we see meaningful action in that regard, we will not be lifting the sanctions. So that is the message that they had brought despite the smiles, despite the handshakes, despite a lot of these, you know, statements and a little bit of insight we're getting for the first time into Kim Jong-un.

Despite that, the very clear message is being the one that I just put to you. Unless we see meaningful steps, actionable steps towards disarmament, denuclearization, global sanctions will not be lifted. That is the perspective.

Now on the Iran deal, when I asked her about that, she said look, I can't go into the Iran deal right now. But I'm telling you that we expect a total and an acceptable deal from North Korea. And you know, all President Trump's allies are desperately hoping he does not withdraw the United States from the Iran deal at this time or ever because this is taking another potential nuclear problem and having resolved it at least for a good and considerable time. The last thing the rest of the world wants to see is for that to be open up all over again.

ROMANS: It's so remarkable that -- this reporting that he admitted that he has decrepit roles and that the North Korean delegation to Seoul for the Olympics admired the bullet trains in the South. An admission like that from this leader, Christiane, who is seen as god- like in his country, infallible even is just remarkable color, don't you think?

AMANPOUR: Well, I do. And I think it's color and it's more than color. I don't know whether his people are going to hear that. I'm not sure what is going to be transmitted back into North Korea. We'll see in the next few days. But, you know, he did say at the last and the latest party Congress, Workers Party Congress, where he said we will hold for the our nuclear test. Out antiballistic missile test, we need he said another strategic line. That was the term he used about an economic development.

And you know, it really remains to be seen whether he views that as his eventual survival of his regime or whether he still considers the accumulation of some two dozen or so, according to experts, nuclear weapons and the capacity that they've managed to build into their intercontinental ballistic missiles. Let us not forget that all of this has happened since he was leader

and it happened under the radar of the U.S. intelligence community and the rest. They won't professed surprise over the last several months about how rapidly Kim Jong-un moved the nuclear weapons program and the delivery system ahead. So we'll see whether now economic development, you know, reaches an equal level of need in his mind.

ROMANS: Yes. The North has -- the South has offered to invest before. Right? And then every time it's the nuclear ambitions that derail it.

Christiane Amanpour, we'll talk to you very, very soon. And we know you're monitoring all this for us.

BRIGGS: And a quick note on stopping the testing. Some have reported that a mountain where they conduct the tests in North Korea collapsed. So North Korea has no choice but to stop testing because their site has been demolished.

But other news regarding this, the parents of Otto Warmbier filing a wrongful death suit against the North Korean government, charging the Kim regime for torturing and killing the 22-year-old American student. North Korean authorities arrested Warmbier on a five-day sightseeing tour claiming he stole a poster from his hotel. Remember he was sentenced to 15 years hard labor but after 17 months, North Korea released him. He was returned to the U.S. in a persistent vegetative state. Died a few days later.

North Korea claims he contracted botulism in prison. His parents -- Otto Warmbier's parents said Pyongyang kept him as a hostage and intentionally destroyed his life. The North Korea government has previously denied Warmbier was tortured but that there was no immediate reaction to the lawsuit.

ROMANS: No state dinners or military salutes for German Chancellor Angela Merkel when she visits President Trump today at the White House. But we can't rule out an awkward handshake. After rolling out the red carpet for French President Emmanuel Macron, Merkel gets just 20 minutes of one-on-one time with the president before a 90-minute lunch and then a 30-minute press conference. The chancellor's goal, to convince President Trump to reengage with Europe and the world on everything from the Iran nuclear deal to climate to trade.

[04:45:01] BRIGGS: Speaking of some fascinating optics. All right. Newly confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo touching down in Brussels to meet with NATO allies. He's off to the Middle East for stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan. The White House says Pompeo has no plans to meet with Palestinian leaders. The former CIA director was confirmed by the Senate in a 57-42 vote despite deep opposition from most Democrats.

ROMANS: President Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum imports already hurting U.S. companies. It is earnings season. Corporate America is telling us just how badly. One analysis finds a fifth of S&P 500 companies have brought up tariffs with many manufacturers warning they now face higher metal costs including Harley-Davidson, Ford, Whirpool and Caterpillar. Caterpillar is a bellwether for industrial America. It's profits at peaked for the year due to rising steel costs. Prices are up since the administration slapped tariffs on steel imports last month.

It's not just manufacturers, though. Goldman Sachs says their clients are worried trade tensions could spark a full-grown trade war. That would be devastating for both American consumers and companies. But not all the companies that spoke about tariffs have been hurt yet. Boeing says it has not seen a significant impact on costs. But it is keeping a very close eye.

ROMANS: Josh Rogin has an interesting piece up on the "Washington Post" about the U.S.-China trade relations and he will join us in the 5:00 hour. We're jam-packed.

Straight ahead, Bill Cosby's accusers rejoice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Bill Cosby, three words for you. Guilty, guilty, guilty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: So what's next for the fallen star? After the break.

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[04:51:04] ROMANS: Bill Cosby could spend the rest of his life behind bars. A Pennsylvania jury convicting the 80-year-old comedian on all three counts at this sexual assault trial. The case centered around Andrea Constand who says Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at his home in 2004. More than 50 other women have made similar allegations. After the verdict, Cosby's accusers were triumphant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LILY BERNARD, COSBY ACCUSER: I feel like my faith in humanity is restored.

VICTORIA VALENTINO, COSBY ACCUSER: We are vindicated. We are validated. And we are now part of the tsunami of women's power and justice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Cosby's attorneys have vowed to appeal the conviction.

BRIGGS: The 2018 NFL draft, easily one of the most anticipated in recent memory, kicking off in primetime after an 0-16 season the Cleveland Browns surprised many with the top overall pick.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the third pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select Baker Mayfield. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: You can see mixed reaction as Baker Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma, the first of five quarterbacks selected in the first round. Just the third time that's ever happened. USC's Sam Darnold was picked third by the New York Jets. The Buffalo Bills trading up to get Wyoming QB Josh Allen with the seventh pick in the first round. The Arizona Cardinals also moved up to get their quarterback UCLA's Josh Rosen who was furious that he slid to 10.

It's the first time ever that four quarterbacks were taken in the top 10. And finally the Baltimore Ravens may have just gotten the best QB in the draft. Louisville QB Lamar Jackson snagged with the 32nd final pick of the first round.

Draft continues tonight with the second and third rounds and Saturday with rounds four through seven. You could see there, Roger Goodell, the commissioner, booed mercilessly by that Texas crowd.

ROMANS: All right. We're going to step away for a second to talk about money news. Amazon's profit more than doubled. This is a mega prop company that is still mega growing. So rare to see. And by the way, you're going to pay more for Prime.

BRIGGS: An awful lot more.

ROMANS: Amazon raising the price of its membership program for the first time in four years. We've got that in "CNN Money" next.

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[04:58:05] ROMANS: All right. That time of the morning. To money news right now. Stocks around the world are rising on the coattails of the Dow up more than 200 points. Wall Street punishing aside fears of higher interest rates for now. Instead looking at big company earnings. Facebook surged 9 percent lifting tech. Facebook user base grew despite its data privacy scandal.

Earnings season has been strong so far. About 80 percent of S&P 500 companies reported profits higher than predicted.

Economic growth probably slowed down a little bit during the first three months of 2018. In less than four hours, we'll know for sure when the Commerce Department release its GDP. Experts predict about 2 percent growth, that's a little bit softer than the recent quarters. And likely driven by a drop in consumer spending.

Donald panic, weak growth not a true reflection of the economy. The way when market is strong, both business and consumer confidence are high and first quarter GDP is usually slow because of a (INAUDIBLE).

Breaking news here. We're going live right now to the signing between the leader of North and the South. Let's listen in here.

BRIGGS: Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in. We expect some major news out of this. The first meeting, the first North Korean leader to pass the DMZ since 1953. Keep in mind we are still technically in the midst of the Korean War which began in 1950.

ROMANS: Such a remarkable morning where you've seen these two, evening there of course, where you've seen these two leaders meet face-to-face for the first time, step on both sides of the demarcation line. Shake hands. Have a private meeting and public negotiations.

Now what we don't know is what -- they did their signing there, right? So we are waiting to find out what is this document that they are shaking hands and exchanging.

All right. We are reporting now the North Korea and South Korea have just agreed that the end of the Korean War will be announced this year. I'm going to say that again.