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EARLY START

North & South Announce End of Korean War. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired April 27, 2018 - 05:00   ET

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


[05:00:03] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We are reporting that North Korea and South Korea just agreed the end of the Korean War will be announced this year. I'm going to say that again: North and South Korea have just agreed to declare the end of the war will happen this year.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: A war that began, we remind you, in 1950. This is historic right now. And again, just the optics here of the North Korean dictator --

ROMANS: A hug.

BRIGGS: -- killer, human rights abuser, laughs, hugs, jokes with Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea.

This perhaps laying the groundwork to full denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Will it be verifiable? Will it be irreversible? It certainly paves the way for a monumental meeting with President Trump and Kim Jong Un, late May, early June.

Let's check in with Paula Hancocks live for us with this remarkable, historic breaking news -- Paula.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dave and Christine, the word historic is overused, but not today. This is truly historic. This agreement that the North and South Korean leaders have signed, have said that they will declare an end to the Korean War at sometime this year. They also said that Moon Jae-in will go to Pyongyang later this yea, in the fall probably.

They have also confirmed a common goal of achieving a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through denuclearization. Now, that is fairly vague. It has to be said. We do not have specifics on exactly what they are going to do with the denuclearization, which we were hoping, but they have confirmed that they do have a common goal of a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Now, they have also said that this armistice agreement that was signed 65 years ago is going to be turned into a peace treaty at some point. Of course, that involves the U.S., that involves China as well as they were signatories.

ROMANS: All right. Paula, we're going to listen in here. These two are going to make an announcement. They're going to speak to the assembled media. You see all of those people there.

We're going to make sure we have translation ready for you. But again, we are watching history here and announcing the end of the war.

Listen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The DPRK, the two leaders are going to release the joint declaration for peace prosperity of the Korean peninsula.

MOON JAE-IN, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA (through translator): Respectful citizens of South Korea and North Korea and residents living abroad, Chairman Kim and I, myself, would like to declare the Panmunjom declaration.

We had a historical meeting and reached a very appreciative and valuable agreement. There will not been any more war on the Korean peninsula. The new era of peace has finally opened and we are declaring that. For a long time, we suffered the divisions and by way of sorrow and pain. We believe that we were able to overcome. That is why we are standing here.

Today, Chairman Kim and I have agreed that a complete denuclearization will be achieved. And that is our common goal. We reaffirm that that is our goal. Denuclearization with steps taken by North Korea is very significant. A complete denuclearization on the Korean peninsula will be starting.

And for a complete peace to arrive, South and North Korea will collaborate closely. I announce that and also we declarations of the end of the war and also signing the peace treaty. We will totally end the war on the Korean peninsula and will establish sound and solid peace on the Korean peninsula.

And basically, we'd like to change the total order on the Korean peninsula. The land they will live, the sky they will live, and also see wherever we turn our eyes, no more hostility activities will be carried out. Reckless confrontation will be stopped by majors (ph) and we will see for that.

Demilitarized zone that divides us in Korea will turn into a peaceful region. NLL will turn into peaceful oceans. So, reckless or accidental clashes will no longer be carried out. Safe negotiations and fishing will be guaranteed.

[05:05:00] I am very proud to say that I pay tribute to bold and courageous decision made by Chairman Kim. We, Chairman Kim and I need to take the leadership goal and initiative in setting peace on the Korean peninsula and will have joint efforts. Chairman Kim and I have confidence in each other and we believe in peace and prosperity and reunification. For that, we agree to hold regular meetings and also discussion to communicate through the direct telephone communication line. There is no turning back for us.

Honorable citizens of Korea, South and North Korea, and overseas compatriots, with Chairman Kim Jong-un, I would like to promote peace, co-prosperity and e hope to come close to reunification. I would like to take bold steps to realize that goal. We will coordinate with each other and engage in cooperation for solidarity between the Korean people. There will be exchanges promoted between all sectors between the two Koreas.

I believe that the (INAUDIBLE) families this will begin at the earliest date and exchange of the communication to let this exchange will be made possible. Jointly office will be established. This is a very important agreement point. And implementation of the October 4th declaration and pursuit of the communications to enable those activities. We hope there will be activities jointly conducted by South and North Korea.

And if possible, we hope to establish regional offices in each other's territories. I hope that such advisement will be made.

Chairman Kim Jong-un and I talked about peace and prosperity. And we believe that we have established a milestone to realize peace, prosperity and reunification, a step towards those goals. And the bold decision has been made by Chairman Kim Jong Un has led to us presenting a good gift for the world and the way that we are going to make a formal announcement is quite different today as well.

Before the summit talks were held, previously the summit talks were held, but this is actually the first time that the North Korean leader has come forward to make a formal announcement together. I would like to comment to Chairman Kim Jong Un. A big applause should be given to Chairman Kim Jong Un for making such a bold move.

Thank you very much.

KIM JONG UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER (through translator): Distinguished participants here today and the compatriots from home and abroad. President Moon Jae-in and myself have stood here before Panmunjom, and we had the strong will in having this historical meeting at this very land where the confrontations have been there.

I would like to commend the leadership and dedication of President Moon and the officials from the South Korean side for their dedication to make such advances. Those I would like to thank these South Korea people for showing compatriots' attitudes toward us. Thank you for warmly receiving us. It took us a long time for the two Koreas to come together and to hold hands together, and we have long awaited for this moment to happen. All of us.

As I stand here today, I can see that South and North Korea, the same people, the same blood cannot be separated together. We are the compatriots. So, it has really brought us strong emotions to myself as well. And we are not a people that should be confronting each other. We are of the same people that should live in unity.

I hope that we will be able to live very peacefully in the future as soon as possible. I would also hope that we would establish a new chapter and a new path forward. And with this such strong desire, I came to the path of demarcation line right at this point.

And based on the will and the support of the governments of the North Korea and South Korean people, we feel the heavy burden on our side, and we have engaged in in-depth discussions. We will be able to enjoy peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula

without having fear about the war. And for that reason, we have come up with a practical majors (ph), and also we will implement the already agreed agreements and that will turn a new page, new history for us.

[05:10:06] I, myself and President Moon Jae-in had a summit and we had agreed few items and reflecting that would like to settle a permanent peace and we will adopt the Panmunjom declarations.

While the whole world is watching us, I believe the Panmunjom declaration for peace, prosperity and reunification for the Korean peninsula will never let us to repeat our past mistakes and we have set together closely, we have exchanged our views and we will make our utmost efforts to bring result.

The road that I have used today, I sincerely hope every citizen of South and North Korea can use this road. And Panmunjom is a symbol of pain and suffering of the division, but it will turn into the symbol of peace. And that using one language, one culture, one history, the South Korea and North Korea will be reunited as one country, thus enjoying the everlasting peace and prosperity. North and South Korea and also living in countries.

Please, have a deep determination. If you do that, the closed door will open widely based on our trust and we need to think about the causes of our nations if we move forward. Definitely, the two countries will be farther enhanced and thus we can advance our future.

The history cannot be created without any tensions. It takes the sincere efforts of the people of the generation to move forward. I refer to seek harmony and peace and prosperity. There are things to be created by all of us in this generation and all the things that need to be created should there be done so, so that our responsibility, rules and responsibility that requires will be fulfilled by us. That could be side effects, that could be outside influences, that could be suffering, that could be frustrations, but this is through pain we are able to achievement, through many trials as we would be able to achieve.

We should overcome all of the challenges and we should hold hands together and to overcome all the challenges. When we look back on this day and cherish the memories together. I hope we can bring wisdom together so that we can open up a new era for peace and prosperity. I hope that we can take steps together forward and make programs.

The Panmunjom declaration does express, I hope, and does fulfill this strong support that we've been getting from the people who are watching the summit talks and meetings. And I sincerely hope that these summit talks will bear fruit and in this, many Koreans, South Koreans and North Koreans and Korean compatriots abroad, they have shown support. I would like to thank you for the support we have receiving and the support coming from the members of the media corps as well. We thank you for showing so much interest and support. Thank you very much. (APPLAUSE)

a remarkable press conference. Kim jong un speaking of peace and prosperity. Let's listen once again. [ applause ]

the Korean war. No peace treaty was signed in 1953. For 65 years it has been tension and technically war between these two neighbors. You heard a goal of complete denuclearization. They will hold reunion of divided families later this year. President moon will visit pyongyang later this year. The two Koreas seek a peace regime. Paula hancocks. Remarkable. You heard the North Korean leader talk about one people and one blood and one Korea and one country. What did you make of that?

BRIGGS: Wrapping up a remarkable press conference, Kim Jong-un speaking of peace and prosperity. Let's listen in once again.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMANS: The Korean War, no peace treaty were signed at the end of the Korean War back in 1953, over 65 years, it has been tension and technically, war between these two neighbors. You heard a goal of complete denuclearization. They will hold a reunion of divided families later this year. President Moon will visit Pyongyang later this year, and the two Koreas seek a peace regime.

Paula Hancocks, remarkable. You also heard the North Korean leader talked about one people, one blood, one Korea, one country. What do you make of that?

HANCOCKS: That's right. I mean, it's true. This is one people. It's one country that has been divided by others.

And certainly, the fact that the North Korean leader has pointed that out is symbolic. It is significant. Both of these leaders were standing in this press conference and saying the other deserved praise, deserved applause for being bold.

[05:15:00] We heard President Moon saying that Kim Jong Un had been incredibly bold and agreeing to what they agreed to today. So, just to sum up what they agreed to, there will be a declaration of the end of the Korean War at some point this year. They have agreed to achieve a nuclear free Korean peninsula. No details on that at this point. But they agreed this should not be any nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula.

They also said they will cease all hostilities against the other side. And there were compliments from each leader to other as they stood side by side there, and quite remarkable press conference. We did not know if they would be speaking at the end of the day. We were told by South Korean officials that they would if they would feel that the summit had gone well. Clearly, they believe it's gone well signing that declaration -- Dave and Christine.

BRIGGS: That declaration, let me read for you, folks. You may find this hard to believe. South and North confirm the joint goal of realizing a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons through complete denuclearization.

That statement was signed by not just President Moon of South Korea, but dictator Kim Jong Un.

Christine, this is hard to take in here in the last hour and 20 minutes.

ROMANS: Paula, this movement has been swift over the past four or five months. I mean, we haven't seen a missile test, you know, since then. There had been a quick progression of missile testing and some real concerns about how aggressive the North Korean leader was becoming. And then the Olympics and then this.

Tell us a little bit about just how quickly this story has changed after 65 years of tension.

HANCOCKS: Well, Christine, just a matter of months ago, I was talking about the possibility of the United States carrying out a military strike on North Korea. This certainly for us living here in South Korea felt like a very real possibility.

Tensions were incredibly high. I have been here almost eight years. I have never seen tensions as high as they were. The nuclear and missile testing of Kim Jong Un was unprecedented. Two nuclear tests in just one year. And in January 1st, 2018, Kim Jong Un said he would potentially send people to the Olympics and open dialogue with the South Koreans.

And since that point, it has been intense. I heard from South Korean officials during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang who had met with Kim Jong Un's sister, for example. And I said, what was the atmosphere.

They said it was the North Koreans pushing this forward and saying we need to do this as quickly as possible. It was actually the South Koreans that were stepping back and saying, well, OK, let's wait. Let's do this properly. Let's be cautious. Let's do this at a slower pace.

But the North Koreans wanted to do everything quickly. Something we've also heard from the U.S. President Donald Trump, that the North Koreans want to meet right now. They don't want to wait.

So, it's really been driven by Pyongyang. The fact this has been at such an intense pace. It really is quite incredible. I have to step back and remember just where we were a matter of months ago. Clearly, people in South Korea are going to be happier. Even if they don't think this is going to last, they will be happier hearing there is potentially a declaration being signed between these two leaders than the possibility of more missiles, more nuclear tests, a potential second Korean War.

ROMANS: All right. Paula, so many layers to this. There's, of course, some skepticism, there are concerns. Is he going to reverse his gulags and human rights violations happening inside his country?

We are looking at pictures right now of Kim and Moon's wives meeting as if it is a presidential summit.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: An every day presidential summit.

Thank you so much, Paula Hancocks in Seoul for us. Come back in a few minutes.

BRIGGS: We will check back with Paula. Again, these are the wives of President Moon and Kim Jong Un, meeting, friendly exchange.

Let's welcome in Josh Rogin of "The Washington Post" for some reaction, Josh, not just a pledge to end the Korean War 65 years after hostilities cease, but also a joint pledge of complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula -- Josh.

JOSH ROGIN, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, just amazing images we are seeing coming out of this meeting. This is one day after the Trump White House released its own amazing images of new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meeting with Kim Jong Un secretly a couple of weeks ago in Pyongyang.

ROMANS: We have translation. We will listen to the two talking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw you talking.

[05:20:00] I wonder what kind of great atmosphere you were enjoying and what kind of things you were discussing. Yes, it really was great.

Mrs. Kim said I believe that the only thing we have in the future or ahead of us is prosperity and peace. Kim Jong Un said wow. That means our meeting was a great success. And she said, well, many people are paying attention and all of you have worked really hard.

And President Moon said that first lady said I'm a bit embarrassed because I wasn't prepared for anything and I just came here. President Moon said I believe from now on, South and North Korea will collaborate closely, including economic area. I wish you the best luck. We will also make our utmost effort.

Someone said let's take a commemorative photo together.

ROMANS: Josh, if you can hear this, that, you know, we saw the scripted comments and these are the unscripted comments in this moment, this commemorative photo. I mean, I don't want to sound gobsmacked, by I'm gobsmacked this morning. Sixty-five years of tension, last year, you know, we were talking to military personnel in South Korea who were afraid for their families in some cases. And now, we have peace?

ROGIN: Yes, I think you said it right, Christine. There's a lot of hope and a good deal of skepticism. And both of those emotions are warranted today, you know? This kind of historic opening is a chance for these countries that have been at war for all this time to really make a difference in the lives of millions of citizens. At the same time, we have seen this movie before. This is not the

first time that North Korea has made overtures. And we have to remember the history and remember the character of the regime and think about how to proceed in the way that preserves the pressure, preserves our security and moves forward cautiously to make sure that this doesn't become the high point, that this is only one step in an increasing policy and process that leads to North Korea actually making the changes that it would have to make in order to make this peace deal possible.

BRIGGS: Right, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization.

Let me read to you something that Kim Jong Un said just moments ago. It took a long time for the two Koreas to come together. They are the same people. The same blood and cannot be separated. They are one country.

A lot of focus on these two leaders and there should be. How much focus and discussion and credit belongs to be talked about President Trump to getting us to this moment, Josh?

ROGIN: Yes, well, I think that's the key question. You know, we see what this summit is doing for the North Koreans and the South Koreans. The big question is what does it mean for the United States?

Up until this point, the Trump administration has been leading the diplomacy, leading the pressure campaign. Now, we're in the backseat. Now, we're following. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's a risk.

And as South Korea and North Korea move forward, the Trump administration will have to be careful and very clever and very sort of measured as it decides whether how much to endorse this, how much to insist on things that America wants and America needs for American security that are not necessarily the same things that South Korea wants and needs and prioritizes. We have to remember it has been the North Korean strategy to peel off South Korea from the U.S. and South Korean alliance. That's a risk. It's not definitive, but it's something we have to keep an eye on.

So, there's a lot of moving parts. When we talk about peace on the Korean peninsula, we -- that is something that the United States and South Korea and North Korea all want. The question is, how do we get there and how do we build a peace that's sustainable, that protects allies, Japan, that provides a way for America to have the assurance that it won't be threatened by the North Korea's military?

Those are all very, very complicated questions that the Trump administration is going to have to figure out and what it thinks about very, very quickly, all right? That's a monumentally difficult task heading into the Trump-Kim summit. But let's just for a moment here appreciate what we are seeing.

ROMANS: Right.

ROGIN: Which is just a historic warming of relations which all the risks that I just mentioned taken into account, has to be seen as a positive, because it is the hopeful sign we've seen in at least 11 years if not 60 years.

[05:25:07] ROMANS: Josh, still three Americans still being held by the regime. Otto Warmbier's parents who horribly hurt when he was in custody of the North Koreans and sent home in a vegetative state. They filed suit against the North Korean regime. What comes up next?

What is it that they -- I mean, human rights is not on the agenda, or the table right now. This is all about ending a war, talking about denuclearization, reuniting these two countries. You know, human rights is not on the agenda yet.

ROGIN: Right. Well, what is so crazy is this is moving so fast, that it's impossible to really know what the scope of the Trump/Kim meeting would be. At minimum, you would think that if President Trump could come back with three American hostages in tow, that could be a successful meeting.

If you listen to Mike Pompeo in his confirmation hearing, what he said is that we need to address the threat of North Korean's ability to hit the United States with nuclear weapons. That's one of the objectives. And now, we have a new agenda here, which is a peace deal, economic incentives and all of the other confidence building measures that South Korea is building. So, there's a lot on the table.

BRIGGS: All right. Josh Rogin of "The Washington Post", thanks so much. We'll check back with you next half hour.

Again, a recap of this extraordinary breaking news. A commitment to end the Korean War this year, 65 years after hostilities begun and a joint commitment to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and this summit between Kim Jong Un and President Moon Jae-in.

ROMANS: We're going to take a quick break. We'll bring you these amazing pictures and breaking news again after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)