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EARLY START

North And South Korea Announce End Of Korean War. Aired 5:30- 6a ET

Aired April 27, 2018 - 05:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:31:00] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, good Friday morning, everybody.

We start with this remarkable historic breaking news -- a commitment to end the Korean War later this year, 65 years after hostilities began. And also, a commitment by North and South Korea to the joint goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: You are seeing the signing there of this history, quite frankly. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in signing that joint statement after hours of negotiation -- a couple of hours of negotiation.

The two leaders announcing an end -- an official end to the Korean War. As Dave said, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

I want to bring in CNN's Paula Hancocks live from near the demilitarized zone.

The pictures really are astonishing and, you know, the America interest in this story cannot be overstated.

There were 36,574 U.S. troops killed in the conflict in -- on the Korean Peninsula. The United States has troops today protecting South Korea -- a nuclear umbrella to protect the region. And now, this.

Tell us a little bit about what you're hearing from Seoul?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, we are hearing from Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in that will be an end to the war. A declaration of the Korean War ending at some time this year.

We know that Moon Jae-in will be going to Pyongyang in the fall. Potentially, could it come then?

But as you say, it will be extremely significant for a huge number of people -- for Americans, the Chinese, the North Koreans, the South Koreans -- for many countries around the world who were involved in the Korean War. The United Nations command had a tremendous amount of countries involved in this war. So what we're hearing is that this is signifying an end of all hostilities between North and South Korea. This will be music to the ears of many in South Korea and clearly, it is a significant moment.

We're also hearing that it will be -- that they have decided that there is going to be a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We do not have more details than that but the two sides, we hear, have agreed that the Korean Peninsula will have no nuclear weapons on it.

Now, we were hoping for a few more details of exactly how Kim Jong Un was going to do that because this was the point of this summit, according to the South Koreans, to gauge the willingness of Kim Jong Un to give us his nuclear weapons.

So we don't have specifics but we do have that sweeping promise from both sides that there will be no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.

So a significant day today. We saw both of these two leaders standing side-by-side giving a press conference. You don't see Kim Jong Un giving a press conference. That, in itself, was significant.

Both leaders saying that the other deserved praise, deserved applause for being in bold in going ahead with the signing of this declaration and with the fact that they are even meeting at this point -- the first meeting in more than a decade from leaders of North and South Korea.

And we're also being told that this isn't the end of it. This isn't a one-off summit like we've seen in the past.

As I say, Moon Jae-in will be going to Pyongyang in the fall. We know that Kim Jong Un has already said he's happy to come to Seoul to go to the Blue House.

We know that that next summit is going to be crucial -- the one between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. And, South Korea, all along the way, has said that they need Washington's backing with what they are doing here.

If the U.S. does not support what is happening here on the Korean Peninsula then it is just the North and South Koreans talking, and that is why that it hasn't worked in the past because the Blue House didn't believe that Washington was completely behind this.

So this is a historic moment.

[05:35:00] ROMANS: Sure.

HANCOCKS: It is a very significant day but we do not have the details that we were hoping for as to how exactly denuclearization was going to happen.

ROMANS: You know, Paula, we do know that there -- you mentioned those meetings and that, you know, this isn't just a one-off. We also know that North and South Korea want to meet with the United

States and maybe China on July 27th to declare an official end of the Korean War. That would be the 65th anniversary of the armistice, so another potential trilateral or even if China comes in it would be four nations -- four nations there.

Let's listen to -- you're watching some of these remarkable pictures. I want to listen to a little bit of the South Korean President Moon -- what he said -- what he -- what he said at this announcement. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOON JAE-IN, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA (through translator): We had a historical meeting and reached a very appreciative and valuable agreement. There will not be any more war on the Korean Peninsula. The new era of peace has finally opened and we are declaring that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: South Korean President Moon Jae-in there on the commitment, again, to end the Korean War, to work towards the joint goal of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

We want to welcome in now Josh Rogin of "The Washington Post" -- a CNN political analyst. Josh, good morning to you.

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Good morning.

BRIGGS: Let's just get your reaction to this statement -- the commitment to the jokes, the hugs from Kim Jong Un, a killer of innocent people, a killer of family members.

What has taken us here to this remarkable moment?

ROGIN: Yes, Dave, I think you're right to remind our viewers of the nature and character of the Kim Jong Un regime, right, because this is important in evaluating whether or not Kim Jong Un means what he says and will match his words with actions. And what's clear is that we have to test that now and we don't know how that test is going to come out.

What's crazy about this historic summit is that usually, you would have the peace treaty agreement after you work out the details, right? And typically, the conventional wisdom you figure out what the terms are and then you declare peace.

And now we're doing it reverse. We're going to say we're going to have a peace treaty but nobody knows exactly what that means for the economic pressure campaign that the U.S. has led against North Korea, for the human rights issues, as you rightfully mentioned. For the nuclear issue, for the missiles issue, for the million North Korean troops threatening South Korea right now.

All those details are TBD, OK, and so that -- those huge questions are something that everyone in Washington and in Seoul and in Pyongyang are scrambling to try to figure out right now.

ROMANS: Josh, how did we get here? I mean, for 25 years American secretaries --

ROGIN: Yes.

ROMANS: -- of state, American leaders have been trying to figure out -- both parties have been trying to figure out how to restrain and reform this regime.

How much credit does Donald Trump get?

ROGIN: Yes, I think the United States and the Trump administration deserves credit for leading a worldwide pressure campaign, unprecedented, that contributed, as the South Koreans admit, to bringing us to the table. But the only word of caution here is that we're not there yet.

You know, we brought them to the table but that's just the first step, and we have to be careful not to get too over-enthused about what we're seeing here because we haven't actually seen the actions that match the words.

And there's a risk here, and as we get this process going -- and now it's going and there's no going back, it's going to happen -- the stakes are higher and the risks are higher, and that means the costs of failure are higher.

And this is probably the best chance we're going to get with this new leader Kim Jong Un to really find out if a peace deal is possible.

And we know that South Koreans are on board. The Trump administration is aware of this -- they've been consulted. President Trump indicated that he's supportive of the peace deal between North and South.

But what about our regional interests? What about our security interests? What about the rights of the North Korean people? Those are big questions that we can't just gloss over.

ROMANS: You know, the hyperbolic threats are usually what you see from the North, right? You know, the kind of language that they use when they threaten the United States. And we've always responded with very diplomatic, measured tones, right, over the past decades.

Could it be, Josh, that the hyperbolic threats from President Trump -- fire and fury -- this was language that Kim Jong Un understands and believed that the United States could strike like the world has never seen?

ROGIN: Yes. I believe that the North Korean regime understands us much better than we understand them, OK? And they understand also how to play us and the South Koreans.

And I'm not saying that's exactly what's going on here but you have to remember that it's always been the North Korean regime's desire to have this peace treaty. This is what they want. We've just given them a big thing what they -- of what they want.

And, Kim Jong Un standing next to President Moon and being praised and seen as a peacemaker, that's a huge achievement for Kim Jong Un.

[05:40:09] What about what we want? What about -- when do we get the things that we need -- that we're supposed to get in exchange for this? Well, that's all coming later, hopefully -- you know, we assume, all right?

So, the North Koreans have been very savvy. Yes, we pressured them into this and that was smart, and that's what everyone said we had to do and we got them to the table. So, OK, so now they're at the table and this is when the hard work really begins.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROGIN: So yes, we could take some credit but we can't sit on our laurels.

ROMANS: Yes.

BRIGGS: And some observations here that though the joint statement does commit to the full denuclearization of the peninsula, in the remarks from Kim Jong Un he did not mention denuclearization.

Can you read much into that? We shall see in the days ahead.

But given that the president meets with Angela Merkel today at the White House -- we will hear from the president in the two o'clock hour.

Given that he has called the Iran deal insane, ridiculous, the worst deal ever -- and that's a deal that allows for Iran to produce nuclear weapons -- is anything short of the complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea -- is anything short of that a complete failure here, Josh?

ROGIN: Well, that's the exactly the red line that President Trump has set for himself, right?

BRIGGS: Right.

ROGIN: And, President Trump's unconventional. He's doing this the way that no one's done it before. It seems to be working. You know, good on him for that, OK.

It's a sure fact that whatever the last three administrations were doing, they didn't work. So if President Trump wants to try some out- of-the-box thinking, and that includes going to meet with Kim Jong Un before we know what's going on and endorsing this process that we see here, that's all well and good.

But, President Trump, as recently as yesterday, made very clear that only through full denuclearization of North Korea will his red lines be met. And that is the thing -- that is the $64,000 question and that's the thing that nobody knows if North Korea's actually willing to do and if they are willing to do it, on what terms. That's what they've got to negotiate.

So again, this is the easy part. That's not to minimize this. This is a sort of amazing historic --

ROMANS: Sure.

ROGIN: -- event in and of itself but now, the real hard work begins.

ROMANS: We know that they'll be meeting on July 27th between North and South Korea, the United States and maybe China. That's still a wildcard here with the response of the foreign ministry. We don't have that in yet. We don't have a response yet in from the White House.

But again, on July 27th, the 65th anniversary of the armistice, that's when the North and South say they will declare an official end to the Korean War -- a war that saw the loss of life of more than 35,000 American troops.

BRIGGS: And again, that meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, late May-early June. Will the release of three American citizens precede that meeting? Will there be some sort of commitment from Kim Jong Un to President Trump before that?

We will discuss all of this ahead.

ROMANS: Thanks, Josh.

Josh Rogin, thanks for being here.

Again, North and South Korea declaring peace by the end of the year. Live reaction to the end of the Korean War from Beijing and from Tokyo, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:47:30] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BRIGGS: Five forty-seven eastern time and some extraordinary breaking news for you.

North and South Korea's leaders agreeing to declare the end of the Korean War this year. That's 65 years after hostilities ceased.

China, though, one of the North's closest allies -- North Korea almost entirely dependent on trade with China.

We should also mention -- you see the signing there. A signing of a commitment to work towards the joint goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

ROMANS: It's remarkable.

CNN's Matt Rivers is watching all of this for us. He is -- he is in Beijing. How was the announcement playing there? We know that there -- July 27th there will be a meeting between the North and South and the U.S. on the 65th anniversary of the signing of the armistice.

And Matt, you know, maybe China will be there. We're not quite sure. Where is China in this?

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: Does it have a seat at the table?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, that's their major concern right now. Every single analyst that you talk to will say that the fear in the halls of power here in Beijing is that their interests are not going to be served at the negotiating table moving forward.

Now that said, North Korea entirely dependent on China. China will have a role in this process moving forward but China is really, really doing all it can to make sure that that is the case.

Publicly, what you're hearing from the Chinese government is that these negotiations are great, that this is the only way to move forward. That diplomatic talks like these are the only way to solve this ongoing crisis.

But as these negotiations continue, as that meeting happens between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, the Chinese government wants to make sure that its interests are being served. And it has a lot of strategic interests on the Korean Peninsula, not the least of which is keeping the North Korean regime in place to serve as a buffer against the tens of thousands of troops that remain in South Korea.

So today, the Chinese government watching, just like the rest of us, some pretty extraordinary developments. How they are involved in this process moving forward is something that we're going to be watching very closely.

ROMANS: I'm glad you bring that up because foreign policy hawks on China, for years, have said that the Chinese, in some cases, have turned a blind eye to atrocities in the regime, just trying to keep the family's regime intact. Not too strong and not too weak so it acts as a buffer.

America's -- the United States conflict and the South Korean conflict with the North acts as a buffer to American influence in the region.

[05:50:00] RIVERS: Yes, that's exactly right. I mean, that is something that the -- that China fears.

The worst case scenario here -- the nightmare scenario for China's government is that the Koreas unify under some of Democratic-leaning government that retains the United States as its ally. And perhaps under that scenario, U.S. troops remain in the Korean Peninsula.

But instead of that buffer between South Korea and China that is North Korea, if it unifies does that mean American troops could be right on China's border? That's a long way down the road.

That might not ever happen but China is long-term planning here. They're preparing for a worst case scenario so that's their interest here.

ROMANS: Yes.

RIVERS: That's why they want to be involved in these negotiations. They don't want that to happen and they're going to do all they can to make sure it doesn't.

ROMANS: They also don't want millions of starving people flowing across their border that they have to -- that they have to deal with. So there's also that humanitarian and, quite frankly, practical crisis potential for the Chinese. It just shows how many -- you're right -- how many strategic goals China has in this discussion.

Matt Rivers, thank you so much for your expertise.

BRIGGS: All right, let's get more reaction now.

CNN's Anna Stewart live for us in Tokyo with reaction from there. Another key player in all of this. Anna, good morning.

ANNA STEWART, CNN JOURNALIST: Hello, and we just heard from Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe just seconds ago, getting his reaction. And he welcomes this incredible development but he does say that he expects to see more concrete steps going forward.

He also wants to hear directly from South Korea's president -- President Moon, himself. And local reports suggest that they'll have a phone conversation tomorrow morning to get a full briefing on what happened.

But political experts I've been speaking to in the last minutes have said, you know, there is some concern about this. What if maximum pressure is lifted off North Korea on the basis of all these nice talks and the optics were good, but before real concrete action is taken?

And for Japan, that's just not, you know, denuclearization. It's a complete destruction of nuclear weapons. It's a ban not just on ICBMs but on short- and medium-range missiles.

It's the return of Japanese abductees held in North Korea for decades. And they want this to be -- to actually happen. They don't just want words, they want action.

So you can expect a lot of concern here throughout on this.

ROMANS: All right, Anna Stewart for us. Thank you so much for that, in Tokyo.

Really remarkable. I mean, the whole region -- this is just shocking news for the entire region. BRIGGS: Yes. We know this is unusual as some people just wake up and see this on their television screens. We just want to remind everyone what has happened in the last couple of hours.

North and South Korea have committed to the end of the Korean War later this year, 65 years after hostilities ceased. They have also signed an agreement committing to the total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

There you see video of the two leaders meeting and their two wives. Extraordinary moments unfolding here on CNN in the last --

ROMANS: And no --

BRIGGS: -- couple of hours.

ROMANS: And no response yet from the White House. We're waiting for the --

BRIGGS: The president is certainly up.

ROMANS: We're waiting for the press office to -- you know, to get underway here this morning so they can give us whatever the United States' response is going to be here.

You know, this -- the developments have been pretty rapid.

We just saw yesterday those pictures of Mike Pompeo, who is now the Secretary of State, meeting with Kim Jong Un in that secret meeting in Pyongyang back over Easter. Those pictures yesterday were remarkable.

And then now, these pictures. We knew there would be this choreographed summit. But to end this summit after eight hours of discussions and meetings and negotiations, with handshakes and smiles and a commitment --

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: -- to -- you know, the North Korean leader says that they are going to unify these two countries again. There are a lot of questions about what that is going to look like or if it's just ending the hostilities.

But clearly, you've got a man accused of horrific human rights violations. The second man is someone who's spent his career working against human rights violations. Just amazing.

BRIGGS: Yes, just the optics alone would have been extraordinary this morning because, to your point, there have been hugs, handshakes, jokes from Kim Jong Un about disturbing President Moon's sleep because of his missile tests. Jokes, yes, back and forth about ballistic missile tests.

This is a man that's one of the worst human rights violators on the -- on the planet signing an agreement committing towards the goal of complete denuclearization, the end of the Korean War. President Trump deserves an awful lot of credit. This paves the way for a monumental summit late May-early June --

ROMANS: Yes.

BRIGGS: -- between Kim and Trump.

ROMANS: And now the hard work begins. All right.

"NEW DAY" is next with the latest developments from the Korean Peninsula, denuclearization, and the end of this war.

Thanks for watching Dave and I. More news after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:59:11] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, April 27th, 6:00 here in New York.

And we begin with major breaking news. The North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and South Korea's President Moon making history.

Moments ago, they announced a commitment to end the Korean War, ushering in a new era of peace after 65 years of division. Both leaders signing a declaration committing to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You have to remember there is no peace. An armistice was just a declaration that there would be no more hostilities between the United States, China, North and South Korea. That was on July 27th, 1953 after three years of bloody, bloody war.

Now, how good will the commitment be? We'll have to see. But, Kim Jong Un saying that North and South Koreans are quote "the same people, the same blood."