Return to Transcripts main page
Trump casts doubt on June summit with North Korea; A portrait of the Pope; Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 22, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST, AMANPOUR: Tonight, a high-wire rescue mission in Washington. South Korea's president meets President Trump to
try to keep nuclear talks on track as both the United States and North Korea ramp up the rhetoric ahead of their planned Singapore summit. From
Washington, I'm joined by the US former special representative on North Korea Joseph Yun.
Plus, the award-winning film director Wim Wenders on his new movie, "A Man of His Words". It's a candid revealing portrait of Pope Francis as you've
never before seen him.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
President Trump has indicated there is a chance that his much ballyhooed summit with North Korea's leader may not happen after all.
At a White House meeting with the South Korean president, the agenda today seemed to move from summit prep to operation summit save.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're moving along and we'll see what happens. There are certain conditions that we want and I think
we'll get those conditions. And if we don't, we don't have the meeting. And frankly, it has a chance to be a great, great meeting for North Korea
and a great meeting for the world.
If it doesn't happen, maybe it will happen later. Maybe it will happen at a different time.
MOON JAE-IN, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA (through translator): Thanks to your vision of achieving peace through strength as well as your strong
leadership, we are looking forward to the first ever UK-North Korea summit and we find ourselves standing one step closer to the dream of achieving
complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and world peace.
All this was possible because of you, Mr. President. And I have no doubt that you will be able to complete and accomplish a historic feat that no
one has been able to achieve in the decades past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And we will unpick those seemingly different emphasis there. But both Pyongyang and Washington are now moving the ball down the field.
Foreign journalists have been invited into North Korea to witness the dismantling of the nuclear test site, which was scheduled for this week -
we'll wait to see whether that happens - while the White House has preemptively minted a commemorative coin showing Donald Trump and Kim Jong-
un alongside the words "peace talks."
So, which will it be?
Joining me now is Joseph Yun, the former US special representative for North Korean policy, and he's joining me from Washington. Good evening.
Welcome to the program.
JOSEPH YUN, FORMER US SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR NORTH KOREAN POLICY: Good to be here. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Well, can we just first unpick the two different tones from both presidents sitting there in the Oval Office. Very optimistic, very
flattering words from President Moon of South Korea and slightly more skeptical from President Trump.
YUN: Yes. I think we've seen this before. And really, the problem started doing about a week to ten days ago when North Korea sent the
signals that their expectations are quite, quite different from those of Washington.
Washington wants immediate quick denuclearization, complete denuclearization, while North Koreans are saying, well, we're not quite
there yet. We want action for action, reciprocal action.
So, really, President Moon is here in Washington to try to narrow the gap, but more than anything else to convince President Trump that it is still
worth going to Singapore for June 12 summit.
AMANPOUR: Because do you believe that Chairman Kim Jong-un is intending to go to Singapore?
YUN: I think he's completely intending to go to Singapore. This is for him as it was for his father and for grandfather. This is the moment.
They've always wanted a summit meeting with a US president. So, he's completely prepared to go, but his position is he's not going to go already
defeated, already surrendered. He's going to go and negotiate. That's his position.
AMANPOUR: Right. And, of course, he said that if America expects unilateral nuclear abandonment, Pyongyang will pull the plug on these
So, let's just sort of focus in on that. We've all been reporting. And North Korea experts, nuclear experts, from the very beginning said, look,
two sides have two different views of what denuclearization means.
[14:05:05] The president, President Trump, thinks it means give up all your nuclear weapons, disable your intercontinental ballistic missiles. And
you've just explained what Kim Jong-un thinks it means, sort of a potential carrot and stick and a process. And maybe, like for like, the US giving up
its nukes as well.
So, can I just ask you, does this not demonstrate the danger of putting the cart before the horse, so to speak? Having a presidential summit before
the agenda is worked out, before the prep work is done.
YUN: I agree completely with that assessment. And it's not really about one side getting played or who's trying to pull a fast one. I worry that
the groundwork has not been done.
We agreed to a summit. President Trump asked for a summit, not even at a direct request, at the request of President Moon. So, he has been acting
as the go-between between Trump and Kim. Now, it is his job to save it.
I would say that more than anyone else, President Moon has the biggest stake on the successful outcome. He has bet the farm on this idea; and for
him, it has to work out. So, he is in a desperate situation. He needs to make sure that this is held on June 12.
AMANPOUR: All right. So, he's bet the farm. Of course, his farm has the most to lose if there is any kind of conflict on the peninsula. Do you
think that it's actually worth having - I guess, what is he doing to make this happen.
He was very, very flattering to President Trump. It seems like he has to convince President Trump to go to Singapore. That Kim Jong-un already has
his mind made up.
YUN: Yes. I think he believes above all else that beginning a process, beginning a peace process, beginning a denuclearization process is very,
very important, that the first step has to be taken.
I really don't think Koreans, like experts in Washington, buy the idea that North Korea will quickly denuclearize without getting anything in return.
So, I think he wants to make sure that there is something in it that he can deliver from Kim Jong-un to President Trump.
We saw this. We saw the one-on-one meeting between Kim and Moon where he appeared to be coaching Kim on how to deal with Trump and I think he's
going to convey to President Trump that there is sincere desire on the part of Kim Jong-un that he will denuclearize. It may longer, but he will
AMANPOUR: OK. I want to unpick this whole Libya model controversy that seems to have sparked a lot of problems over this last week.
So, I'm going to play you a series of soundbites from the principals in Washington, including the president, but first John Bolton, the national
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: We have very much in mind the Libya model from 2003, 2004. There are, obviously, differences. The
Libyan program was much smaller, but that was basically the agreement that we made.
TRUMP: The Libyan model isn't a model that we have at all when we're thinking of North Korea. In Libya, we decimated that country. That
country was decimated. There was no deal to keep Gaddafi. The Libyan model that was mentioned was a much different deal.
This would be with Kim Jong-un, something where he'd be there, he'd be in this country, he'd be running his country, his country would be very rich,
his people are tremendously industrious.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was some talk about the Libya model last week. And as the president made clear, this will only
end like the Libya model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn't make a deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, honestly, there seemed to be a lot of mixed messages there. Can you forgive North Korea for not quite understanding what the
administration is saying? Do you understand what it's saying?
YUN: I think Bolton really made, what I think is, a diplomatic mistake by mentioning Libya model because it is a complicated model.
There is a denuclearization part, which was 2003, and also the collapse of the government much later, eight years later. So, it's a different model.
[14:10:01] And by just mentioning Libya itself, I mean, that's really call for surrender as far as North Korea is going to do. And so, I think it was
And I think President Trump and President Pence tried to walk it backwards, but, in the end, it did not succeed because they kept on mentioning the
threat at the end which is 2011 in which Gaddafi was killed by his own people essentially.
AMANPOUR: And essentially, I'm afraid, Vice President Pence seemed to mention that, if Kim Jong-un didn't make a deal, military action would be
the inevitable consequence.
YUN: I, quite honestly - I mean, when I was in administration, we looked at military options. And we all know there is no good military option,
which is why diplomacy and negotiated settlement is the only way out.
Look, North Korea now has the weapons. They have nuclear devices that are so powerful the last one that went off was about 15 times the bomb that
went off in Hiroshima and they have the delivery method.
So, they believe they're actually speaking, negotiating from a position of strength. And so, we have to understand that mentality.
AMANPOUR: These tests that you're talking about, and you rightly point out how relatively and actually developed they are, what do you make of North
Korea inviting also sorts of journalists in, foreign journalists to witness dismantling or destroying the main nuclear test site?
Do you really think they're going to do that?
YUN: Well, there is some information suggesting that their blast in September last year was so powerful that it may have actually made the test
Nevertheless, I mean, they have done a number of things, including that one, as well as, of course, stopping tests of both nuclear devices and
So, they feel they have taken the first steps. And so, they do not understand why Washington is insisting on complete denuclearization,
getting rid of all their nuclear missiles before they actually get rewarded for anything.
So, they want to go back to the old model of action for action or what the Chinese have recently called synchronized action.
AMANPOUR: It's going to make the Iran nuclear deal look like a picnic by comparison. Let me ask you a final question. You were in the State
Department. You were in the room in various negotiations with North Koreans over the years.
What did the North Koreans who are very savvy students of American domestic politics - what did they make of the squabble, the fight, the disagreements
between Secretary Tillerson and President Trump?
YUN: North Koreans' view was that they must get to President Trump. That's been their goal from the beginning. And they felt that really by, I
would say, end of last year, former Secretary Tillerson had lost credibility with the White House and with President Trump and that's why we
had virtually no dealings, and which is why, of course, it took the South Koreans to bring the deal, not someone within the State Department or
within the administration.
AMANPOUR: Fascinating. Joseph Yun, thank you so much. And if this does indeed happen, there will be somewhat of a leap of faith.
But now, we take a turn. A leap to faith. The reckoning in the Catholic Church continues. Today, the Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson became
the highest ranking Catholic official to be convicted of concealing child abuse committed by a priest.
Meantime, in Chile this week, 34 bishops have offered to resign en masse over their failure to respond properly to allegations of sexual abuse by
priests for years.
Pope Francis himself has spoken to survivors of the abuse and he has vowed to crack down. So, imagine the good timing of the award-winning filmmaker
Wim Wenders, whose latest film about the Pope has just been released, with unprecedented access to the Holy Father.
Wenders has made such critically-acclaimed films as "Paris, Texas" and "Wings of Desire". And now, "Pope Francis: A Man of His Word". I spoke
to Wenders this week just after the film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival.
Wim Wenders, welcome to the program.
[14:15:02] WIM WENDERS, DIRECTOR, "POPE FRANCIS: A MAN OF HIS WORD": Thank you for having me, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's a great pleasure. And this documentary, this film that you've done has got great reviews in Cannes where you debuted it. But
the real question is how do you get such access to a Pope? I mean we can't for love nor money.
WENDERS: Yes. I wonder myself now, how that can possibly have happened.
You see it was not in my life's plan. One day I got a letter by the Vatican, would you be inclined to talk with us about a film involving the
Pope. And that was amazing, almost too good to be true. I truly admire his work and I think he is one of the great leaders of our world today.
AMANPOUR: What specifically about him do you love the most?
WENDERS: You see, I had 9 years of Latin. So, for once in my life, it paid off because they introduced him before we saw him. And in Latin said
he had chosen the name of Franciscus. And I was flabbergasted because for me, St. Francis was a hero of humanity and the only saint I could, so to
speak, put a name on, face on because he stood for a few things that were amazing.
He stood for a radical solidarity and identification with the outcasts and the poor. He stood for completely a new relationship between man and
nature. And I figured that was the most necessary thing today. St. Francis and the name of Francis stands - he'd be the first ecologist today
and St. Francis stands for a new effort of peace between the religions.
AMANPOUR: So, let's pick up on that because, obviously, this Pope distinguished himself on that very environmental level you talk about in
his Encyclical which was a tremendous document.
And he has also spoken over and over again about refugees, about the poor, about all the proper values that he thinks we should hold. Here is a
little clip of an interview that you did with him. We will play it and I will talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS: (SPEAKS IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I can even see you miming his words - you're so familiar with it - as you were listening to him.
WENDERS: I know every word by-heart, yes.
AMANPOUR: I bet you do. You say you had two hours with him. What, for you, were the most -
WENDERS: Four times two hours.
AMANPOUR: Four times two hours?
WENDERS: Four times two hours, yes.
WENDERS: We spent a long time. It was four afternoons. And each time, it was a good two hours. Yes, thanks.
AMANPOUR: So, what was the most surprising things that you heard from him?
WENDERS: There were many surprising things because he didn't hesitate to answer any question. He didn't exclude any question. All the answers were
spontaneous and immediate. Some really at length and thorough.
And he got very upset sometimes. My question about pedophilia. He got very angry. Really angry. And you realized if only he could, he would do
so much more right now right away. And you feel that in the conversation. That was a completely fearless man in front of me. And it's very rare to
AMANPOUR: So, I'm really fascinated again to hear because you say he would want to do much more if he could, but he is the Pope. He is God's
representative on Earth, and yet he claims that he can't go as far as he would like to and as the world demands in response to this pedophilia
scandal, which is still rocking the church, which is still driving Catholics away from the church.
And I'm minded of the fact that he says, on the one hand, I want zero tolerance and, on the other hand, he gets jolly angry at journalists or at
people who raise controversial issues. Can you try to square that circle, explain that conflict and why he can't resolve it?
WENDERS: He cannot just do everything on his own. He has the move a huge machinery and he has to move an institution that is very rigid and that is
2,000 years old.
I think if it was up to him, his zero tolerance would be across the board, but still he has to move a whole big institution. And I think that is
frustrating for him and sometimes you feel that anger that he would like to move things faster and more radical.
AMANPOUR: But the thing is, again, we're in a #MeToo moment now, the whole world is reacting. People with much less power are reacting very
definitively to employees, let's say, who are violating these fundamental human rights and fundamental legal rights.
[14:20:16] So, again, do you think that he feels this empowered? I mean, is his brand of Catholicism, is his brand of religious politics a minority
in the Vatican? Does he feel being, I don't know, overthrown by the very conservatives?
WENDERS: I don't think he is overthrown, but he does have a lot of resistance, and we all know about it. And I just didn't want to make that
the central issue of the film.
My film was going to be about his concerns and about the solution that he suggests and his stance. And somebody else must make this film about the
conflict with the ultra conservatives in the church, which is not my film.
My movies are so sort of made because I really love something and I want to share what I like with an audience. And I love the courage of this man and
I love how open he is and how he lives what he preaches.
He has to move an institution that hasn't been rocked and moved so much in a long, long time. And he's not the youngest. So I have nothing but
respect for his efforts. And I also sometimes sense the frustration that he couldn't go further.
AMANPOUR: I sense you incredibly personally invested, incredibly moved as you speak about him and about your film. And, of course, you are yourself
a Roman Catholic.
What is your experience with the church been? Are you always a devout Catholic? Have you fallen off the wagon? Have you come back in? How has
this Pope affected your own Catholicism and your practice?
WENDERS: I did fall off the wagon. I was raised in a Catholic family, very Catholic family. At the age of 15, 16, I actually considered maybe
becoming a priest.
But then, at the age of 18, 19, along came rock and roll and pinball machines and movies and I came back after a huge detour when I was 50 years
old. I came back to my belief, realized I had never really left it, I was always been a believer and a friendly God who sees us.
But I did convert. I became a Protestant. And today, I am an ecumenical Christian if ever there was one. And I think that's one of the messages of
All people of goodwill in the end do believe into something and we need some sort of moral revolution today to get us back together and act. And
this planet is in bad shape and this whole idea of brotherhood in the 21st century went down the drain in a big way.
AMANPOUR: Well, you have told us simple basic, but very, very intense stories in your movies, whether it's "Paris, Texas", "Wings of Desire",
whether it was the "Buena Vista Social Club" on a whole different level.
And I just want to just go back to Cannes and a little sort of contretemps that you had with Spike Lee.
Way back, in 1989, I think Spike Lee felt that you had robbed him of the Palme d'Or. And he said "Wim Wenders had better watch out. Somewhere deep
in my closet, I have a Louisville Slugger bat with Wenders' name on it."
He has since said he was - he was likely immature then, but I think he still thinks he was robbed. What do you say to a fellow director in these
WENDERS: Well, let me speak to Spike right through the camera. I did say it already in the interviews. Spike, I was the president of the jury, but
I didn't decide anything on my own. And that was the year 1989 with amazing movies and some great directors didn't get rewarded and you're one
And I hope we can make peace. He just reached out for me, Spike. He said we should meet in Brooklyn. I hope it is not in a dark alley, but maybe we
both bring out our baseball bats and cross them peacefully. I think it's about time to end this.
AMANPOUR: If you do that, come on our show together. In Cannes, there was a protest just this last week, women protested the Cannes awards ceremony
this year for only featuring 82 female directors in its history compared to 1,688 male directors. I mean, how long is that going to continue? Does
that have to change?
WENDERS: I think it's changing drastically, as we speak. It needs to change drastically. I think everybody is asked to contribute to that
[14:25:02] I do my very best in my own movies. I don't shoot movies unless I have a 50-50 crew -
WENDERS: Because I hated being surrounded by men on a shoot. It's the worst. Films go down the drain if you don't have a balance in your crew.
Yes, you're right. In the history of Cannes, it's a disgrace. And I signed that petition and we all have to work on changing that. Absolutely.
AMANPOUR: And just before I go, can you tell me which is your favorite film that you made? Yes. That you made?
WENDERS: Of my own?
WENDERS: It will be hard to beat "A man of His Words" because it's just new. And my wife said to me one night, you know, Wim, you've rehearsed 50
years to make this movie and she had a point.
But in all the rest of the 50 years, there's one I like very much. And it was maybe the most ambitious thing I did is, "Until the End of the World".
It's a road movie that actually goes around the planet. It's a science fiction road move. That is probably my own favorite film after "A Man of
AMANPOUR: All right. Wim Wenders, director of "Pope Francis: A Man of His Words". Thank you so much.
WENDERS: Thank you so much for talking to me.
AMANPOUR: And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at Amanpour.com. And you can
follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching. And goodbye from London.