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Moon-Kim Meeting Revives Hopes for June 12th Summit; Ireland Votes Overwhelmingly to Repeal Abortion Ban. Aired 2-2:30a ET

Aired May 27, 2018 - 02:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining us. I'm Cyril Vanier in Atlanta. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


VANIER: So that June summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un now seems more likely than it did just 24 hours ago following an emergency meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea. That is it right there.

That hastily arranged talk that happened in the Korean DMZ, the demilitarized zone, was held in secret on the north side of the DMZ and was held to try and salvage this June 12th meeting in Singapore between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

The South Korean leader, Moon Jae-in, explains what happens now.


MOON JAE-IN, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT (through translator): There will be practical tasks between North Korea and U.S. very soon. How well the practical talks will go is what is going to decide if the summit between North Korea and the U.S. will be successful or not.

But I believe the practical meetings and I expect the summit on June 12th will go very smoothly.


VANIER: And in Washington, the U.S. president seemed to take news of this inter-Korean meeting in his stride. Here is Donald Trump.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we can be successful in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, it would be a great thing for North Korea. It would be a great thing for South Korea, be great for Japan and great for the world, great for the United States, great for China. A lot of people are working on it and it's moving along very nicely.

So we're looking at June 12th in Singapore. That hasn't changed. And it's moving along pretty well. So we'll see what happens.


VANIER: South Korea's president said Kim Jong-un had repeated a strong desire to meet with Mr. Trump and again expressed a willingness to denuclearize. Paula Hancocks is in Seoul, South Korea, following this closely.

Paula, so now we know that Kim Jong-un really wants to meet with the U.S. president, that much is clear. But perhaps more importantly, we also have a better understanding of what he wants from the U.S. president.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Cyril. We heard from the South Korean president. He was talking about that meeting that two-hour meeting he had on Saturday with Kim Jong-un and he was saying that Kim Jong-un is willing to meet with Mr. Trump. He is willing to push forward with the summit and he also was asking about guarantees for the regime.

So we've really got an insight into what Kim Jong-un is looking for, President Moon saying that he had given the sort of guarantee of regime survival because, clearly, that is what the U.S. president has already given.

Just last week he said that he could guarantee Kim's safety, saying he will be safe. He will be happy. His country will be rich. That did raise some eyebrows at the time, the U.S. president guaranteeing the safety of a dictator.

But clearly this is something that Kim Jong-un is concerned about. Mr. Moon also pointing out that there would economic issues that they could talk about. But specified that Kim Jong-un has to sit down with Donald Trump and talk face-to-face so that he can tell him for himself.

VANIER: And look, this June 12th meeting, if indeed it does happen on that day, is just around the corner, in the words of one American White House official, I believe it was just yesterday, it is 10 minutes away.

Pardon the cliche but the clock is ticking now.

HANCOCKS: Absolutely. And these kinds of summits, what usually happens is you have months of preparations beforehand. You have working level talks. You have higher level talks and then you get to the summit itself.

Most of the summit, most of the agenda has already been agreed upon before two leaders sit down with each other. They just go over the points, usually, and then maybe add a couple of things and then they have a communique, a press statement, a press briefing at the end of it. That's the playbook but clearly neither the North Korean nor the American leaders want to play by the playbook. They're both fairly unorthodox to say the least. So what we're seeing here is very little preparatory work.

We know that there is an advance team from the United States that is going to go to Singapore. We've already been told that site survey has not been canceled. We know that there was a U.S. delegation in Singapore last week as well because they were supposed to meet with the North Koreans. But the North Koreans did not turn up.

So this is a very different kind of summit, if it happens. It is really top-down. It is going to be the U.S. president and the North Korean leader deciding on if they can get along, if there is middle ground, if they can create some kind of a bond or some kind of trust --


HANCOCKS: -- and then it trickles down to the lower levels -- Cyril.

VANIER: Paula Hancocks, reporting live from Seoul, lots to keep you busy, not just in the coming hours but in the coming days as well. Thank you.

Earlier I spoke with CNN global affairs analyst Joseph Yun. He is a former U.S. special representative for North Korea policy. Here is his take.


JOSEPH YUN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think we are watching some amazing developments that South Korean president, you know, without any notice, actually, meets with North Korean leader. That's an amazing development and my own takeaway is that there is strong will among the three leaders, Moon, Kim, Trump, to have a meeting.

Now Paula said very something quite interesting and the true substantive issues are denuclearization on the one hand and security guarantee on the other. And it was interesting that both President Trump and President Moon talk about the preparatory meetings that are going on.

I believe it is in these meetings they have to narrow the gap. And so, over the next few days, we will be watching whether these gaps can be narrowed so that both Trump and Kim can go to Singapore on June 12th and agree on what victory looks like for both of them.

VANIER: That's interesting and you started answering my next question, because what I am hearing from all three leaders involved in this summit now, whether it's Mr. Trump, whether it's Kim Jong-un, whether it's Moon Jae-in, even though he is might not attend the summit, but he is very much involved.

What I am hearing from all three of them is the desire to hold it. What we're not hearing and what Moon Jae-in did not explain is exactly what needs to happen, like what specifically needs to happen for the meeting to take place.

You are telling me we don't have an answer to that yet and that is all going to happen, that -- the answer is going to come from the preparatory talks; in other words, the groundwork of diplomacy.

YUN: Right and that is what is going to happen. And you saw Moon Jae-in allude to that, CVID, complete and verifiable irreversible declaration.

The question was did you ask that?

That is the American demand to Kim Jong-un. And his answer was yes. But that is for the two of them to discuss. I am not going to insert myself into it.

Second question, another key question was on the regime security. He said he had conveyed to Kim Jong-un what President Trump has said. Now there was no answer. Was he reassuring?

Was he not reassuring?

Is it enough or not enough?


VANIER: That was Joseph Yun, CNN global affairs analyst there.

For almost two years, an American missionary and his wife feared for their lives behind bars in Venezuela. But now Josh and Thamy Holt have reunited with their family here in the Midwest.

The Venezuelan government says they were released to maintain respectful diplomatic relations with the U.S. They were held without trial on espionage and terrorism charges and just last week survived a prison riot. The president welcomed them at the White House on Saturday.


JOSHUA HOLT, AMERICAN DETAINED IN VENEZUELA: I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude for you guys, for everything that you've done, for the support of my wife. Those two years, they were very, very difficult two years, not really the great vacation I was looking for.

But we are still together, starting off our marriage rough. But now we'll be together and I'm just so grateful for what you guys have done and for thinking about me and caring about me, just a normal person. So it really touches me. And thank you.


VANIER: The White House says their release does not change American policy o Venezuela. And two U.S. officials say the Trump administration did not offer anything to the government of president Nicolas Maduro in exchange for their release. A historic decision now in Ireland. Voters overwhelmingly overturned

a constitutional amendment that banned most abortions. Supporters cheered the outcome. Opponents called it a tragedy of historic proportions. Our Atika Shubert has details from Dublin.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A sweeping victory for women's rights in Ireland. The final count, 66 percent voted yes to change the Irish constitution and paved the way to make abortion legal in Ireland. Only 34 percent voted against, 64 percent of registered voters cast their ballots.

For veteran --


SHUBERT (voice-over): -- women's rights campaigner Elba Smith (ph), this was a long time coming.

SHUBERT: I heard you say that this is history being rewritten with this vote.

ELBA SMITH (PH), WOMEN'S RIGHTS CAMPAIGNER: There is no doubt about it. What we are saying, maybe it's not about -- maybe it's about making a new Ireland, where women truly matter and where we have a right to make choices for ourselves about our lives and our bodies.

SHUBERT (voice-over): It's a seismic shift that's been building for decades in Ireland, a country whose deep Catholic roots had underpinned some of the harshest laws against abortion.

At the Dublin vote count, cheers as ballot box after ballot box went for yes. But no voters struggled to come to grips with their loss.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shocked that nobody was listening to the no side. The right to life stands for every human being from the moment of conception to the time that they die. Nobody can take that away, no law, no anything. So in fact we don't stop.

SHUBERT (voice-over): There was fierce debate leading up to the referendum but more and more women told their harrowing stories of seeking abortions they knew were illegal at home.

Scared and desperate with an unwanted pregnancy, that's how Lucy Watmouth (ph) described her experience to us before the vote. Now she sees this.

LUCY WATMOUTH (PH), ABORTION RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I'm just so overwhelmed. I just kept thinking we are safe now. My sister will never go through what I went through. (INAUDIBLE) one day she won't go through what I went through. I'm glad they listened to us. (INAUDIBLE).

SHUBERT (voice-over): It was also a political win for Ireland's prime minister, Leo Varadkar, and health minister Simon Harris. Both had pushed to hold the referendum. Now they must shepherd the legislation through parliament.

SIMON HARRIS, IRISH MINISTER OF HEALTH: For me personal as minister for health, when I started meeting women in Ireland who'd be putting this out, all I can say is I'm sorry we couldn't help you rather than be able to help them. I became very determined that we should try and do something on this and work with civil society so that we could campaign for that.

SHUBERT (voice-over): The politicians will get to work next week. But for yes voters, it's time to celebrate a historic moment for Ireland -- Atika Shubert, CNN, Dublin.


VANIER: Quickly, I want to show you this. The erupting Kilauea volcano looks intense up close. You've been seeing it on CNN. But check it out from space. A NASA satellite snapped these images of the lava flow. The space agency's been monitoring Kilauea since it erupted earlier this month. Now we know what they are seeing.

Also, the Spanish capital, Madrid, waking up in a good mood today. Real Madrid won their third straight Champions League title. The match with Liverpool was even at 1 when Real's Gareth Bale came off the bench and delivered this acrobatic bicycle kick to the back of the net. He went on to score once more for a 3-1 final.

The title is Real's 13th overall and fourth in the past five seasons. They are the first club to win three consecutive championships since the 1970s.

And that is it from us for now, thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. We've got "MARKETPLACE AFRICA" for you next.