Return to Transcripts main page


President Trump Arrives at Summit Site, Kim Jong-un En Route; Trump Tweets That Larry Kudlow Has Suffered A Heart Attack. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired June 11, 2018 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It is just before 8:00 a.m. here in Singapore. Any minute now, President Trump will leave his hotel here on the mainland and travel south by motorcade to another hotel, the Capella on Sentosa Island, where he'll become the first American president, sitting American president, to sit down with a North Korean dictator, first, with only Kim and each side's interpreters in the room.

Kim's motorcade, it looks like it is gearing up to go very shortly outside his hotel, so are the vehicles for President Trump. That's a view right outside the hotel of Kim Jong-un at St. Regis. President Trump is expected to leave a short time after Kim Jong-un. This will be at least to start a one-on-one meeting with a nuclear-armed dictator, who runs perhaps the most repressive regime on the planet.

[20:00:02] The summit's goal right now unclear. The president last week described it as a getting to know you meeting plus. But lately, his advisors have been aiming higher, using the phrase denuclearization.

Just a short time ago, the president tweeted a number of tweets early in the morning. Quoting now: The fact that I'm having a meeting is a major loss for the U.S. say the haters and losers. We have our hostages, testing research and all missile launches have stopped (AUDIO GAP) and these pundits who have called me wrong from the beginning have nothing else they can say. We will be fine.

By the way, the president, few misspellings in the word missile and others. Over the weekend at the G7 summit, he said he'll know in the first -- in the first minute by feel and by touch if Kim is serious about denuclearization, although the definition of denuclearization may be different from North Korea than it is for the U.S. He left the meeting having dismayed or just plain dissed some of our oldest and closest allies, democracies, all of them. Now, he'll try his hand with the dictator.

CNN's senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny joins us now with quick rundown of how this is all expected to play out.

Jeff, this is really unknown territory. We have not seen this obviously ever before, sitting president sitting down, meeting, shaking hands with the leader of North Korea. It's really hard to know what's going to happen, particularly in this one-on-one meeting. JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It is indeed, Anderson, and it is the one-on-one meeting that really I think speaks volumes about this entire summit it is the force of their personalities on both sides that really has led them to this point. President Trump obviously eager to have this meeting, even as some of his advisors only a couple weeks ago we're saying there's not time to set this up, the president disregarded all of that, so he is here in Singapore. Kim Jong-un is here as well.

And we are going to see a lot of differences, first and foremost. President Trump turned 72 years old this week, the oldest elected U.S. president. Of course, Kim Jong-un, some 34 years old, differences in many ways but the age difference here will certainly be front and center.

But we do know for all that president has been saying he's not been preparing, he's been reading up on Kim Jong-un and his grandfather as well, I'm told. So, look for us some conversations about family history perhaps.

But, Anderson, at the center of all of this, the president wants to persuade Kim Jong-un that it is in his interest in his country's interests to relinquish his nuclear program.

COOPER: And, Jeff, I mean, it would certainly be an understatement to say that there there's a lot riding on this meeting both for President Trump and for Kim Jong-un, although for Kim Jong-un, he has achieved already what his father and grandfather did not and certainly longed for which was a sort of a legitimization of meeting the president of United States of being on the world stage with other world leaders.

ZELENY: He has indeed, Anderson. I mean, he has won in many respects. I was out on the streets of Singapore last evening as Kim Jong-un was, you know, essentially going around and seeing the sights. He rarely if ever leaves his regime, he rarely leaves North Korea. There he was getting somewhat of a positive welcome here.

So, he has won in many respects because he is now on the world stage. Everyone is watching this meeting.

President Trump though is trying to ease concern of allies. I'm told that he has had conversations with the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. He's had conversations with the leader of South Korea as well, President Moon Jae-in.

So, this is something that the President Trump is trying to reassure others that everything will go fine in this meeting. But, Anderson, for minutes, a one-on-one conversation with translators only certainly is going to set the table for how the rest of this day is going to unfold. Then their advisers are coming in. I'm told they'll meet for about an hour and a half or so and then they're scheduled to have a working lunch.

But those early critical minutes and the photo opportunity we see I think will set the stage for what is to come certainly even beyond Singapore. COOPER: Yes. Jeff, we'll continue check in with you. The pictures obviously you're seeing right now outside Kim Jong-un's hotel which is the St. Regis Hotel, not too far from where President Trump is staying as well. The Kim motorcade will be leaving first we are told. It's obviously all lined up. The security here is extraordinarily tight. It has been for the last several days, but particularly today.

Actually, we were just now been told the President Trump has actually left his hotel. It was initially we've been told that Kim would leave his hotel first, but President Trump we're told has left his hotel.

Alexandra Field is at the St. Regis where Kim Jong-un and his entourage could departing any minute as well.

How long is it going to take, Alexandra, do we know, for Kim Jong-un's entourage to get to Sentosa Island to the -- to the location?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the meeting starts at 9:00. So, they're going to have to leave here shortly.

[20:05:01] It's only about ten kilometers away. That's just a few miles really. We estimate between minutes and half an hour, though certainly he will be with a large motorcade. You assume they'll be able to move through these streets quickly. Evidence of that, the fact that this street that we're standing on is shut down.

Really, the spotlight on Kim Jong-un right now as he officially gets ready to step on to the world stage, achieving something his father couldn't achieve, achieving something his grandfather could not achieve -- this sit down with the acting president of the United States.

There is, of course, a lot of security out here, Anderson. Singaporean police officers are keeping the crowds back right now, not enormous crowds, mostly press frankly, but a lot of people stopping, hoping to get a glimpse of Kim Jong-un making his way through the city streets of Singapore, something that seems inconceivable just months ago and unlikely weeks ago.

Look at this, Anderson. You can start to see the motorcade moving forward now there will be dozens of vehicles at the lead here you've got Singaporean police on a motorbike followed by police vehicles. We should soon see Kim Jong-un emerging in a limousine this convoy has included two different limousines. It's never clear which one Kim Jong-un is in.

We also typically see them traveling with large white buses. Those are buses filled, Anderson, with the men in suits, the runners, who you have seen, of course, jogging alongside Kim Jong-un's limousine at times. It's sort of that iconic image you saw during the North Korea/South Korea summit. You have seen it while Kim Jong-un has been here in Singapore. So, it could be any minute now that Kim Jong-un actually gets into that vehicle, makes his way to this meeting that did certainly seem unlikely.

This is a new era for Kim Jong-un. He has called it that we're seeing news in North Korea has called this the possibility of a new era, but what we have seen is really the emergence of a dictator who was an incredibly reclusive figure just months ago, now in Singapore ready to meet the U.S. president. He has already met the Chinese president twice, traveling out of the country two times to do that. He has traveled, of course, to meet the South Korean president.

And he's been spotted throughout Singapore. He was greeted by the foreign minister when he arrived here. He then went to visit with the prime minister and then in a surprising move, the motorcade picked him up at the St. Regis last night after dark and he was given essentially a sightseeing tour of Singapore, Anderson. There was even a selfie with Singapore's foreign minister, just a dramatic shift in the image that we have come to expect from Kim Jong-un.

But this is the moment that he waited for, the opportunity to come face to face with the president. We've said it so often, Anderson, what comes of this meeting will really have to do with the chemistry between these two men. Certainly, the goals have been established. The United States, the administration saying that they are seeking the complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement of nuclear weapons, but not being able to at this point have any concrete agreement from North Korea about what action they could take.

North Korea has agreed that the premise of this meeting is about denuclearization. They said as much in a state news report that was released just a day ago, saying this is about U.S. and North Korean relations, that it's about the issue of denuclearization, that it is also about a mechanism for security on the peninsula. So, we're just minutes away now it seems, Anderson, from seeing how this all plays out and, of course, we know President Trump believes that he'll know how it's going to play out within just the first minute -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, Alexandra Field.

I want to go next to CNN's Manisha Tank.

On the right side of your screen, we might start to see the president's motorcade. We believe that the president's motorcade may emerge from under that bridge there. That's on the right-hand side of your screen.

On the left is outside Kim Jong-un's hotel where the motorcade looks like it's preparing some of the motorcycle out riders and such. But it's not actually gotten underway yet.

Manisha Tank who lives here also joins us not far from Sentosa Island there. The beginning of the president's motorcade we believe, some advanced Singaporean police vehicles.

Manisha, as we continue to watch these images, to get our first look at President Trump's motorcade, get us -- give us a sense of Sentosa Island, how far it is from where of them is staying and why they picked that location?

MANISHA TANK, CNN REPORTER: Yes, well, let's agree for a second, Anderson, that behind every big action, whether it's on an international stage or domestic begins with a thought, and there's a wonderful thought behind this. Sentosa is a word just derived from Sanskrit for peace. It's derived from the word santos (ph), which means peace. So, what a great positive place to begin.

This is a resort island behind me and it is set off from the mainland of Singapore by just a bridge.

So, to the left of me, I can see a number of police patrols which have picked up over the course of the morning, but to the right of me is that one bridge that connects the two -- that connects the land and that is where we will see the motorcade could pass, and in fact, we've just seen a number of motorbikes swoop up that road. They're going to lock down that road.

It's been quite remarkable actually how the Singaporean security forces, how the police are able to shut down these roads so quickly to allow these motorcade through and then shut them down again. In terms of how far this is from the hotel, yes, we're talking about a 15 to 30-minute drive. But I would say, let's cut that down to or so because with all those roads clear, it's very easy to get down here on Singapore's very clean and very convenient road system.

Now, once they're on there, they're going to travel to a luxury resort called the Capella. We've been hearing about it with it --


COOPER: I'm sorry, Manisha, I just want people to know, obviously, that is -- that is President Trump's motorcade there. It's our first glimpse we're getting of it, Manisha. We saw some of those motorcycle advanced riders but there is the president's limousine as it heads to Sentosa Island as Manisha was saying.

There is just one road from a Singapore to the island itself. It's obviously a place that can be secured in much more easily than the rest of the city here, given that there is just one road. There's also cable cars that go. The president's motorcade moving very slowly.

We haven't seen President Trump out and about really at very much at all, certainly on the streets in Singapore. He met with the prime minister of Singapore yesterday, and also some diplomatic personnel.

He's obviously been meeting with his team at the hotel, but we did see those remarkable images of Kim Jong-un going for a bit of a walk about yesterday down by the gardens, by the bay, and also to a hotel were surrounded by bodyguards. But there you see the president's very long motorcade as it slowly heads towards Sentosa Island. The president first to leave his hotel.

Kim Jong-un, he has yet to depart from the -- from the hotel. But there are certainly a lot of people who are very anxious to see what goes on, that the timing of all this -- that's the view outside Kim Jong-un's hotel -- the timing of this is in about 9:00 is when the meeting is supposed to begin, the handshake is supposed to begin. And that, of course, will be a historic moment.

I also want to -- as we continue to look at these images, Manisha, thank you.

I want to be joined by CNN's chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto.

Jim, hard to overstate just how unusual, historic, unprecedented and unclear how this moment is going to go.


Let's start with the unprecedented. As we watch this mobilization, right, all --


COOPER: Kim Jong-un, sorry, Jim, Kim Jong-un is --


COOPER: As you see, Kim Jong-un's motorcade now has just started to begin. We're told he is leaving the hotel.

So, Jim, I'm sorry, continue as we continue to watch this.

SCIUTTO: Well, it's perfect timing there. So, now you have the North Korean leader mobilizing -- moving towards this meeting with the U.S. president. We saw the president mobilizing towards this meeting these discussions.

Remember, just a few months ago, we were talking about an entirely different kind of mobilization, a mobilization for war, the prospect of military action raised very publicly by this president, but also we know, we've reported private discussions, very serious discussions about taking military action against North Korea. That's just a few months ago.

And now, these two leaders who have described each other in the most unfriendly, most belligerent terms are going to be sitting across from each other, talking about the possibility at least of making an agreement of a lasting peace. So, that's the unprecedented part.

The uncertain part, Anderson, is what exactly they're going to agree to today if anything in hard terms. And we're going to have to watch a statement, assuming they do agree on a written statement, for the language that is used. Is the word denuclearization in there? That would be quite a concession for the North Koreans to commit to that publicly.

But then what is the definition of denuclearization? Have they reached that definition in public or in private? Does it include the whole peninsula? This is -- this is a phrasing that the Secretary of State Pompeo used yesterday, denuclearization of the peninsula. Does that mean that the U.S. makes a commitment to lift in effect the nuclear umbrella from South Korea, which is essential and quite important to its own security? Does it make that concession?

COOPER: And, Jim -- Jim, I just want to tell our viewers, this is actually the same motorcade from two different angles. This is Kim Jong-un's motorcade leaving the hotel. It's two different camera locations, so it can be a bit confusing to see.

But there you see on the left-hand side, you really see the start of the motorcade.

[20:15:01] From the right-hand side, you see a different angle for their back.

Christiane Amanpour is joining us as well, watching all of this.

I mean, this is an extraordinary moment whatever comes of it and that's one of the things that makes it so extraordinary is we really have no idea what is going to go on in that meeting between these two world leaders.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't, and we've heard sort of parameters of both sides talking about what they want to achieve and what would be in both sides' interests.

But you're right, once the two leaders get into that room together with just their translators, it's going to be pretty much up to them. I have to say, I'm absolutely captivated by the choreography of it all. And as you describe the different motorcades in which one went first, I have read somewhere that protocol is incredibly important and who is in the room first is quite significant because apparently, the who's in the room first goes to the senior head of state, the senior member of the meeting.

And potentially, if it's Donald Trump, he'll be in the actual meeting room first and then the present the leader of North Korea will come in, and you can see at least in their departures, President Trump has left first and maybe they're ready to meet and welcome Kim Jong-un when he gets there.

But I think that's really interesting.

Look, I was just -- David Sanger of "The New York Times" just sitting here as well.

COOPER: David Sanger is here, also Ambassador Joseph Yun.

AMANPOUR: Yes, I'm -- I just remember as if it was yesterday when President Reagan got in a room on his own with the leader of the Soviet Union, Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986 in Reykjavik, Iceland, and I believe the first part of the meeting was just with their translators and that meeting didn't go well.

I mean, President Reagan was criticized very heavily afterwards by his own side for practically giving away the shop. I am not saying that that is what's going to happen today, but there is historical precedents for why we're all curious as to what might happen in a room when they're just there. And, of course, apparently, it's only 45 minutes long, maybe their ministers can come in and elaborate on what they may have spoken to. But I do think it's really interesting. You won't have a written record necessarily or actually what was said in that crucial first meeting.

COOPER: It's one of the things. I mean, David Sanger, you've been looking at negotiating styles of President Trump. President Trump has said he felt like he's prepared his whole life for this, whether that is actually true or not.

I mean, do we know how much Kim Jong-un knows of details of nuclear policy, of -- I mean how capable he is of getting into the weeds in a one-on-one meeting like this?

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, we do know from Secretary Pompeo that Kim Jong-un seems to know his brief and understand the structure of the North Korean nuclear program in quite some detail. And remember, for Kim Jong-un, this nuclear program is the legacy, the patrimony of his father and his grandfather.

Particularly important to him is the grandfather. He cuts his hair and wears his suits to look like the grandfather. He has really gone out of his way to sort of remind his people of Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea.

COOPER: He's even said that he may have intentionally gained weight in order to resemble his grandfather more.

SANGER: Right. Now, how could that play in today? In 1992, and his grandfather was still alive, it's the last two years of his life, North Korea and South Korea signed a denuclearization agreement and an agreement to basically move toward much more normal relations. I'm old enough that I actually covered that as a young reporter in Asia.

And at the -- at the time, it looked like sort of peace was at hand. At the time, North Korea didn't actually have any nuclear weapons. Today, they have 20 to 60 and a vastly larger nuclear setup than they did.

So, one possibility is that President Trump goes back and sort of reminds Kim Jong-un of what his grandfather agreed to and goes back to wording very similar to the 1992 accord which would be easier for him to handle because it was his grandfather's.

COOPER: We're told President Trump has arrived at the meeting location on Sentosa Island. The views you're seeing or two views which we believe will get a view of Kim Jong-un's motorcade, as it heads toward Sentosa Island. So, as you as you continue watch it, that's why we're seeing this empty road. It's obviously been cleared by police, by authorities.

As we said, security is extraordinary and tight.

Ambassador Yun, I mean, your expectation is, is what for this initial meeting? There had been talk 12 hours ago that this meeting could go on for two hours, which seemed an extraordinary long amount of time. Christiane is talking about perhaps 45 minutes. It's hard to know how each is going to play this.

JOSEPH YUN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Anderson, I mean, it is a momentous day.

[20:20:01] And quite honestly, having worked on Korean issues for many, many decades, I didn't think I would see this.

COOPER: Really?

YUN: So, it is moving at, you know, to be here with you all, watching it unfold right in front of us.

What do I expect? I mean, I do think personal chemistry is important, and that's really being the strength of President Trump.

COOPER: Why? Why is that it's so important with Kim Jung-on?

YUN: You know, whenever I talk to North Koreans, they say nothing can be resolved on our level. You and I, we can meet 200 times and nothing can be resolved. These issues can only be resolved at leaders level, and I don't know how many times I've heard that and so, North Koreans way more than us are getting their wish and you got to believe that they're getting their wish to get their point of view heard by United States.

COOPER: That's one thing that Governor Bill Richardson, who's also been to North Korean a number of times and had a number of negotiations had said, is that the deals aren't done at the negotiating table. It's often done on the side afterwards, sort of negotiating table is for bellicose statements or discussion.

AMANPOUR: And you would know better than better than me but it seems to me that usually negotiations are done and then the leaders come and sign off and do the handshake and the -- remember after the Palestinian-Israeli in the Oslo Accords on the White House norm.

But I think also, it's massively important, this idea of trust. We heard from President Moon Jae-in of South Korea that one of the huge things that separates North Korea from the United States is trust. This more than half-century of distrust and war between them that has never actually been addressed.

And with the best will in the world, these kinds of meetings have to establish a baseline of some kind of trust. So, perhaps the meeting at this time between the two leaders can help towards that vital issue.

YUN: I think that's a crucial point Christiane is making. There is no trust. So what is it that we should look for to see, yes, they're building trust?

Certainly, one of them is opening I would call liaison offices. These diplomatic outposts --

COOPER: Right, there's currently no diplomatic representation in the United States in -- Sweden -- the Swedish embassy handles affairs for the U.S.

YUN: And that's a good confidence-building measure, but it cannot be taken away easily. Once, you set up, moved people there, so that's the beginning of a trust building. And so, I want to see some of that coming up.

Humanitarian assistance, do we promise the humanitarian assistance? Even cultural exchanges, dance troops coming. Remember ping-pong diplomacy?

So, all those are part of trust that that needs to be built out.

COOPER: There just the beginning of Kim Jong-un's motorcade.

AMANPOUR: We were actually in North Korea for some philharmonic diplomacy in 2008. The U.S. -- New York Philharmonic went to Pyongyang and it was an amazing moment, and it did lead to a little bit more political and nuclear negotiations between then the Bush administration and Kim Jong-il, his father's administration. But then after a period of time, that sort of collapsed.

COOPER: David Sanger, though, you know, it's not just a lack of trust. It's a different definition of terms, of terminology.

I mean, when we're talking about denuclearization, as has been often said, the North Korean vision for what the denuclearization, they are talking about denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, not just -- you know, the U.S. talks about it as North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons.

SANGER: Well, this gets right to the point that Joe was making about why only leaders could go do this, because when we talk about it, we talk only about what we need the North Koreans to give up. In their view, we have bombers, ships, submarines all off the North Korean coasts that could hit North Korea with nuclear weapons at any moment and so, they're looking for us to pull back not only on troops but on exercises and so forth.

And this is going to hit a very critical and hard issue for President Trump. It was I think a remarkable instinct that he had here and I think an important one that he had to do this meeting ahead of the negotiation, build that trust. But when you actually get into the negotiation, President Trump himself if anything wants to see our nuclear forces built back up. He said so himself.

We can reach North Korea from -- with missiles in Nebraska and the Dakotas, so we don't actually need to have those ships around. But the president's going to have to make a very hard decision about how broadly to include America's role in denuclearization.

[20:25:03] And if you removed the nuclear umbrella, something the president discussed with me and Maggie Haberman when we did foreign policy interviews with him during the campaign. That could then trigger a nuclear arms race as South Korea and Japan seek their own weapons. That's a very fine line he's got to walk through. COOPER: I mean, that's an important point, which is the desires and the concerns of South Korea, but also of Japan. Because even if North Korea was to get rid of, you know, intercontinental ballistic missiles, long range, they're still short range, medium range, which could hit Japan. There's also issues Japan is very interested in with return of people who were kidnapped from Japan by North Korea.

SANGER: This is Japan's big fear, that they'll get sold out along the way here, that the president's more interested in the intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach us, they didn't get deeply involved in this, that the North Koreans have been able to hit South Korea and Japan with nuclear weapons for some time.

And then, of course, as you say, the abductees, a huge political issue in Japan. It's one of the reasons you saw Prime Minister Abe come to see President Trump last week to sort of remind him that his issues have to be represented as well.

AMANPOUR: In fact, you know, there are only abductees that we know about.

SANGER: That's right.

AMANPOUR: That's a rather small number for the obsession that Japan has with this and I recall very, very clearly how Japan's obsession with this particular issue was part of what didn't go right in the 2008 negotiations.

We continue to see these motorcades. Kim Jong-un.

COOPER: Yes, Kim Jong-un's vehicle.

AMANPOUR: But to David's point about nuclearization of this area, that's what the prime minister of Singapore voiced to meet his concern, is that South Korea, Japan may be forced to go nuclear if the United States decides to, you know, pull its forces and its umbrella back, and that would be a whole different shift in the balance of power, the balance of forces, and you've got -- you know, what may or may not happen in the Middle East with the rupture of the Iran nuclear deal.

So, it's -- the idea of trying -- deciding whether to remove us forces and nuclear umbrellas has so many sort of --

COOPER: Look, it's also got to be a concern for allies, South Korea and Japan, given -- there you see Kim Jong-un's motorcade. We're getting a really good image. You can see some -- I believe that's North Korean state television sticking out of the vehicle, the entourage for Kim has extensive state media coverage, almost -- Will Ripley earlier were saying, they have almost as many videographers and photographers as they do a bodyguard security personnel in their entourage, and they have been very -- very quick to turn video around of Kim Jong-un.

There you see, though, "welcome to Sentosa Island", the island where this is taken and it's rare in North Korea. You can hear some birds early in the morning here. The sun is rising. It's very rare North Korea, for North Korean media to be reporting on an event like this while it is still taking place.

YUN: Absolutely very rare, and even yesterday, they talked about denuclearization. Our leader is going to this huge meeting in Singapore to meet the leader of the United States to talk about peace and denuclearization. So, that was very unusual.

I think that, you know, going back to what Christiane said earlier when we look at the interests of neighbors, Japanese interests as Christiane said, Chinese interests, South Korean interests, don't forget Russian interests, you know?

The real problem throughout decades had been they've not been all the same, you know?

COOPER: Right.

YUN: They have all wanted denuclearization, but priority very different.

COOPER: China's interests as well.

YUN: Exactly, China, they want denuclearization, but more than that, they want to have the same regime in place in North Korea.

COOPER: Right. For China, a unified North and South Korea oriented toward the West is a concern.

YUN: It's not a good news for them. And same with Russia -- for Russia, a nuclear North Korea has been a good annoyance for the United States. And so, they want to keep on at it. Sure, they want non- proliferation, but they'd rather have U.S. preoccupied, you know, than absolutely denuclearized.

COOPER: You also got a sense of just of the power of China in all this, just the plane that Kim Jong-un took down here, he flew on a Chinese plane, a plane provided by China and not a North Korean aircraft.

SANGER: Well, having been on North Korean aircraft when I've gone in and out of North Korea a few times, I don't really blame him. It's not what you really want your frequent flyer points on.

But that said, Joe is exactly right. The Chinese are interested mostly in the status quo right now. And to some degree, this is why Kim Jong-un is a double winner before they even turn out a communique. First, he is being shown to his own people at par with the President of the United States. The President of the United States picked up, flew halfway around the world to meet the leader of the small broken repressive country that as you point out is one of the great human rights violators of all time.

Showing the degree of respect that Kim thinks he's due. But secondly, just because he's engaged in this process, Anderson, the Chinese have begun to lift some of those sanctions, so of the righteous. So to some degree, the pressure is coming off, even though he hasn't agreed to a thing.

COOPER: And the U.S. had been talking about maximum pressure and maintaining maximum pressure, a difficult thing to do though?

SANGER: Putting that back together now would be very hard. So the Chinese are thinking out this, if we just get North Korea and the United States into a head lock here, where they're in a discussion, even if it takes forever. President Trump can't go and do a unilateral attack while he's talking to a country.


SANGER: And that was their big fear last summer.

COOPER: I want to go to our Jeff Zeleny who's been getting some more information about the meeting ahead and some planning by the U.S. Jeff?

ZELENY: Anderson, every detail of this has indeed been gone over with the President. What is going to happen from this point forward here. And one key detail I'm told if talk repeatedly about how big should he smile. Should the President smile at all? How should be great Kim Jong-un?

Now there's one school of thought he has been advised against, you know, to welcoming of a greeting, because it could be used as propaganda against the U.S.

The President is likely to take his own advice on this and most advisers believe that he will be polite, respectful, but Anderson, I'm told by one senior U.S. official, the President is keeping in mind today the family of Otto Warmbier, of course, the college students killed by the regime in North Korea last year. So that is one of the things I'm told going through the President's mind right now.

He's very aware of all these images as well. But that will be a fascinating moment when we see the two at that photo opportunity coming here. But for all the talk of not a lot of planning and preparation, Anderson, I'm told there's actually been a lot of conversations about the detail and significance of every single moment. Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, Jeff, we're told Kim Jong-un has also now arrived at the venue. Both leaders on Sentosa Island where the meeting is going to take place, the handshake took around 9:00 a.m. here local time, 9:00 p.m. on the east coast of the United States. We're going to pick up the conversation shortly, hear from someone who knows firsthand what it's like to face the North Koreans negotiating table. Talk about an earlier former U.N. ambassador, Bill Richardson joins us as our coverage continues.


[20:35:45] COOPER: President Trump and Kim Jong-un are now both at the site of their historic summit. The two leaders will greet one another and then step inside and talk just them and their interpreters initially.

My next just guest has more experience in most conducting high stakes, high pressure talks with the North Korea, Governor Bill Richardson. He is a former U.N. ambassador as well. He is former Secretary of Energy Department, which not any people know overseas America's nuclear arsenal. So he's especially welcome on this occasion.

Governor Richardson, first of all, I understand that you spoke to Secretary Pompeo a little bit ahead of this summit, can you just say a little bit about what if any advice you gave him?

BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Well, the advice I gave him was -- and he listened very respectfully, I had not gotten any calls from the administration, but he did call. And I commend him for that because I've had a little experience. He basically said that he asked me what parameters I thought the North Koreans were going to be ready to negotiate? I said, look they're not going to fully denuclearize, but I think you can get some good agreements on possibly dismantling some nuclear and missiles. You can do something on human rights on the remains of our soldiers from the Korean War.

He also asked a little bit about Kim Jong-un. I said, well, I haven't met him, but I think what you want to do is find ways to informally have the President and possibly yourself, take him aside, build some trust, get to know each other.

And then I also said to him, look you got to pin him down. The North Koreans never say yes. They never say no either. They keep you strung along. And it's clear that you have to have time lines, my last point was, look, what is most important to avoid some of the problems of negotiations in the past you have to have verification standards. A lot of inspectors, have them do an inventory of all their nuclear and missile sites.

But also I said, don't forget about human rights. And all the places got a lot of human rights problems. Try to help the Japanese with their abductees. Try to deal with -- you know, we have got 5,000 remains of our soldiers from the Korean War. These are kids 17 to 21. When I was in -- governor, I brought back seven of those remains for President Bush and his administration. So this is a very important meeting that also I think can deal with some of the issues relating to normalizing the relation ship, liaise synopsis (ph), hot lines, have people travel back and forth, maybe sports diplomacy. North Koreans love basketball. Find ways to engage but most importantly, I commend them for having this initial meeting between the President and Kim Jong-un alone.

Get to know each other, feel each other out. They're not going to pin each other down on the real substance of nuclear stuff but it's more a matter of a personal relationship, which for the North Koreans is critical.

COOPER: Yes, Governor Richardson, I appreciate your expertise on this, I'm going to end it here, I have got some news I just learned some breaking news. I'm just being told that Larry Kudlow, President Trump has just tweeted that Larry Kudlow has had a heart attack. The tweet reads our great Larry Kudlow has been working so hard on trade and the economy has just suffered a heart attack, he's now at Walter Reed Medical Center. That tweet just being sent from President Trump.

Larry Kudlow just appeared on Jake Tapper's show describing what his virtual events and his feelings about what took place at G-12 summit, obviously Larry Kudlow formerly from Fox Business News has recently gone to the White House. So we will continue to try to follow up on any information that we hear. But that President Trump tweeting that Larry Kudlow has suffered a heart attack, and right now he's in Walter Reed Medical Center.

I want to put up the tweet actually now on the screen. "Our great Larry Kudlow, who's been working so hard in trade and the economy, has just suffered a heart attack. He's now in Walter Reed Medical Center."

[20:40:03] Obviously, we wish him the best and we'll be -- our thoughts and prayers are with him and obviously with his family. At this time, we'll continue to keep you informed about that. Kudlow, obviously, not part of the team.

I want to bring back in Governor Richardson.

You met Kim Jong-un's father, Kim Jong-il in 2005. I was reading an account of a meeting he had with Madeleine Albright in which he didn't need to go to some his officials for details on his nuclear program that he seem very well informed and very-well versed on sort of new details of his nuclear program. Do Kim Jong-un does not have the same level of experience as Kim Jong-il (ph). But do you think he has that level of knowledge about his nuclear program?

RICHARDSON: I mean I met the father very, very briefly and Madeleine Albright had a substantive meeting with him. I think the difference between the two is the father, you know when we negotiated prisoners with his staff, political prisoners, Americans, the father was kind of a rug merchant. He'd say, OK, so you want these prisoners back, I want to see President Clinton or President Carter come and ask for them.

You know, he was a trader. He was trading like that. I think Kim Jong-un is more. I think he has an end game. I think he's looking at things more broadly, he wasn't settling for foreign assistance handouts. I think he wants to modernize his economy, infrastructure, energy grid. I think he's achieved what he wants. And that's full military capability with his missiles, with his nuclear materials. He feels that now he's gotten what he wants. A world stage presence with the President of the United States, they always would say to me, the North Koreans, they'd say, look, we, the United States and North Korea should settle what's happening here in Asia. Not China, not Japan, not South Korea. We're the big guys with nuclear weapons. So he's achieved that. I think it's a major concession by the United States with one that is worth the risk because in the past, Anderson, you know, moving the discussions from the bottom up, special negotiators, that hasn't worked. From the top down, I think this is a unique dynamic that might work. And I'm hopeful that it will.

COOPER: Governor Richardson, I appreciate you being with us.

We're going to take another quick break, when we come back, the latest from here, also the latest on the President's Economic Adviser, Larry Kudlow.


[20:45:41] COOPER: As we wait for President Trump and Kim Jong-un to meet here in Singapore, we're also following word out of Washington on the President's Chief Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow. The President just moments ago, tweeting that Kudlow has suffered a heart attack. He is being treated at Walter Reed Medical Center.

Jeff Zeleny joins us once again.

Jeff, obviously very surprising, disturbing news about Mr. Kudlow?

ZELENY: No question. Anderson, news and it is indeed taken the White House aides and staffers here traveling with the President by surprise as well. But you saw the President tweeting that out. I'm told that this is an example of its-- almost certainly not the President tweeting himself, but one of his advisers who is with him tweeting this under his handle if you will. But Mr. Kudlow is the President's Chief Economic has been on board if the White House since only April, and really has been at the President's side and the forefront of his economic policy and trade and tariff policy.

We last saw him on State of the Union here on CNN Sunday. He was extremely worked up about what happened at the G-7. Some White House aids thought he was actually uncharacteristically worked up by that. We have no reason or idea to know if that was related to his condition now. But we do know that he is at Walter Reed Medical Center just outside of Washington.

So the President obviously keeping an eye on that, might be slightly unusual that he tweeted out that news. But that's how the President likes to convey information. He is 70 years old and this is something certainly the President will be thinking about. He is very close to the President, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, Jeff, just talk a little bit about the people that the President has with him for this trip. Obviously Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, John Bolten National Security Adviser and Chief of Staff General Kelly and others?

ZELENY: Exactly and those will be some of the people who are in this expanded meeting that is coming up after the one on one meeting. Sara Sanders the White House Press Secretary shall be joining that meeting as well another, some other advisers for the National Security Council who are in charge of the Asia portfolio if you will.

But very interestingly that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be at this meeting as will John Bolton. He is the National Security Adviser of course but he has the longest sort of view with the angry view if you will with the regime. North Korea has been angry to John Bolton for years. They have referred to him as a blood sucker going back to the Bush administration. Of course, his Libya comments comparing Libya model, using that model is one of the things that almost sank the summit in the first place, though an interesting decision to have John Bolten in the room there but, Anderson, I think it's a reflection of the fact that the President wants to show that he's not going to leave any of his advisers on the sideline.

John Bolten was not in the Oval Office a couple weeks ago, when Kim Jong-un's top deputy visited Washington but he will be in that expanded bilateral meeting it's called in about an hour and a half or so but again, the first meeting we're going to see is that one on one meeting.

And Anderson, one thing that keeps coming up, this is one thing that the U.S. is still working on, I'm told, behind the scenes, is there going to be a statement that comes out, signed by both leaders, signed by both countries. And what is the U.S. going to give in that? That is one of the sticking points I'm told.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a press conference here yesterday and would not answer questions about that specifically, what the U.S. will give up, but keep an eye on that, also, with the definition of denuclearization is, verifiable. The secretary of state repeated that over and over. So despite the pomp and pageantry to same extent we're going to see the substance of this so very important. And I'm told they're going to try and have a joint statement. We'll see if that actually happens, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, just minutes away from the meeting of these two world leaders.

Back now with Christiane Amanpour, Ambassador Joseph Yun, also joining us is CNN's Will Ripley.

Will, given all the time you spend in North Korea, are you surprised at the extent and -- the extent of the information that the North Koreans are broadcasting in real time about what's going on?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is unprecedented at in, you know, the times that I've been visiting the country since 2014. Normally, any major event at least 24 hours behind the North Korea reports in here. We have KCNA providing up to the minutes dispatches to the North Korean people from the arrival to the sightseeing tour of the Marina Bay Sands and other Singapore locations. It is extraordinary. They have a huge press presence here as you mentioned earlier.

[20:50:05] You know, North Korean photographers, biographers and it goes to show, I think the fact that they are talking about the summit inside North Korea before it happened, there is some degree of confidence on the part of the North Koreas that this is going to go well. In fact, conversation I had recently over the weekend with the North Korean official essentially told me that it will go well. It's going -- you know, having not going well is not an option from the North Korea perspective.

And in fact it already has gone well in a sense when you think about the fact that Kim Jong-un is going to get what the two predecessor, the two previous leaders wanted. A face to face photo-op and sit down with President Trump, no matter what happens, he wins.

COOPER: Ambassador Yun, we're talking about this before but the security concern of North Korea obviously passed U.S. administrations have tried to give security guarantees to North Korea. Secretary Mike Pompeo was talking about going further that has been done in the past, unclear though exactly what that means?

YUN: I think in the past, you are right, what we have tried to do is what we call give negative secretary insurance. We will not attack you first. And our allies will not attack you first. But I think this time, the one he maybe talking is what we called end of war declaration. War is over, that means we don't have a military option. That will be something new and a little bit different from the previous one which is more blanket, this one is more specific. But end of war declaration has a lot of implications, technical implications because United States has 29,000 troops inside South Korea in case a war happens. What happens to them?

We have a joint command with South Koreas, in case war U.S. general has command. What happens to the command structure? And the of course our U.N. command. Remember there were like 16 U.N. countries involved in the war that is not yet finished. What happens to them? So our preference in Washington has always been let's discussed the step by step, let's not just come out with a declaration and saying it is done. It needs to be thought out with lawyers with U.N., with allies and with other belligerents, South Korea, China.

COOPER: Yeah, the question is just the economic incentives, how important is that to the Kim regime?

AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, we have heard Kim say to his own people that I am now under the barrier of being protected by our weapons development program. I now want to turn to economic development of this country and in fact if I am not mistaken, he sort of apologized to the people during one of his latest messages for not having got there yet but now that this is part of it. But of course what does economic development mean? Does it mean completely open up the country, open yourself up to some kind of, you know, trade, say from Arab spring kind of thing. You know, and I think that's --

COOPER: That would obviously be a huge concern.

AMANPOUR: Well, huge concern, so I think that, you know, they want everything to happen, but look, him getting out of the car.

COOPER: We can Kim Jong-un arriving.

AMANPOUR: And I will say just to Will's point, remember when he went to China. I mean, you only pretty much knew he was there because --

YUN: After the trip ended? AMANPOUR: Yes. After the trip ended, people were seeing the trains and people were guessing, some barriers would believe Kim Jong-chul, who went to the White House to meet President Trump and with the number of --

RIPLEY: Kim Yo Jong, I believe also will be joining, his younger sister.

YUN: And there was also their main negotiator, Choe Son Hui, a vice minister. Who was the one who wrote the last letter, calling Vice President Pence I think the technical phrase was political dummy, you know?

RIPLEY: Yes. And she was not expecting that message to result in President Trump cancelling his summit that was another thing --

AMANPOUR: He by the way is a perfect English speaker.

RIPLEY: Right. He was -- he was a translator for the press.

AMANPOUR: Yup, we were, I agree, yes.

COOPER: Also, I mean, Kim Jong-un though -- we are going to take a look at his arrival again, though he has not been in office very long but he does have a very deep bench of negotiators who have been around for quite some time?

YUN: I think, Anderson, that's -- I don't know what to call it, but one drawback of democracy, you change people often. You know, and unfortunately or fortunately, it is a system we have. And they have the same people, like the lady we were talking about. Choe Son Hui has been doing this since Agreed Framework in Geneva in 1994.

RIPLEY: 1.2 you talked about the economic aid and that obviously is important to the North Korea but I was chatting with William Perry in Seoul several weeks ago, who obviously was involved in the negations for the 1994 Agreed Framework and he said above any economic incentives paramount to the North Koreans is security guarantee. It would never take economic aide over a guarantee that Kim Jong-un is going to stay in power for many, many decades to come, that's priority number one for them.

[20:55:10] COOPER: Right, for the Kim regime a loosening or an opening up on the economic front is potential danger to his power?

YUN: It is not only danger but their justification for 50 years of suffering has been that they will have nuclear weapons where strong state to give it up for material goods. I think he has to forge a narrow tricky path between seemingly making U.S. and international community happier by giving some, but while making sure he retains domestic support and justification for the suffering of the last 50 years.

COOPER: I mean, the whole idea of self-reliance is essential, I mean is preached in North Korea -- AMANPOUR: It has been, but this other picture getting out, by the way

no smiles there. I mean, not looking like he is waving or smiling or anything, it all quite sort of sober.

COOPER: By the way, we are all we're about three minutes away from the actual hand shake. They will obviously, that is the photo op, they will be shaking hands and then going to a private meeting with their translators.

AMANPOUR: On the economic front, he has opened up slightly. There are all this sort of days in market economies. So the elite gets more and more well off and it does translate and filter out into some of the outer echelons beyond the capitol, but you are absolutely right, I think it's -- for them pride and adoration of the regime is paramount.

RIPLEY: You know, a lot of people think about the "leap deal," forget about the Leap Day deal of 2012, it was a nuclear deal negotiating with the Obama administration. It was scattered (ph) in a matter of weeks by North Korea satellite launch.

I don't think Kim Jong-un had the internal power group around him domestically to have made peace with the United States at that point. But since then, you've see this reshuffling, the purging of officials who didn't align with his ideology but now he has a team in place that has given him authority to essentially snap his fingers and from one day race towards nuclear weapons to now this race towards economic development.

COOPER: It's something he did -- I mean, he moved relatively quickly to purge sort of elements from his military who he felt might be threat to him or he had reservations about?

RIPLEY: Yes. I mean, we don't know the exactly number. It has been reported maybe more than 140 people were executed. North Koreans have told me that corrupt officials are dealt with accordingly. So there are no apologies about getting rid of people in the highest form of government if they are accused of corruption. But of course the key issue inside North Korea's loyalty. And especially right now, things were so sensitive about Kim Jong-un's image. It's all about loyalty. And anybody who is not believed to be a 100% loyal, they are out.

AMANPOUR: What did you make Will of the walk about yesterday at that hotel, which is allegedly one of the places where his half brother quite liked to eat. And remember the half brother use to stay here quite often in Singapore and then was killed by the ex in Malaysia.

RIPLEY: It's a playbook out of what he does inside North Korea, a field inspection. I mean, he has built up his image domestically going around, seeing the sites, smiling, shaking hands. He does that inside North Korea, now he is doing it outside, and you are seeing public opinion polls showing that people are growing to like him.

AMANPOUR: Even in South Korea.

RIPLEY: Even in South Korea. COOPER: So that's the extraordinary thing after that meeting with the South Korea leader, the polls-- I mean, went from like 10 percent for us to --

YUN: More than 60 percent.

COOPER: It's extraordinary.

AMANPOUR: I mean that's extraordinary.

COOPER: Yes. A lot --

AMANPOUR: It shows you how disparate people are for peace though.

COOPER: Yes, certainly.

RIPLEY: Yes, they want a reason to believe that they can engage with the North.

COOPER: And they're certainly a lot of us on this stage right here. We're just minutes from now, President Trump, King Jong-un will come out and shake hands and then retreat to a private room where they will meet with translators and talk. Will Ripley, Christiane Amanpour, and Ambassador Joseph Yun, thank you very much. Stick around but I want to hand it over to Chris Cuomo right now of Cuomo Prime Time. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "COUMO PRIME TIME: All right, Anderson. Yes, please stay with us for this historic moment.

I am Chris Cuomo, and welcome to Prime Time. It is just before 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning in Singapore. Any minute we will see President Trump of the United States and Kim Jong-un of North Korea come face to face.

It is historic because it will be the first time any U.S. President has met with a leader of North Korea.

The mission, the U.S. made clear today that only full denuclearization will be acceptable. We see here, you know, that vehicle that holds, the President of the United States. He will be exiting that vehicle. He will be coming to meet the North Korean leader.

So on North Korea side, what do they want? Well, high on the list was a meeting just like this and all the recognition of being on, even putting with the man on your screen right now, the President of the United States Donald J. Trump.

Remember before Trump, not president would offer that. So we're going to see his big meeting. We anticipate a hand shake. And then as Anderson was telling you, then the real moment happens, one-on-one meeting, no policy people, no protection as far as we know. Just the leaders of the two countries, how long will it go?