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Exclusive Interview With Singapore Prime Minister; Trump And Set For Historic Summit In Singapore; U.S. Relations With Allies Hit A New Low. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired June 11, 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, he almost made enemies out of his friends at the G7 Summit in Canada. So, will President Trump
make friends out of his enemies when he comes face to face with North Korea's leader right here in Singapore. My exclusive interview with the
leader hosting this historic nuclear summit, the Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in the city state of Singapore, which is playing host to what
could be a highly significant summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.
And as he has done from the beginning of this process, the North Korean dictator seems to be setting the tone. An extraordinary walk-about
downtown for his reclusive leader from the hermit kingdom, waving and looking confident just hours ahead of the meeting. It's the only country
besides China that he's visited as leader.
All smiles, he even took a selfie with Singapore's foreign minister. President Trump was holed up at his hotel preparing to meet this canny
adversary after the G7 Summit in Canada with his closest allies went so badly that analysts are now asking themselves whether the Trump
administration is actually trying to wreck the Western alliance.
He and his top advisors heaped unprecedented abuse on their host, the Canadian prime minister. Meantime, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was
telling journalists here that they plan to offer Kim unprecedented guarantees. Here is a little more of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We are prepared to take what will be security assurances that are different, unique than have been provided -
that America has been willing to provide previously. In each of those two countries, there are only two people that can make decisions of this
magnitude and those two people are going to be sitting in a room together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And this extraordinary summit is being hosted by Singapore. As we said, the leader of this prosperous and tiny country met with both Kim
and Trump before they met each other.
And Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong tells me what he learned from them and what their meeting could mean for this region and the world. We sat down
at the Istana, or the palace, for an exclusive and surprisingly candid interview.
Prime Minister Lee, welcome to the program.
LEE HSIEN LOONG, PRIME MINISTER OF SINGAPORE: Hello.
AMANPOUR: How important is it for Singapore to be hosting the summit?
LOONG: We are the host. We are the tea and coffee pourers. We don't participate in the summit. We don't have an influence on what to discuss
or on the outcome, but we hope that by providing a venue, which is neutral, which is agreeable to both sides, we enable a productive summit to take
AMANPOUR: What does it mean for you to host this in terms of the security of this area? You are quite far - I mean, you're quite far. You are 10
hours by plane from the Korean Peninsula.
LOONG: Fewer by missile.
AMANPOUR: That's a good way to put it. Fewer by missile. Have you felt that you've lived under the shadow of this threat?
LOONG: No. Our concern is not that we are going to be targeted. We are not participants in the Korean tensions. But if there are tensions in
Northeast Asia on the Korean peninsula, it's going to destabilize the region and Southeast Asia is not going to be let off scot free nor the
So, I think if this meeting can have a constructive outcome and we can have contributed something to that, I think it's a duty we should do.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you for a little bit of vital color about the main participants - that would be the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un,
who you've met and also -
LOONG: Only once. Yesterday.
AMANPOUR: Exactly. So, I would like to ask you what you took away from that meeting? What did he say to you about this moment about a potential
shift in North Korea's trajectory?
LOONG: Well, he's a confident young leader. He came and he said, well, thank you for hosting and we hope that it will be a historic occasion. I
think he wants to go on to a new path.
What he's prepared to deal and how an agreement can be worked out, well, that's a complicated matter, but I think he has an intention to do
something and that's why he is meeting Donald Trump.
AMANPOUR: He is quoted saying that this was arranged like a family affair. I mean, he seems to be really complementary. He said that that this could
be Singapore cementing itself in the history of peace and prosperity.
[14:05:00] LOONG: Well, he was being generous in his opening remarks. We are just the host. It's an opportunity for the two sides to meet. We
provide a safe place. We make sure that the security is arranged. We make sure the world can be here.
And we hope that, in this environment, they will have a sense of the way the region is, the potential for the prosperity and the stability and
security in the region in Asia and what that can mean for the world and, therefore, a sense of responsibility they have - two sides to come to some
kind of a constructive outcome.
AMANPOUR: What about President Trump? You met with him after he landed a few hours after you met with Kim Jong-un. It's not the first time you met
LOONG: I've met him before. I gave him lunch today.
AMANPOUR: I think everybody around the world has been quite stunned by the rhetoric, the tweets, the whole atmosphere around the G7 Summit.
AMANPOUR: About how he behaved to his allies, about name calling on Twitter afterwards. So, I guess, what kind of Trump, which Trump were you
prepared to meet? And which Trump did you meet for lunch?
LOONG: Well, I think it's the same Donald Trump whom I have met on previous occasions. He speaks his mind. He has opinions. He has his
views, very firmly held views on trade, on the ways America has been taken advantage of and the way he wants to make America great again. And I
understand. I mean, that is what he stood for. That's why he was elected president.
AMANPOUR: Do you think America has been taken advantage of?
LOONG: I would take a different perspective. I think America deliberately took a very generous approach at a time when it was a very dominant player
in the international scene, much more dominant than it is today, after the war and for decades after the war.
And it took a generous approach with the Marshall Plan in Europe, with the maintenance of the Pax Americana in the Asia-Pacific in order to allow
other countries to prosper, so that America could benefit from a stable and prosperous world and not be back in the 1930s, which led to the 1940s,
which led to a lot of blood and treasure spilt by America.
And that formula worked for America and has worked until now. Now, today, America is a much smaller share of the world economy. New players are
The Chinese economy, by some measures, are same size as America's. By others, maybe half the size. The Indians are coming up. The other
emerging economies are coming up.
So, some Americans are asking themselves, do I still have to carry this burden for the world? Why can't I just calculate for myself? Is it
sensible for me to make all these services, sacrifices, what some scholars call global public goods between nations to uphold the system so that
everybody can benefit from it?
And it's a legitimate question, how you want to rebalance the benefits and what America can - how America can get more out of it.
But to abandon the whole system and to say, well, I'm now going to go win- lose, item by item, and I want to win every single match, but I really don't have an overall view of the global game, that's a very different kind
of world, which America will find itself in if it goes that way over several terms of a presidency.
AMANPOUR: Did you express that to the president?
LOONG: Well, I think he knows our position. He has his views. So, I think he's heard that from many people. I didn't feel that it was my place
to try and shift him dramatically.
AMANPOUR: And yet, what the president does and what America does can dramatically shift your region.
Just on the denuclearization, what did he say to you about what he expected to come out of this one-day summit, one-day meeting. He said he'll know
within a few minutes if Kim Jong-un is serious, if there is a deal to be made.
LOONG: Well, he didn't say very much because his officials are still negotiating what does it come out from the meeting, but I think he is
hoping for a positive outcome. And the key thing is he needs to assess whether Mr. Kim is serious or not.
And if he is serious, I think something can be worked out. And if it's not worked out immediately, you can come back at it; and at some point, you
will be able to reach a consensus or reach some kind of an agreement, if not immediately.
But if you assess that the other side is not serious, well, then you don't have a basis to start. And that is an assessment which I think both sides
will have to make of the other.
AMANPOUR: It depends on what each side is serious about, though, obviously. I mean, each side has their priorities.
LOONG: Of course, the objectives may not be the same, but are they serious about wanting some kind of a deal? And if so, then are they prepared to
have give and take, to put something on the table, to ask for something in return.
[14:10:06] And eventually, you get something and the other side gets something. And you also have to think about the people who are not at the
table, but watching anxiously. The Chinese and Japanese and the Russians. And something can be worked out if you really want to come to an outcome.
If you don't want an outcome, you just want a photo op and then you go home and either you beat your chest and declare victory on an empty document or
you go home and say the other guy cannot be - can't do business with him and that's why this path leads to a dead end, we do something totally
different which is not so benign.
AMANPOUR: You're talking about a military option.
LOONG: That's a different model. It could be a military option and there a lot of things you do short of a military option. I mean, there are many
sanctions which have been applied over the last few years and months.
AMANPOUR: You said that a lot of the key players in the region also have their agendas. They are not at the table. So, in short, since you have
great relations with all of these people in this region, what does China want?
LOONG: I think China would like the Korean Peninsula to be denuclearized. I think they are anxious about North Koreans having a nuclear capability
because it can lead to escalation, which is not within their control.
You could have escalation in terms of tensions and conflict. You could have escalations in terms of the South Koreans thinking that they too
should have such capabilities, which they have indeed on previous occasions thought so.
AMANPOUR: An arms race. Another step up.
LOONG: No, just an arms race. Nuclearization by other countries. So, the South Koreans are going nuclear, the Japanese can go nuclear. In fact,
their cabinet secretary is on record saying that their constitution doesn't prevent them from working on nuclear weapons.
AMANPOUR: Do you think -
LOONG: And that may not stop there. I mean, the Taiwanese have nuclear power plants and they have forts too. So, it is very destabilizing even if
you confine yourself to East Asia.
And if you look beyond that, to Middle East and what it could mean for Middle Eastern players watching this happen and watching the precedents
which are being set, I think it can be very troublesome for the world.
AMANPOUR: You brought up the Middle East. So, I need to ask you given that it's totally relevant right now. Given that the United States, the
big powers and Iran, came to an arms control agreement in 2015.
AMANPOUR: And the president of the United States has pulled the US out of it, which may kill the deal because of sanctions and secondary sanctions,
et cetera. How risky is that?
LOONG: I am not an expert in this. When you go in, you can have a lot of arguments. Do you want to do this? Do you not want to do this? But one
way or the other, Mr. Obama decided to do this together with the Chinese, the Russians and the Europeans.
And he did it in a way which didn't get congressional sanction. I mean, he did need congressional sanction. So, the JCPOA is not quite a treaty,
which means it can be undone without congressional sanction.
But having made this move and gone in, a fact has been created. You are now in a new situation. If you undo it, can you go back to status quo ante
or will you be in a new situation different from where we were before.
And I don't think it's easy to go back to status quo ante because the sanctions that UN impositions, the consensus which was built up
internationally is not there anymore to go back to the status quo.
AMANPOUR: What you're saying is that President Trump who wants to put on even more pressure on Iran by pulling the US out will find he won't be able
LOONG: Well, he may be able to. And if you read what his officials say, they say, well, we all powerful, we are the United States and we will do it
to banks which do business with America and companies which do business using banks in America and they all have to pay attention. And you might
be able to have considerable influence this way on this issue.
But if on many issues, the US is going it alone, that's a different kind of world which the US would be facing. And you are very powerful, but I think
your influence will be less than if you went in together with others.
AMANPOUR: What about China? There's an ongoing fisticuffs, if you like, at least verbal fisticuffs, threats of tariffs and counter tariffs with
Chinese foreign ministry said about all the flip flopping, "in international relations, every time you change your face and turn your back
is another loss and squandering for your country's credibility."
So, talking about the United States and its credibility. It's about as far as the Chinese have come in putting some color on what's going on. What is
your assessment of what's happening and the health of this region and the health of the global economy as a result of this?
[14:15:00] LOONG: Well, I think there are different layers to this problem. Donald Trump's starting point is that he has a big trade deficit
with the Chinese - between US and China and that's a bad thing and he wants to fix that. And he wants the Chinese to open up and buy more from
And if you are spending more than you are producing, that means you will have a trade deficit. If you are spending less than you're producing, that
means you'll save money or run a trade surplus.
So, America is spending more than you're producing. Why are you able to do that? Because you are the most powerful country in the world and everybody
else wants to hold US dollars.
So, it gives you an expensive, exorbitant privilege, as somebody called it. You have to look at it on a more fundamental level. Why is America running
an overall imbalance? And it's not just - and it's not mainly because of trade restrictions. That's one problem.
But there is another layer to this, which is that China entered the WTO in 2001 - and it was negotiated in the years before that - at a time when it
was 4 plus percent of the world's GDP. Today, it's 15 percent of the world's GDP
So, it's what was agreed then with a quite small player is now in effect with a very big player. And what was politically wearable then may or may
not be politically wearable now. And, therefore, there is a case to say, let's talk, let's work out a new basis.
But I think when you talk over trade issues like this, it's much better to talk in a multilateral framework. There is a WTO. There is a basis for
many countries to come together, to work in accordance with international rules, rules which give space for all countries big and small to operate
under the same framework.
AMANPOUR: You talk about them all -
LOONG: Which may not be the case if America just goes with China, which is why people say if elephants fight, the grass suffers; and when they make
love, it's disastrous.
AMANPOUR: Well, again, that's a very nice - another nice saying of yours.
LOONG: Others have said it before.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you, it catches Singapore in the middle of it, doesn't it? I mean, you have to balance your relations with United States
and China. How difficult does it get for Singapore when the US and China have increasing difficulties?
LOONG: We have to be on our toes. We are friends with both. We'd like to continue to be friends with both. And it's easier for us to do that when
the two have good relations.
When the two have tensions between them and there's a feeling that you're either with me or against me, well, then it becomes harder, but we will
keep on trying.
AMANPOUR: "The Economist" cover this week shows President Trump riding a wrecking ball and they called him "Demolition Man." And the wrecking ball
actually happens to be the Planet Earth.
How concerned are you, at this point, right now, that campaign pledges are being translated into policy, that protectionism is being implemented, that
go-it-alone is being implemented by the United States and that the president doesn't seem to agree with the notion of the global institutions,
the global order as we know it?
LOONG: Well, it is a very radical stance for a US administration to take, but it's not just the president's perspective. It's the perspective of a
significant number of people in America who have elected him. They may or may not numerically be a majority, but they are not negligible.
And in the American political system, they have expressed their view. And this administration is carrying that out.
Why is there such a view? Well, you can have a lot of explanations, but one of them is at least there are people who have felt that the existing
system wasn't working for them, that the existing elites in America was not serving - were not serving them and they do want the system remade. They
don't quite know how. They're not sure what is wrong, but the status quo is no good. So, let's change.
AMANPOUR: But is this the way to change it? I mean, economists are saying how can you change something that doesn't exist?
Over the weekend, Paul Krugman and others have said, this idea of these massive trade imbalances - or rather trade deficits, this idea that it
always harms the United States, this idea that America is the piggy bank of the world that's being robbed is not actually in accordance with the
economic facts and the financial facts.
LOONG: That is so. That is so. But it is a problem when you have people who think, who believe this, who have this perspective on the world and you
have to have - a country has to have policies which are domestically sustainable. And if it is not domestically sustainable, you have a
[14:20:00] AMANPOUR: But, Mr. Prime Minister, what if these policies that the president wants to deliver for his own voters break the rest of the
world. That's what I'm trying to get at. Demolition man.
LOONG: The rest of the world watch what the US do and how the US vote with great concern. It affects us. We have no vote. And that's the way the
AMANPOUR: That's pretty blunt. And how do you - OK. I don't know what the next question after that is. How do you try to convince the president
having seen what happened at the G7? All these other leaders tried to give him the math, the facts and the figures, the policies, not just the
politics, and it went nowhere?
LOONG: I think this is something which has to play out within the American body politic. I mean, there are Americans who think otherwise. There are
many congressmen, senators who believe otherwise. Even Republicans - John McCain is not the only one who has a very different view of the world.
And it has to play out within the American political system. Yours is a system which depends on - which has elaborate checks and balances and it is
meant to be able to correct itself and prevent policy being taken to unwise extremes. And we hope -
AMANPOUR: How are they doing so far, do you think?
LOONG: I think it takes time. I mean, this is one-and-a-half years. The president has an agenda. He is carrying out his agenda. The midterms are
coming this year. That will be one sign. And then, further electoral tests will come down the road.
AMANPOUR: So, I do want to ask you because we are in an era of popular pushback. We see it all over the world. We saw it in the in the Arab
Spring. We saw it in the populist wave that we've just been discussing, whether it's in the United States, whether it's Brexit, whether it's around
Europe and elsewhere.
You do have a pretty strict internal logic to Singapore. You've made a little bit of liberalization in terms of some areas of free speech and
others, but not dramatic political plurality. Where do you think Singapore is going? Do you see any flexibility? Can you open up more?
LOONG: I think when you say strict political logic, it's rather a loaded term because what you really mean is why are we so repressive.
Well, the answer is we aren't. Why are we - why is the political scene like this because that's the way Singaporeans have voted and it's the
outcome of the elections.
When does it change? It changes when the Singaporean electorate decide that this government is not serving their interest, cease to support this
BAP team, and perhaps, hopefully, support another team, which will serve them better. And then, there will be a different scene.
It's not the way it is because we are clamping down and preventing other people from contesting elections. In the last elections, every single seat
was contested. And if you look at the popular vote, we had 70 percent of the popular vote. So, I don't think you can say it's because -
AMANPOUR: There is not a whole lot of tolerance for freedom of speech or public protests.
LOONG: No, you can say anything you want. You can ask me anything you want.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you. Last autumn, you prosecuted an activist by the name of Jolovan Wham for holding public gatherings without a permit,
including one that included the famous Hong Kong activist, Joshua Wong. So, again, these are political, cultural, democratic questions.
LOONG: There are arrangements. There's a Speakers' Corner. Actually, it's an enormous speakers' view. Anytime, you feel you want to relieve
your soul of some important thought, you can go there and spout forth.
But if you insist on going places where you are not supposed to do this, well, then the rules have to apply. You want to put stuff up on the
Internet, you can publish anything you want. The blogs are there, they exist in multiples.
You are still subject to the laws of sedition and libel and contempt. But you say what you want and people do say whatever they want.
And if you research what is written, you will see that actually it's quite a lively discussion.
AMANPOUR: You may laugh, you may not laugh, but when I came here, when I told people I was coming here, they wanted to know whether you still have
very strict chewing gum and spitting rules. They remember the American who was heavily penalized for chewing gum.
LOONG: Yes, we caned him. He wasn't heavily penalized for chewing gum.
AMANPOUR: He was caned?
LOONG: No, Michael Fay was not for chewing gum.
LOONG: Michael Fay went around vandalizing vehicles, scratching vehicles and causing a lot of damage and he was caned for that. You don't get caned
for chewing gum.
AMANPOUR: Finally, how did it come about? Did you get a phone call? How was Singapore chosen for this summit?
LOONG: I don't know how the decision was made. We know that they were looking at possibilities and they sounded us out. We said, well, if you
think that it is - we can be a good venue, we're prepared to step up and we will be helpful.
And then, we didn't hear anything more for a while. And after some time, they narrowed it down. And eventually, they said, yes, we'd like to come
to Singapore, which I presume both sides said, yes, we would like to come to Singapore because it's a joint decision.
[14:25:14] So, we started preparing. Then the summit was off, but we didn't call off our preparations. And the summit is on again and we think
we'll be prepared by the time it happens.
AMANPOUR: Prime Minister Lee, thank you so much for joining us.
LOONG: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: A rollercoaster indeed.
And still ahead, President Trump and Kim Jong-un will soon exchange handshakes, but will that lead to meaningful change. We will ask the man
who until recently spearheaded diplomatic efforts with Pyongyang for the United States.
And courting an adversary while going after allies? The European view on the destruction at the G7 summit. Stay with us.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to a special edition of our program. We're live from Singapore for more of our coverage of the historic summit between the
US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
We have just heard from Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who described his impressions of Kim and Trump ahead of their sit down.
[14:35:00] My next guess is Joseph Yun. He was America's special representative for North Korea policy until he left the government early
this year. He says the U.S. policy has changed substantially over the pass few weeks but is it moving too far, too fast. We will ask Ambassador Yun,
welcome to the program.
JOSEPH YUN, FORMER SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE TO NORTH KOREA POLICY: Thank you good to be here.
AMANPOUR: Can I start by asking you if you was still in the government what would your job be around this summit? What would you be doing before
YUN: I expect I would be negotiating with my North Korean counterparts towards getting what we call joint communique, joint declaration, and joint
statement that is essentially telling everyone what the results of the summit will be.
AMANPOUR: Now to the best of your knowledge, do you believe that they have negotiated that joint communique for several hours before the summit is due
to start? We were hearing that its still a little unclear.
YUN: It is still a little unclear. Certainly it have many sessions, it had sessions in DMZ in Korea, it had sessions here and I think we've had
one sessions today, the last session. And it was also discussed of course when Kim Yong Chol the North Korean Spy Chief was meeting Pompeo in New
York and also met with President Trump in Washington only a week or so ago, yes so they have been discussing quit a bit.
AMANPOUR: But they still -- we understand a quite far apart or at least they have been. And we just watching this pictures of Kim Jung-un doing a
water -- walk about not far from where we're sitting right now. This was a few hours ago. But I have to say I was stunned. You've never seen a
reclusive leader a abroad doing that. Usually the trips aren't even publicized until they've left and they're back in Pyongyang.
And here he is as if it's just really a pro on the international stage taking selfies. Just describe for a moment the change that is come over
this reclusive leader called a dictator, a violator or human right, a, you know a developer of nuclear weapons, the threatener of the Western regions.
All of sudden he's mister let's do deal with.
YUN: It has been an amazing transformation. And you and I have talked about this before and really it started, I would say, with the summit, with
President Moon and there we saw, you know, walking across what we call demarkation line. And then from thereafter, he had a second meeting with
President Moon and two meetings with Xi Jinping.
I mean, Christiane, so he has transformed himself from as you say a reclusive leader from an isolated state to someone who is a world stage.
And, you know, we're in Singapore. I was riding a taxi cab just today and they were, you know, the taxi driver was showing amazing surprise. His
popularity in South Korea has gone rocket sky high, you know.
And as you say you saw him today walking, you know, just around Marina just behind us. And I think to me what it points to is he has decided that he
is going to change is it to the change that we expect him to change? I mean that's the key question that will be at is.
AMANPOUR: Well is it. I mean you've talked to the group around him. You've been in charged of North Korea policy. What does Kim Jung-un, first
of all, he's already scored a major victory, right? He's on the international stage. He's going to meet with the President of the United
State. He is legitimized now.
YUN: He is legitimized. He's popular and I would even say he's respected certainly by many other leaders.
AMANPOUR: Oh I see. I'm banging my head. I can't even believe we're talking like this.
YUN: Yes, yes. I mean this is unbelievable and he has scored a major first round victory. What does he want? I mean of course we want to test
the claim that he can change. We want to test President Moon, South Korean president's claim that he will denuclearize, but how quickly? How
completely? How verifiably? That we don't know and that's why we're going to find out.
AMANPOUR: Well then from the perspective of the Unites States, Secretary of the State Pompeo has again said that sanctions will remain, the maximum
pressure will remain until we have this complete verifiable irreversible disarmament denuclearization.
On the other hand, we've just played a soundbyte of what he told reporters today basically saying that the U.S. will also unprecedented security
guarantees and that the only two people who master on this whole business of the two leaders will be sitting in the room together. They can make the
guarantees and implement the guarantees.
[14:40:05] What is an unprecedented security guarantee? What can President Trump offer that neither President Obama nor President Bush nor President
Clinton offered, because they all guaranteed security for the Kim family?
YUN: Well, again, I'm -- I don't think, I mean, this is a question, what is it that President Trump can offer Kim Jong-un so that he is convinced
that he is safe, his regime is safe, his family is safe? You know, earlier on, you remember John Bolton talked about Libya model.
AMANPOUR: And they've gone very quite about that.
YUN: They've gone very quiet, but that is relevant actually because he did denuclearized. Eighty years later, there was an uprising, internal
uprising and he was killed by his own folks. Can we or can anyone truly guarantee that that will not happen? I don't think so.
So, I -- and also I'm not sure that is what Kim Jong-un is looking for. I think he's looking to stay well-beyond, certainly well-beyond President
Trump, well-beyond and have the deterrence to defend him --
AMANPOUR: So he wants to keep his nuclear weapons?
YUN: I think, ultimately, I cannot imagine him giving up nuclear weapons quickly.
AMANPOUR: OK. So quickly means what?
YUN: I mean, quite honestly, I don't want to put timeline on it, but I, you know, there was a piece by Sieg Hecker, a very respective nuclear
AMANPOUR: Incredibly respected, the best. Yes.
YUN: He said even with full cooperation, complete denuclearization would take more than 10 years. That's the full cooperation. We don't have full
cooperation so I cannot see a genuine path to fully denuclearize North Korea in a decade. However, that's not to say the situation cannot
AMANPOUR: So given what --
YUN: You know, and that's what here for, to improve.
AMANPOUR: Exactly, to improve the situation. So given that and given that's what the President said he actually wants, complete
denuclearization, destruction, et cetera, there of the capability, can I ask you whether you have any qualms about the President of the United
States and the leader of North Korea?
From what we've been told they will meet alone with just translators for the significant portion of the summit. What are the risk-reward benefits
of that? Is there an official record of what will happen there? Will we know exactly what happened, what was said, who said what?
YUN: Typically, there would be no takers, and typically even one-on-one is not truly one-on-one, you know. And when we talk about one-on-one, if it's
true one-on-one, it would be a short meeting.
AMANPOUR: Yes, but it's just with translators, that's what we're told.
YUN: Well, will have to see. I mean, I --
AMANPOUR: But if it was just that, are there risks to that?
YUN: I think there are risks to that because you don't know what you've agreed to, and there will be recrimination and blames. I would at least
hope, you know, for example, Secretary Pompeo would be there and he with counterpart, Ri Yong-ho would be there from North Korea.
So I think it is wise, especially in a meeting as difficult as denuclearization meeting to help people so that they can talk, you know,
about it. You know, I mean I think that's important. I would hope so.
AMANPOUR: So given your --
AMANPOUR: -- position as the Former Envoy, Special Envoy for this process, you would think it would be unwise for them just to be alone for a
significant period of time with translators?
YUN: I would certainly hope there would be someone else who would say this is the record, this is what we have agreed to, and not just depend
completely on the memory of the leaders.
AMANPOUR: Or on tweets or on their national press when they get back home, back in Pyongyang or wherever.
What is the best that President Trump can walk away with? He has said that because it's him and because he is the deal-maker and he has all this
experience, he will know within several minutes of meeting Leader Kim whether there is a deal to be had, whether he's serious, whether he's made
a historic shift.
YUN: I don't know whether it's completely possible as you said, but within in a minute, you know, I'm actually --
AMANPOUR: Two minute, he said. Yes.
YUN: I'm reminded of an episode, do you remember in 2001, George W. Bush's first summit meeting with President Putin where he said looked him in the
eye and he felt that he was trustworthy --
[14:45:00] AMANPOUR: When he said he saw n his soul, didn't he?
YUN: -- grateful, he saw into his soul. It's tough to see toughness --
AMANPOUR: But yes, to be fair, President Putin did help President Bush a lot. It was the Iraq war that soured all of that stuff and withdrawing
from the intercontinental ballistic missile treaty and all of that.
YUN: It is tough to see into someone's soul, you know.
AMAPOUR: But maybe you don't -- you just need to get a verifiable agreement to do something. So, here we are getting together, layout for us
what will happen post-Singapore. We obviously we're not going to solve this in one day or one meeting.
YUN: And I think President Trump and Secretary Pompeo have really backtracked quite a bit. And now I think the expectations are more
realistic, that is there will be a process, there will be more meetings, there will be discussions. It's not going to be done in one goal.
So what I would expect is very quickly, they begin walking level discussions. You could have more than one track. You could have
denuclearization track. You could have peace treaty track. You could have diplomatic normalization track.
So for example, an early, I would say, big move might be to open liaison offices, diplomatic liaison offices, you know, for us in Pyongyang and
another one in Washington. And then also, for example, memorialize some steps that North Korea has already taken. So those can all happen quite
AMANPOUR: Can I just ask you a quickly, because we have been told that they want to peace deterioration (ph), the United States would like to do
that. Obviously a peace treaty takes a long time to negotiate. Again, what is the risk and rewards of offering the leader right now a formal
peace treaty without seeing any of that verifiable disarmament and dismantlement?
YUN: One immediate effect is we probably take off military option from the table. When you are starting peace treaty negotiation or making a, you
know, end of war declaration that means war is over. You immediately take- off essentially a war option or military option.
Second, there are issues like what happens to U.N. command that is still in South Korea.
AMANPOUR: What happens to the U.S. troops?
YUN: What happens to U.S. troops? What happens to combine forces command? So there are reasons why peace treaty has to take time again step by step,
and also what do we get for peace treaty.
I think it would be a mistake to do a peace treaty before denuclearization.
AMANPOUR: And very quickly and I'm going to turn to my next guest, do you regret having resigned when you did, given all this is happening now?
YUN: Well, that's a tough, Christiane. You know, obviously I'm a diplomat. He is very exciting to be here, but he's also great to be here
with you, you know.
AMANPOUR: Explaining to us.
AMANPOUR: Ambassador Joseph Yun, we appreciate your perspective --
YUN: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: Thank you so much, indeed.
YUN: Great to be here, you know.
AMANPOUR: And let us now turn to U.S. relation with the allies who were left dumbfounded this weekend after President Trump suddenly withdrew from
the joint G-7 summit communique. He was lashing out Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and he's threatened to stop trading with many of
the others, with the G-7 countries of what he called ridiculous and unacceptable tariffs on American goods.
The President's Chief Economic Adviser, Larry Kudlow, later told CNN that his stance was partly about the upcoming summit with Kim Jong-un. Take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KUDLOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: On the eve of this, he is not going to permit any show of weakness on the trip to
negotiate with North Korea nor should he.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: So this is about North Korea?
KUDLOW: Of course it was in large part.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So what are the allies should do in the face of all of this hostility? Joining me from London to discuss is the Washington Post
Columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning Historian Anne Applebaum and from Berlin, we have Norbert Rottgen, who is Chair of the Foreign Affairs
Committee in Germany's Parliament and he's a Member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU Party.
Can I first turn to you Mr. Rottgen? What did you make of Larry Kudlow basically saying that, "Oh, don't worry about all that abuse that the
President he done everybody at the G-7," that it was really about showing a tough hand to Kim Jong-un? How does that go down with you?
NORBERT ROTTGEN, CHAIR, GERMAN'S FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Yes. There's seems to be a very strange idea of strength. We consider strength to
contribute to unity to try to shape complicated international relations, to give unified tough answers, but instead of that, the American President
disrupted afterwards a meeting after having departed from this meeting.
[14:50:04] And I think globally, this has not really made a strong impression about the foreign policy behavior of the American President. So
it was rather the opposite of strength but it was really a weakness.
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, you're using word that he has thrown at the Canadian Prime Minister. And I was actually dumbfounded. I have never
seen that kind of abuse hurl that allies from any U.S. president in any of these joint summit.
How surprised was the Chancellor by all of this? And how does she come back to, you know, to engaging on very real issues with the U.S. leader?
ROTTGEN: I think in general and before the summit had taken place, there was not that much room for getting surprised by the President because we
have seen now for more than one year how his foreign policy behavior looks like. So there were -- everybody was well-prepared for a kind of disaster.
Then eventually one had a feeling of relief that a catastrophe seemed to be avoided, that there was some agreement, also of course disagreement.
And then after everybody thought it went quite well under the circumstances then came the strike from Air Force One and the declaration that the
President and the United States retracted from a joint communique, which was given before. So I think at the end, everybody was really surprised
that it eventually even happened, the catastrophe, after the closing of their meeting in a way.
AMANPOUR: So let me turn to you, Anne Applebaum. You write a lot about alliances, whether it's NATO, whether it's the entire sort of global world
order that the U.S. helped to create or in fact did create with its allies and you've seen the front cover of "The Economist" this week, which pretty
much spells out in pictures that this is a wrecking ball, that this is demolition man.
How do you react to what happened at the G-7 summit?
ANNE APPLEBAUM, WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: So I have two separate reactions. One is that to remember that there are fundamentals underneath
Trump and underneath Merkel that remain solid and keep going. And actually somebody who's been warning about the decline of the alliance and the
potential of Trump as a disruptor, I really felt that it was important this week to talk about that.
I happen by a chance last week in Poland where I watched a NATO Special Forces operation underway and I saw 13 nations working together. I saw
thousands of troops and soldiers and people and planners cooperating, all of that is still happening. And I think it's important to remember that
those fundamentals of the alliance and the preparation continue.
Of course, you know, it's a little bit like the alliance is a chicken with its head cut off. All the elements of it are still there. The people are
in play and so on, but the leadership is gone. And the question is what that means and how it looks to the rest of the world.
I would say the one danger particularly of the juxtaposition of the G-7 with the Korea summit is it certainly looks to the outside world as if
Trump is reorienting America ideologically. So, we fight with our friend and our old friend who are the democracies and we make new friends who are
the autocracies. And Trump seems to be -- you know, the risk is that he comes out of this summit smiling and happy and waiting some kind of
agreement, you know, bogus or otherwise, and that's his new best friend is Kim, and we're not speaking to Justin Trudeau anymore, which is peculiar
and would sends a very clear message to our allies and enemies around the world.
AMANPOUR: So let me just pin you down on you said that, you know, you've been watching many of the low-levels below the elective leaders continuing
to work in the areas of the alliance in the vital areas. But there are people who say that if anybody was in doubt, this Canada summit was the
first shot in an attempt to disrupt, I mean, some people might say destroy the western alliance.
I mean the administration wouldn't even use the term "the global rules- based order" or whatever the term is. It had to be "earth global order." There just seems to be a huge amount of hostility.
APPLEBAUM: Look, I agree with you, Trump all of his life has been hostile to the alliance. He spoke 10 and 20 years ago about NATO as a waste of
money and about allies as taking away from us. He expresses an incredible amount of ignorance even about trade.
Before coming on this program, I looked up some of the statistics, you know, actually, including services U.S. has a trade surplus with Canada.
[14:55:01] We export more in agriculture than we import. We even export more dairy products than we import. And we know that dairy products is one
of the things that he, you know, he kept mentioning.
So, you know, he's deliberately smashing something. At the same time, he hasn't told U.S. Army in Europe to retreat. He hasn't told, you know,
American democracy promotion, organizations to stop working. They're all still there. They're all functioning.
You know, the question is whether, you know, can they hold on during this period of difficulty? Will he eventually turn on his own civil servants
and on his own army? That, we don't know. But it's important to remember that there's a line he hasn't yet cross and to pay attention, because if he
does cross that, then we're going to yet in another situation.
AMANPOUR: So, Norbert Rottgen, from where you sit in Berlin, from where the German government sits, and he's about tariffs and he's about potential
auto industry tariffs coming next, you yourself have always said that it's best to employ restraint while dealing with the public manifestations of
the Trump Administration's policies and rhetoric (ph). Is restraint still enough? How do you, how does the Chancellor now deal with the idea of auto
tariffs, for instance?
ROTTGEN: In general, I would say that our approach is as long as it is possible to limit the damage. Damage limitation instead of escalation or
to increase the damage is how we want to deal with it. We want to intensify the relationship with the many who hold this transatlantic
relationship dear and consider it to be a necessity.
However, the steel and aluminum tariffs are not a nice thing, but eventually I think economically, we can live with that. If Trump went for
the European and German car industry, this certainly then would affect a strategic German industry in particular and this would create a real
serious case. And I would say I've always advocated damage limitation. But I would say this then would be the case beyond only damage limitation.
It's been really serious case, and I think we've been beyond the situation that we can say we are at the brink of a trade war. This would then be the
AMANPOUR: So, I was struck by Chancellor Merkel's language. She called, you know, what happened sort of not just staggering but also somewhat
depressing, and of course, she's again been accused of not leading Germany to its correct 2% of GDP NATO contribution. And, you know, she did have --
she fired back against that a while a back, saying that you guys have dealt with all the refugees over 2015.
Can you tell us how you're going to address that, because the NATO summit is going to come up and you're going to be told again that you're not
paying your way?
ROTTGEN: Yes. I think there are things that do not remain true and right even if Donald Trump makes the case for these things, and we have some
shortcomings talking now about Germany. We have to do more in regard to defense spending. I think we have to invest more in order to care for our
German-European security. We have to draw conclusions out of the end of the Cold War, which is now nearly three decades behind us.
So, we have to work on our shortcomings and we have to do more on this area perhaps in a way. Donald Trump could also serve as a trigger that we
accelerate and more fastly (ph) lift up to the level of responsibility, which Germany surely has to do and has -- we have there to deliver in order
to be credible, in order to bear our burden, and to serve our responsibility. And I've always advocated for that, and perhaps this case
has now become a little bit easier to make because we see the disruption and the challenges coming from the other side of the Atlantic.
AMANPOUR: And, Anne, to you, were you stunned or what reaction did you have when the President said that Russia should be back at the G-7 table,
that it should be the G-8?
APPLEBAUM: Look, one of the great oddities of American foreign policy right now is trying to understand what is our policy toward Russia, and
this actually illustrates the point I was making before that there are civil servants and diplomats who are running a traditional or recognizable
any way American foreign policy. We had actually very good reaction of the American government to the poisoning -- about the Russian poisoning of a
former -- of a Russian citizen who is living in Britain a few weeks ago. We have the expulsion of diplomats.
[15:00:17] We have maintenance of the sanctions against Russia, even in the face of some Europeans who are beginning to wonder whether the sanctions
are really working. And at the same time we have these extraordinary one- off statements by the President which seem to lead in other directions.
And so the question lots of people ask is, what is the real American foreign policy? Is it what the Americans do and the diplomats are doing or
is what the President tweets?
You know, sometimes I had -- I listen to American foreign policy people taking, civil servants and diplomats, and they sometimes talk as if Trump
didn't exist. And there's a piece of the State Department that's acting that way. The question is for how long can we maintain this dual track
AMANPOUR: It's really fascinating. Anne Applebaum and Norbert Rottgen, thank you so much for joining us to talk about this side of the story
And that is it for our program. Remember, you can listen to our podcast at any time. You can always see us online at Amanpour.com and follow me on
Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for watching and goodbye from Singapore.