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North Korean and U.S. Summit; G7 Meeting with Canada's Prime Minister; U.S.-North Korea Summit Rodman's Role?; Denuclearization of North Korea; Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 11, 2018 - 02:00   ET


[02:00:18] ANNA COREN, CNN, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You are watching CNN's special coverage of the Singapore summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-Un. Hello, I am Ana Coren live from Seoul, South Korea. denuclearization

JOHN VAUSE, CNN, ANCHOR: I am John Vause in Los Angeles. It's just gone 11:00 p.m. here on the west coast. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. What may have started on a Presidential whim three months ago will soon become reality. A history making meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un less now than 24 hours away, the first time ever a sitting U.S. President has met with the leader of North Korea.

On Monday, before the summit, the President met with Singapore's Prime Minister. The city state is hosting this historic meeting. And for now, it's the center of the diplomatic universe. North Korean state have media reported the goal for these talks will be denuclearization and lasting peace. All of this has been a stunning turn around for the relatively young Kim Jong-Un from a reclusive international pariah to what some are calling a statesman.

Apparently, ready to negotiate an end to his illicit nuclear and missile program in return for security guarantees and an end to crushing economic sanctions.

COREN: Yeah. It certainly has been a transformation, John. But joining us now is CNN's Will Ripley, who has reported extensively from North Korea over the years. He joins us from Singapore with his analysis. Will, there is a strong belief that Kim Jong-Un has already got what he wanted, which is an audience with the U.S. President, the leader of the free word.

And that by doing that, this will make him a legitimate international player and cement his leadership back home. You've been to North Korea. You've met with the people. What do you think Kim Jong-Un wants from this summit?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, he has decided to make what appears to much of the world to be an abrupt U- turn from this path where he was marching very aggressively to grow his nuclear arsenal, to now he wants to put that same level of effort into growing his country's economy. And when you run a country and you have absolute power, you can snap your fingers and make decisions like that without deliberations and the debates that would happen in other systems of government.

And so the indication I have gotten, based on conversations with North Korean officials, is Kim Jong-Un is all in on trying to grow his economy. He knows that in order to really do that, in order to really give North Korea the economic opportunities that have been enjoyed in South Korea, a country that has an economy you know some 36 times larger than North Korea's.

He needs to normalize relations with the United States. So the North Koreans are going into this determined to make this meeting work, but also they're going into this as very shrewd negotiators who know that they have leverage in the form of their nuclear arsenal, and they're not going to unilaterally disarm in a matter of months without feeling that they've gotten a number of things in exchange from the United States.

The number one priority for them is not economic incentives, frankly. It is security guarantees. They need to know that their government will be safe, that they will not be the Libya model that President Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton compared North Korea to, a country that gave up its nuclear weapons and was overthrown by U.S.- backed forces just several years later.

North Korea wants Kim Jong-Un to remain firmly in control, and they want to grow their economy, and they also want an end to what they feel is a hostile policy on the part of the United States. And so we know that there have been teams here in Singapore having the 11th hour meetings, trying to see if the U.S. and North Korea can get themselves closer to what denuclearization is going to look, how long it's going to take.

From what we're hearing, they're still very far apart on that issue. So while they want things to go well, I think both sides are going to go into this also holding you know their ground. And that's where President Trump's negotiating skills, frankly, are going to be put to the tests, as well as the negotiating skills of Kim Jong-Un and his team.

Many of the members of that team have been working their whole lives studying and preparing for this moment, Ana.

COREN: Will, I want to discuss the definition of denuclearization, because we heard from North Korean state media this morning, saying that Trump and Kim will discuss denuclearization and durable peace on the Korean peninsula. Certainly, it sounds promising. But there are concerns that Donald Trump's definition of peace may differ fro Kim Jong-Un. What's your take?

RIPLEY: Well, look, I mean what Kim Jong-Un and the North Koreans have long sought is a situation where eventually all of the U.S. troops, the 28000 American troops who are stationed in the south pull off the Korean peninsula. A day when there is no need for the American nuclear umbrella that protects South Korea and Japan.

[02:04:53] And Japan by the way, has some real security concerns that what if there's a deal that allows North Korea to keep its shorter range missiles but give up its ICBMs. But those shorter range missiles are still well in range of Tokyo. You know so there's a lot of kind of different factors at play here. But what the North Koreans have said they want, and you know they've used this language, time and time again for years.

If they feel the United States ends what it considers a hostile policy towards their country and allows the country to exist in its current system, normalizes relations, opens up the doors, if you will. But while allowing North Korea to remain the same at its core, which is a very controversial notion, because you talk about human rights issues, which are likely not to be a major topic at this summit.

You talk about all the other complaints that people around the world have made against the North Korean government, you know but the United States is essentially going to have to say we accept North Korea in its current state with its current leader. We will work with this country, and that's going to be the way it is for the foreseeable future, and then North Korea saying if they have that guarantee then they'll talk about the process, probably a long process of giving up their nuclear weapons.

COREN: Will, just briefly. The South Koreans that I have spoken to are certainly very optimistic about the summit. They want enduring peace. From the North Koreans that you've spoken to in your travels, do they wan the same?

RIPLEY: It's hard because North Koreans, when I have met them off camera, they are friendly, they are personable, they're polite. They're warm. And yet, you turn the camera on and granted their government minders standing just off camera that have their names and numbers and occupations and all of their information, and then you turn the camera on and they say they hate the United States.

They want to see the United States burn. You know they want to you know, all sorts of colorful ways to destroy America and its leadership. But they are echoing the messaging that's in their state propaganda. And when a North Korean is on camera, of course, they're going to say what they're hearing from their government.

Because if they were to say anything else in a country where political dissent is not tolerated, the consequences for them would obviously not be good. And it's not to say that some of them don't believe those things. But now, there's a noticeable change in North Korean propaganda. The fact that you have Ri Chun-hee, their most famous news reader on the air, telling North Koreans about this summit before it has even happened, talking about opening a new chapter, talking about an era of peace.

I suspect that when we go back into North Korea after this summit and we start talking to people, depending on how things go here in Singapore, we might hear a very different perspective from them about their feelings about the United States and their views about the relations with the U.S. and the rest of the world.

COREN: Certainly, here there is a great deal of optimism. Will Ripley, we thank you for your analysis, joining us live there from Singapore, John, back to you.

VAUSE: Ana, thank you. We're just looking at some live images there of the U.S. President leaving that meeting with the Prime Minister of Singapore and heading back to his hotel. As we watch this, also watching this historic meeting from the distant sidelines between North Korea's closest ally, China. During past negotiations with North Korea, Beijing has usually played a major role, but not this time, another reason why this summit is anything but business as usual.

Clayton Dube is the Director of the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California joining us here now in Los Angeles. Clayton thanks for coming in, it's a couple of big days ahead of us I guess.


VAUSE: There's some new reporting in the New York Times in the last couple of hours, that as this summit moves closer to reality, there's growing concern in Beijing about Kim's actual intentions. Here's part of what they wrote. Chinese leaders who are unused to being on the outside looking in are growing anxious about whether they can keep their cold war era ally firmly in its current orbit around China.

Leaders in Beijing are worried. Experts say that Mr. Kim might try to counterbalance China's influence by embracing the United States, North Korea's long time enemy. I guess you know anything is possible. But you know it seems more likely that Kim is going to use you know both countries as his leverage to play you know Beijing and Washington off each other, which is sort of typical North Korea behavior, right?

DUBE: That's exactly the case here. In the past, he depended on the Soviet -- the regime depended on Soviet Union, then Russia. Now of course, there's the opportunity to work something out with the United States. They want to keep China a little off balance, because China is so big and so present that they want China to want North Korea.

VAUSE: Right. And they're right next door. So what was notable though, I thought, was that Kim and his entourage travelled to Singapore on an Air China jet.

DUBE: I think that's quite significant that we brought him there.

VAUSE: Yeah. We provided the way for him to get there, because there was some concern about whether the aircraft would actually make it. Last month, we had the U.S. President essentially you know throwing all of this into doubt and calling the whole thing off, at least so it appeared. At the time, the spokesman for China's foreign ministry was asked if that meant Beijing would assume a bigger role in future talks.

[02:09:52] Here's part of the answer from the transcript. China has always played a positive and constructive role on the Korean peninsula issue without any ulterior motive at all. For people who like to read way too much into officials statements that come out of China's foreign ministry like me, what was interesting is when spokesperson (Inaudible) said that, the emphasis was on the word always.


VAUSE: You know it's not too subtle message. Beijing was there in the past and they're going to be there in the future.

DUBE: (Inaudible). They're always going to be there. And that's a reality. We saw in March. We saw in May that before Kim Jong-Un meets with Trump, he meets twice with Xi Jinping. And this is quite significant that he was carried to Singapore aboard a Chinese jet.

VAUSE: And then also, we have Xi Jinping traveling to Pyongyang at some point in the not too distant future.

DUBE: That's correct.

VAUSE: OK. And which is again, (Inaudible) you know having the leader of China come to Pyongyang is a big deal. We also have the issue of China trying to reassert its influence, if you like, because there have been some strained relations between North Korea and China. The easiest way for China to have any kind of influence over Pyongyang is through economic ties. Can they exert, can they go down that route?

You know there are some (Inaudible) that they are, you know. They're (Inaudible) back to Pyongyang. Restaurants have opened. North Korean restaurants have opened in the border town in Dandong. Can they do that without violating or compromising their commitment to U.N. economic sanctions?

DUBE: They can violate this and they have. We've seen plenty of evidence over the last three, four years of Chinese firms and Chinese individuals facilitating trade, facilitating continued development of North Korea.

VAUSE: OK. So when we look at the summit, when they head into this, one of the deliverables people keep talking about is its peace treaty that could come out of it between North and South Korea. Even on that issue, you know we had this warning coming from Beijing. It's an editorial, a mistake (Inaudible) which is the tabloid newspaper. Nothing gets published in China without the government sort of saying it is OK.

Here's part of it. There is some analysis in the South Korean media that suggests the peace treaty will be signed by the U.S., South and North Korea, leaving China marginalized. That may not be the case. China has a strong influence on Korean peninsula affairs. Even when Beijing does not speak a word, it has larger weight on the situation than Seoul. That's a pretty strong message to the South Koreans.

DUBE: It's a very strong message, and it's one that they've been hammering at. It's important to note that they have imposed sanctions of their own on South Korea when they thought South Korea was growing too close to the United States with the missile defense system. So they have been very clear to South Korea that they are in command.

VAUSE: That they're calling the shots.

DUBE: Yes.

VAUSE: OK. This is so interesting because you know we've never been down this road before without China playing this significant role. And I guess you know the next couple of days we'll see how this all ends up. Clayton thanks so much.

DUBE: Thank you.

VAUSE: Great to have you with us. Next here on CNN Newsroom, he arrived late, left early, and then insulted the host. How Donald Trump's G7 meeting might impact his summit with Kim Jong-Un.


[02:15:00] VAUSE: Coming into 17 minutes past 11:00 here on the west coast. Welcome back, everybody. Donald Trump heads into the Singapore summit after a tense and divisive G7 meeting with U.S. allies and an escalating diplomatic crisis with Canada. The U.S. President seems to have focused much of his fury on Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, accusing him of being dishonest and weak when it comes to trade and tariffs.

As a result, he says, he will not sign the G7 joint statement. The tweets have been coming fast over the past few hours, made directed at Justin Trudeau like this one. Sorry, we cannot let our friends or enemies take advantage of us on trade anymore. We must put the American worker first. On the surface, the dispute is over trade policy, but White House chief economic adviser has accused Trudeau of trying to undermine the U.S. President before he meets with North Korea's Kim Jong-Un.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is not going to permit any show of weakness on the trip to negotiate with North Korea, nor should he.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But this was about North Korea?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, it was in large part.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So because Trudeau said that as Trump was going to Singapore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: NO. One thing leads to another. They are all related. Kim must not see American weakness.


VAUSE: But the most incendiary comment came from the White House trade adviser with what appears to be the harshest words the Trump administration has ever used to attack the leader of a U.S. ally.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump, and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.


VAUSE: Caroline Heldman and John Thomas join us now. Caroline is a Democratic strategist, an associate professor of politics at Occidental College. John is a CNN political commentator, Republican consultant, and we should mention President of Thomas Partner Strategy. We haven't said that for a while.



VAUSE: OK. Ok, starting with you, John, a special place in hell for the Prime Minister of Canada? I mean...


THOMAS: It's a little extreme on the rhetoric.

VAUSE: Some people have point out that's the kind of language an administration uses before they begin military action. This is Canada.

THOMAS: That's true. However, if Larry Kudlow was right, and I think he makes a fair point.


THOMAS: I understand. But Larry's point about you can't show weakness going into the summit. If Canada was trying to undermine President Trump's and America's strength going into this summit, where we might seen a denuclearization and making peace for the rest of the world. Well, he does make a pretty good argument. I wouldn't have used that language, but if he was responsible for undermining the summit, well...

VAUSE: Well, was he. OK, so let's listen to part of what Justin Trudeau actually said. This incendiary verbal attack launched by Canada's Prime Minister. Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have made it very clear to the President that it is not something we relish doing, but it is something that we absolutely will do, because Canadians, we're polite. We're reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.


[02:19:55] VAUSE: Oh, my god, Caroline. That was just unbelievable. I mean it's almost a declaration of war. I mean this is Canada. This is where you know people hold up polite signs at protests. You know they take out newspaper ads to apologize for traffic accidents. (Inaudible) the road at, you know walkways (Inaudible).

CAROLINE HELDMAN, OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF POLITICS: If only Donald Trump would treat Canada and our other allies as comfortably as he treats Russia, seriously. It is still unclear what exactly Justin Trudeau is supposed to have done. Everyone at the G7 summit was chastising Donald Trump, because he's engaging. He's escalating a trade war. And Donald Trump is putting out fake statistics about the deficit that we have in terms of trade, which doesn't account for the fact that we actually have a surplus if you include services.

VAUSE: Which everybody does include services in trade numbers.

HELMAN: We are a country that employs five times the number of workers in the service industry as manufacturing. So Donald Trump is the one who is not engaging in good faith. And it's a little narcissistic to think that this has to do with him and his position going into North Korea. It's about the G7. It's about trade. It's about the economy.

THOMAS: And that is what it's about. And Larry said, Larry Kudlow said he was there finalizing the statement in the agreement. And they thought they had a deal.

VAUSE: Yeah.

THOMAS: And then Justin pulled out, perhaps as a negotiating move, saying they're not going to sign this, which put Trump in a position to what say oh, what do you want? Look in a position of weakness. Larry said they had a deal.

HELDMAN: But, John.


THOMAS: It was Justin that pulled out.

HELDMAN: Trump is in a position of weakness just meeting with Kim Jong-Un in the first place.

VAUSE: Yeah. Before he left Quebec for the North Korea summit, the President was asked how long it will take before he knows that Kim Jong-Un is serious about making a deal.


DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES, PRESIDENT: I think within the first minute I will know.


TRUMP: Just my touch, my feel. That's what I do.


VAUSE: The touch, the feel, the fabric of our lives. The President was also asked at that news conference to describe his relationship with G7 leaders.


TRUMP: The relationship that I have had with the people, the leaders of these countries has been -- I would really rate it on a scale of 0 to 10. I would rate it a 10.


VAUSE: OK. It was a 10, but then came you know the Canadian version of death to America from Trudeau. And Trump you know went on a Twitter rant, all in caps and one of them is fun. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and (Inaudible) during our G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left, saying that U.S. tariffs were kind of insulting and he would not be pushed around, very dishonest and weak.

He goes on to all that. So John, what happened to the President's spidey sense when he was meeting with Trudeau? Why did he not pick up in the first minute or so that Trudeau was ready to be genuine and make a deal?


THOMAS: I think that's why Trump is so upset. He felt he was stabbed in the back.

VAUSE: But Caroline, you know if the President has this incredible ability to know someone straight up, and is going to be ready to do a deal and is genuine. He says he's going to be able to sum up Kim Jong-Un within a minute or so. That skill seemed to be sadly lacking when he met with the members of the G7.

HELDMAN: Well, that's Donald Trump's opinion of himself, right? But this is a man who time and time again has demonstrated that he doesn't know how to negotiate. He doesn't understand the fundamentals of government. He doesn't understand the fundamentals of diplomacy. So it's not surprising that he caused an international crisis with the G7 in his response to Trudeau.

And now he's sitting down with you know a millennial dictator of a rogue nation, a country that's been trying to get U.S. Presidents to sit down for two decades. They finally you know mired one. They got one into the muck, which now offers legitimacy for North Korea and for Kim.

THOMAS: I think President Trump's point is he'll understand if Kim Jong-Un wants to get together for a photo op, or if he actually wants...


VAUSE: You can't have it both ways. You know either he stabbed him in the back or he's got this spidey sense and he knows what's going on.

THOMAS: Well, but with Kim Jong-Un, you'll be able to understand. If there's no substance of any kind, he'll know that.

VAUSE: OK. A former policy adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister, he didn't really hold back in his criticisms of President Trump. He tweeted this. Big tough guy, once he's back on his airplane, can't do it in person and knows it, which makes him feel weak. So he projects these feelings onto Trudeau and lashes out at him. You don't need to be (Inaudible). He's a pathetic little man child. Caroline, is the President of the United States a man child.

HELDMAN: Well, I think that's an apt description, given what he's done in the last few days. He's offended Canadians. We have a 43 percent favorability rating with them. And that number is probably inflated only because Canadians happen to be very polite and nice. I mean just how do you do this? How do you go to the G7 and inflame a crisis before you're sitting down with a dictator. I mean it's just -- this is Trump time and time again, self-inflicted wounds.

VAUSE: Yeah. And John, we haven't seen this kind of sort of rhetoric between Canada and the United States in decades.

THOMAS: And it's because we haven't had a U.S. President stand up to Canada and say hey, let's make sure we have a free trade environment.


HELDMAN: We have. We have.

THOMAS: We haven't seen it. That's why they always get along.


THOMAS: Larry Kudlow is asking Canada to do what they do all the time, and that's just say I am sorry. That's all.

HELDMAN: Sorry for what? I love it.

[02:24:54] VAUSE: OK.


VAUSE: Here's an intelligence report on one of the two leaders taking part in the summit in Singapore. It looks at their younger days. We left a name out. See if you can guess who it is. (Inaudible) prone to fits of anger and swaggering around his classmates, an independent student but demanded slavish loyalty from other children in his wake.

The report goes on to -- describes, making vague and grand declarations to his classmates. For example, after games he would say in the source's recollection, some day you will all remember me. OK, Caroline, Kim Jong-Un or Donald Trump?

HELDMAN: That's Kim Jong-Un.

VAUSE: OK. John.

THOMAS: I have no idea. VAUSE: It's Kim Jong-Un. But there are a lot of similarities between

these two, right? They're both big personalities and they both have something to prove.

HELDMAN: Yes. And John, I should say that I knew that was Kim Jong- Un because I read about it, not for any other reason. It could very easily apply to Donald Trump. I cheated.


VAUSE: What was interesting there is this huge age gap between these two men. On Thursday, Donald Trump will celebrate his birthday his birthday, June 14th. He had a bit of an early birthday cake, apparently, tweeting out a photo of the event. What is interesting though is what Trump -- will be turning 72. Kim Jong-Un we think is in his 30s. So there is this sort of generational difference between these two men. How do you think that play into all of this, John?

THOMAS: You know I think Kim Jong-Un understands that this is an opportunity if played right to become a world power, and not just because he has a nuke. And perhaps Kim Jong-Un is also smart enough to recognize that at some point, the rubber will meet the road, when he might be forced out by another country, and this is an opportunity for him to solidify himself in his position by saying hey look, we're an economic power, not just a military power.

VAUSE: I guess Caroline, Donald Trump being you know coming up to 72, born in 1946. You know he lived through the Korean War. Kim Jong-Un did not.

HELDMAN: Right. But I would very much disagree with John. I think the very fact that he is sitting down and we are legitimizing him, a dictator of a rogue country. He has already gotten everything that he wants. He's absolutely not going to denuclearize, because the only reason that we're sitting down is because he's a nuclear threat. The only reason we talk about Kim Jong-Un and North Korea is because they're a threat.


THOMAS: Some say the only reason he's sitting down with us because of sanctions are working, and his people are starving. He has to sit down.

HELDMAN: They're not going to denuclearize. That's not going to happen.

VAUSE: We'll see. Yeah, I mean sanctions and starving people, they've never cared in the past. So but who knows? Let's hope for the best.


VAUSE: Of course, and we're wishing for peace. Thanks, guys. Appreciate it. Next hour, come back please. OK, we'll take a short break. When we come back, when the world comes to town, Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump are staying just blocks away from each other. Thousands of reporters have arrived. There's an incredible security presence. How Singapore is dealing with its moment in history.


[02:31:10] COREN: Welcome back. You are watching CNN'S special coverage of the Trump-Kim Summit from Singapore. I'm Anna Coren live in Seoul, South Korea.

VAUSE: Welcome back everybody. I'm John Vause live in Los Angeles. It's just 11:31 here on the West Coast and we're just hours away from the first ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and the leader of North Korea. Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are in Singapore for this historic summit along with a massive security and media presence. Singapore is a neutral party here but hosting the summit comes with a price about $15 million actually. The meeting will take place at the lavish Capella Hotel complete with a theme park and not one but two golf courses. President Trump is staying at the Shangri-La Hotel less than a mile away from Kim who's at the St. Regis. Let's bring in Manisha Tank who is outside the St. Regis Hotel.

Manisha, the U.S. president has been tweeting up a storm over the last couple of hours including this great to be in Singapore, excitement in the air. And when the North Korea leader met with Singapore's prime minister, he said if the summit produces positive outcomes then the Singaporean government's effort will be recorded in history forever. So can you feel the excitement in the air and I guess more importantly those who live there feel all these excitement? Do they see this as history in the making or just one big pain logistically and a huge traffic problem?

MANISHA TANK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don't know, John. I'm too busy focusing on doing my work. Now, I'm only joking. Of course, it's hugely exciting. We've had about, well, more two and a half thousand journalists that flown in from all over the world to cover this live event. I'm looking at you looking down the lens of the camera, but in my eye line over there is just swathe of tripods and cameras all focus on that hotel behind me. That's where Kim Jong- un is staying. And so every time we see any movement outside the hotel, we hear the clicking of cameras and we see flashes going off. In fact, just a few moments ago, we saw a multicolored bus and a number of white vans come out and everyone had their lenses trained on it to see who is inside because let's remind ourselves that every single part of this show that's going on and it's almost like a reality show that's playing out here, it's being watched.

It's being scrutinized. Who's on that bus? Where are they going? Who are they going to be talking to? Is it part of the DPRK delegation going to talk to U.S. officials? Everything is being scrutinized. So to that extent for us, members of the press, the international media, it is a very exciting time. This is such a historic moment. Now, I'm a resident of Singapore and I can tell you that mostly what we're concerned about as residents is where is the next security blockade, where it actually checks, which road will I'll be unable to drive down? And so social media has been instrumental and the government has been corresponding with everyone to make sure that we know what's happening where, and what to avoid of course.

VAUSE: Yes. And if you're going to have a summit, Singapore is a great place for it. It's a very tightly controlled city state. It also seems the bulletproof bodyguards who make up the security detail protecting Kim Jong-un have made quite the impression. They first appeared back in April when Kim Jong-un traveled to the meeting in Panmunjom and now they're escorting a series, they jog alongside the leader's limousine.

TANK: Yes, indeed. In fact, I heard our own anchors as we were covering the live event just yesterday when we saw the motorcade, Kim Jong-un's motorcade leave the St. Regis and head down at a famous Singapore's Orchard Road down to the Istana Palace where he was going to meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loon. When that was happening, those bodyguards were out and they were running alongside. But like I said before, everything here is under scrutiny. Here is Kim Jong-un, this is only the third time he has left North Korea as a leader on the international stage trying to present this image of himself as a statesman.

[02:35:02] And so, if you look at it in some respects he's taken -- he's taken a leap out of the books of western leaders, the U.S. even to see these bodyguards running alongside who according to some reporter even chosen for their looks and certainly for their skills with marksmanship and martial arts. And it has created quite a spectacle. In fact, that has been one of the aspects of this Singapore summit that has gone viral. So --

VAUSE: And not to apparent but it's actually his fourth time because he briefly went into South Korea in April to meet with the South Korean president but, you know, small point basically. Let's head back now to Anna Coren who is in Seoul, South Korea. Ana?

COREN: No one's counting, John. No one is counting. Thank you, John. Well, joining us now to discuss further denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula is Paul Carroll, he is a senior advisor for N Square which is an organization that tries to reduce the risks of nuclear weapons. Paul joins us live from San Francisco. Paul, there are expert who say this is deja vu. We've been here before under the Clinton and Bush administrations where the United States gets together with North Korea to discuss denuclearization here on the peninsula. Granted, this time you had the leaders of both of those countries meeting, but what makes this time any different?

PAUL CARROLL, SENIOR ADVISOR, N SQUARE: Well, thanks for having me, Anna. There are quite a few things that make this very different. In some way, good is different. In other ways, not so good different. I would say several things make this different that's good for the North Korean side from their perspective. They are now a de facto nuclear capable state. They have demonstrated six times with nuclear tests and multiple times with medium and now long range missiles. And so they're feeling relatively comfortable that they have a nuclear deterrent and they should feel that way. With respect to the United States, yes, we've been here before. But as you say, never, never has a sitting president met with the leader of North Korea. And so there's a lot of opinion of whether that's a good thing or

whether we're giving away too much before getting anything in return. And I guess some of the mind that we better -- we better look at this really as the beginning of a process, not as an omnibus. We're going to walk in and have a complete deal ready too and walk away satisfied. There's an awful lot of history and an awful lot of moving parts to this. So I would hope to see and say 36 hours from now when the meetings are over that we have agreement on some broad outlines of what the two nations will continue to work on, not of signed sealed and deliver. That's not going to happen.

COREN: Paul, do you believe that there's more at stake now than in previous years?

CARROLL: I would say that, you know, we had -- we had this discussion a week or so long ago. I was a little more pessimistic. But after seeing that Secretary of State Pompeo and the delegation that's going along with Donald Trump include some long-time Korea diplomats, maybe I should say American diplomats that have worked with North Korea. There's some adult supervision in the room. There are some serious and seasoned people there. And so I believe that if they're actually engaged with these conversations, I'm relieved. I think that they will understand the dynamics of the north, of the folks across the table. They will also understand that there's a range of things that are within the realm of feasible and we need to focus on those as first steps, and not try to shoot the moon all in a couple of hours of discussions.

COREN: Were you a little bit concerned when Trump was talking about winging it and gauging the room on pure chemist like within the first few minutes?

CARROLL: Yes. I was concerned because this after all is not a real estate or business deal. And it's not just about the two individuals meeting, the two leaders of the country. There's literally global security is at stake here. And to -- so -- to have the president make something so personable and I'm sorry so personal and seem flip about it concerns me. This isn't about him and like so many other things in the way that he has managed his administration. He forgets that this is about the lives of millions of people on the peninsula in the region and frankly in the world. And so yes, it gives me pause not only because it seems like more style than substance, but it's very cavalier given the gravity of this security situation.

COREN: Now, last year, North Korea as you said carried out its six nuclear tests. It's created ICBMs capable of hitting the United States. Do you really believe that Kim Jong-un and the North Korean regime are prepared to give up the very weapons that make it legitimate? And legitimate for its survival?

[02:40:15] CARROLL: In the short term, I don't. I don't at all. In fact, I think I was listening to some of the conversations earlier panel discussion. North Korea is feeling comfortable. They feel that they have achieved what they needed to achieve with respect to their decades long quest of getting nuclear weapons. And so now they feel, OK, we're finally getting some respect, you know, sort of the Rodney Dangerfield of the nuclear club getting some respect. They're about to meet with the U.S. president. Can I envision a world with a North Korea without nuclear weapons? Of course, I can. We all should be able to do that. But I don't see it happening anytime in the next half decade. Even if there are steps made and progress made to begin a process where the north slowly unwinds its nuclear capability, that will take many years and a lot of tolerance for wrinkles as we go, so no. The short answer is no. The longer answer is we can aspire to that and we should.

COREN: Let's hope we do that. Paul Carroll, great to get your insight. Many thanks for joining us from San Francisco. , John, back to you.

VAUSE: Anna, thanks a lot. We'll be back with a lot more on the historic summit. We'll take a short break. You're watching CNN. Stay with us.


[02:44:46] COREN: Welcome back. Well, in less than 24 hours, Donald Trump will become the first sitting U.S. president to meet with a North Korean leader. And for the last few hours, Mr. Trump and his delegation have been meeting with Singapore's prime minister.

That's city-state is obviously, hosting this historic summit. And that is where we found -- find out our next guest, Chad O'Carroll, he is the CEO of the Korea Risk Group and founder of N.K. News.

Chad, great to have you with us. The U.S. has said that there must be a commitment of complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization so that there'll be any deal with North Korea. But do you believe that Kim Jong-un is on the same page?

CHAD O'CARROLL, MANAGING DIRECTOR, KOREA RISK GROUP: No. The North Koreans have a different view of denuclearization. They've been talking repeatedly thus far about denuclearization of the peninsula and traditionally that's inferred that the U.S. should remove its nuclear threat from the DPRK in some way.

There's also be in two -- between the two Koreas that recent April 27th summit in Panmunjom, back to summon men should be on a phased process, step by step.

And so, the demands for DPRK to give up actual nuclear warheads at the top of any negotiation with the U.S. are certainly a little out of step with North Korea's conversation with regional partners, South Korea, China and even Russia recently.

COREN: So how do you see tomorrow's summit playing out?

O'CARROLL: Well, we think this actually quite a good chance that there will be a short-term success from the summit. Potentially, even medium term as well. Both countries have a lot at stake with this, Trump is having this ripped up the Iran deal, having had the G7 problems just before he came here. He needs a foreign policy success and this is something that he has been focused on more than any other issue for the last year or so. For the North Koreans too, that really in need of sanctions, a relaxation. They need better integration with the world economy, and they certainly need to avoid a return to the tensions that we saw in 2017.

So, in a way, both sides are on the same page and we think that the North Koreans are aware that the types of step by step very modest offers and concessions at the start are not likely to work. The problem, however, becomes further down the line.

The North Koreans have always been aware that a U.S. administration can change every four years, and so, they have the luxury of being able to strategize thinking far, far longer into the future than the likes of Donald Trump and his advisers.

COREN: Yes, it's (INAUDIBLE) in Kim Jong-un is definitely playing the long game, and he will outlast all things granted, Donald Trump, and even South Korea's Moon Jae-in. But, let me ask you this, regime survival is crucial for Kim. Can that be guaranteed if North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons program?

O'CARROLL: Oh, I'm sorry. Could you repeat that?

COREN: I wanted to ask you about Kim's knee for that security, the regime survival.


COREN: Can that be guaranteed?

O'CARROLL: Yes. So, that's very difficult for any U.S. administration to guarantee. Because traditionally, threats and their hostility have just been black and white on paper. The one thing that could be a game changer is a peace treaty. And while it's been hints of South Korea wants to work towards a peace agreement, the real issue is that it's complicated to achieve.

China is one of the states that has to be part of any peace treaty deal. And so far, it's not part of this negotiation between the United States, North Korea, and South Korea that we've been seeing emerge in recent months.

A peace treaty could be some better assurance from a security perspective. But equally, Kim Jong-un is likely to be even doubtful of that in the long-term. And so, it's very hard to know what kind of security guarantee can really placate him and his military hard line of stakeholders.

COREN: Well, Chad O'Carroll, CEO of Korea Risk Group. We thank you for your time. Well, coming up, could Dennis Rodman, make a key assist in the summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump? After the break, a look at why the former basketball star might have a big role to play.


[02:51:47] IVAN CABRERA, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: I'm CNN Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera with your "WEATHER WATCH" checking in on North America here across Canada and to the U.S. We'll continue to see this great frontal boundary here has been stalled out. That means is the rain has continued over the same area.

So, ground are saturated and with additional heavy rain, we could be seeing some flooding once again across the Mid-Atlantic States. And that extends further to the west to include severe weather potential across the mid-section of the U.S.

But on the western side of the Mississippi River, it has been quite, quite, and we'll continue to see that the next few days. Including the British Columbia with Vancouver seeing pleasant temperatures and also quite weather as far as the drive.

Have you seeing that line of storms we're talking about? So, if you're flying in, perhaps, to the U.S. capital, or into New York, you'll be seeing some rainfall.

Really getting right close to the big apple here but the heaviest to the rainfall continue further south and west along that boundary here as we continue to see storms bubbling through the afternoon.

High temperatures will be look at low 20s. One of that could have 20 degrees, still impacted with the rain there. But again, as I mentioned, further west including the Pacific Northwest, we look at a very nice conditions with temperatures in the 20s.

And we'll continue to monitor the heavy rain, unfortunately, that continues across the hard-hit area with the volcano in Guatemala. Rainy season continues here, the next 48 hours, another 200 millimeters of rain.


VAUSE: Six minutes before midnight here on the West Coast. Welcome back everybody. Of all the people in all the world who can claim a friendship to both president of the United States and the leader of North Korea, it seems Dennis Rodman, would not be top of the list. But yes, the former NBA basketball star and movie actor want to be is apparently friends with both men. And yes, he will be in Singapore for the summit. More now from CNN's Bianca Nobilo.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST: Dennis Rodman is one of the few people who spent time with both key players at the Singapore summit. He knows U.S. President Donald Trump from his appearance on Celebrity Appearance.


NOBILO: Although, Rodman, may have left the future first lady less than impressed. A.J. HAMMER, NEWS CORRESPONDENT, HLN: Dennis Rodman, essentially got fired for many reasons but one being his team misspelled your name which is, is just wrong, right?

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, you don't misspell a brand name, and it was all over the product. So, I think he did a great job but that was a big, big, big mistake.

NOBILO: And, of course, there's Rodman's basketball bromance with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. They have met on three occasions, including on Kim's birthday in 2014.

DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER: Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you. Happy birthday Dear Marshall, happy birthday to you.

[02:55:04] NOBILO: In a 2014 interview with Du Jour Magazine, he paints Kim as a jovial cruise director.

RODMAN: He laughs, jokes, and do all kinds of (INAUDIBLE) man.


RODMAN: Loves playing basketball, loves playing table tennis, he loves playing pool. He has this 13-piece girls band.


RODMAN: That's no karaoke machine, it's a band, a real band. It's all girls.

NOBILO: In this ABC interview, Rodman, says Trump and Kim could indeed make a deal.

RODMAN: If Donald Trump had a chance -- had a chance, he would get on a damn plane and go over and shake his hand and try to make peace. I'm asking him right now, Donald, come talk to me. Let's try to work this out.

NOBILO: One North Korea watcher sees a potential role for Rodman.

MICHAEL MADDEN, FOUNDER AND EDITOR, NORTH KOREA LEADERSHIP WATCH: If he were to make some phone calls, Kim Jong-un and Trump would take those phone calls. But, I think that if the summit in Singapore is successful, if they attain some level of detente and rapprochement, Dennis Rodman is as good as anybody else that they can find that could serve as a goodwill ambassador. And there could be some sort of sports exchanges or cultural exchange activity.

NOBILO: Could the Singapore summit prove that Dennis Rodman was crazy like a fox all along? Bianca Nobilo, CNN, Atlanta.


COREN: Always keeps things very interesting. You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks to meet your company. I'm Anna Coren, live from Seoul.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause in Los Angeles, please stay with us, we'll be back after a very short break. You're watching CNN and as a reminder, we're the world's news leader.