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The Historic Summit Happens Between U.S. and North Korea. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 12, 2018 - 03:00   ET



ANNA COREN, HOST, CNN: You are watching CNN's special coverage of the Singapore summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Hello. I'm Anna Coren, live in Seoul, South Korea.

JOHN VAUSE, HOST, CNN: I'm John Vause live in Los Angeles. We want to welcome our viewers all around the world. Thanks for being with us.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have reached an historic agreement about peace, prosperity and security for the Korean peninsula and the world.

A joint statement was released just a short time ago, and from present summit in Singapore. It started with a warm handshake and smiles and ended with a commitment to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in return for security guarantees of the Kim regime.


KIM JONG-UN, LEADER OF NORTH KOREA (through translator): Today, we had a historic meeting and decided to leave the past behind. And we were about to sign a historic document. The world will see a major change.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We were very proud of what took place today, I think our whole relationship and the Korean peninsula is going to be a very much different situation that it has in the past.

We both want to do something, we both are going to do something and we've developed a very special bond.


VAUSE: This is the first time a sitting U.S. president has met with the leader of North Korea. The two countries have had a difficult hostile relationship for decades but now both these men say they are working towards a new future.

Let's head back now to Seoul. Anna Coren standing by live. Hi, Anna.

COREN: Thanks, John. Let's now go to Singapore and our very own Paula Hancocks who knows this story better than anybody. She has been living here in Seoul covering every single detail.

Paula, I want to get your take on this joint communique that has been signed, what do you make of the text, the key text?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Anna, what we know at this point is that they have said that they will commit to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Now this is clearly what the U.S. wanted. The word denuclearization in this agreement, but that phrase has been used a number of times before.

We have had agreements in the past where there has been an agreement for the complete denuclearization. So it seems to be vague at this point that I think in this press conference that the U.S. President Donald Trump said there would be, there would be many questions as to what exactly that means.

We heard from the North Korean leader in just a couple of weeks ago when he was in China saying that there wouldn't be a unilateral abandonment of nuclear weapons by North Korea, and if that's what Washington wanted then there was any point in talking.

So it's a fairly vague term and it's a very wide-ranging that particular term. There's also Trump is saying that he will provide security guarantees. Now this was something that was very important to the North Koreans, we heard that from the South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, who was a -- who had met with Kim Jong-un and said this was a very important part of that that the North Korean wanted to make sure that if he was going to give any nuclear weapons then his regime was guaranteed.

We have heard the U.S. president in recent weeks say that publicly that he does secure -- he does guarantee the security of the regime. He has said about -- about Kim Jong-un he will be happy, he will be, his country will be rich, he will be safe. So that's really putting that into writing as well.

Now of course, new relations between North Korea and the U.S. developing those new relations, at this point I haven't seen any specific details. Now of course, these agreements are often quite vague in their terminology but the details really seem to be forthcoming at this point but we'll have to see if he gives any more details in that press conference. Anna?

COREN: Now, Paula, we know that the president had invited Kim Jong-un to the White House. He said it's been an honor doing business with him. Obviously, Kim Jong-un a very happy man he gets on that plane this evening to fly back to Pyongyang knowing that he's accomplished exactly what he came to Singapore to accomplish.

He's done something that his father, his grandfather only dreamed of doing. What sort of reception is he going to get back in North Korea?

HANCOCKS: Well, Anna, this was a gift for the North Korean leader, there's no doubt about it. He had already said publicly that he would agree to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, not the denuclearization of North Korea. So there is still some question as to what exactly that means. Does that mean that trips will be pulled out of South Korea? What does that mean for the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

[03:04:58] So, he has agreed to what he's effectively, or his predecessors have agreed to before. And he has got this significant meeting with the U.S. president, the first with a sitting U.S. president, the legitimacy of being seen on the world stage, effectively as an equal to the U.S. president, on equal footing.

And certainly, we heard from U.S. officials that the North Koreans were very particular about that. They wanted to make sure they were the same amount of flags at the backdrop to this first handshake. Things like that are very important to the North Koreans.

So, Kim Jong-un can go back to North Korea and he will say and can broadly say that this was a resounding success, he has had this legitimacy on the world stage. Just last night we saw him walking around having to walk about in Singapore surrounded by an awful lot of security but with the foreign minister of Singapore, with the people, whether they were Singaporeans or tourists shouting out to him as he walk past welcome, Mr. Kim, welcome.

I mean, this is, you really can't buy this kind of P.R. and for this North Korean dictator this has been an incredible experience on one that he have come out of very well. Anna?

COREN: Paula Hancocks, thank you so much for your reporting from Singapore. Well, joining me now here in Seoul is Professor Daniel Pinkston. He is the professor in international relations of Troy University. Daniel, what do you make of today?

DANIEL PINKSTON, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, TROY UNIVERSITY: Well, it was very symbolic and keep using the word historic, and of course it is. But I think it's the first step in a process and I think this process has two dimensions. One is an abstract or cognitive dimension, the other is a physical and material dimension.

So, these types of meetings when people meet and get together they develop relationships, they develop an inter-subjective understanding and you can become friends. So since you and I are friends we don't have that weapons and threatening each other.

So if that's going to take place with the summit and meetings and I think this is the goal of the Moon administration is that, you know, having these types of meeting will reduce hostility. Then once you have that feeling then you don't need weapons, you don't need nuclear weapons and so forth. But we don't know if that's going to work until we see actions.

There are things that North Korea could do, they can sign the conference the test ban treaty, for example, they can sign the chemical weapons convention, so there some steps that can take before even getting to denuclearization. We'll just have to watch and see how it unfolds.

COREN: Are you somewhat disappointed by the agreement the joint communique that was signed between the two leaders, obviously Trump offering security, Kim reaffirming his commitment to denuclearization. Does it go far enough?

PINKSTON: Well, no. Those are not new commitments or statements really, we've have statements like this in the past. So, in one sense you can argue that since it's incomplete maybe that's a good thing because it will require subsequent meetings.

So we had two recent summits with President Moon and Kim Jong-un, so maybe if there are more meetings then the friendship or it can develop, you know, remove the hostility and then they can decide they don't need the weapons and the incredible defense spending that they waste on weapons and so forth, so we'll have to see what happens on the material side. But this is not sufficient but maybe it's a necessary step.

COREN: Because this is when obviously the hard work begins. The two leaders have met, they've done the meeting great, they have the historic photo op, Kim goes home he's greeted as a rock star. But now it's up to the experts that the diplomat to really knock this out and make those a commitment to real pace.

And do you envision there ever being full denuclearization here on the Korean peninsula?

PINKSTON: Well, I try to remain optimistic. But going home tonight Kim has a big win of course, he get that prestige and recognition. Now we will in the days and weeks and months ahead if he's really changed his mind.

So the way the North Korean system works it has very strict party discipline, a top-down kind of system so when the experts at the working level need to negotiate done a very, very short at least, so they don't have much freedom of action in the meetings.

But if Kim gives his blessing from the top and say here are the broad parameters now go make this happen I really want to denuclearize and they will have much more authority to make that happen at the working level and it can go faster.

COREN: So you think he is capable of giving up his nukes.

PINKSTON: That would be revolutionary change in North Korea. We turn -- we turn of its all of its ideology its school curriculum, it's media propaganda up until now that would totally change everything on, but we're seeing revolutionary change before in Taiwan, we saw it in South Africa, we saw it in the Soviet Union, so that's not impossible.


[03:09:59] COREN: But that revolutionary change would that mean a topple of the current leadership.

PINKSTON: Well, it come in different forms. But if there is usually revolutions or very extreme social and political change accompanied by violence but not always, I think it's rare.

We look at the case of the Soviet Union and the very, very small of violence in ominous case, so, you know, in other cases like Syria or something like that where we see in the Middle East. So we'll just have to wait and see. It's not impossible.

I'm very skeptical but I think we have to look for signs, we have to determine what are the signs that will indicate us that real change is happening. Words alone are not enough. We've had these types of words and promises before.

COREN: And tell us what is underway in North Korea right now, some experts believe that Kim has realized he needs to develop the economy there for the future survival of his leadership and that he will follow the China model. Do you agree?

PINKSTON: Well, China is different historically and there are number of things that are different it can't be replicated, but of course he's always wanted to have a robust and growing economy so that's been part of this Pyongyang line orientation to develop nuclear technology both military and civilian, and the economy.

So they develop their nuclear arsenal they believe they've completed that or at least they've stated that, now they say they want to focus on the economy but that doesn't mean they've abandoned the original plan of Punggye, the nuclear and economic development.

So it's not as if they have a new line. If they do they have a new orientation a new strategy. We'll see it. They have many channels and ways to alert the world about that, so we'll just have to see, we'll see actions and steps that they take. We have to remain hopeful and if they're willing to do that we have to help them do that.

COREN: Professor Daniel Pinkston, always great to get your insight and analysis. Many thanks for joining us.

PINKSTON: Great to see you too.

COREN: And please stay with CNN, we have much more on the historic Singapore summit coming up right after the break.


[03:14:59] COREN: Welcome to CNN special coverage of the historic Singapore summit and history is still being made in Singapore right now. Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un had done what no other sitting U.S. president and North Korean leader have done meeting one-on-one in a summit that would have been unimaginable just months ago.

They kept six hours of talks signing a declaration committing their countries to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. And President Trump had nothing but praise for Kim Jong-un.


TRUMP: I would actually say that it worked out for both of us far better than anybody could have expected, I think far better, I watched the various news reports, I would say far better than anybody even predicted and this is going to lead to more and more and more. And it's an honor to be with you. Very great honor.


COREN: Well, CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta joins us now live from Singapore. Jim, I presume President Trump walk away from today heralding the summit a success.

JIM ACOSTA, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: That's right. Over the salesman over the showman, President Trump was obviously spinning this as a success if you get into the nitty-gritty of this agreement and there's not much to it, it appears that this is an agreement to keep talking, that this is the beginning not an end.

And as I asked the president during that signing ceremony you saw that the last hour or so he said that the process of denuclearization on the Korean peninsula on behalf of North Korea is going to begin and he said very quickly.

But of course, we're going to be asking the president for some details when he comes into the room here within the next hour to find out exactly, you know, what he has in mind and how is he going to make that happen because it doesn't appear in this document that he has any hard commitment from Kim Jong-un to make that happen.

Really just a pledge on the part of both countries to keep talking. And the president as you heard there during that signing ceremony at one point he said he wanted to invite Kim Jong-un to the White House.

And as you were just mentioning a few moments ago, one of the most striking things of today as I was in the TV pool very close to President Trump and Kim Jong-un throughout the day is how the president really did not criticize the North Korean leader, did not really challenge him on human rights at least in front of the cameras.

And at one point I even asked about Otto Warmbier, the American who died after being in North Korean captivity, the president did not answer the question as to whether or not he raise that with Kim Jong- un.

And so what you saw throughout this day was obviously very historic, it was remarkable to see President Trump and Kim Jong-un shaking hands and walking along with one another and having a lunch together and meeting with various top White House and North Korean officials.

But at the end of the day it is not exactly clear what President Trump got out of Kim Jong-un as you recall in the lead up to the summit. He was saying well, I'll get up and I'll walk away from the table if I don't get what I want. And what I actually ended up happening by the end of this day was essentially the kind of negotiation one would think President Trump would get up and walk away from because he did not really get anything concrete in the end except for commitment on the part of the North Korean dictator keep talking.

And you heard the president really gushing glowing terms throughout the day praising Kim Jong-un, saying he was a talented man who loves his country and so on, but no real criticism not the same kind of language that we heard President Trump hurl at Kim Jong-un in the past. This was very much almost -- almost all seem like a bromance between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.

And I think at this point we're going to have to wait and see how this continues moving forward. But as you can see there are officials coming into the room now. Reporters are anxious to find out what's going to happen next.

But Anna, we should be seeing this press conference get started shortly. This is for -- this milling this bumping into one another that we're sitting right now sort of the scene that we've been seeing all day long, it has been chaotic at times, it has been sort of like a scene out of one of our President Trump reality TV shows.

It has been fascinating to watch but in the end the big question is, what exactly did President Trump deliver, what did he extract from the North Korean dictator. That's we're expecting to hear from President Trump here in the several minutes when he comes out in front of the cameras. Anna?

COREN: Yes, it's quite incredible, isn't it, Jim? He's developed this bromance with his new best friend Kim Jong-un, and yet, he's at war with many of America's traditional allies.

Jim Acosta, joining us there in Singapore.


ACOSTA: That's right.

COREN: John, back to you in Los Angeles.

VAUSE: Anna, thank you. We're almost kind of seeing like a first date between these two guys, isn't it? So let's get some legal perspective from all of this. Joining me here in Los Angeles we have Dave Jacobson, CNN commentator and Democrat strategist, and John Thomas, also a CNN commentator and a Republican strategist.

OK. Dave, really, has Kim Jong-un done enough of this point to win a White House invitation from the president, is that normally reserve for the Russians?

[03:20:04] DAVE JACOBSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think you're right. Look, yes, I mean, it was Kim Jong-un who ultimately won. He was elevated. He was brought to the lever -- level and the stature of the president United States, right? And this is something that his father and grandfather couldn't accomplish.

Yes. I think that the biggest take away is that this was nothing burger, right? There were big broad platitudes in that document, this was a photo op but there was nothing there. There was no meat on the bones and that's the challenge. And I think a lot of Republican lawmakers in Congress are going to be scratching their heads saying, what was the point of this.

VAUSE: Well, it was a great photo op I guess. And John, you know, it is a staggering contrast and out of touch on this between how Donald Trump has dealt with Kim Jong-un, you know, keep gloves, friendly smiles, warm handshakes and how he has dealt with the G7 allies in Canada the past weekend.

JOHN THOMAS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Well, he was trying to make a deal in the G7 and he didn't like the deal so he was unafraid to walk away, and I think we're going to see the same thing with Kim Jong-un.

VAUSE: But the theory is that he's so desperate to get this deal that he is willing to almost do anything.

THOMAS: Well, I actually think it's the opposite. In fact, Trump walked away a couple weeks ago saying, hey, look, I'd like to have a meeting but if we're not going to meet on my terms it's not going to happen.

So I think there are going to be a lot of ups and downs before we get to if we get to full denuclearization but this is a step in the right direction. The fact that the two of these people who, just a few months ago, we're talking about who had a bigger red button. You know, it was rocket man, you know, I mean, they were treating--


JACOBSON: Fire and fury.

THOMAs: -- terrible insults. Yes, terrible insult. The fact they would get along this well is--


VAUSE: This is better than that, no doubt about it. I just want to go back to this tweet by Richard Haass who is the president of the council on foreign relations. This is what he said about the G7 meeting. "The unraveling of the G7 summit works in North Korea's favor as Donald Trump will not want to bust up two summits in a row, as people conclude he is the problem, increases incentive for Kim to up his ask and limit his compromises and for Trump to do the opposite hardly the ideal context."

And you know, Dave, this is why some feel worried that, you know, Donald Trump has this potentially could be far (Ph) away.

JACOBSON: Yes, precisely. I mean, look, I actually think Donald Trump look weaker going into this meeting that he would have otherwise had he had a unified front with our European allies. The challenge is when Donald Trump creates animosity with our closest neighbors like Canada or the E.U. members or ally Mexico the challenge is it makes the United States look like we're in a position of weakness because we don't have this united front going into these world affairs and these, you know, no massive issues.

And I think Donald Trump creating this beef with some of our allies makes us more isolated.


VAUSE: And with that in mind though, what concessions did Trump out of Kim Jong-un? I mean, it's all just commitment to keep talking and as Dave said there's not really anything specific--


THOMAS: But they're not, you know, -- they're not, you know, texting selfies just to build up bromance here, just to keep talking to get to denuke--

VAUSE: Right.

THOMAS: -- to remove the nuke.

VAUSE: Yes, denuclearization, I can't wait--


THOMAS: Yes, I can't say it.

VAUSE: It's all right.

THOMAS: But to the point about Canada and the G7 actually that was a point of strength. The fact that Trump says even with our allies if -- I'm going to put America first, you know, if we don't get a good deal on things like -- helping fix our dairy industry and tariffs so I'm going to walk away even if you're my ally.

VAUSE: OK. Going back to elementary for the control room, so the North Korean summit as Dave is being seen a huge win. Kim gets his photo from Donald Trump, it takes as it's going to be ease anyway because the (Inaudible) and precious strategy is pretty much done and dusted.

And then we had Kim Jong-un on the same stage as the U.S. present, the North Korean flag next to the, you know, the U.S. flag and that has brought a lot of criticism. Listen to Jeremy Bash, former CIA chief of staff.


JEREMY BASH, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF, CIA: It is a major accomplishment for Kim Jong-un, and in fact, the spectacle of seeing the American flags along with the DPRK flags as a backdrop for that handshake is really jarring actually to see to witness. In fact, I would say it's somewhat disgusting. It is actually a debasement of the American flag.


VAUSE: And so given North Korea's, you know, history of the regime, Kim Jong-un, his father, his grandfather, does Jeremy Bash have a point?

JACOBSON: Absolutely he does. I mean, you have Donald Trump criticizing and skewering NFL players who refuse to-- (CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: The anthem, yes.

JACOBSON: -- and then juxtaposition with this, I mean, it's just staggering. This guy is a cold-blooded murderer. He has, you know, murdered his half-brother, his uncle, you know, he's exacerbated the hunger issues in that country. He's tortured his own people and Donald Trump says it's an honor to meet him. He says absolutely he'll have him to the White House.

VAUSE: What does it say American values around the world, John, when, you know, that Donald Trump is willing to call Kim Jong-un and say it's an honor, he's a great negotiator, you know, that kind of stuff.

THOMAS: I think it means Donald Trump is a smart negotiator that he eyes world peace above, maybe giving everything he want.

JACOBSON: Above human rights.

THOMAS: No, that having a nuclear war versus having some nice words.

[03:04:59] Trump went in there to try to make a deal or at least get the process started. He has to tackle one thing at a time. And if he started name-calling Kim Jong-un about human rights violations, which he absolutely is atrocious, the deal might have fallen apart.

VAUSE: I just want to get to that point though, you know, if the relations will ever get to the point where they can deal with that and won't be a deal breaker.

But what we've seen on the U.S. side since the summit was supposed to agreed to but only win three months ago, is that there's been a significant scaling back of, you know, expectations here over the optimism.

Listen to the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.


MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: We are hopeful this summit will have set the conditions for future productive talks. We'll see how far we get but I'm very optimistic that we will have a successful outcome.


VAUSE: And one of the outcomes that they have been looking at and we didn't get it and it's going to get though was maybe an end to the Korean war and that could still come. But I think John, what we have is that if there is a formal declaration to the end of the war that actually could remove the legal justification for 3,000 U.S. troops on the ground in the peninsula.

So, what I'm saying is that, this is complicated. It comes with a lot of consequences. (CROSSTALK)

THOMAS: It is very complicated. Mike Pompeo has been intimately involved in this process. I also think it's significant that we saw John Bolton there. That was significant because he is very tough on issues of North Korea. The Devil is on the details on this and there's a lot to be worked out. This is a start and I'm glad to see that these two people can at least in the same room together and not -- they're not feuding--


VAUSE: OK. Well, folks, you see it's a lot more than just a start. This is the greatest diplomatic triumph the world has ever seen delivered by U.S. president. Listen to this.


LAURA INGRAHAM, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: You know, this is where they are. So the elites and on the left want this president to fail to hell with nuclear war. They have to have nuclear war to get Trump to fail and I think half of them are OK with that. I'm not exaggerating.


VAUSE: Dave, first, I think it's safe that no one wants a nuclear war, I don't want a nuclear war, but you know, this is such an incredible turnaround for conservatives who won't let their hair on fire. I mean, Barack Obama simply makes the possibility of holding talks with leaders from around in North Korea.

JACOBSON: That presides to anything this really underscores the fact that Fox News has just become by mouthpiece for the Trump administration. Fast -- rewind eight years ago, I mean, when Barack Obama talking as a candidate that he would be open to having a dialogue, basically doing essentially what Donald Trump was doing three or four months ago.

He got skewered. And the fact to the matter is Donald Trump, partly Fox News promoted this birtherism movement.


JACOBSON: I mean, they were anti-Obama, it didn't matter Barack Obama said, they were opposed to it and they were promoting even back then Donald Trump and continued today.

VAUSE: So John, very quickly, has Donald Trump actually managed to move the opinion of conservatives and Republicans to away from, you know, military intervention I guess, to diplomacy that it is good to talk to these people or is this just simply politics.

THOMAS: I think there's really a stark contrast between the two examples between Obama and Trump. Trump is willing to tell even our allies to go screw yourself he doesn't -- if he doesn't think it's a good deal. VAUSE: Right.

THOMAS: So conservatives go, you know what? It is, number one they have nukes. It's Iran was developing nukes, it's a different animal altogether. Kim Jong-un has nukes targeting places like Guam and elsewhere. It is a real threat that we need to deal with this now. And the other is if Trump doesn't get a good deal, we probably shove it and probably on Twitter.

VAUSE: On twitter, God help us. OK, Dave and John, thank you so much. And it's been a pretty significant day already.

THOMAS: Yes. Thanks for having us.

VAUSE: We'll take a short take break. When we come back, the U.S. and North Korea have promised to remove nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula. So, what are the next steps, how all will this get done, we'll talk to an expert on nuclear security, that's next.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A really fantastic meeting. A lot of progress. Really very positive. I think better than anybody could have expected. Top of the line. Really good.


COREN: Welcome back to CNN special coverage of the historic Singapore summit between U.S. President Donald Trump, you just heard there, and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un. I'm Anna Coren, live in Seoul.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause in Los Angeles. Welcome back, everybody. The summit of the century as some called it is over, with the leaders of the United States and North Korea releasing a joint statement with a promise to work towards a denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Donald Trump is full of praise with Kim Jong-un calling him a worthy negotiator and said the two men had a great relationship, that the president will absolutely invite Kim to the White House. Here is how history was made over the past few hours.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): There you see Kim Jong-un's motorcade. We are getting a really good image.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Here is him getting out of the the car. Yes, indeed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): He's arriving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): You know that vehicle. That holds the president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): A lot of eyes on this stage right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Here are the two gentlemen. Let's watch the moment. And just like that, history has been made. We saw the handshake now a second moment.

TRUMP: It's my honor and we will have a terrific relationship.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is a moment that many thought would never happen in our lifetime.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody.


VAUSE: OK, it is a history moment, absolutely. Let's go back to Anna Coren now live in Seoul. Anna?

COREN: Thank you, John. We have our reporters on the ground in Singapore, Paula Hancocks and Manisha Tank, who have been following developments very closely. Paula, I will start with you. Since that joint communique has been issued, obviously there has been analysis and the feeling is it doesn't go far enough. As someone who has been covering this story as intensely as what you have been, what's your take?

HANCOCKS: Anna, on first viewing, it does look quite similar to previous agreements, certainly in the wording when you hear that they would agree to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

That was in the Panmunjom declaration at the end of April, which they acknowledged in this agreement. It was also in previous agreements between the U.S. and North Korea. It was agreed upon at six-party talks including those countries in the region that were affected as well.

So, certainly in that respect, it doesn't seem to be going much further it. It is suitably vague although we did hear from the U.S. president saying that he said denuclearization would be happening quickly.

This does often happen though with agreements that the wording itself is not particularly specific. What we also heard from it is there would be a security guarantee. This was a big thing for the North Koreans. They wanted to make sure that there was security of the regime if they were even going to consider giving up their nuclear weapons.

It's been the concern of theirs for many, many years, while they have been talking to the U.S. and talking to South Korea. We've heard from the U.S. President Donald Trump, he has already said publicly in the past couple of weeks, I can secure, I can guarantee the security of the regime. Kim will be happy. He will be safe. His country will be rich. So we now have that in writing as well, also pointing out this is going to be new relation between the U.S. and the DPRK, they will be working towards a lasting and stable peace. All of these are fairly stark (ph) phrases we have heard before, not to take away from them though, Anna, the fact that they have still been signed once again, it is this kind of declaration that then has to be worked upon.

Clearly, we heard a lot more than has just signed in this declaration. We heard from Kim Jong-un himself saying, the world will see a major change, even saying that he went to express his gratitude to the U.S. president, Donald Trump.

[03:34:59] We heard some very gushing remarks from the U.S. president, the word "ola" (ph) being used a tremendous amount of times when talking about the situation and also talking about Kim Jong-un. Anna?

COREN: Quite incredible, isn't it? Last year, he was murderous dictator. Manisha Tank, if I can now bring you into the conversation, Kim Jong-un has achieved something that his father, grandfather only at a dream of doing, which was sitting down face-to-face with a sitting U.S. president. When he gets on that plane tonight back to Pyongyang, you would have to presume that he is one very happy man.

MANISHA TANK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think there is already a sense from everyone that we have spoken to and listening to the opinions coming now from all sources on how this went, especially judging that parity, looking at the flags, that now very famous moment when they shook hands, the six North Korean flags, the six American flags right next to each other.

The way this whole thing was conducted in that manner, North Korea has won. I mean, if you look at it from that perspective, he has won in terms of what he came here to do. I mean, Paula was just talking about some of the comments that Donald Trump made, President Donald Trump made over the course of the morning. Well, it seems that it also has also been a bit of a charm offensive going on here in Singapore.

Last night, Kim Jong-un was out doing what seemed like a bit of a mini tour of the city, going to famous gardens like the bay and Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which by the way, I am sure it wasn't lost on the North Korean leader that that is actually -- that hotel is owned by a close friend of President Donald Trump, Sheldon Adelson, someone who contributed highly to the Trump presidential campaign.

Let's park (ph) that for a second though. A wonderful tweet (ph) that came out very interesting, I found it in terms of the casual nature of it, from the Singaporean foreign minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, that said, "jalan-jalan." "Jalan-jalan" means "walk, walk." So for a walk, as if you will do that with a friend.

It is very interesting that they saw spots that perhaps 10 years from now, North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un might hope that his country looks a bit like that. And those are the sorts of questions that we are going to start asking. What is it going to mean for regional relation now that the U.S. Donald Trump has signed this piece of paper? And as we get into the detail of it, there are many in Southeast Asia who want to know what it means for them. Anna?

COREN: The door has certainly opened. You have to assume there is no going back. Manisha Tank, Paula Hancocks, joining us live from Singapore, many thanks for your analysis.

Well, let's now go to San Francisco where Paul Carroll, senior advisor for N Square, a group that is committed to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. Paul, I want to get to the communique, the key text (ph). But first, your impression when you saw Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un shake hands. What did you think?

PAUL CARROLL, SENIOR ADVISOR, N SQUARE: Well, I was impressed. I was impressed by both of them. Clearly, they had been prepped and they stopped the script. I mean, this is something that President Trump -- you are never quite sure which Donald Trump you're going to get when he has a press conference or when he is in a meeting.

And I think it was one of the atypical occasions where Secretary of State Pompeo or other senior advisers made it clear to him he ought to behave and carry himself in a certain way. And Kim Jong-un, barely half the age of President Trump, seemed in familiar territory, seemed -- you know, maybe a bit hesitant but seemed confident and he was prepped quite well as well.

So, there is no doubt that today was a historic day. It was a historic occasion, right? But that shouldn't distract us from the fact that there is an awful lot of spade work that still has to happen to make it a meaningful meeting, not just something -- a footnote in the history books.

COREN: Let me ask you this. Was it a meaningful meeting if we look at that joint communique that was issued? Does it go far enough?

CARROLL: Well, I'm -- I guess I'm on two sides of this. I see it as glass half full and glass half empty. Let me put it this way. If we had a meeting like this three or four years ago, towards the latter half of the Obama administration when a so called policy of strategic patience was not really working and we had a meeting and we had a joint communique like this even though it is very similar to past ones (ph), I would have said that is progress.

That is beginning of a process to get back to the table, get back to the negotiate. So, that's a good thing, right? But it's really nothing new under the sun. It's not a breakthrough. This is ground that we have covered before. And so as I said before, there is a lot of spade work that still needs to be done.

[03:40:00] And courage (ph) by the president's words that Secretary of State Pompeo has been tasked and given this portfolio. Now, what really remains to be seen is once the president lands back in the United States, there is a multitude of domestic policy crisis to region (ph) in country that he has (INAUDIBLE) right away. So will he or will his team remain focused on this priority for national security? That remains to be seen.

COREN: That's a very interesting point because obviously this is when the hard work begins, nitty-gritty, the detail. Does President Trump have the stomach for this? Does he have the attention span, the patience to see out this process which could take months, most likely years?

CARROLL: I'm not convinced that he does. But frankly because we live in a democracy and nations involved, Japan, South Korea, our democracies, it's really our responsibility to hold the president's feet to the fire. And frankly, President Moon as well and Prime Minister Abe.

Now, I would say that President Moon (INAUDIBLE) today and he deserves an awful lot of credit for also seizing this opportunity. Back after Kim Jong-un's new year speech, when the South Koreans hosted the Olympics, he is very much a pro-engagement president of South Korea. He is also a politician. So he has got his own motivations.

So, President Trump, I'm not convinced has either the attention span or desire to get into the details. But frankly, any president is perfectly within their purview to delegate this responsibility to senior officials who do have, as you say the stomach for it, and frankly the staff and leadership and expertise to make it effective.

COREN: We heard from President Moon early this morning, he said that he could not sleep last night because of the anticipation, the excitement for the summit. Paul Carroll, as always, great to get your analysis and insight. Many thanks for that.

Well, the Singapore summit could certainly change the balance of power in the world's order. So, why isn't one of the world's top powers and North Korea's KLI at this historic meeting? We will go live to Beijing. That's next.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. This is the live scene right now in Singapore. It is 3:45 in the afternoon there. Of course, we have that historic summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. We are now expecting comments from the U.S. president.

One of the big questions though will be how is this joint equation which was issued for the summit and difference in commitments which have already been made in the past, what is the difference here? Is it just simply a reinstatement of previous intentions? And where all of this have to go from this point on?

Of course, Kim Jong-un has already left where the summit was held. Donald Trump is expected to make some comments fairly soon, maybe take some questions. Of course, he too will be leaving Singapore to head back to the United States.

Meantime in South Korea, the president there was watching the summit during a cabinet meeting in Seoul. Moon Jae-in wished success to both Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, but he did admit that he had been up all night worrying about the meeting.


MOON JAE-IN, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA (through translator): I spent a sleepless night. I along with all our people sincerely hope that this will be a successful summit that will open a new era of complete denuclearization, peace, and a new relationship between South Korea, North Korea, and the United States.


VAUSE: Moon Jae-in has gambled his little (ph) future on better relations between North and South Korea. And he made sure to phone Donald Trump as well and wished him luck.

There is no summit invitation for China, North Korea's closest ally. Many analysts agree this meeting would not have happened without backing from China. Beijing is North Korea's largest trading partner and Washington's most powerful strategic rival. But in this summit, unfolded Beijing found itself left out, looking in from the outside.

Matt Rivers live for us in Beijing. Matt, President Trump said in Singapore there will be stumbles along the way. If there is a sort of agreed framework on how we are moving forward, how dependent will the U.S. be on China to make sure those stumbles don't actually become deal breakers?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, it's really interesting, John, this relationship between the United States and China when it comes to North Korea, because on the one hand, you know, the United States often has been critical of China in past years not only during the Trump administration but during the Obama administration saying, oh, China isn't doing enough on North Korea.

And yet at the same time, they need China to enforce this so called maximum pressure campaign. When you hear Mike Pompeo talk about sanctions not being lifted until denuclearization has been achieved, well, the only way that is going to really happen in any effect is going to be with Chinese assistance.

And it's interesting, we just heard for the first time from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at a regularly scheduled press conference, the first time in a long time, the spokesperson, Geng Shuang, he actually went out and said publicly, he brought up the idea, the possibility that sanctions could be lifted if North Korea keeps going down this path.

It is the first time he said, look, China is going to continue to implement everything that was agreed upon at the U.N. Security Council sanctions-wise, but he did open the door, the possibility, if you will, that sanctions could be lifted.

And many analysts, John, will tell you that China has been looking for any excuse to lift some of the sanctions that it kind of felt forced into signing onto given the nuclear program and North Korea. And so is this summit is this good will between the United States and North Korea that apparently just got generated here, is that going to be enough for China to go back to the United States and say hey, look, guys, we need to back off the sanctions because North Korea is doing what they're supposed to.

VAUSE: The sanctions are an important issue, but China always takes a long view of these things. You know, without the help of United States, there will be some concessions in return for Beijing's assistance.

It might just be a coincidence right now, but satellite photos showed Chinese missile system slowly reappearing on the disputed island in a very disputed South China Sea. And that really is where the action is to China. So is President Xi likely to use his leverage over North Korea for a win in the South China Sea?

RIPLEY: You know, it's kind of a tale of two things here, John. On one hand, you have publicly the Chinese always say that we don't like letting one issue whether it's a national security or trade affect the broader relationship overall.

So publicly the Chinese would say, no, we are not going to link issues of national security and South China Sea with issues of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. But all you have to do is look at the situation goal. Nothing happens in a vacuum here and China does have this leverage over North Korea economically speaking.

And it certainly is in the realm of possibility for President Xi to talk to President Trump and say, look, you guys need to stop doing your freedom of navigation operations where you sail so close to these islands that we've been militarizing in the South China Sea. And if you stop doing that, maybe we don't push for the easing of sanctions at the U.N. Security Council, for example.

[03:50:02] Now, we don't know that. They won't publicly say that, whether we get any insight into the backroom deals that might happen between United States and China. Only time will tell there, but it certainly within the realm of possibility if we just do the math.

VAUSE: Yeah. All roads to Pyongyang go through Beijing, as they say. Matt, thank you. Matt Rivers, live in Beijing.

A short break. When we come back, time to leave the past behind. North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un says he is ready. Now, young South Koreans want to know if they will have a safer (ph) future. We will find out what some students think after the break.


COREN: Welcome back to CNN special coverage of the historic Singapore summit. Well, what are people here in South Korea thinking when U.S. President Donald Trump shook hands with North Korea's Kim Jong-un?

Joining me now is a group of young students, university students, the next generation of this country who hopefully will enjoy denuclearization if it finally arrived here on the Korean Peninsula. Yoon (ph), firstly, what were your impressions when those two leaders shook hands?

JO YOON JUNG (ph), STUDENT: For me, it was more like -- finally, because it was turned off in the middle, right? So I was tensed until the last moment that it could stop at any moment. So, when they finally shook hands, I was very relieved and happy to see that it was finally happening.

COREN: And Soo Na, we know that this joint communique has finally been issued and that President Trump has offered security to Kim Jong- un. Kim Jong-un has reaffirmed his commitment to denuclearization. Is it more of the same? Does it go far enough?

KIM SOO NA, STUDENT: Yes, it is enough they are going to make their words. And I think it is really a historical event. So, I am impressed and I am proud as a South Korean student.

COREN: And Chris (ph), what about you? Do you think that they talked about the issues that you would have liked to say them speak about today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually they talked mostly about denuclearization and the regime security. But I think it would have been better if they also talked about human rights issue. I think it should be discussed in the near future.

COREN: And what do you think about this sudden transformation of Kim Jong-un? Just last year, a murderous dictator and nuclear lunatic. Now, he is this international statesman who is sitting down with U.S. president. Can he be trusted?

YOON JUNG (ph): I hope he can be trusted. I think we are taking baby steps at once. We are at the level of building a trust. We can't give him full level of trust at this moment. But if he keeps his word and he appears to be (ph) to be part of international regime like he has for the past few months, I think he can be trusted in the future, hopefully.

COREN: And Chris (ph) and Soo Na, can I ask, do you think that you will stay denuclearization in your lifetime?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a realist, I don't believe that it will happen fast but yes, I do. In my lifetime, I think denuclearization will be possible. But it would have to go through international cooperation like the IAEA and NPT.

COREN: We heard from President Moon this morning here in South Korea, he is obviously being instrumental in getting this summit happening, this two latest meeting in Singapore.

[03:55:02] Are you proud of what he has achieved?

SOO NA: Yes, I am proud of him. Actually, our president has been a great successful negotiator to the summit. So, I am glad that he finally made his effort paid off. COREN: And Yoon (ph), what do you think the future holds for your country, ties between North Korea and South Korea, do you see opening up of relations?

YOON JUNG (ph): I don't want to be overly optimistic but I definitely see various levels of communication opening up, even to the public sector, because for many years it has been closed. And I know that there are times when more people are able to engage with North Korea even if they are government officials. So I hope to see that they come and be part of it as well.

COREN: I hope that you will say that there is change here on the North Korea Peninsula. Yoon (ph), Soo Na, and Chris (ph), university students here in Seoul, joining us to give their perspective and their hopes of what can be achieved from the summit.

Thank you very much for your company and for joining us for our special coverage of the Singapore summit. I'm Anna Coren live in Hong Kong.

VAUSE: Well, South Korea -- she was saying (ph). Thank you, Anna. I'm John Vause in Los Angeles. A quick shake (ph) right now. We are waiting for Donald Trump to appear before the podium here at the Marriott Hotel in Singapore. That is to start at the top of the hour. We will continue to monitor it for all of our viewers. Stay with us. Our special coverage continues with "Early Start." That's next.