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U.S. To Stop War Games with South; Trump-Kim Talk Denuclearization; Trump Confident in Agreement. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired June 12, 2018 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: John in Singapore.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thanks so much, Alisyn.
The president, he stopped. He called to stop the so-called war games with South Korea. How is the South Korean government responding? We'll have live reaction from Seoul, next.
BERMAN: All right, just a short time ago, President Trump surprised the world by announcing the United States would stop joint military exercises with South Korea. Exercises the president called war games.
South Korea responded to this news just moments ago.
Let's go to our Nic Robertson live in Seoul.
Nic, I think it's safe to say that South Korea is as surprised as the rest of us.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Surprised, but I think we may be surprised as well by their answer. I mean, let's frame this up for everyone. These military -- joint military exercises are a huge part of what give the South Korean population the feeling, and their governments the knowledge, that if there is a military threat that's immediate from the North, that they are ready to match it. The troops are ready to, you know, fight tonight. So they're on a hair trigger. Training is hugely important. Training on that kind of scale is something that has been done for a long time and it builds that confidence.
[06:35:27] However, what we're hearing from the Blue House, the president's office this evening in a statement, is this, let me read it to you. He says, at this moment, we need to figure out President Trump's accurate meaning and intention of that statement that we heard. However, we believe we need to seek various measures to efficiently move forward the dialogue during these serious talks -- or during serious talks are being conducted to denuclearize the Korean peninsula and to establish relations between North Korea and the United States.
And what we've heard in other statements from President Moon is that he's congratulated President Trump on the success of this summit and has stressed the need to sort of go that extra mile from South Korea's point of view. However, he also clearly wants to be involved in it. Secretary Pompeo calling the foreign minister here shortly after the signing of that document today and the foreign minister here saying that they want to improve the closeness of the cooperation between the two countries.
So I think what we're hearing from the president here is, this is something -- this is an idea that we're open to. Of course, for the people of this country who rely on this knowledge of a military ready to fight tonight, it may be a bigger emotional hurdle for them to get over.
BERMAN: Interesting, though, that South Korea says it needs to figure out the accurate intention and meaning of what President Trump said. At least, as of now, they simply don't know. Our Nic Robertson in Seoul. Thanks so much.
I want to bring in CNN national security analyst General Michael Hayden.
General, thanks so much for being with us.
The president says that he's suspending these joint exercises because he thinks, you know, they're provocative during negotiations with North Korea. In other words, he doesn't want to muck up the negotiations. He wants to be nice. Is that reasonable?
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I mean, the president obviously made a judgment that he needs that concession in order to keep this process moving forward. But, John, that is the only concession that was made in yesterday's talks. The North Koreans did not come with anything new. The new element is that we agreed to stop our annual exercise cycle with our South Korean allies. That's actually a pretty significant concession.
I got two tours in Korea. You could set your watch by the exercise schedule.
John, we've got a fairly light footprint in South Korea, as Nick just suggested. We've got a brigade up near the Demilitarized Zone, and an Air Force fighter wing or two. The whole defense of South Korea is based upon our ability and the South and North Korean's knowledge of our ability to flow forces to the peninsula quickly for the defense of South Korea. That's why we do the exercises. They're about the defense of the South. And the president calling them provocative unfortunately takes the language out of the North Korean propaganda machine.
BERMAN: Let's look at the talks in general, this summit that just happened. And there's a glass half full and there's a glass half empty perspective.
Let's look at the glass half full first. Look, I'm old to remember when, you know, the president was calling Kim, you know, little rocket man. I'm old enough to remember when he was saying my nuclear button is bigger than yours. The tension level was incredibly and dangerously high between the U.S. and North Korea. And now it's less so. Is that progress?
HAYDEN: That -- no, that is. And this is -- this is a lot better than a whole bunch of other off ramps that may have been available three, six and nine months ago. So there's goodness there.
John, you and I talked yesterday. You asked me, what would be a good day? And I said the wheels don't fly off, there's positive atmospherics and we agree to continue working forward. And all of those things happened. So, check, check, check. Good news and a sense -- genuine sense of accomplishment by the president and his administration. Period.
Now, if you stop the clock right now, though, John, and look at the scoreboard, the North Koreans are way ahead on points because that image yesterday of equivalence and the president's language, it's an honor to meet you, he's tough, he's talented, that's a gift that will keep on giving for the North Koreans and, frankly, achieves a lot of their objectives for this process.
[06:40:05] BERMAN: You just gave me the glass half empty perspective, so I can move on to one other thing here.
You know, how do you reconcile the language that President Trump used to describe Kim Jong-un? Very talented. They formed a special bond. With what we heard about, you know, Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, where Peter Navarro, his economic aide, said there's a special place in hell for Justin Trudeau.
HAYDEN: Yes, you can't reconcile it. I mean it's not -- those are not words intended to describe objective reality. Those are words that the president or his folks use in order to achieve a special, tactical objective. And, frankly, John, I think they overachieved in the description of both leaders. Neither of those descriptions were warranted. There are other words in the English language that he could have used to describe Kim. Serious. I look forward to our discussions rather than the words that he did use.
BERMAN: General Michael Hayden, always an honor to speak to you. Thank you so much for your time.
HAYDEN: Thanks, John.
BERMAN: Alisyn, again, here in Singapore, tremendous excitement over this meeting, though going over the results, trying to figure out what happens next.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely. We're doing the same here at home.
But, of course, there's other news here at home, so we'll get to that as well because President Trump could very well be a factor in Republican primary elections today. So we have all of the details on those, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [06:45:27] CAMEROTA: The so-called Trump factor could impact Republican races in South Carolina, one of the five states holding its primary today. The president tweeting his full endorsement over the weekend for South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, he was an early Trump supporter in 2016, and he is being challenged by four candidates in the GOP governor's race. Maine, Nevada, North Dakota and Virginia also hold their primaries today.
A federal judge will issue his ruling today on the government's effort to block AT&T's merger with Time Warner after the Justice Department sued to stop the $85 billion deal during a six-week trial. The government argued the megamerger could hurt consumers. AT&T and Time Warner said the deal was necessary to compete with streaming giant likes Netflix. CNN is owned by Turner, and that's a division of Time Warner.
So the White House has said that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are, quote, sacrificing for the American people, but newly released financial disclosures show that they made at least $82 million last year while serving in the White House as senior advisers. A spokesperson for the couple's attorney says they conformed with all ethics regulations and says that their net worth remains largely the same as the previous year. Ethics czar, some, debate that.
All right, meanwhile, President Trump and Kim Jong-un vow to denuclearize North Korea, but the devil is in the details. So what exactly does this mean going forward? More on that coming up.
[06:50:56] BERMAN: President Trump announced the United States will stop military exercises with South Korea. Exercises the president called war games.
Joining me now to discuss this, CNN global affairs analyst and former U.S. special representative for North Korea, Joseph Yun is with me right now.
Ambassador, it's interesting, one of the things you told me is that the United States has suspended these joint exercises before back in the '90s during that round of negotiations. What surprises you is the timing this go around.
JOSEPH YUN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes. I think usually when we did it certainly in the '90s, it was part of a big, very detailed agreement on the agreed framework. And at that time, we cancelled big annual exercise called Team Spirit and we replaced them with two smaller ones, Ulchi-Focus Lens and another one.
And so this has come again way earlier without really knowing what we get in return. And so -- and then, obviously, it's caught our South Korean allies surprise because saying we didn't know about it. You know, what's it all about. So, it's a little bit off, I would say, you know.
BERMAN: Kim Jong-un is on his way back to North Korea at this moment. How will the people there get this news? What will be -- you know, how will this be portrayed to them?
YUN: Well, you know, they've been covering this unprecedentedly from yesterday, his arrival. And you saw him, you know, walking down the marina yesterday. And so, for them, this is about legitimacy, respect and strength of the regime. Strength of the Kim dynasty, you know? So, for them, you know it shows North Korea's right. They are negotiating in a position of strength. They have the nuclear weapons, and they have the means of delivery. So it would be a materially different kind of take that North Koreans will have than what we think.
BERMAN: Describe what you think the current reality is when it comes to the U.S. relationship with North Korea. I think six months ago, really eight or nine months ago, there was the real idea that possible military action wasn't impossible. Now it seems virtually impossible.
YUN: I agree with you. We are in a better place. I mean, I -- you know, let's face it, we are in a better place. Military option for me is unthinkable that it would be exercised now. But remember why we got into trouble with North Korea in the first place. It was about their nuclear weapons threatening us. It's about ICBM capability to reach the United States. That has not materially changed. And so what I am deeply worried is by not doing anything about what's threatening us or the region in the first place we seems to be kind of walking into what North Korea wants.
BERMAN: The president seems to be putting a lot of faith in Kim Jong- un. He says he believes Kim will stand by his promises, whatever those promises are. We don't know what the specifics are, but he says Kim will stand by them. Do you think the president is right in putting so much faith in Kim? Is he someone that can be trusted?
YUN: We don't know. I mean, so far he's not shown anything to say he can be trusted because everything that is in declaration is what they've said before. So I would have hoped, John, that this was an opportunity really to press him, to do something to show he's serious.
I mean, for example, he could have gone a step further in the whole nuclear issue by telling the world what he has already. He hasn't revealed anything yet. How can you negotiate when you don't know what the other side has.
BERMAN: Ambassador Joseph Yun, thanks so much for being with us. Just one of the many subjects being discussed this morning.
[06:55:01] After one meeting, President Trump says he does trust Kim Jong-un given North Korea's track record. Is that a mistake? We have much more on the historic summit, next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BERMAN: All right, good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Alisyn is in New York. I'm John Berman here in Singapore.
The summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un is over. The pictures were historic. The results, they're in question this morning.
The president wrapped up a one-hour and five minute news conference. He faced questions about what was achieved here. Yes, no U.S. president has ever met with a North Korean leader. That has never been done. But beyond that, what did the U.S. get out of it?
The president is now on his way back to Washington. You can see pictures moments ago boarding Air Force One. The president called the meetings intense and productive, yet he really earned no new real language from North Korea on the big issue at hand, that's denuclearization.
[07:00:05] And the president surprised the world, announcing a new, major concession to North Korea.