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U.N. Reports North Korea Still Making Nukes; Zimbabwe Election; U.S. Immigration Chaos. Aired 2-2:30a ET

Aired August 4, 2018 - 02:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A confidential United Nations report says North Korea continues to develop its missile and nuclear programs despite their recent pledge to denuclearize. We'll be live in South Korea.

Plus Zimbabwe's shaky democratic transition. The main opposition rejects the results of this week's presidential election.

And why the U.S. government is saying some of the immigrant children separated from their parents at the southern U.S. border may never see their families again.

Live from the CNN Center here in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier. Great to have you with us.


VANIER: A new report from the United Nations accuses North Korea of continuing to pursue its nuclear and missile programs in direct violation of international sanctions. A source at the U.N. gave CNN highlights of this report.

And, of course, all this comes less than two months after U.S. president Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the two agreed to work toward denuclearizing the peninsula. Let's bring in Paula Hancocks; she joins us from Seoul, South Korea.

What does the report say as far as we know?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cyril, this is a report, a confidential report that was given to the United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee to assess whether or not they were against the sanctions, which it does appear they were.

This report says that North Korea has been trying to evade the sanctions by ship-to-ship transfers, transferring petroleum and crude oil and coal coming the other way at sea. They say that what they see is an increasingly sophisticated evasion techniques from the North Koreans, they are flouting the caps on the limits of how much petroleum they're allowed to import, according to these sanctions. We know that the United States has given some evidence to this report,

along with photographs, to the committee. Japan has been very closely monitoring this as well, has been quite public about the fact they believed that North Korea was continuing to flout these sanctions.

They have techniques to disguise the fact that North Korean tankers are North Korean. They have been changing automatic identification systems to try and circumvent these sanctions. So this is quite a damning report from the United Nations when it comes to exactly what they believe North Korea has been doing.

VANIER: And CNN has done some great reporting in recent months, showing exactly how they flout those sanctions, especially with the ships when they disguise them. We've actually shown the visuals on our air.

North Korea's also selling weapons to other countries; that's included in that report, as well?

HANCOCKS: Yes, there is a very strict arms embargo on North Korea at this point. And this report is saying they found that they have been attempting to supply small arms light weapons and other military equipment via foreign intermediaries to a number of different countries.

They mentioned Syria, Libya, Sudan and Yemen. Certainly some trouble spots around the world. This will be of great concern to that committee as well. They've also talked about the financial sanctions that the United Nations Security Counsel has put in place, saying they are, quote, "They are some of the most poorly implemented and actively evaded measures of the sanctions regime" -- Cyril.

VANIER: Paula Hancocks, thank you very much. We'll follow up with you in the later hours.

Meanwhile U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo is at the ASEAN summit in Singapore. That is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. CNN's Ivan Watson is covering that for us.

Pompeo has been calling out North Korea at the summit and he was doing so even before this report came out.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. He spoke to journalists here several hours before CNN learned about this confidential United Nations report.

And he came here to Singapore with what is clearly a tougher message for North Korea, certainly a much tougher message than we heard from the Trump administration. A little bit less than two months ago, when President Trump himself was here in Singapore for that historic first face-to-face meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

In this case, Mike Pompeo said that North Korea is not acting in a manner that is consistent with Chairman Kim's obligations, with his commitment, he claims, to denuclearize North Korea. He went on to say he's urging the Southeast Asian nations represented

at this gathering to continue to economically and diplomatically isolate North --


WATSON: -- Korea, to continue enforcement of United Nations Security Council resolutions and sanctions that bar the transfer, illegal transfer of petroleum, from ship to ship, destined for North Korea.

And he singled out Russia in particular, accusing it of helping North Korea evade these sanctions. Take a listen.


MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: We have seen reports that Russia is aligned for joint ventures with North Korean firms and granting new work permits to North Korean guest workers. If these reports prove accurate, then we have every reason to believe they are, that would be in violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 2375.

I want to remind every nation that has supported these resolutions, that this is a serious issue and something we will discuss with Moscow.


WATSON: And you know, Cyril, this is basically a talking shot for diplomats from dozens of different countries. Among the foreign ministers here are the top diplomat from North Korea.

And Secretary Pompeo was asked whether or not he would be meeting with him or he had spoken with the North Korean delegation. At that stage of the morning, he said, no, no conversation whatsoever.

VANIER: So it looks like all the messages that the U.S. has for North Korea are maybe not going to be delivered directly.

Do we know of any meetings, even if it's not at the secretary of state level, any meetings between Americans and North Koreans as far as we know?

WATSON: State Department officials going into this gathering here said there were no meetings planned with the North Koreans. It is possible that something could have happened on sidelines here. And it is possible also that U.S. officials aren't going to tell us immediately about that.

But, you know, they said there wasn't a plan for Secretary Pompeo to sit down with his North Korean counterpart.

That's notable, since it is Pompeo who has kind of led the diplomatic outreach to Pyongyang. He's made several trips there as the CIA director. And more recently as the secretary of state.

And that last trip did not go terribly well. North Korea accused the U.S. of a gangster-like approach after that visit, something that he didn't quite like to hear.

And it's worth noting that he has pointed out, just last week in testimony before lawmakers, Cyril, that North Korea has not suspended its process of developing fissile materials that could be used for nuclear weapons.

VANIER: Recently we've gotten several reports confirmed by satellite pictures that seem to show there is continuing activity on that nuclear and the missile front. There have been gestures of goodwill from North Korea, returning bodies of fallen soldiers during the Korean War. But it does seem we're a far cry from Donald Trump's claim, that North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat. Ivan Watson, reporting live, thank you very much.

Let's turn to Zimbabwe. As day breaks there, there is still uncertainty over this week's presidential election. The opposition party insists it will not accept the victory of the incumbent, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa calls the vote "fraudulent and illegitimate."


NELSON CHAMISA, ZIMBABWEAN OPPOSITION PARTY LEADER: We are not accepting (INAUDIBLE). We are not accepting this (INAUDIBLE). We want the (INAUDIBLE).

We will pursue all means necessary, legal and constitutional, to make sure that we protect the people's vote. The people have voted. They are cheated. The people have won. They are subverting that win. We will not allow it and we will not accept.


VANIER: Despite that, President Emmerson Mnangagwa says the election was peaceful and was transparent.


EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT: With regard to accepting or not accepting the results, Zimbabwe is enjoying democracy. Any member of the public or any political party can proceed in terms of a (INAUDIBLE) and the (INAUDIBLE), challenge the results in the (INAUDIBLE).



VANIER: For Zimbabwe, this vote is critical. A stable election would go far to attract foreign investment and revive the sinking economy but that hope may be put on hold. After preliminary election results were announced, six people were killed in clashes with security forces.

The political crisis comes as the country looks to recover from nearly four decades of authoritarian rule under Robert Mugabe. When Mugabe was forced --


VANIER: -- out last year, many saw that as an opportunity for the country to remake itself. And that's why these elections were pivotal.

Zimbabwean journalist and writer, Peter Godwin, joins me now.

Peter, this election was about one thing: could the country really turn the page of the Mugabe era?

What say you?

PETER GODWIN, JOURNALIST AND WRITER: No. I think that, in a sense, that was a foregone conclusion insofar as Zanu-PF's, Mugabe's party, is still very much an institution in -- it follows his more still. And Emmerson Mnangagwa was Mugabe's assistant or consigliere, if you like, for the last 38 years.

So in that sense, if the country went Zanu-PF, there was no question that the page of history was not been turned.

VANIER: You're saying Zimbabwe can never turn the page of the Mugabe era under Mnangagwa?

GODWIN: Yes. In my opinion that the DNA of Zanu-PF runs very, very deep. This is a political party that was a liberation army before it became a government. And it, like many of the liberation governments, liberation parties in Southern Africa that fought wars for independence, none of them have lost power.

VANIER: But Mnangagwa is saying the things and trying to send out all the -- trying to burnish his democratic credentials, if you will, and saying the right things. Let me read to you some of his latest tweets.

This was in the last few hours after the Zimbabwean police initially tried to break up the press conference by the opposition leader, Mr. Chamisa.

So Mr. Mnangagwa wrote, "The scenes today at the Bronte Hotel have no place in our society and we are urgently investigating the matter to understand exactly what happened.

"Over the past nine months we've protected freedom of speech, of assembly, the right to criticize the government. This is an indispensible part of the new Zimbabwe. It is non-negotiable and will not change," and it goes on.

So Mnangagwa is clearly aware that he has to prove to Zimbabweans and also to the international community that he can be the conduit for democracy.

GODWIN: And fine words indeed they are. But bear in mind that when Mnangagwa himself was the head of the secret police, the minister in charge of internal security for many, many years and that his vice president, General Chiwenga, who was the person who perpetrated the coup against Mugabe, was until extremely recently the head of the army.

So in that sense, the protests about the overreaction of the police and the army to protests following the elections rings a little hollow. I mean, they are a little bit between a rock and a hard place.

They desperately need the approval of the international community to lift sanctions, to encourage new foreign investment, because Zimbabwe, economically, is in an absolutely terrible state. It is a failed state. It has soaring unemployment. The government really doesn't provide any services at all.

So they are desperately in need of these things.


VANIER: They need those loans by the International Monetary Fund. They need to attract international investors.

Now the opposition, Mr. Chamisa in particular, says we do not accept these election results and they are apparently drawing up a plan. They haven't explained what it is yet, as to what they are going to do the next few days. But they don't -- that's their message. They don't accept this.

Where do you see this going?

GODWIN: There have been election irregularities -- and these things don't just start a day or two before the elections. They go back many, many months, before the elections begin; for example, in the electoral role itself, electoral regularities there and they don't get access to the state media.

There are many, many things that they are complaining about. What I think happens now is quite interesting, which is that, to some extent, Emmerson Mnangagwa needs Nelson Chamisa and the MDC to sign off on these elections, which, as you quite rightly say, they are not prepared to do at the moment.

So I think there's a sort of game of chicken going on. And my speculation would be that ultimately where this has to go is toward a government of national unity, that basically Mnangagwa needs the opposition to come on board and then say to the international community, OK, we will do this together.

VANIER: Yes, Mnangagwa has extended an olive branch to Chamisa. You wonder whether perhaps there might be some deal in the making down the road. But it isn't there yet. Peter, thanks so much for joining us today, Peter Godwin, thank you.


VANIER: Sweltering heat in Spain. Europe's deadly heat wave grabs hold of the Iberian Peninsula. However, there is good news in the forecast. We'll have more on that in a moment.





VANIER: A web of intrigue surrounds the woman known as the Manhattan madam and why she agreed to an interview this week with special counsel Robert Mueller's team.

Kristin Davis once ran a high-priced prostitution ring and went to jail for it. On the surface, she doesn't appear to have an connection to the Russia investigation but she does have this: a close relationship with Roger Stone, a long-time adviser to Donald Trump.

That raises the question, could Mueller be going after the Manhattan madam in order to get leverage on a Trump associate?

Parts of Europe are flirting with record high temperatures as a blistering heat wave covers the Iberian Peninsula. In Spain this week, three people died from heatstroke. So this is serious.

Temperatures reached 45 degrees there Friday, the hottest day this year. Authorities are watching for forest fires as well. That's a danger. And though the crushing heat is expected to last through Sunday, it is expected to ease soon.



VANIER: A federal judge slams the U.S. government for failing to reunite children with their parents after they separated them at the border in the first place. Stay with us.




VANIER: Welcome back.

"Unacceptable," that's what a judge is calling the U.S. government's progress in tracking down parents who were separated from their children at the border and then later deported.

Remember, more than 2,500 children were separated as a result of the Trump administration implementing a zero tolerance policy that started in April. And now nearly 500 deported parents still cannot be located. The government suggested advocacy groups help search for them.

On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, said it was willing to help.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the government's left to their own devices, they're not going to find the parents or they're not going to do it quickly. So we have said we just want these children back together. If there's any way we can help, we will.

So we have organized NGOs all over this country and all over the world to help find these parents. All we're asking from the government is give us some information about these parents so we can find them.

Right now, we have a name and a country. Some addresses here or there. We don't know if the addresses are accurate.


VANIER: Still, the ACLU says the responsibility should not shift from the government. And the judge agrees with that because there are still 711 unaccompanied minors in government custody.

So what does the government do with them?

Parents of more than 500 children may have been deported without them. Another reason those children could still be in custody, the government may have found that their parents had criminal convictions and so they cannot legally put them back together.

If these children don't get reunited with their parents, they could be released to either another family member or somebody who qualifies as a sponsor. They could also go into the foster care system and some may end up getting deported back from the United States.

Let's discuss. We're joined by Richard Villasana, founder of Forever Homes for Foster Kids.

Richard, perhaps, naively, I kind of assumed once those families crossed the U.S. border and were taken in by the immigration system here in the U.S., there was a fairly simple way to keep track of everybody and therefore a fairly simple way to reunite everybody.

Why isn't that the case?

RICHARD VILLASANA, FOREVER HOMES FOR FOSTER KIDS: Well, the problem that happened was that the children got separated from their parents. And this was something that has not happened before in the past. And so, as you said, children and parents were kept together. So there was no reason to have this massive tracking system.

But once the decision was made to separate those children From their parents, this has created an incredible problem logistically.

VANIER: But that's my question. And that's the part I don't understand. Again, naively, I kind of thought there would be some big Excel spreadsheet, where every line would correspond, every child would correspondent to a parent and it would be easy to match them again.

VILLASANA: You know, we have seen this throughout history when it --


VILLASANA: -- comes to the Spanish language. These people have two last names. And so we're coming into a culture here in the United States where we only have one last name. So you have John Smith.

These are people that have two last names and most people, unfortunately, in the government, are not familiar with that kind of structure. So they may have just written down that the child's name was Marco Hernandez and that they belonged to Maria and they may have gotten the second last name instead of the first last name.

They could have mixed them up. They could have put one last name as an initial. There are so many different ways to mess up a Spanish last name for a culture that does not understand the structure.

VANIER: And the government is actually saying that some of these children might never see their parents again.

Is that -- do you think that's -- how is that possible?

VILLASANA: Well, that's a very accurate statement. It's extremely possible because, we have to keep in mind, we have children that are 2, 3, 4 years old. Their native language is only Spanish. It's not like they're bilingual.

And these are children who, for the most part, don't know where they grew up, don't have that kind of understanding about where they're from. So they have no way to help.

The same is true with children that come into the U.S. foster care system. They also, if they're at a particular age, they have no way of explaining to authorities who they are and possible relatives they could be reunited with.

VANIER: So, Richard, I'm going to labor this point a little bit because I find it to be of critical importance.

You are telling me that the way the information was entered into the U.S. government's records, when those families were taken in and then separated, may have been so bad, that there may be no way, just two months down the line, to reunite children with their parents?

That's what you're telling me?

VILLASANA: I am telling you that. That is what is going to happen for a significant percentage of these children. They are never going to be reunited with their families.

And, again, I want to stress this point. We can see a parallel to what happens in the U.S. foster system, when we have our own children who are of Hispanic heritage, who are U.S. citizens, who are put into the U.S. foster care system, where they may have a mother, a grandparent living just 50, 100 miles south of the U.S. border and we can't track them down.

VANIER: All right, Richard, thank you very much. And these children are going to remember the day they came to the United States as the day that they were separated from their parents forever, for those who can't be reunited.

Regardless of what one's views are on immigration policy, that is just a stunning statement. Richard Villasana, thank you very much for your time.

VILLASANA: You're very welcome.

VANIER: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. I've got the headlines for you in just a moment as always. Stay with us.