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A Look Back at the Trump-Kim Summit; Trump and Kim Sign Joint Declaration in Singapore; Kim Jong-un: "The World Will See a Major Change". Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired August 30, 2018 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Coming up, we are looking back at some of our favorite interviews this year. And
in this edition, in June, President Trump held a historic meeting with the North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un, in Singapore. Talks continue, but no
progress on the big promises on of denuclearization. Still, tensions are lower for now. We were there at the Singapore summit, and here is a look
back at how it all unfolded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in Singapore.
President Donald Trump and the North Korean Dictator, Kim Jong-un, have now departed after a whirlwind day filled with new images and perhaps even hope
and maybe even a new paradigm for the peninsula for the first time in 70 years.
But with few details available, experts are trying to determine exactly what was actually achieved beyond the headlines and the smiles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: A historic handshake. For first time, an American president meets the leader of North Korea. And later, they sign a joint declaration
in which Kim Jong-un commits to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: At a rare press conference, President Trump took a victory lap.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will say this were much farther along than I would have thought. I did not think we'd be -- I
thought -- and I've told people. I didn't want to build up people's hopes too much. I think that the meeting is every bit as good for the United
States as it was for North Korea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But the statement was relatively vague, similar to previous agreements with North Korea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[14:05:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The joint statement does not talk about verifiable or irreversible denuclearization.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that a concession on the part of the United States?
TRUMP: No. Not at all because if you look at it, I mean it said we are going to -- let's see here. It will be gone -- I don't think it can be
anymore plain than what we're asking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And Trump announced what many see as a major concession right off of the bat and saying that he would immediately call a halt to the
joint military exercises or the war games, as he called them, with South Korea, and even suggested that U.S. troops could be pulled out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I would like to bring them back home, but that's not part of the equation right now. At some point, I hope it will be, but not right now.
We will be stopping the war games which is going to save us a tremendous amount of money unless and until we see that the future negotiation is not
going along like it should. But we will be saving a tremendous amount of money. Plus, I think it's very provocative.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Trump even gave Kim a look inside his presidential limousine, and he showed Kim a video crafted to lay out the economic gains that could
come North Korea's way. And ever the real estate magnate he added.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: As an example, they have great beaches, you see that whenever they are exploding their canons into the ocean, right. I said, "Boy, look at
that view. Wouldn't that make a great condo there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Trump said that human rights came up only very briefly with Kim, and then he went on the praise him as a great negotiator.
So, what should we make of the outcome of this summit and the fact that the joint statement was so short on details about the crucial issue,
Joining me now to discuss this from Monterey, California is Jeffrey Lewis. He is the director of the East Asian Nonproliferation program at the
Middlebury Institute of International Studies there. And he has been warning for a long time that the first step to towards peace is to lower
So, Jeffrey Lewis, welcome. Given that you are talking about lowering expectations, what -- how do you analyze what happened after the joint
communique? Was that better or not as good as you expected?
JEFFERY LEWIS, DIRECTOR OF THE EAST ASIA NONPROLIFERATION PROGRAM, MIDDLEBURY INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: I didn't lower my
expectations quite far enough. You know, what the joint statement says on the issue that I care about, reducing the threat from North Korea's nuclear
weapons is really just a reaffirmation of the statement that Kim Jong-un made to President Moon, which uses this word denuclearization.
And I think it's probably very important to say that the word denuclearization does not mean disarmament. And so, I think that the two
parties are as far apart as they have ever been.
AMANPOUR: Jeffrey Lewis, there has been a roundup, if you look on all the sort of instant analysis over to the last several hours since this
happened. There is quite a lot of skepticism about precisely that point and another point, which is the halting of the war games.
But let me first press you on the denuclearization. The word was are referred to a lot, President Trump kept saying that it will happen quickly.
Leader Kim Jong-un has pledged that it will happen. I know it will happen, I know he wants to do it. But I think everyone is still confused as to
what exactly each side means by that. And what is the difference between denuclearization and disarmament and denuclearization on the Korean
peninsula as opposed to denuclearization of North Korea?
[14:10:00] LEWIS: Well, I think that is the absolutely crucial point. The word denuclearization is a North Korean word. It's the word that the North
Koreans chose back in the late 1980s early 1990s when they didn't have nuclear weapons, but the United States did have them on the Korean
So, when the North Koreans talk about denuclearization, what they mean is a process by which relations are improved and some day in the future maybe,
for example, like President Obama's proud speech, you know, we get to a world in which we won't need nuclear weapons anymore.
So, denuclearization is about putting improvement of relationship first and disarmament second, maybe never. The United States has always criticized
that that, arguing that what we want is disarmament and an actual dismantlement of the facilities. And the idea is we need to do that first
and then the relationship gets better.
So, you really have this fundamental difference of opinion about what is supposed to come first, the disarmament or the improvement of the
relations. And simply saying that denuclearization of the Korean peninsula doesn't really help us do much more than paper over that.
AMANPOUR: Well, in terms of getting on the road to a better relationship, that seems to have been the big takeaway from this summit, both leaders
praise each other, you heard President Trump obviously very, very copiously praising and fully praising Leader Kim.
And in his very brief comments, the North Korean leader talked about a historic change on the way, the past is behind us, and you'll -- the world
will see major change. If you were trying to figure out what that major change would be and the time line, what do you think are the next steps and
is the ball now in North Korea's court?
LEWIS: Well, I think it's actually a very unclear what the next steps are going to be. And part of this is a difference in what the United States is
saying and what the United States is doing.
You know, what we're doing is denuclearization, which is to say we're putting the improvements in the relationship first and we are not really
insisting that North Korea give any nuclear capabilities up. The problem is every time President Trump is asked about this, he says, "Oh, no, no,
no. Kim will start very soon."
So, for me, the big question is going to be who takes the next step? I think it is unlikely that Kim will do anything more than a few cosmetic
steps towards disarmament. And so, I think it will ultimately be up to the United States to continue the policy of finding things to give the North
Koreans to keep them on their best behavior.
AMANPOUR: It sounds a lot like -- I mean, you said finding things to keep giving the North Koreans. I think everybody was quite stunned by the
president, it seemed like it was off of the cuff and it was not in the declaration, they didn't sign it to say they are stopping the war games.
We don't know what does that means. Is it temporary? Is it a full stop? Is it the entire gamut of the military exercises? Is it not? We just
don't know what it means.
South Korea, at least, the military there, seems to have been surprised by it, saying that we need to get clarity on what that means. What do you
think having been offered that precisely means?
LEWIS: So, I truly don't know what the president was getting at. You know, the North Koreans have called for a reduction in the size and the
scope of the exercises and obviously, they would like them all to be canceled.
It's hard to imagine the military ever accepting the way that the president framed it, which was who pays to practice. The answer to that is everyone
pays to practice, the way that you build a capable and ready military is by doing exercises.
I don't think anybody disagrees that we shouldn't consider changing the exercises so that they match the political relationship. And if things are
going well, then of course, why do a provocative exercise. But, you know, the problem is that the president didn't say it in those moderate terms.
What he did was issue a blanket condemnation of all military exercises.
So, it's just -- it's hard for me to believe he meant it, but that's what he said. it is exercises so they match the political relationship and if
things are going well, then of course, why do a provocative exercise, but the problem is that the president did not say it in those moderate terms.
What he did was to issue a blanket condemnation of the military exercise, and so it is hard for me to believe that he meant it, but that's what he
AMANPOUR: And actually, others have pointed out that those military exercises are not just about protecting the allies and containing North
Korea, they're also about a big signal to contain China as well and keep the United States relevant in that Asia Pacific region.
Does that part of it -- is that now part of it now in question? I guess, since President Trump has always wanted to do this, do you think he is
deliberately -- this is not an accident, what he said, he is deliberately setting up the future for a -- not just reduction in those games, but
eventually pulling out the troops, as he said, that he wanted the do.
LEWIS: Yes, you know, this is one of the things that gets papered over in our kind of the bipartisan discussions in Washington. There is usually a
traditional view that the United States should be allied with South Korea, but there is always a dissenting view. President Carter famously talked
about pulling all U.S. troops out of South Korea.
[14:15:00] So, you know, I think this idea that the United States should not be in South Korea, although it's really outside of what would typically
be considered a mainstream discussion in D.C., I think it's something that President Trump sincerely believes. And so for him, it's not really a
AMANPOUR: Jeffrey Lewis, it is clear that when one starts personal relationships, it often leads to the ability to change the dynamic
politically. I mean, you just have to go back to the Reagan and Gorbachev, the two of them did it together, it was not one or the other, and led to
eventually what we know it led to.
Are you -- I mean, I guess, are you willing to concede that that might be the case here? And a double-barrel question, the president keeps saying
that he's the only one who could do this, that Kim Jong-un knows that he is the only one who could do this, that what he achieved in this summit,
beyond just the meeting, was a much more robust, much more, you know, determinative deal than any other U.S. president had achieved or had been
able to do?
LEWIS: Well, I'll take the questions in the reverse order. As a factual matter, it's just not true that there's anything in the communique hasn't
been agreed to by the United States and North Korea dozens of times in the past, whether it's the resumption of efforts to recover the remains of
American servicemen killed in the Korean war or whether it's North Korea's oft repeated enthusiasm for denuclearization
In fact, when I look at that agreement, it could have been written in Pyongyang. But I will give the president this, he is the only person who
could do this, but because his base simply does not care. I'm at the moment being bombarded on Twitter by people who are just unironically
saying that North Korea has given up their nuclear weapons.
And so, I think it's easier for the president given his base to bring along a large group of people who would normally oppose something like this. So,
you know, there John Bolton sits, you know, chewing on his mustache.
To go back to the -- no. Go ahead.
AMANPOUR: No, no. You go ahead. Well, actually, you mentioned John Bolton and you did actually tweet about John Bolton. Of course, he is the
(INAUDIBLE) to the North Koreans but he was very prominent, he was in the meetings, he was at the table, you could see him at one point talking to
President Trump and even to Kim Jong-un, it looked like, when they were standing in the huddle. So, he was there/
But you have said, presumably, you know, if Kim does not disarm, presumably that would empower hawkish officials like Bolton to call for a tougher
stance. Do you worry about that? I mean, the question really is, what is -- what will happen if he doesn't go and do all of the things that
President Trump assured all of the world that he would do?
LEWIS: Well, so that goes back to the other question that I didn't end up answering, which is how much does personal rapport matter in the context
like this? You know, I think you're absolutely right that when two leaders share a common vision, then they have the political will to push past
obstacles. And so, that's a good thing.
But the thing that worries me is we've seen that President Trump is -- well, you know, he changes his mind. You know, if February 2017, Justin
Trudeau came to the White House and President Trump talked about how much he liked it. What then happened is despite the personal rapport, there are
real serious issues, serious issues that, at least, are important to the president. He didn't get what he wanted in the G7 summit. And now, you
know, things have collapsed in acrimony. I worry that the same thing may happen here.
It's a lot of cherry bonhomie at the moment. But sooner or later, it will be clear that Kim is not giving up the nuclear weapons and then the
question is, will Trump feel like he has been cheated?
AMANPOUR: Well, do you think the United States could live with a nuclear North Korea along with major, you know, arm control agreements around it?
Do you think that's how it might end up?
LEWIS: Well, I think the United States should live with a nuclear armed North Korea. I would have preferred that we not get in this spot in the
first place, but here we are.
It's an interesting question whether we can. I mean, can we as a country accept that a particular foreign policy has failed and that we just have to
take the world as it is. You know, I think that's it's quite a hard thing to do and politicians rarely are rewarded for telling people to eat their
vegetables. But at the end of the day, yes, I think that we need to take North Korea as it is, make the progress that we can and, you know, accept
that there are some things that we will not be able to fix, at least not in the near term.
AMANPOUR: Really fascinating perspective. Thank you so much, Jeffrey Lewis from Monterey.
And we're going to turn and ask that question now in South Korea, where there are mixed messages following today's summit. While President Moon
Jae-in expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the talks, his defense department was more conscious saying that it needs to "figure out
President Trump's accurate meaning and intention about ending those joint military exercises."
My next guest Chung-in Moon joins me now from Seoul with his own perspective on today's meetings. He is a distinguished professor at Yonsei
University and as a national security adviser to President Moon. He was in the room for the historic meeting with Kim Jong-un at the demilitarized
zone back in April. That meeting did in fact led to the ones that we've witnessed here in Singapore.
So, Chung-in Moon, welcome to the program. And let me just ask you off the bat, do you think the world might have to live with nuclear armed North
Korea under a rigorous and robust arms control regime?
[14:20:00] MOON CHUNG-IN, SPECIAL ADVISER TO SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT: No. I don't think so. You know, we can really - we can still make North Korea
give up the nuclear weapons. And I think that I still believe in hope in the negotiated settlement of North Korea nuclear problem.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Moon, you heard what Jeffrey Lewis said and you have seen the declaration for itself and you are enough of an expert to know that it
was not very detailed and that almost none of those points were any different than what North Korea has said to South Korea in the past, and
indeed, what North Korea has said to the previous U.S. presidents.
So, where does your faith come? What is your actual technical reason for believing that they will disarm, denuclearize? In other words, let's put
it simply, get rid of their nuclear weapons?
CHUNG-IN: No. When President Moon Jae-in had in depths discussion with the Chairman Kim Jong-un in Panmunjom on April 27th, they talked about
complete denuclearization. And we understand it is meant the complete verifiable and irreversible dismantling of North Korean nuclear materials,
facilities and weapons. And I understand that the (INAUDIBLE) declaration really reflect the extension of the Panmunjom declaration.
Therefore, I understand President Trump, President Moon and Chairman Kim, they all share the common understanding of CVID when they talk about
AMANPOUR: So, just to be -- just to get down into the weeds, many people believe that when the North Korean people say it and when they add the
words of the Korean peninsula, that means not just them but the whole sort of alliance, in other words what the U.S. has, we know it's not based
inside South Korea, but it's based on ships and on planes within range.
Do you think -- I mean, just to push you that the North Koreans will disarm their own verifiably, irreversibly and completely, or are they going to
wait for a situation where it happens on the whole peninsula with U.S. included?
CHUNG-IN: Not necessarily. You know, because if you go back to 1992, both North and South Korea adopted a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
So, was the declaration both North and South Korea, and that's supposed manufacturer, test, deploy, use and transfer nuclear weapons.
Therefore, it is my understanding that the -- when they talk about denuclearization of Korean peninsula, they are really referring to the 1992
declaration under denuclearization of Korea. If there is a, you know, full understanding on what is meant by denuclearization.
AMANPOUR: Okay. Well, of course, they didn't have weapons at that time and they do now. But can I ask you what you think your country is going to
make of President Trump's announcement at the press conference, again, it was not in the declaration, but that they would stop what he called the war
games with South Korea?
[14:25:00] CHUNG-IN: Look, whether we have a joint military exercise in training or not, it is the decision by the alliance, not by the leader of
one country. Therefore, even the president of the United States cannot make a unilateral decision on whether to the continue or not to continue
the war game. It's usually the resort of a mutual confrontation. Therefore, I don't worry about it.
And eventually, President Trump will be talking about President Moon, and they will, you know, come -- share a common understanding. And to my
understanding is this, when he talk about, you know, expansive, you know, nature of this, you know, joint military exercise, he is really referring
to the deployment of the steady assets such as B-52 or B-2, you know, bombers.
Therefore, I would say that, you know, there would be continuation of (INAUDIBLE) joint military exercise and training, maybe. But as a result
of the President Trump's remarks, they may not be the deployment of steady asset.
As a matter of fact, the North Korea has been telling South Korea if United States and South Korea do not deploy strategic assets they are willing to
tolerate our annual, you know, combined military exercise and training. Therefore, I understand in that way, not just in a suspending or, you know,
stopping of the war game.
AMANPOUR: Okay. So now, let's flip it a little bit. Your president has called this a historic, he praised both leaders. And many in the alliance
have said -- including in Europe and Japan and elsewhere, that this is a really important moment.
So, what do you think the steps will be going forward? For instance, in the declaration, the United States named Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as
their chief negotiators. The North Koreans haven't named anybody. I mean, you think that they would have had the opportunity to think about it, these
apparently were points drummed up way before the summit. Does that say anything to you? Why wouldn't they have named somebody to meet up with
Secretary of State Pompeo?
AMANPOUR: Maybe you're quite understandable. Up until now it was with ad hoc situation for North Korea that is why Vice Chairman Kim Yong-chol was
handling this issue. But once they to get into the specifics of the nuclear negotiation, then people like Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho or Vice
Chairman (INAUDIBLE) becomes the front line.
Therefore, North Korea may need the time to the discuss who should be dealing with, you know, Secretary Pompeo. That is why they didn't give a
name. But eventually, Pyongyang will come up with very specific names. But it will be most likely that it will be foreign minister-related guys
rather than the Department of United Foreign Korean workers party.
AMANPOUR: And let me just ask you, you know, you heard President Trump several times refer to Leader Kim, and he said that he was a great
personality, very smart, good combination, a worthy, very smart negotiator, absolutely very talented, he said, absolutely sure that he actually wanted
CVID, that acronym that we've been throwing around, complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization and disarmament.
What do you make of those words? You also have been in the room with Kim Jong-un, do you see that he has a historic shift in the attitude and
CHUNG-IN: Yes, I think so. He has made fundamental change, you know, what we called in a paradigm change, paradigm change in his way of conducting
the foreign policy. And then, also, it is very, very important for President Trump to cultivate personal dynamics with Chairman Kim Jong-un.
Okay. When Secretary Pompeo, you know, negotiate with his counterpart of North Korea, if things go wrong, then suppose President Trump would make a
phone call to Chairman Kim Jong-un, then they can fix the -- you know, all of the problems.
Look, North Korea is a country of one-man rule. It's a country of monolithic leadership. Therefore, once Kim Jong-un makes a decision, then
things get done in the sense that personal dynamics between the two leaders seems to be very, very important elements in the future ventures.
AMANPOUR: And then, very briefly we have 30 seconds. Is there anything that worries you? Are there any risks you see on the horizon?
CHUNG-IN: No, I don't think. It's just the beginning. Of course, devil is in the details. But we understand North Korea quite well. Therefore, I
think that we can -- we'll be able to overcome the current huddles.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Chung-un Moon, thank you so much for joining us from your national security perspective there in Seoul.
So, while allies and rivals in this region try to figure out exactly where all the pieces will fit, and as we wait to see when the North Korean start
their pledged denuclearization process. That is it for our program tonight.
Remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at Amanpour.com and you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
[14:30:00] Thanks for watching and goodbye Singapore.