tv Amanpour on PBS PBS April 30, 2018 6:00am-6:30am PDT
welcome to amanpour on pbs. tonight, from south korea, the summit heard around the world as kim jong-un alongside president moon jae-in pledged no more war on the korean peninsula and complete denuclearization. my interview with the south korean president's special adviser who was at the summit. plus, the latest international reaction as president trump hails the positive progress on the peninsula. two long time korean workers join me to discuss where we go from here.
good evening and welcome to the program. i'm christiane amanpour in seoul, south korea. a new history starts now. those words from kim jong-un during what's been a remarkable day here on the korean peninsula. the two korean leaders were as we've never seen before standing side by side smiling and joking as they dealt with critical matters like nuclear weapons and peace. the two men did, indeed, make history. first standing together at the dmz and walking back and forth across the demarcation line then signing the so-called panmunjom declaration, a three-page document covering several issues. most importantly a goal to farmly end tfarm -- formally end the war with a peace treaty and a commitment to comprehensive denuclearization. here's moon jae-in. >> translator: there will not be
more war on the korean peninsula. this we declare. today chairman kim and i have agreed a complete denuclearization will be achieved and that is our common goal. >> and kim jong-un delivered this message. note, he did not mention the "d" word, denuclearization. >> translator: we are not a people that should be confronting each other. we are of the same people and should live in unity. i hope we should be able to live peacefully in the future. >> meanwhile, at the white house, president trump is hosting germany's chancellor angela merkel who, like macron, is trying to keep the u.s. in the iran deal. trump took a moment to praise this summit over here. >> a lot of very positive things happened over the last 24 hours. we're in total touch with both north korea and south korea. we'll be setting up a meeting
very shortly. we have it broken down to probably two sites now, two or three sites, locations and hopefully we'll have great success. we'll see what happens but hopefully we'll have great success. >> as a special adviser to president moon, my guest, chung-in moon was present at the summit socializing freely, he says, with members of the north korean delegation and he even chatted with kim jong-un's powerful and ever-present sister. now back from the dmz, he told me all about the day's events. welcome back to the program. an amazing day for you. tell me, how did it feel? there are pictures of you at the banquet. how did it feel to be there? >> the banquet was very amicable and south korean members could freely go to the ted table and propose a toast to chairman kim jong-un. >> really? >> yes, and at the same time the wife of chairman kim jong-un and chairman kim jong-un's sister
kim il jong with at the head table. it made the atmosphere much more amicable and lively. >> it was really as relaxed as it looked? >> it was extremely relaxed. people were moving around different tables, proposing a toast and congratulating the success of the summit. >> and did you expect it to be like that? >> no, i didn't expect it, i thought there must be some kind of tension, some kind of difficulty in arriving at that kind of declaration but i didn't see the kinds of difficulties. >> how did kim come across? what was his persona like? his body language? did you shake his hand? did he look you in t the eye? >> oh, yes. he's just ordinary and normal. but he has charisma, but he's extremely friendly, willing to accommodate any person's approach. of course the setting was
somewhat different, last night's banquet. but however he was very, very -- he showed very ordinary and amicable behavior towards the other members from south korea. >> what was the most important thing for you given how long you've worked on this issue, given the tragedy of the separation of north and south and how many people have had their families ripped apart? what was it like for you to see and to be in close quarters with the leader of north korea? >> two leaders declared the end of the war and beginning of peace in the korean peninsula. that's quite significant. no one could bet in that awe dishes way. that was a very significant achievement of the third summit and another important issue, that is the issue of north korean nuclear north korean leader agreed to make a complete
denuclearization and both leaders committed themselves to creating nuclear weapons-free korean peninsula. >> it's interesting that you're so energized by that because so much commentary is still asking what does it really mean? you know, is there a timetable? is there really good will by chairman kim to actually dismantle his nuclear program? or what might it mean? what might he really want. you believe the wording in the declaration which says complete denuclearization is, what? destruction of their program? >> that is to be worked out between president trump and chairman kim jong-un. >> leaving the hard work for president trump. >> the whole point is we induced north korea to declare that they wanted to go for complete denuclearization.
comprehensive denuclearization. the devil is in the details but the devil in the details should be worked out between president trump and mr. kim jong-un. >> do you think that's possible? what makes you think that kim jong-un wants to destroy his nuclear weapons? up until now, he has considered himself a nuclear power. that's what he told the workers congress the other day. he has told north korea this is what we are now and the nuclear weapons are his passport to regime survival. >> during the plenary session of the korean worker's party the chairman made it very clear our goal is economic development what he calls the so-called reconstruction of socialist economy. of course, he has been pursuing simultaneous development of nuclear weapons and economic development but he knows while having nuclear weapons he cannot
go for economic development. no one would make an investment in north korea, sanctions would continue therefore it's my understanding the president of chairman kim jong-un is willing to give up nuclear weapons if terms are right, if he can really revitalize north korean economy. >> and what are the terms? the united states would have to remove its nuclear umbrella? >> that could be one request but north korea has been asking what they call the verifiable dismantling of american neps in south korea. they have been requesting non-deployment of strategic wednesday during the u.s. joint military exercises in training. they have been arguing that the united states should declare it would not pose a conventional and nuclear threat to north korea and have normalization of diplomatic ties between the normalization of two koreas. that's what they have been been
demanding. >> but, again, what brought them to this point to you think? why now? >> north korea argues it has completed, therefore it has credible nuclear deterrence. therefore they believe the united states cannot attack north korea. with that kind of assurance, they want to have a talk with the united states. then the argument is if the united states can come up with acceptable terms then they're willing to give up nuclear weapons. >> so you've talked to -- privately, i guess -- to your north korean counterparts. what do they say about wanting to engage with the united states? >> they want it to be a normal country, normal state to be recognized by the united states, innocent american investment coming into america that. they welcome america's con sp e consortium. >> the whole capitalist thing? >> yeah, they want the trump
tower and mcdonald's and all these kinds of things but this is my understanding if there is that kind of normalization between the u.s. and the north korea takes place then there will be the guarantee of north korean regime. >> i just want to get back to some of the atmospherics because i think people were surprised when they heard this man who they no so little about, chairman kim jong-un as your president kept calling him, joking, at one point he today president moon "i understand our missiles tests have been keeping you up at night, you have to get up at the crack of dawn and go to special meetings, now you can sleep better" and president moon said "now i'll have an easier sleep. those are quite sophisticated jokes. >> it's extremely sophisticated. today you saw chairman kim jong-un crossed the demilitarized line from north korea into south korea then president moon told him i have
never been to north korea, then he said why don't we go back to north korea? instantly. >> it's incredible. >> it is, an impromptu response, it's quite amazing. >> >> i was also struck by what kim jong-un said to president moon in front of these cameras about his own country'sorty, its lack of infrastructure, he basically said that, you know, the roads are toobad. if you come to pyongyang i'm going to have to meet you at the airport. >> in fact, president moon wanted to go to the mountain, if he wanted to go there then -- because we don't have an educated infrastructure therefore it would be very hard. that's why i came down to panmunjom. he made that kind of statement. >> isn't that odd that a north korean leader who presents himself to his people as almost god like as his country being nirvana will, in front of the
world, admit that actually things are not all great in north korea. not even the roads. >> it's the new face of current north korean leadership. he's been very frank and honest. what he does not have in north korea then he would admit, i don't have it. he would not come up with some kind of presumption argument. i think there is some -- something strong of president kim jong-un. >> and when he signed the guest book he said "history starts now." that, again, is pretty dramatic. were you expecting that? >> well, i didn't expect that one. even i didn't expect that. he used the term "peace and prosperity." that's kind of been the monopoly of south korea not north korea but he used those terms therefore i think he has been trying to understand south korea from south korean point of view which is why he's been choosing
those words. >> i wonder what he would think if he came here. the difference between pyongyang and seoul is night and day and it's interesting that that part of his character that he reveals. but as you said the devil is in the details. they talked about a peace treaty. from you understanding, how serious is that and how long will it take to negotiate that? it's not within south korea's purview, it's the united states, china, it's other nations that have to sign the formal peace treaty. is there any date, aspirational date for that to happen? >> no date is set but they are hoping they would declare end of the korean war within this year and a lot of people questioned would it be possible but look north korea and south korea committed. president trump sent blessings to the ending of the korean war
and china said they also support ending the war on the korean peninsula. then north, south korea, u.s., china, they all agreed. that it's a matter of commitment on our side on the side of north korea. >> if it was you, what would you tell president trump about kim jong-un, the positive and the caution. what would you say? >> it would be very positive. >> you would just be very positive. >> i would give a very positive recommendation. i think north korea can be -- north korean leader can be a person to negotiate with. i think it's worthwhile for president trump to have a talk with chairman kim jong-un. >> these summits have happened before, this is the third and declarations have been made before, similar declarations, and they've not come to anything, anything long term. do you think this is different? >> there is a difference because both north korean leader and
south korean leader shared the view that past agreements should not be violated, they should be honored, that was the first in an ateam that was discussed between the two leaders and chairman kim jong-un raised the issue. we made several agreements in the past that they were not honored. this time we make an agreement, we wish to keep them. >> well, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us dr. moon chung-in, thank you. >> thank you, thank you very much. if the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step you can only imagine the sense of possibility that many koreans may have felt as they watched kim jong-un cross into the southern side of the dmz. so are we about to see that sense of unity between koreans north and south return? and what will it take to rid the north of nuclear weapons? let's bring in david sanger, national security correspondent for the "new york times" and
do-yon kim, a senior research fellow at the research forrim. what do you think the reaction is here in south korea? areeople sitting on the edge of their seats? does it matter? what do you think? >> my sense is that the south korean public at large is hopeful but more skeptical than before because we've seen this movie so many times before. similar atmospherics, not as cheerful and cheery but similar pronouncements of peace, similar agreements for peace and unification and no hostilities and an end to war but they've seen the north has never lived up to their end of the bargain so in general i think they're more skeptical. >> that's probably a logical thing to do anyway, right, david? wait and see, see what happens next. what did you get out of the optics, the tune communique
particularly as a course-setter for a trump/kim jong-un summit? >> it went about as well as it could go for setting up the trump meeting and it was designed by both of them to do that because mr. kim wants to be able to go out and be seen with the president of the united states, that's never happened with a north korean leader before and mr. moon, the south korean president, knows he's going to have to play the mediator when the inevitable breakdown comes in these kind of conversations and will be through many crises between now and the future. what struck me were two things. the first is that mr. kim has driven this train since the day the olympics diplomacy started. he has been setting the pace, taking all the initiatives, you saw that as he invited president moon to step into north korean territory. the second thing that struck me is that he recognizes while the sanctions are hurting, while i
think president trump deserves a fair bit of credit for forcing card that he can be the great destroyer of the peninsula. people have a hard time remembering that 65 years ago the scenes behind you here was utter rubble. it looked like syria today. >> and that i think is so important because you heard the adviser to president moon talk about now chairman kim wants to essentially create this kind of thing inside north korea. that would be the dream, right? he wants economic development. president trump just said in his meeting with angela merkel and the south korean foreign minister said there will be no letup of sanctions, maximum pressure will continue until they see action on dismantling and declearizing. what do you think it will take to see action? we didn't hear a plan at fall
the communique today. >> well, today's declaration was not intended to have specifics and a timeline and sequence on the nuclear issue. that's the game between trump and kim and this was the stage setter to springboard to keep a political space open so president trump can have his meeting with kim so that battle will be played between kim and trump and i think that trump administration is smart to have that stance where they won't lift sanctions until the north does show concrete steps and we've had past experiences where the north had left off and we can pick up where they left off in the six-party talks. they disabled key plume producing facilities. they tried to devise a road map for dismantlement, they couldn't get there because there was a disagreement over protocol.
those are the concrete steps when they're taking off line facilities. >> president trump praised the summit and said he hopes it will lead to bigger and better things. david, you've obviously covered these things before. we've seen a picture that tells a thousand words. we've seen the raised hands between three different south korean presidents and two different north korean leaders and i know it's hard to -- it's hard to imagine how it's going to get to the denouement that the west wants and south korea wants. >> it is because you have to think at the end of the day kim jong-un knows it's his nuclear weapons that are keeping his family business going. >> but do you think he did think that for the first few years? now he's declared himself a nuclear state, he's told his people he is and he can sit down as leader to leader and deal with the economics? >> he can if he can figure out a way in which the world will
allow him to basically enter arms control treaties instead of arms elimination treaties. i think he's willing to give up some of his arsenal. we don't know how big his arsenal is, if you believe the cia, slightly over 20 weapons, if you believe the defense intelligence agency, maybe 60 weapons. this gets to the critical point that was referred to before which is verifying this however it turns out is going to be one big nightmare because it's a large country full of mountains, full of tunnels. it will be a much harder inspection process of anything we faced in iran or iraq. >> i still can't get my head around how the president of the united states could seriously want to pull his country out of the only thing that has brought at least some security to iran's nuclear program but that is what they're saying they may do. given what you've just said,
given that iran has a lot of verification. what do you think will happen? what do you think the effect on this korean process will be if, in fact, they pull out of the iran deal? >> well, the first question is if he does -- if president trump decides to pull out of it the message it sends to the rest of the world -- kim jong-un included, is any deal you strike today can get undone by the next president which gives you a lower level of confidence out here. the second message it sends and i think the harder one for president trump. he's going to have to get more out of kim jong-un than barack obama and john kerry got out of the iranian mullahs and the iranian shipped 97% of their fuel out of the country. if there was 97% of north korean fuel being shipped out of the country and all of its weapons -- the iranians didn't have weapons yet -- t there wou be celebrations in the streets out here so the president is
setting a very high bar for himself. >> and yet to play devil's advocate, if he did get to denuclearization it would be a much bigger deal precisely because iran didn't have nuclear weapons. this would be a big deal. >> and like david said, the verification protocol would have to be far more intrusive but in south korea, especially in japan sure we can imagine a scenario in which kim jong-un might be willing to cap or limit some parts of its programs but that does not solve the problem. that just means they can keep their weapons and still be a threat to south korea and japan so south koreans in particular were not happy to hear secretary designate pompeo in his tearing mention that the problem is the icbm and emphasize so much on the icbm and be a threat to america. >> that's very interesting. what do you make of what the regional powers have been saying. they've all praised it and said this is a very good step.
japan has its own issues including theabductees, including disputed territories. china presumably is kind of concerned maybe that north korea may cut a deal with the united states at its expense. what do you think the surrounding powers are feeling? >> well, they look at president trump and they see a man who is always looking for a reason to pull american troops back. when maggie haberman and i interviewed him, he talked about pulling troops back and letting japan build their own nuclear weapons. i think they are nervous if a deal is struck here the temptation in the trump administration is going to be okay, i don't think they trusted very much that the united states could go off and do that and they would be safe. >> the other phenomenon we've not witnessed is diplomatic curling on the korean peninsula.
so you have people who want in the center of the korean peninsula and you want president trump and xi jinping and abe wants in on the saks. china is nervous about this whole peace process that they will be front and center and won't be able to dictate where the peace process ends up so everyone wants to crowd into this pie called the korean peninsula after i think the trump/kim summit. >> and very quickly, we have a half minute left. what did you make of the optics? >> it was historic but they certainly achieved their goal of creating this atmosphere and mood of peace. it was certainly cheery and cheerful and friendly. very different from past summits but, again it's what happens after the end of the agreement. >> and nobody knew kim jong-un could joke and he did throw a few jokes out. >> he seemed incredibly comfortable in his own skin and his father was awkward.
hiss grandfather was pretty awkward and maybe that year in switzerland had a bigger effect on his understanding of the west than we knew. >> we haven't talked because it wasn't on the agenda about human rights and kim jong-un's own record as, you know, killing his uncle, his brother, it's quite an amazing situation that happened given the whole context. thank you both very much indeed. >> thank you. that's it for our program. thanks for watching amanpour on pbs. joins us again next time.
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