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John Kerry Interview; Dialogue About Philippines. Aired 2-2:30p
Aired November 6, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight North Korea's nuclear weapons dominate President Trump's major Asia tour. Former Secretary of State John
Kerry has this advice.
JOHN KERRY, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Part of the risk right now is the risk of unintended consequence. The risk of tweeting yourself or insulting
yourself into a position where something happens.
AMANPOUR: Next, Trump will meet with strongman President Duterte of the Philippines. His war on drugs has drawn international outrage but Trump is
said to have warmer feelings as we hear form Duterte's spokesman.
HARRY ROQUE, DUTERTE'S SPOKESPERSON: It's going to be very interesting because you have two individuals who are very much alike in their thinking,
in their language and even in their demeanor meeting each other for the first time.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. President Trump is now well into his
longest trip yet to Asia. And the main focus is on North Korea. He stopped first in Japan for talks and a round of golf with fellow Korea hulk
(ph) the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
And they signed some Trump campaign style hats emblazoned with Make the Alliance Even Greater. Press reports indicate that Trump privately
questioned Abe's decision not to down a North Korean missile fired over Hokkaido earlier this year. And, President Trump also defended his own
fire and fury rhetoric.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The era of strategic patience is over. Some people said that my rhetoric is very strong but
look what's happened with very weak rhetoric over the last 25 years. Look where we are right now.
AMANPOUR: Indeed, in an extremely rare interview last week the highest ranking North Korean diplomat to defect in decades told me that while that
rhetoric may have stopped Kim Jong Un from threatening the U.S. territory of Guam, now's the time for serious strategy.
President Obama had warned the incoming president this would be his greatest global challenge. And, earlier to day, I spoke with Obama's
former Secretary of State John Kerry and I asked him whether the horse is actually bolted the stable. And, North Korea would have to be accepted as
a nuclear power.
JOHN KERRY, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Lots of gun phrase (ph) and lots of individual leaders on occasion don't want to do something until they have
to and they realize (ph) they do. I'm not going to accept any North Korean statement that we're not going to do this or that. The world is moving
towards a world of less nuclear weapons. And, I think what the president needs to do is make sure he's not feeding into North Korea's fear of regime
change or of a unilateral attack or otherwise.
And I think the rhetoric today has frankly stepped over the line with respect to the messages that are being sent. It's giving North Korea a
reason to say hey we need a bomb because if we don't have a bomb we're going to not be able to protect ourselves and they'll come after us.
AMANPOUR: You were the one who negotiated with the Iranians with your counterpart the Iran Nuclear Agreement. President Trump has taken steps
not to certify it again and we don't know whether the Congress is going to put sanctions on it therefore nullify the deal. There must really - that
must hit you in the gut.
KERRY: Well the Iran Nuclear Agreement is working. That's the important thing. The world needs to embrace the fact that the region is safer, the
world is safer because Iran agreed to live by certain standards and the IAA, the International Atomic Administration has eight times certified that
Iran is living up to this agreement.
So, why would the United States be the moving party to try to break apart something that prevents them from having a nuclear weapon and it does
prevent them from having it? So, let's not break that apart. Let's recognize the advantage and work to bring Iran to the table on the other
issues of importance to the region.
AMANPOUR: Do you wish you could have got those other issues because that's exactly what the Trump administration says that it didn't bring all the
relevant issues in and it has a sunset clause?
KERRY: But the reason it didn't do that is very specific. If we had tied missiles or Yemen or Hezbollah to the nuclear agreement, you've still be in
Vienna negotiating. There was only one objective, get rid of a nuclear weapon. That objective was achieved and the world is better off
negotiating with a country that doesn't have a nuclear weapon, where there isn't that threat looming over you than you are with one.
Now, with respect to the sunset, there's no sunset to this agreement. They are misleading the world when they say there's a sunset. It is misleading
to people to suggest that really relevant, impactful, penetrating components of the oversight suddenly disappear. We have an ability to know
what Iran is doing for the life of this agreement.
AMANPOUR: So what would you say as South Korean national security advisor to the president told be that if the United States, if your administration
had paid even a fifth of the negotiation time and attention to North Korea which was zooming along with it's missiles and nuclear program as you did
with Iran, we might not be in this situation-
KERRY: Well, unfortunate, yes-
AMANPOUR: --Right no. That the whole strategic patience thing has-
KERRY: With all due respect, that's not accurate. We actually did a lot of things, we send emissaries, we asked the Chinese to send emissaries.
North Korea actually rebuffed our envoy and would not allow our envoy to travel to North Korea when we did a back channel under the table, quite
effort at diplomacy to try to move with the north.
SO I think that's just not accurate. There were lots of efforts to engage and one of the principal efforts were our efforts to get China to do more.
China ratcheted up it's sanctions twice under our administration and we recommended - President Obama recommended and I recommended publicly
otherwise to the new administration they need to continue to ratchet them up.
But to have had tougher sanctions on Iran which doesn't a weapon than we do on North Korea which has been blowing up nuclear tests, just doesn't make
sense. As I said earlier, the sanctions we have today against Iran - against North Korea are not as tough as the ones we had against Iran.
AMANPOUR: Well then how do you assess what people in Washington and New York and foreign policy circles in United States are putting the chance of
a war and U.S. preemptive action anywhere between 20 to 50 percent?
KERRY: I think it's impossible for anybody to say anything except are there real risks? And the answer is yes, they are real. Can I quantify
them? I'm not going to try to do that, I don't think one can.
AMANPOUR: So real risks of a war you say?
KERRY: There are real - there are risks. But part of the risk right now is the risk of unintended consequence. The risk of Tweeting yourself or
insulting yourself into position where something happens.
I do think that this series of meetings the President is having are extremely important and I hope the President can find that other countries
are coming together now with constructive thoughts about how to maximize the pressure, get to the table, have a serious discussion that does address
North Korea's concerns about aggression, about regime change, about the threat to their existential threat that they feel and I think there are
ways to try to do that.
AMANPOUR: Much of the world was quite horrified when President Trump said he would pull the United States out of the Paris Calamity. Again, another
that you spent a lot of time negotiating on behalf of the United States. And today there's a meeting in Bonn where the U.S. apparently will talk
about coals and fossil fuels as well as nuclear energy being the solution to our climate problem. Is this whole deal going to unravel?
KERRY: No, the deal isn't going to unravel but talking about coal as a solution to the problem is a complete misplaced, completely factually,
scientifically wrong approach. Coal is not the solution to the problem, now the market place is already making that decision.
To a degree, the President can say what he wants because the market place, businesses, large corporations, including Exxon mobile, Rex Tillerson and
so forth. All understand the world is moving towards renewable, alternative energy, sustainable energy. Last year in the United States,
Chistiane, three quarters of the new electricity in the United States came form wind and solar. Coal was 0.2 percent.
SO America is deciding that coal is not part of the future solution and for these people tog o to Bonn and have that conversation is almost laughable,
it's a waste of time. So here's the reality. Donald Trump may have pulled out of the Paris agreement but the American people are in the Paris
agreement and they're going o live up to it and America is going to do it's part to meet the global climate change challenge.
AMANPOUR: And finally, Saudi Arabia the crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, people are saying consolidated his power over the weekend with the
detention of 11 princes and very wealthy individuals seeking to wipe out corruption. I mean, what is going on there as far as you know?
KERRY: Well I believe that the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and his father, King Salman, are commit to transforming Saudi Arabia and bringing
the country into modernity. And I think that he has exhibited a tremendous vision for the future, his 2030 vision, his willingness to tackle difficult
issues like the religious beliefs issue or the driving issue and women and so forth. These are transformative steps that he is trying to take. It is
a determination by leaders in the region to take a firm stand against this under the table, hidden support; the duality of life in the region if you
will, where people say, oh yeah, we're going to fight terrorism, but in fact, money has been flowing quite openly and quite disastrously to
I saw this firsthand affecting what we were doing in Libya. I saw it firsthand affecting what we were trying to do in Syria. Groups would
reflag themselves, call themselves something new, but still get the source of money in order to avoid the accountability factor. And I think what the
Crown Prince has decided, and I applaud him for it, is this isn't going on, business as usual anymore.
AMANPOUR: Secretary Kerry, thank you very much for joining me.
KERRY: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Well as President Trump continues his Asia tour, next stop is, in fact, South Korea. But we're going to leap frog ahead to his last stop
and the Philippines. The spokesman to President Rodrigo Duterte tells me that their controversial war on drugs has been reshaped. Next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. Of all the world leaders President Trump is meeting throughout his Asia tour, President Duterte of the
Philippines is perhaps the one raising the most eyebrows. His bloody war on drugs has left thousands dead and drawn International condemnation, but
not from Trump who praised him for doing an unbelievable job. And he's invited him to the White House. They'll meet for the first time in Vietnam
later this week on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Convention and I've been asking Harry Roque, President Duterte's spokesperson in
Manila, what the two leaders had in common. Harry Roque, welcome to the program.
ROQUE: It is my madam, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you right off the bat this is going to be a strange meeting, isn't it, in terms of optics between President Trump and President
Duterte? With all the criticism of President Duterte's war on drugs, with the warm rapport that President Trump is described to have with your
ROQUE: Well I guess, yes it's going to be very interesting because you have two individuals who are very much alike in their thinking, in their
language and even in their demeanor meeting each other for the first time and what makes it curious is because the Philippine President has declared
that he will pursue an independent foreign policy, departing from a very long standing tradition of the Philippines recognizing the Americans. Not
only as their strongest ally, but even recognizing a relationship of Philippine dependency towards the United States.
AMANPOUR: Do you think the fact that they are both considered to have -- I mean, let's just put it this way, authoritarian tendencies or
characteristics, do you think that binds them? I mean remember, of course, the President Duterte said some pretty unpleasant things about President
ROQUE: Well, let's just say that both of them did not like President Obama. I'm not about ready to concede that the Philippine President has a
tendency towards authoritarianism.
In any case, the Philippines has the only colony of the United States inherited the constitutional tradition of the United States. And I think
the fact that we are one country that followed the constitutional tradition of the United States with check and balances between coherent branches of
government, wo uld be lying the so called authoritarian tendencies.
AMANPOUR: Okay so let me ask you, what are you hoping to hear from the President of the United States of America first meeting with President
Duterte in the wake of, let's take the first issue, the war on drugs.
According to the statistics more than 12,500 people have been killed since President took office in June 2016 and police say about 3,500 of those were
shot by officers in self defense. I mean you are a former human rights advocate. You've done a lot of human rights yourself. I mean, you can see
that this is a very, very difficult situation.
ROQUE: I don't think it will be a contentious point between the two presidents to begin with. President Trump has said that President Duterte
has done the right thing in embarking on this war on drugs and only a few days ago, the U.S. President himself declared his own war drugs in the
United States, no.
I think there should be.
AMANPOUR: Well, not quite like that one Mr. Roque.
ROQUE: .very minimal, well there was a similar declaration that the war on opioid -- well that opioid constitutes a serious threat, no, as it
constitutes -- it warrants at least special attention in the part of the American authorities, no. So I think there are (parts) with the policies
adopted with the two president's as far as drugs is concerned, no. And I don't think it's an issue that will really cause tension between them when
they meet for the first time here in Manila.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you personally how you yourself reconcile your job as spokesman with this particular aspect of the President's policies given
your human rights background?
ROQUE: The President is a lawyer and was a public prosecutor for 10 years. I would say that it was never his intention to conduct a war on drugs that
could violate the constitution and from the mental human rights.
AMANPOUR: I just spoke to former Secretary of State John Carey and asked him how he should promote American values when he meets President Duterte?
JOHN CAREY; FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well I think you have to be true to our values, the American values, global values, the universal values,
frankly, of most nations on the planet, about how you treat people and what you do with the respect rule of law and trying to deal with the challenges
formidable as the narcotics challenge. And the President needs to raise that issue. On the other hand the President also needs to do it in a way
that is not combative and not publically humiliating.
AMANPOUR: So do you expect President Trump to put forth those aspects of American values and what might President Duterte say?
ROQUE: Well, I can't predict what the U.S. President will do, all I'm saying is the Philippine President Duterte is quoting the law and our legal
tradition is very much influenced by the American legal system, particularly our loss on the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, no. So I
would say that, yes President Duterte has a very good grasp of American constitution of values that adheres to fundamental human rights.
I think President Duterte, if the issue crops up, will highlight that the exercise of police power is always legitimate in any democratic society and
that his latest pronouncement on the issue that he will send to jail policemen who kill individuals as a result of illegal engagement is the
correct legal posture to take. It is consistent with both constitutional law and human rights law.
AMANPOUR: I'm sure that will be very welcomed. That is a departure and a change. Can I ask you, you said that President Duterte is taking a
slightly more independent foreign policy. So what do you make of, for instance the Philippines getting closer to China? You see your region
doing deals amongst themselves perhaps without the participation of The United States. Particularly in a potentially new economic grouping given
that the President Trump pulled out of the TPP. What do you think is the dynamic in your region under this current U.S. President?
ROQUE: One is let's put it this way, in the past when we looked to The United States as a most important trading partner. We missed out on a
golden opportunity arising from the fact that we're geographically so proximate to China which has become an economic dragger now. Now my big --
favorite thing to Asia not only now are we able to achieve the gains of a closer relationship with a grand giant such as China. We've also now also
reaped the bounty of closer relationship with other Asian nations such as Japan and even Russia.
Having said this, I think the presidents been very clear, but when he talks of an independent foreign policy he does not want to completely break ties
with the United States as the President still considers The United States as a very important trading partner in addition to the fact that we can't
erase the very long historic ties that exist between The United States and the Philippines.
AMANPOUR: One more thing which has been on the American radar and on the global radar. And that is the continued imprisonment of the senator Leila
de Lima. She's the highest profiled critic of the war on drugs. And the Supreme Court has dashed hopes that she might be released anytime soon.
Given that the president has modified and instructed new orders to the anti narcotics police, could we see the release of Senator de Lima?
ROQUE: That's up to the courts. We have a working judicial system in the Philippines very much patterned after the American system. Because for the
Philippines for many things. Like one thing were proud of is an independent and strong judiciary.
AMANPOUR: Do you think - I mean what's your gut feeling. Is she going to be imprisoned for many-many years or given the international condemnation
of her imprisonment do you think that she will be released?
ROQUE: Senator Leila de Lima was justice secretary for six years, head of the human rights missions for three. She new there was a problem with the
legal system unfortunately she did not do anything to alleviate the problem. And she's now basically suffering the price of ignoring the need
to institute necessary reforms in the judiciary. So I was her well, the administration wishes her well. But she has to be treated like anyone
AMANPOUR: All right, Presidential spokesman, Harry Roque, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
ROQUE: It's been my great pleasure, thank you Christiane.
AMANPOUR: And when we come back, as America deals with the tragedy that has befallen yet another mass shooting there. The President says mental
health not guns is the problem. So we begin to just what Trump has done to give Americans piece of mind. That's next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, how can we ignore Texas? Although there is a tragic risk of American massacre fatigue, that is if you forget even
for a second that so many innocent men, women and children are being slaughtered at an alarming rate; including in prayer.
This weekend the Sunday services in the small town of Southerland Springs, the most deadly mass shooting ever in Texas has killed at least 26 people,
including a family of eight. Twenty other have been injured and imagine this; four percent of the town's population was wiped out.
The victims ranged between 18 months and 77 years old. In Tokyo, President Trump said it was about mental illness.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think that mental health is the problem here. This was a very, based on preliminary, very deranged individual. A lot of problems
over a long period of time. We have a lot of mental health problems in our country as do other countries. But this isn't a guns situation.
AMANPOUR: But here's the rub; President Trumps own administration has made it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns. In February,
shortly after his inauguration, Trump rolled back his (inaudible) regulation that was thought to limit that ability. Not only that, the
administration's designed to replaced Obama Care would allow individual states to alter essential health benefits which would stop insurers from
being forced to cover what? Mental health.
Dramatically scaling back the availability of treatment in states just like Texas. That is it for our program tonight and remember you can always
listen to our podcasts; you can see us online at amanpour.com and follow me on facebook and twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.