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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Issues Warning to North Korea; Democrats Win Virginia and New Jersey Governors; New Details on Texas Church Shooter; Trump Asia Trip; U.K. Parliament Plagued by Scandal; Abu Dhabi Opens New Louvre Museum. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired November 8, 2017 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: "Do not try us" -- President Trump issues a stark warning to Kim Jong-Un during an address to South Korea's national assembly.

It's been one year since the U.S. elected Donald Trump. To mark the occasion Americans vote Democrat in key governor races on Tuesday.

And troubled past -- new details about how the Texas church gunman once escaped a mental health facility and snuck firearms onto his Air Force base. So how was he able to purchase guns?

Hello and welcome to our viewers, joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

And this is CNN NEWSROOM.

U.S. President Donald Trump is now on his way to Beijing after delivering a speech filled with vivid imagery to South Korea's national assembly. He praised Seoul's accomplishments over the past seven decades while condemning the suffering under the North's oppressive regime.

He emphasized America does not seek conflict but will not run away from it either. He urged China and Russia to step up their efforts to halt Pyongyang's nuclear program.

And he issued another stark warning to Kim Jong-Un.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The regime has interpreted America's past restraint as weakness. This would be a fatal miscalculation. This is a very different administration than the United States has had in the past.

Today, I hope I speak not only for our countries but for all civilized nations when I say to the North, do not underestimate us. And do not try us.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: For more on this, we have Matt Rivers in Beijing, Will Ripley, the only U.S. network reporter in Pyongyang, and Paula Hancocks on the phone after a busy day in Seoul. Good to have you all with us.

So let's start with Paula Hancocks in Seoul as we said. And Paula -- we just heard President Trump warn North Korea not to misinterpret past restraint by the U.S. as weakness. Do not underestimate us. Do not try us, he said. Strong words from President Trump.

We'll get North Korea's response, of course, from Will Ripley in just a moment. But first, what was the reaction to his speech in Seoul and how was he received overall?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well Rosemary -- certainly within the national assembly itself, there was a rising applause, there was a standing ovation after the 35-minute speech. But obviously it was a very receptive audience with a standing ovation as he walked in as well.

But it's a very different tone that he struck in this speech. Certainly some people are expressing fears that (INAUDIBLE) it was fairly measured in the fact that there were no off-the-cuff remarks. It was very much sticking to the script. And there were no overt threats to North Korea.

But what they've done with this speech from President Trump instead is really show the stark contrast between North and South Korea highlighting the human rights grievances (ph) of North Korea highlighting the devastating impact that the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and his father and grandfather have had on the people of North Korea.

And what President Trump then did is time that into questioning why any other country in the world would allow this to happen. So this was really a message to China and Russia as well calling both of them out asking why they're not doing more to downgrade diplomatic ties with North Korea, to stop trade with North Korea.

So certainly within the chamber itself it was very well received but there were certainly some protesters outside -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Paula -- just stand by if you will. We'll come back to you in a moment.

I do want to turn to Will Ripley now in Pyongyang. And Will how is the North Korean leadership responding to President Trump's tough words and warnings?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: We spoke with two government officials Rosemary just after President Trump's speech and they reiterated a statement that they gave to us about an hour before he spoke and I'll read you a portion of it. It says quote, "We don't care about what that mad dog may utter because we've all --

[00:04:56] CHURCH: All right. Unfortunately we have lost Will. We'll still try and get ahold of him. And while we try to do that, let's go to Matt Rivers.

Of course, Matt -- you're in Beijing there, Mr. Trump's next stop on his Asia trip where he will clearly focus on North Korea and the role he wants China to play in pressuring that rogue regime. How diplomatic does he need to be on that issue and how forthcoming will China be given they already know what he's going to say -- they heard what he said in Seoul.

MATT RIVERS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's interesting -- Rosemary. We've kind of been in a bit of a stalemate really between China and the United States since Donald Trump came into power. We've known that both sides have staked out their positions on North Korea.

Donald Trump extremely consistent in saying that he wants China to do more to solve this ongoing crisis and China says it's doing enough already and that it won't cross a certain line.

But you heard Paula allude to it there when she spoke just a minute ago saying that in Donald Trump's speech in South Korea, excuse me, he kind of took a different tack that I thought was interesting.

And though we haven't really heard in the China calculation before he really brought up human rights and the fact that it's a fact that North Korea's government has made life for the people there incredibly worse. He brought up the starvation, the famine. And he almost played to the morality of the Chinese government. How could you continue to prop up a country like North Korea when they do this to their own people, when they enslave their own people, when they send them to forced labor camps?

And that was a kind of an interesting angle and I'm wondering, and we don't know this yet, but I'm wondering if that's one of the angles that Donald Trump is going to take when he has these negotiations with Xi Jinping.

Obviously, he's talked about trade between the United States and China using punitive trade measures to maybe get China to push more on North Korea. But the human rights angle there will be interesting to see how that plays into this very high stakes diplomacy that Donald Trump will be engaged in when he lands here in Beijing in just a couple of hours.

CHURCH: All right.

We do have Will Ripley back. Will -- you were just giving us the reaction there from North Korea. Just continue on from where you left off there.

RIPLEY: All right. I'm not sure how much you heard so I will just start from the beginning that we did speak with two North Korean officials just after President Trump's speech.

They reiterated a statement that they gave to us about an hour before he spoke where they were really trying to downplay the significance and the impact of his words. I'll read you a brief quote. It says, "We don't care about what that

mad dog may utter" -- referring to President Trump. They say, "We've already heard enough."

And they also said and I thought this was significant that the situation currently on the Korean Peninsula, they say is the most tense that it has been since the end of the Korean War in 1953. And that's a pretty dramatic statement to come from the North Koreans given that there have been moments over the decades where there has been extraordinarily high levels of tension, even, you know, small skirmishes -- military skirmishes between the two sides.

They're saying that the situation right now with the United States and President Trump is even worse than what we've seen in the past. So it shows how serious they take the President's rhetoric leading up to this speech in Seoul even as they try to downplay the significance of the speech itself.

And you also heard President Trump talk about the three U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups in the waters off the Korean Peninsula along with all of the ships that accompany them. There's a ballistic missile submarine in the region.

And while President said that this will bring peace through stability, North Koreans say it only gives them motivation to bolster their nuclear defenses. They say that having nuclear weapons will also bring peace and stability to the region by stopping the United States from taking preemptive military action.

So you can see how the two sides have very different views about the North Korean nuclear program, the North Koreans think they are essential to their regime's survival. What we don't have yet, Rosemary, and we're hoping to get, we've asked for it, is a response to the lengthy allegations of human rights abuses and really a pointed attack by President Trump on the North Korean system at large because what the North Koreans have told me in the past is they acknowledge that there are many people in this country who suffer economically.

There are a lot of very poor people certainly here in the showpiece capital of Pyongyang. You're seeing the best that North Korea has to offer. But I've traveled in the rural areas and you see a striking lack of infrastructure. Things like clean water and electricity and nutritious food are hard to come by for many millions of North Koreans.

But they don't blame their system or their leadership for that, they say. They blame the United States in the years of economic pressure being put on this country. They say it cripples them from being able to develop to their full potential.

But of course, you can't argue with the argument that there are no dissenting voices allowed here in North Korea. There are no dissenting views. It is an authoritarian regime where anybody who speaks out against it, well that's simply not tolerated.

So we look forward to a more official response to North Korea to that lengthy case about human rights that President Trump made in Seoul.

CHURCH: And Will, while we have you there, just in case -- I don't want to lose you. But I did want to ask about the trip that President Trump was going to make to the DMZ. It didn't happen in the end because of bad weather. It had to be cancelled.

[00:10:05] If he had taken that trip, how much of a provocation would that have been?

RIPLEY: It would have depended a lot on what President Trump said when he arrived there. I think the North Koreans do understand that President Trump in many ways is about the optics and the drama.

The fact that instead of driving to the DMZ which is a relatively short drive from Seoul to get to the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea he wanted to arrive on his helicopter, on Marine One and have a dramatic photo-op arrival which, of course, was, befuddled because of very heavy fog not only at the DMZ but also here in Pyongyang early this morning.

It was very foggy. Look, had he gone to that highly sensitive location and made an off-the-cuff remark, an insult it certainly would have upset the North Koreans.

But in some ways this pointed attack on their system and those direct, you know, threatening words directly to North Korea's leader Kim Jong- Un, could be even more infuriating to the North Koreans.

But they are insisting that the President's speech, they say, is unimportant to them. That his words -- and he said a lot of things in the month leading up to this trip are even less important to them than the actions of the United States and those joint military exercises, large-scale naval drills that are due to kick off in the coming days.

CHURCH: Ok. Let's go back to Paula, there in Seoul because, you know, we talked about this trip to the DMZ. He could have gone there if he'd wanted to. But what was the reaction there in Seoul to first his surprise saying that he wanted to go there because that has sort of been a trip option that had been crossed out. They scratched it at one point.

But what was the response there in Seoul -- Paula, first to him wanting to go there and then to its cancellation?

HANCOCKS: To be honest, Rosemary -- I think look, the response was stronger when there was an announcement that he wouldn't be going. It hadn't really occurred to many people inside Korea that the U.S. President who is such a fan of optics and headlines would not have gone to the border with North Korea.

It's something that we know that previous U.S. presidents have done. We know that President Obama went to one of these (INAUDIBLE) points and was able to look out over North Korea. Many presidents have done it.

So I think there was a huge amount of surprise that he wasn't going to do it. There was some suspicion that he may try and do it. So yes, but he wasn't very much surprised this morning when it was discovered that he had made an attempt to see the DMZ, quite frankly because the surprise was here when the initial announcement came that he wouldn't.