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Italy Decides; Trump Hosts Netanyahu; South Korean Delegations Meets Kim Jong-un; Israeli Prime Minister Questioned In Corruption Probe; More Fighting And Bombing In Eastern Ghouta Despite Ceasefire; China Ups Military Spending By 8.1 Percent to $175 Billion; From Xi To Putin: Holding On To Power; U.S. Aircraft Carrier On Historic Visit To Vietnam; Voters Back Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Establishment Parties; Me Too Activists Share The Oscars Stage. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 5, 2018 - 10:00:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:00:20] BECKY ANDERSON, CONNECT THE WORLD, CNN: A populist surge in Italy prompts political deadlock at home, and shot across the bow to

Europe. Under investigation, U.S. President Trump and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu find themselves in the spotlight for unwanted

reasons.

And face-to-face, South Korean officials visit Pyongyang and talks directly to Kim Jong-un and all of that and much more this hour.

Welcome on and you are with "Connect the World." I am Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi and we begin in Italy for this evening where the Democratic Party

is out and populism it seems is in. Italy appears to be heading for a hung parliament after Sunday's election and the country swung sharply right and

those projections indicate no Party claimed enough seats to win the outright majority anti-U.E. five-star movement Party is claiming all-out

victory after it made major gains.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): As far as the five-star movement is concerned, these political elections have been a triumph. We have seen an

absolute victory in the election, and therefore I should like to say a big thank you to the 11 million Italians who have voted and given us their

trust and do honor to the movement. We really have become the first political force in the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, the leader of the anti-immigrant league Party is also claiming victory as part of central right coalition passion by former Prime

Minister Silvio Berlusconi and that group now look set to form the largest block in Italy's parliament. Let us get you straight to CNN's Ben Wedeman

who is standing by for us. He is following all of this closely from Rome. Let us start with Italy. What does it mean for the country at this point,

Ben?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what this means is that if you add the vote that the five-star movement received la league

of Matteo Salvini it comes to just over 50 percent of the Italians have voted for movements or parties that essentially reject the ruling class in

Italy. These are parties that are very much against the establishment that in one former another has run this country since the end of World War II.

Now, it is hard to say, or describe the five-star movement as a right-wing party, because they sort of have opinions all over the place, and don't

really fit into sort of the left-right party of paradigm, but the overall message is that the old system has failed the Italian people, and they are

looking for other options. And now, at this point, we don't know what the options will be out of this, and no single Party got enough. The 40

percent of the vote to allow them to form a government, and the center right coalition that includes Silvio Berlusconi in a somewhat weakened the

form is just a few percentage points shy of the 40 percent threshold.

But some interesting headlines here, here in this newspaper (inaudible) which is an independent newspaper is saying "cambia tutto" meaning

everything changes. Now there is a more interesting take on it from a newspaper that is affiliated with Silvio Berlusconi and this is the

headline and I don't believe I will translate it for you, and it is pretty obvious right here. Becky?

ANDERSON: If that is the situation as things stand in Italy, as these votes are tallied, is it clear yet what this vote means for the wider

European project and Europe as a whole?

WEDEMAN: Well, what we have seen is that the five-star movement which really got its start on anger at the E.U. in the wake of the 2008/2009

economic crisis.

[10:05:00] It has been moving away from a hardline anti-E.U. position, and increasingly more sort of middle of the road when it comes to the Euro and

the E.U. and on the other hand, the la liga or the league of Matteo Salvini they continue to be very Eurosceptic opposed to the E.U. and today, we

heard Matteo Salvini say that the euro was mistake. He has claimed it a crime against humanity in the past, but that no government in and of by

itself can make the decision to dump it. Now it is important to keep in mind that Italians have been watching the train wreck which is Brexit and

clearly don't want to go that way. They are unhappy with the E.U., but not quite ready for a divorce, Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman is in Rome, and Ben, thank you. North Korea now, and a possible diplomatic breakthrough, and South Korea says a high level

delegation has been meeting with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang to build on the four relations started at the Winter Olympics. It is believe to be the

first face to face meeting with North Korea leader and South Korean officials since he took power. Andrew Stevens is joining me from Seoul,

South Korea. Andrew?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN NEWSTREAM ANCHOR: Yes, a watershed moment for the diplomatic relations on the Korean peninsula, and for the first time since

he assumed power back in December of 2011, Kim Jong-un has met face-to-face with the senior South Korean officials, and that is a breakthrough in

itself, Becky. Now he had a meeting with the delegates, and he then hosted a dinner for them later that evening. We don't know what was discussed

actually at the meeting. We do know that Kim received a handwritten letter from the President of South Korea, President Moon, and we also know that

before the South Korean delegation left, they were asked very briefly about what was on the agenda and they said furthering inter-Korean relations

which started as you say with the winter Olympic games and also getting the dialogue between North Korea and the international community, particularly

the United States now, that is the really, really big issue, and also the thorniest issue facing these delegation at the moment.

ANDERSON: Do we know what the message of the South Koreans will take with regard to the U.S. and North Korea?

STEVENS: Well, the South Koreans have sent as their chief negotiator someone who has seem to be very close to Washington, he actually the

national security adviser for President Moon here in South Korea, but he does have a very strong ties with Washington which tends to suggest that

Seoul and Washington are very closely align still on their push for denuclearization, and that is a topic that will come up at the talks in

Pyongyang. It is what President Moon expressly is asking for, along with developing inter-Korean relations leading to nuclearization, and leading to

the summit between the two leaders of the North and South Korea and what the U.S. wants which was spelled out again very clearly by Donald Trump

over the weekend as that they do want to have talks or are prepared have talks, but denuclearization has to be on the agenda, and North Korea has

responded to that by saying this the to put those conditions on. So what we have at this stage is really South Korea treading really delicate line,

but they won't certainly leave all of the indications show that America sort of twisting on its own on this.

And interesting, Becky, just very quickly, why is Kim doing it? And there is a lot of talk here, but he is doing it because he wants to drive a wedge

between South Korea and the U.S. He wants to pull South Korea away from the embrace of the U.S. and the reasons for that is that because the

sanctions which are being applied under this maximum force plan by the U.S. are indeed hurting and hurting the North Koreans pretty hard.

ANDERSON: Andrew Stevens for the story for you out of Seoul today. And Andrew, thank you.

All right. Let us get you up to speed on some of the other stories on the radar. U.S. President Donald Trump is adding another layer of confusion

talk of steel and aluminum tariffs. He tweeted Monday morning he may mixed the idea that quotes, new and fair NAFTA agreement can be reached. And

less than a half hour later, another White House official said that the administration remains firm on the tariffs.

[10:10:04] Prosecutors on Italy are opening a manslaughter investigation into the death of an Italian footballer Davide Astori, it is a procedural

move to allow autopsy. Prosecutors say they want to be absolutely sure the phenomenon captain died of natural causes. The 21 year old was found in

his hotel room on Sunday.

Most of the Middle East's most popular broadcasters of NBC is pulling out of Turkish dramas or pulling its Turkish dramas from the air. The dramas

are very popular around here, but NBC is controlled by Saudi Arabia and based in Dubai. The kingdom and the emirates reckon that Turkey backs

Islamism forces who they fiercely oppose.

Facing roaring troubles back home, Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to receive the red carpet treatment at the White House later today. The

Israel Prime Minister is going to be meet with Donald Trump in just a couple of hours, but a dramatic development in Israel could cast a cloud

over to the talks. We have just learned that a third confidant of Mr. Netanyahu has turned state's witness. Former spokesman Nir Hefetz will

cooperate with the investigators and looking into corruption allegation. CNN's Oren Liebermann is following the developments tonight from Jerusalem

and it is busy and just how significance is this news?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORESPONDENT: I would call it very significant and certainly will cast a cloud of not only Netanyahu's meeting with Trump in

just a couple of hours, but the entire U.S. trip which will last essentially all week here. Hefetz is one of those closest to the Prime

Minister serving the Netanyahu's families spokesperson for quite a long time. Hefetz himself is a suspect in what is known as case 4000 looking

into the relationship between the Israeli ministry communication under Netanyahu and Israeli telecommunications firm Bezic. Crucially Netanyahu

himself was just questioned under caution as wells as his wife on Friday which makes them both suspect in this case. So Hefetz agreeing to work

with prosecutors is a major blow to the Prime Minister as is the fact that Netanyahu was not the first Netanyahu confidant who turn state witness in

this specific case. He is the second, just two weeks ago Shlomo Filber who serves as the director general on the ministry of communications under

Netanyahu also turn state witness agreeing to work with investigators. And on top of Netanyahu's former chief of staff who back in August signed a

similar agreement. All of this would cast a shadow over Netanyahu's trip. Meanwhile Netanyahu himself wants to keep the meeting with Trump focused on

two things. First Netanyahu's thanking Trump for moving the embassy which will happen in May as wells as Netanyahu's continued efforts to lobby

against the Iran nuclear deal, Becky.

ANDERSON: Briefly, Oren, just how much trouble is the Prime Minister in at this point?

LIEBERMANN: Well, quite a bit. The suspect in three separate case, but crucially, he has the support of the coalition partners who are dealing

with their own crisis on a completely unrelated issue back home, but with each of these developments against the Prime Minister is that continued

calculation, do they continue to support the Prime Minister and so far the answer has been yes, but we have not seen any statements related to the

latest developments, we will see if they singing a different tune here with the growing developments against Netanyahu.

ANDERSON: And the picture of Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sarah, leaving and we will be follow developments out of Washington where they

will be greeted by Donald Trump in the next couple of hours. Thank you, Oren. Quarter past 5:00 in Israel. Quarter past 7:00 here in Abu Dhabi

and still to come, we will have more on the latest flashpoint in the Syrian war as a battle for Eastern Ghouta may be reaching a new faith. That is

after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:16:44] ANDERSON: You are watching CNN and this is "Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. If you just joining us you are more than welcome.

Syrian president Bashar al Assad said the offensive in eastern Ghouta will continue. State media reports some government forces are gaining ground

capturing a number of villages over the weekend. Eastern Ghouta which is near Damascus is one of the last major region held by rebels. Mr. Assad

says that his troops are fighting terrorists, agency say hundreds have been killed since the operation began last month. CNN Sam Kiley is following

the battle from Lebanon for you today, and joining with us the very latest, and is it clear exactly what is going on the ground as we speak, Sam.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, I think what is two things that are abundantly clear today the first is more bad

news in the form of some very dramatic air strike, and artillery and attacks, and the second has been that finally after many, many weeks there

has been a humanitarian convoy that was able to get into eastern Ghouta heading to the town of Duma as we speak, or it has been unloaded as it is

anticipate and this is enough supplies for 27,500 people and that is fraction of the 400,000 people that are under attack. We have attained

some video today, Becky of what it looks like and feels like if you like if you can imagine being bomb in this environment. It is so dramatic and

worth just listening to, because it is really shattering. This is from the town of Harasta where there is serious amount of fighting over the last few

days.

ANDERSON: I am not sure that we got that video, do we have that video? If we have got it, let us play it. All right. Well, we are having a few

technical difficulties for that, Sam, and I will get back to you if we can we are looking on some images from Sunday.

There you go the Kiley Jinx.

Yes, and looking at the exclusive video, and you have alluded to the aid convoy, and we have heard as you rightly pointed at some of this aid trucks

have moved in. The U.N. now says they we're not allowed to bring in many of their medical supplies. What do we make of that?

KILEY: It has happened in the past. What happens is that when a humanitarian aid convoy gets put together almost routinely, it is then, if

you will like, edited by the members of the regime at the checkpoint. On this occasion and this is typical of this humanitarian convoys, they allow

food to get through, and sometimes some very general medical supplies, but what they take out is that what they most need and in this case that is

trauma packs, sort of stuff, like blood, clotting agents, bandages and the stuff that is needed to treat the most urgently and frequently the ever

increasingly number of people wounded by these continuing artillery and air strike, Becky.

[10:20:06] And that has been a crushing blow to humanitarians, and it has happened before, and it was not anticipated, and devastating though to the

people inside, and on top of that, Becky, there are over 1,000 patients in urgent need of medical evacuation, and the international community the red

cross believe they may be off loading this stuff will after darkness while this is all had been going on Becky, we were able to the make contact in

skype interview with a young man called Mahmoud who is a student and he is not an activist or he is not a rebel fighter, but an ordinary guy trying to

study computer science, but he seemed to be speaking for the population of Ghouta when he talked about what life is looking like for them if it seems

to be the case the regime getting closer and closer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am sure that you have seen what the regime does when they get to the civilians that have been in the revolution and in this

revolution. They will take prisoners and they will torture people and they will, I can't imagine what they can do, because we have seen what they are

capable of. They have no respect for their own people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KILEY: Now that is a young man speaking as to why people are not likely to take advantage of what has been offered by the government and not yet

delivered which is a humanitarian corridor an exit from eastern Ghouta that would take them into the hands of the very government that is bombing them,

and hitting them with shells on the ground, Becky.

ANDERSON: Interesting, isn't it? That young man alluding back to what he described as the revolution. Al Assad, President, determined that he is to

quote, him fighting terrorists. Is he?

KILEY: Well, there are groups that there is international recognition that are associated with the international terrorism namely the (inaudible)

front which is the Al Qaeda franchise that keeps changing its name and trying to have a bit of rebranding. They are present in eastern Ghouta,

fairly small numbers and it is broadly accepted that they are a legitimate target by the international community and that include the coalition of

course that has been fighting against the so-called Islamic state, and remember that the first coalition air strikes was against a group that is

also a branch of Al Qaeda. There is a little bit of the cross section agreement there, but in the case of the Assad regime, all in any groups

fighting the Assad regime is defined as a terrorist organization, and therefore seeing as a legitimate target and that is the argument they are

used for not observing in any significant way the cease-fire demanded now more than a week ago by the united nations security council and among those

who allowed the security council to vote to passed was Russia, precisely because the latitude remained for the Syrians and the Russians which have

been conducting air strikes in eastern Ghouta to effectively continue their military campaign under the guise of fighting terrorism.

ANDERSON: Is eastern Ghouta the end game as far as Assad is concerned. Do you see this as the winning ticket as it were to get this start when it is

all over?

KILEY: I think it is very much part of a very clear strategy that has come in since the Russians became the very much the backbone in particular in

terms of planning the logistics and air power for the Syrians and of course behind them is also Iran and the ground troops and we saw in eastern Aleppo

the steady destruction grinding down of the Aleppo resistance and then ultimately the negotiated surrender in fact of the rebels who were then

moved to nearby Idlib. Eastern Ghouta is supposed to be a de-escalation zone, but in fact it is ever shrinking piece of territory, clearly the aim

is to completely overrun it, and declare victory in that environment, and not clear what they will do with the rebels and the civilians in that case,

and then they will move on to Idlib, too. I think the end game here is total victory as far as the Syrian regime is concerned.

ANDERSON: Sam is in Beirut Lebanon, reporting on the story for you. Thank you, Sam. We have been discussing the fact that there may be finally some

relief for some, a small percentage of the 400,000 people trapped in the eastern Ghouta region and we are hearing that some aid trucks were moved

in, and the U.N. says that they were not allowed to bring in many of their medical supply.

[10:25:02] The international red cross, one of the agency taking part in that aid convoys, Robert Mardini is Middle East director for the ICRC in

touch with his colleagues on the ground in Syria. Joining me from Geneva today. What are your colleagues telling you? It is a 46-truck convoy and

where are they and what do they have on board and what don't they have on board perhaps more to the point.

ROBERT MARDINI, MIDDLE EAST DIRECTOR FOR THE ICRC: Well, they were able to enter eastern Ghouta and specifically the City of Duma where many, many

people live. It goes to 100,000 people, unfortunately they have started to delivering the food and the medical supplies and including the surgical

supplies that are badly need in Eastern Ghouta and this convoy is a positive first step, but it is very short of what the people need in this

City let all alone in the broader eastern Ghouta. What we need today is the continuous access in order to bring more aid in for the people who have

been enduring suffering going beyond imagination.

ANDERSON: What happens next?

MARDINI: Next should be, now offloading of all of the goods in eastern Ghouta, but next should be more access, more humanitarian access and more

food, and more medical supplies and more surgical inside each and every locality, because women, men, children in eastern Ghouta have been for many

weeks now in the line of fire and under huge pressure after a month of siege where everything was short in supply from are the medical supplies

from surgical deliveries, from food, water and electricity.

ANDERSON: Robert, you say that is what should happen next, and are you confident that you will be granted access given the delays on this first

convoy?

MARDINI: We need to be optimistic of course, because things are not going at the pace at we wish. Clearly, we have been waiting for this access for

many, many days as you know now, and we are ha access today, and this is positive that we need to build on this positive dynamic, and to get more

access going forward. We have no other option that remains, to remain optimistic and continue to push e limits of the possibility in a very

polarized and complex environment.

ANDERSON: An understatement I think. Robert, thank you for joining us from the international Red Cross talking to you live from Geneva today.

Getting aid two civilians in Syrian war zones can make difference between life and death, and no matter where we are in the world, all of us can do

our part to help. It is as simple as using the website, and taking a look there and clicking on the take action button, and that will connect you

with organizations working around the clock to help Syrians survive what is this brutal conflict, and that is CNN.com.

You are watching "Connect the world" live from Abu Dhabi, and just half past 7:00 in the evening. Ahead a blow for mainstream parties as populism

makes big gains in Italy's elections. That is our top stories next, we talk to the former Italy Prime Minister (inaudible) and what the rise of

anti-E.U. politics means for the country, and indeed, for Europe.

[10:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Foreign military aircraft. This is Chinese Navy. You are approaching our military alert zone. Leave immediately.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: high above the South China Sea, there radio crackles with a stern warning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Exclusive that you can only see right here on CNN, China there telling America to stay out of its backyard, and away from

areas hidden to be fair that many others claim is right here in the South China Sea.

And it is here that we turn to now to help to connect what is really a changing shift in how our world is run between them. You can see Beijing

just hours ago, super charging what it spends on its military, and setting itself to spend more than eight percent more, but it is still way behind

what America spends in terms of cold hard dollars.

Our regular viewers will remember this graphic, the U.S. is fat wedge, and China, well, just as sliver as you can see translating that into raw

military hardware is just one example -- Washington commanding 10 large modern craft carriers on the high seas, Beijing, just one.

While China moves the abacus on its military spending by the billions, it is making it easier to amplify political power by focusing on one -- one

president that is.

That could do away with term limits for that job, and now both of those huge changes happening in Beijing at the big yearly meeting of the one and

only political party, the Communist Party. CNN's Will Ripley is watching closely for you. Let's bring him up.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the coming days China's top legislative body, the National People's Congress here in Beijing with almost 3,000

delegates is expected to easily approve a dramatic change to this country's constitution.

And doing away with the presidential term limits, essentially laying the foundation for the current President Xi Jinping to remain president for

life, if he so chooses.

Now the spin in the Chinese state media is that virtually, isn't that big of a deal, but the military and the party already don't have term limits,

so it only make sense for the head of state, also not to have term limits.

They say it allows for continuity in leadership during tumultuous times, that include the on-going challenge of keeping China's economic growth

rate, going, dealing with the volatile situation on the Korean Peninsula, and of course, the trade relations with the United States.

[10:35:02] And the always looming threat of friction and even a potential trade war given some of the moves made recently by the U.S. President

Donald Trump.

So party leaders here in Beijing firmly expected to put their full support behind Xi Jinping for the foreseeable future, instead of solidifying

peaceful transfer of power at the end of his second term, now he potentially remains indefinitely, the leader of this country.

The most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, the dictator who oversaw the cultural revolution and after which term limits were set-up in 1982 to try

to prevent somebody from having so much power that they can make decisions uncheck, that they could clench their fist on this country and enforce the

kind of brutal dictatorship that the Chinese people lived through in the past.

And any criticism here in Beijing, censored, cut-off the social media and emits news coverage, blackout by Chinese sensors, certainly CNN and other

networks have witnessed that in moving forward and it is Xi Jinping at the very top for the foreseeable future. Will Ripley, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Even so Xi Jinping got into power and as, Will, was explaining, he wants hold onto it. He would not be though the first leader to find the

allure of ruling over millions of people to incredible prize to give up. For them though, history has a warning and as CNN's Nic Robertson now shows

us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Xi Jinping is not the first to come to power and hold on. Putin has done it, and Turkey's Erdogan just done it,

autocrats all have done it, and Trump jokes that Xi is right.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Don't forget, China is great and Xi is a great gentlemen. He's now president for life.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: President for life! No, he's great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it's great. Maybe we'll have to give that a shot some day.

(LAUGHTER)

ROBERTSON: Democracy is still alive in the U.S., the world superpower is not transitioning to a dictatorship -- that is China. Xi with its term

limits lifted gets power for life over the world's second largest economy, an emerging superpower, who is demanding territorial expansion.

Like Xi, Putin had trouble with term limits. He is continuing grasp on Russia, less wealthy, less powerful than China came by controlling the

media and gaining the electoral system, switching in 2008 with his weaker compliant P.M. Medvedev for one term.

Putin is now in the verge of beginning a fourth term of president. Erdogan's path past was messier, elections due in 2015 cost his party and

his majority. Kurdish secretary got broad support. Erdogan restarted the war with Turkey's Kurds, poured in elections and got the majority.

He cracked down on critical media, used a complaint in parliament to consolidate power in his own hands as president, whatever the path to total

power the outcome for autocrats can be costly.

Saddam Hussein in Iraq, for decades of bloody dictator, died at the end of a hang man's rope. Libya's Gadhafi came to power in 1967, the summer of

love, partied hard, ruled like a dictator, died on Iran, dragged him a storm drain and shot with his own gun.

The list of living autocrats stretches on -- (Inaudible), Duterte in the Philippines, and Kim Jong-un in North Korea, each with their own reputation

for control and refraction.

At the other end of the scale, former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, an old school autocrat recently walked away from his bloody past without

paying his butcher's bill.

Xi has a lot of autocratic precedents to pick from. The one path he won't be deviating from is leading China to global dominance. Nic Robertson,

CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All right. Let me just bring up our map again. As you can see, China and Vietnam have a competing claims in the South China Sea, it is

hardly new. China has long and complex history with Vietnam stretching over some 2,000 years.

And America closing linked to the country after the Vietnam War right now for the first time since we saw scenes like this, and Washington now has an

aircraft carrier, and could off the Vietnam's coast.

Now, both are very suspicious of China's moves in the South China Sea, saying make no mistake, this carrier is a giant, floating military and

political statement against it.

[10:40:06] CNN sent Matt Rivers aboard to find out more about Vietnam and America are getting closer and closer.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, we are just off the coast of Vietnam near in Denang, and we are on board this relatively small boat

heading to that very large ship, that is the USS Carl Vinson. It is an aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy, and has moved right now a couple of

miles off the coast.

This is first time that a U.S. aircraft carrier has made an official visit to Vietnam in more than 40 years since the end of the Vietnam War actually.

Other Navy ships have visited since 2003 but this is different. This is an aircraft carrier and it is emblematic of a changing relationship between

both countries.

Trade for example has exploded between both sides, and of course both sides have been cooperating on security as well. It was just in 2016 that

President Obama lifted an arms sales embargo on lethal weapons to Vietnam and it was a major sign that the bilateral relationship had progressed a

friendlier terms, and does appear to be continuing under President Trump.

The president visited here last year. Secretary of Defense Mattis was just here in January and the ambassador to Vietnam says he hopes to keep tat

momentum going.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that you are seeing the fruits of decades' worth of effort to build bilateral trust and overcome the legacies of a

war.

RIVERS: Not too far from where we are right now, the Chinese military has been building and militarily developing artificial islands for years in

waters that they claim is their territory, but several other countries including Vietnam claim some of that territory as theirs.

And the U.S. doesn't recognize the Chinese claims either. Vietnam more than other countries in this region has shown a willingness to stand up to

Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.

And in the government here, the United States likely sees an ally in this part of the world in regards to this particular topic, that is part the

reason why this aircraft carrier is docked here right now.

This is a projection of the U.S. military might able to go to all corners of the globe, analysts tell CNN that this is absolutely a message to China,

that message being the U.S. military is here to stay in this region, and that they are willing to team up even with old foes to combat what it sees

as growing threat from Beijing. Matt Rivers, CNN, board the USS Carl Vinson, off the Vietnamese coast.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Right. How do you connect then an air craft carrier to a Big Mac? Well, this is how in total dollars, America planning to spend almost

$700 billion on its military, China almost $200 billion, but those big round numbers are not the whole story.

Enter the burger -- as in yes, from McDonald. The Economist magazine uses them to test how a currency is valued. And using that index, there is an

indication that China is money. And it is pretty heavy under valued by some forty percent. So is a dollar, a dollar? Yes, but also not really.

You get a lot more bite and bang for your buck if you take your cash to China. And that is why 200 billion is a lot closer to 700 billion than you

might think. Got it? I will repeat it after this. We will be back right after this short break. Stay with us.

[10:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well getting back to our top story, you are watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. In Italy, there is uncertainty and fear of

political deadlock after populist anti-establishment party swept the polls.

Projections indicate that the populist or the right wing parties won over 50 percent of voters. Now a center-right coalition under former Prime

Minister Silvio Berlusconi looks at to form the largest group in parliament on the other side of the world.

The outgoing center left Democratic government picking up the pieces, and asking what went wrong? It is expected to lose around 170 seats. Politics

in Italy never easy, often time messy.

Let's get to the expertise in all for this, and it is important, not just for Italy, but for Euro pre as a whole, from someone whose been in the tip

of Italian politics, former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, joining us live from Milan.

So you have been watching elections -- tens of elections in Italy over the past years, and watching the lead-up to this very, very closely.

Just describe what you are seeing at present. How do you expect -- what do you expect the outcome to be and how do you expect that to have an

influence on Italy?

MARIO MONTI, FORMER ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Well, certainly, this has been a very lively manifestation of Italian democracy to say the least.

I often characterize this as 50 percent of Italians shifting to the right because actually, the highest party now in terms of votes is the Five Star

Movement which is for sure populist, but very, very difficult to characterize as right or left.

As a matter of fact, there were some clearly extreme right part just like CasaPound, they didn't arrive to one percent, for example. So having said

that, there is a turmoil in the political landscape.

There is clearly an emergence of two populist parties, the Five Star and the League, and there is a big defeat of the two more moderate parties

around Mr. Berlusconi on the right Forza Italia and Mr. Renzi on the left, the Democratic Party.

There would be two targets after this revolt in the ballots. One will be against the Italian establishment and I must say, this is not necessarily a

bad news, because the Italian establishment of the economy, of politics has not been up to what is required of a modern establishment.

So if the pressure is felt there, that is not better, but of course there will be pressure also on the European Union, and I think onto -- in two

respects, one, some revolt against fiscal discipline and the other one on migrations. In a sense, surely becomes closer to the...

ANDERSON: Let me stop you there, sir. Because we have seen the rise of populist and far right movement across Europe, France, Germany, Latvia,

Poland to names just a few and we have seen the U.K. vote for Brexit of course.

And we have seen immigration as a key voting issue again and again, and again, is that ultimately what is fueling this populist fervor in Italy,

and if so, isn't it Europe to blame for its inadequate response?

MONTI: There are two European policies which have pushed to this, and they master to some extent, be changed.

[10:50:08] One is Immigration indeed, because Italy was left very much alone due to its geographical position. It couldn't help but taking in so

many immigrants but other countries, particularly Hungary, Slovakia, et cetera, have simply refused to implement a European agreement about the

redeployment of the immigrant.

So that fueled a lot of resentment of Europe. The other thing is more economic and is the budget constraints that the E.U. puts on all members of

states, particularly of the Eurozone.

There I must say that I am more on the side, and more on the side of the E.U. on this one, because Italy is a highly indebted countries which has

come out another way from the financial crisis of the Eurozone.

But we need for internal reasons. Not because of European constraints, to contain our deficit and try and reduce our stock of public debt.

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: And they have actually dodged a bullet, didn't they, in the end? Because they were, you know, in quite some trouble, some years ago, and as

you rightly point out, may have very much benefited from its membership of the European Union, to a degree that many people in Europe will say,

perhaps it wasn't fair.

In an interview recently, the former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon hailed Italy's political shift saying this, the Italian people have

gone farther in a shorter period of time than the British did for Brexit, and the Americans did for Trump.

And Steve Bannon somewhat reveling in the sort of outcome that he will now be seeing in Italy. I mean, I need to put this to you, does this election

or will this election result in Italy pulling out of the Europe? Potentially pulling out of Europe as a whole all at what Britain is doing

at the present?

MONTI: The existence if Italy in the -- and in the Euro will become more difficult, more thorny, and there will be more confrontations between

Brussels and Rome.

But luckily, the influence of Mr. Bannon in Italy is slightly above or slightly below the Euro, and I believe that Italians will not be taking

Brexit or the election of President Trump as benchmarks.

But simply, it is important that we continue to be an active partner in the U.S., especially now that Germany has finally set in motion, this new grand

coalition.

France has a strong pro-European president, there is a vacuum in Europe unless Italy takes on its own role there, but there will be lot of

pedagogical work to be done vis-a-vis Italians, which was not done by Mr. Berlusconi or Mr. Renzi, even though self-proclaim themselves, (Inaudible)

against populist, they were not really.

ANDERSON: And with that, we have spoken before and we will speak again and it is a pleasure having you on. Mario Monti, former Italian Prime

Minister, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today, on what is a big day in Italian politics.

MONTI: Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: Ahead on the show, the elephant in the room, the academy awards. Hollywood looks to blaze a path forward after months of sexual assault and

harassment allegations. That is up next.

[10:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Your Parting Shots as we look at Hollywood's biggest night of the year was loaded with glitz, glamour and yes, political statements.

Sunday's academy awards, the Oscars, did not shy away from shining a spotlight on the months of scandal and controversy plaguing the

entertainment industry.

It is an industry that is there to celebrate, of course, the host Jimmy Kimmel encouraging those on stage to use their speech time to remind the

world about issues close to them like the Me Too Movement, which grew out of complaints of sexual harassment and assault against the once famed

producer Harvey Weinstein.

Well, three of his accusers, actually, Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra, and Salma Hayek appearing at the ceremony together, an important moment for all

of us then last night.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was Connect the World. From the team working with me here in the UAE, and those working with us around the world, it is a

very good evening. CNN continues after this short break with the International Desk with Robyn Curnow.

END