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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  May 9, 2017 2:30am-3:01am BST

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general michael flynn, as his national security adviser because he was open to russian blackmail — flynn was forced to resign less than a month later — for misleading the white house. france's incoming president — emmanuel macron has received congratulations from world leaders and began the transition process — before he takes office in under a week's time. mr macron must also pick candidates quickly — ahead of parliamentary elections on the 11th and 18th ofjune. record numbers of migrants — have tried to reach europe so far this year — we have a special report on the rescue efforts in the mediterranean. right police have fired tear gas into protesters in venezuela. thousands clashed with police. now on bbc news, time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. donald trump
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doesn't do diplomacy in any recognisable form. a clear strategy, a consistent message, they don't feature in that trump toolkit. it is that he can threaten north korea with war why at the same time describing kim jong—un as a smart cookie who it would be an honour to meet. what does it all mean? my guess is christopher hill, a senior us diplomat under three presidents and the former lead negotiator on north korea. good trump's unpredictable approach to foreign policy actually work? —— could trump‘s unpredictable approach? christopher hill, in warsaw, welcome
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to hardtalk. thank you very much. let's start with the general point about the president and his foreign policy making style. admittedly, we only have 100 more days to judge policy making style. admittedly, we only have 100 more days tojudge him on. “— only have 100 more days tojudge him on. —— have only had 100 days to judge him on. what you think it is breaking off the norms in pot —— foreign policy leadership? he is certainly breaking with the norms in a virtual lack of staff. he has the secretary of state, as secretary of defence and there is not much in between. you get the impression that when he says things, it is really from his heart or i guess some other place but it's definitely not considered opinion. that's one thing thatis considered opinion. that's one thing that is very different. another
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thing that's very different is, and this was a kind of criticism of president 0bama, he didn't really at the time to get to know these foreign leaders where is donald trump has them to dinner and takes them to florida, et cetera. it also has a very friendly but you just really don't have a sense of where it's quite going. i think largely because he doesn't really know where it's quite going. let's talk north korea. that is obviously one of your special subjects. he famously went to pyongyang as the us lead negotiator at a time when you are desperately trying to find and negotiating way through the nuclear crisis with north korea. donald trump's style on north korea is, it seems, to mix bellicose language with actually signals that is not that resident has sent about his willingness to meet face—to—face —— president. what do you make of that? first of all, i think he has
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understood that north korea is a top of the charts issue these days. it's not going away. they are very much focused on developing deliverable nuclear weapons. i think he understands that during this term of yea rs understands that during this term of years that he will quite likely face the american people in twenty20 and have to explain what he has done about this north korean threat. i think he looks at this as a trip transactional negotiation. he can get the chinese to do what other people couldn't get them to do. somehow, he can find a sort of formula in negotiations that will make the north korean state oh, we can deal with this guy, we can cut some arrangement with him. he goes into this with a sense, a kind of thought, that he understands that at a certain level but of course, i don't think he has ever cracked a briefing book on it or anything like
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that and often when he is confronted with facts, he has never really seen them before. so, we have the odd spectacle of the chinese president xijinping talking to him about north korea and he said, that after ten minutes of it, he finally understood it, it's a bit more complicated. he skates on a very thin fact base to be sure. he is concerned about train to deal with it. he feels there is no one better than himself to deal with it and thatis than himself to deal with it and that is a concept that frankly have to be tested. it's an interesting concept but maybe he bases that impart that people like you worked very ha rd impart that people like you worked very hard on their briefing notes and briefing books and research things very thoroughly and you tried to deal with north korea for many yea rs to deal with north korea for many years and it has to be said, you signally failed. so, the trump message seems to be, i have inherited one heck of a mess from all of these so—called experts and diplomats that worked on this for 20 yea rs, diplomats that worked on this for 20 years, they got nowhere, i'm going
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to try things a little different. years, they got nowhere, i'm going to try things a little differentlj think to try things a little different.” think that's absolutely his view. there are those of us who did our homework, worked very hard, try to integrate different elements of our government, elements of strategy, approached the north korea is, got them to do certain things in terms of disabling their plans and tried to give them certain payments in terms of fuel oil and things like that and ultimately, we were not able to get a deal because the north koreans wouldn't allow us to verify things. so, he looks at all that and say, heck with that, i canjust things. so, he looks at all that and say, heck with that, i can just go in there, seat of the pants and try to solve this. look, if it works, is absolutely wonderful that just because it hasn't been solved before doesn't mean it's going to be solved without cracking a briefing book. before we get to the trump approach, andi before we get to the trump approach, and i want to undertake it in a bit of detail —— trump, why do you think andi of detail —— trump, why do you think and i referred already to your
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mission in pyongyang which was in 2007 and your talks with the other members of the multilateral group trying to fix the north korean problem, why, particularly in light of your visit to pond yang and meeting the leadership there —— pyongyang, wide you think that this carrot stick approach that successive administrations have tried, why has it failed?” successive administrations have tried, why has it failed? i think it's failed, it is failed in the sense that i think north korea isn't prepared to give up their nuclear weapons. we sat down with the north koreans and said, "what do you want? what do you want to give up your nuclear weapons? they want a peace treaty, it got it. energy assistance, financial assistance, all of these things we packaged together in a financial agreement and we put it altogether and at the end of the day, north korea was not prepared to have any kind of verification so we had to take their word for it on whether they were stopping the production of nuclear weapons and ultimately, that is
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something we absolutely could not live with. this, despite numerous meetings in beijing. plus, as you mentioned, i made three trips to north korea, including going to their nuclear reactor. at the end of their nuclear reactor. at the end of the day, they basically decided they would rather have nuclear weapons. the question is, can this president, working with a very familiar elements, china, south korea, can he create a situation where north korea says, "we are better off giving up our nuclear weapons". certainly, we we re our nuclear weapons". certainly, we were prepared to put whatever they wa nted were prepared to put whatever they wanted in the agreement, provided they were willing to give up their weapons. we were not prepared to kind of look the other way and pretend they were giving away, giving up their nuclear weapons when in fact they won't. i think it's a very tall order to get them to do this. they have new leader, kim jong—un, at least his father seemed to ca re jong—un, at least his father seemed to care what the chinese thought and
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tried to engage in these negotiations. kim jong—un shows absolutely no interest. right, well you negotiated with the father's tea m you negotiated with the father's team rather than the sun's. when donald trump says things like, you know, "we could end up having a major, major conflict with north korea, absolutely." major, major conflict with north korea, absolutely. " and major, major conflict with north korea, absolutely." and when he sends the warship aircraft carrier groups to the region, when he uses the bellicose language, how does that go down with north korean officials? well, they are obviously listening very carefully, i'm sure, to some extent, they are worried he could actually follow through on some of these things. to another extent, he is trying to be more bellicose to the north koreans. he is trying to out north korea the north koreans. they are pretty good at bella scott t. —— being
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bellicose. they are waiting to see if he was do these things. it's not just bellicosity. you said that the feeling is, within the next four yea rs, feeling is, within the next four years, they feeling is, within the next four yea rs, they really feeling is, within the next four years, they really could have a missile system with a nuclear warhead, that is within the term of the trump presidency. is it not the case that no us president can allow that to happen and if the diplomacy doesn't yield anything, beijing can't deliver on getting north korea to change tack over the next year or two, there will have to be an american military intervention, wouldn't it? it's quite possible that here is a scenario. you launch a pre—emptive strike against the north korean nuclear facilities a pre—emptive strike against the north korean nuclearfacilities and then the north koreans retaliate by launching artillery to the south koreans who live within artillery range of north korea. 0nce koreans who live within artillery range of north korea. once they strike south korean civilian centres, then what does the us do?
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does the us then retaliate for that because the south koreans it certainly will. and then we are into a second korean war. that's a pretty big step. that's not something you wa nt to big step. that's not something you want to bluff your way into. you wa nt to want to bluff your way into. you want to be purposeful and talk to the south koreans about it. you want to make sure there are no mixed signals. you want to talk to the japanese and oh, by the way, you wa nt to japanese and oh, by the way, you want to share it with the american people who might not quite the offer another war right now. there are a lot of things to go into his decision of whether to launch a pre—emptive strike against the north korean facilities, even if he feels it is absolutely something he has to do to protect the american people. lets change tack. if we are to avoid the missiles flying across the sky and the chinese are going to be a
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pretty major part of any diplomatic shift here. do you see signs, again, at the donald trump style, and we have to remember that president xi has already been to florida hobnobbing with president trump, do you see signs that the chinese, in a sense, are reacting more positively and proactively to the trump style than they were to 0bama's, on north korea in particular? i think that is fair. ithink korea in particular? i think that is fair. i think the chinese like the decisiveness of trump. they think they can understand it better. they didn't know what president 0bama meant by strategic patience. they see this guy getting up and clearly not a very patient individual and saying that this needs to be resolved, they kind of like the directness. the problem is what to do about it. the chinese can clearly do about it. the chinese can clearly doa do about it. the chinese can clearly do a lot more in terms of economic sanctions that the question is whether doing more in the economic sanctions will be enough to get the north koreans off their own nuclear train because they are really moving very fast on that. frankly, i think
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the chinese like working with the americans when americans talk this way even though, i'm sure in the dead of night, they worry a little about whether president trump will follow through on all of these things. isn't one of the to these things, isn't your boss, when you are dealing with these things, george w bush, the famous axis of eagle, trump and his secretary of state rex tillerson are not doing this and this is from rex tillerson, "we do not seek a collapse of the north korean regime, we do not seek accelerated reunification of the peninsular, we are not out to bring the regime to its knees." —— the axis of evil. it is an important signal to beijing. another reason why the chinese liked dealing with
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the president and secretary rex tillerson. there is no question that the trump administration has been very clear about this. whereas, during the bush administration, those statements were similar to what congolese rice would say but not dissimilar to what vice president dick cheney would say —— condoleeza. in a sense, they were clear messages. but we want to see north korea get rid of their nuclear weapons, we are not seeking regime change. i want to emphasise that when we reached an agreement with the north korean, we explicitly put that in, that we were looking forward to living peacefully together with north korea. we put that very explicitly. so, i'm not sure that this is necessarily going to solve the problem but i guess it isa to solve the problem but i guess it is a starting point to laying out the north koreans that it's about their nuclear weapons. not trying to
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change the regime. a slightly different question related to donald trump. 0n the one hand he gives the message he is ready to go to war, but he says he is honoured at the thought of meeting kim jong—un and maybe we can talk when it comes to china. we similarly get talks about china and they are a currency manipulator and then that is put on the shelf. donald trump says he wants to work side—by—side with china or north korea. sending these mixed signals, contradictory signals, by twitter, by tv appearance, does this in any way work in terms of putting your adversaries off—balance? way work in terms of putting your adversaries off-balance? you know, performance art is part of many professions, including diplomacy. i think to some extent we have this
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reality tv show man engaging in some performance art. it is not a bad idea to have your adversaries a little off—balance and i think he has succeeded without. the problem is mixed messages can lead to some very serious mistakes. so i think it needs to be careful with this stuff. he was talking about the south koreans, we want to stand by them, help them, and then he says, by the way, we want them to pay for the ballistic missile system we are installing. the pricetag was of the order of1 million dollars. the secretary of defence had to walk back the president's comments on that before it created a firestorm in south korea. in addition, the president had one point said of course we also want to finish the us- course we also want to finish the us— south korean trade agreement which is so terrible. and of course, the south koreans spent a lot of
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time getting go through the national assembly and getting a lot of consensus on it and it is the last thing they wanted to reopen. sometimes he makes next statements and they worry them because you never know what the next one is, a serious one, or a blast. it is a problem because you don't have someone problem because you don't have someone who can problem because you don't have someone who can go problem because you don't have someone who can go in there and fill in the various statements. we don't have ambassadors anywhere in the region. the are no assistant secretaries, undersecretaries. it is a home—alone crowd. we have to wait for the next statement from the president and it worries every country. you are a senior diplomat yourself and when donald trump does not appear to respect the importance and significance of senior diplomats, i can imagine it would hurt you a bit. coming back to the wider point, which i want to put to you, because it seems to be a critique of the foreign
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policy—making establishment of which you were a part, donald trump's message, notjust on the peninsula, but on a range of things, is that he inherited a 20 year long failure, a mass. clinton, bush, 0bama, they did not really address a host of problems, and so he has to do it himself. he has got a point, doesn't he? yes. but every president since john adams because george washington was the first can point to the predecessor and say i inherited a mess. the question is not whether you did that, but what you are going to do about it. i think the question will be what is he going to do about this. of will be what is he going to do about this. of course these questions are tough and the wrapping is not easy tough and the wrapping is not easy to explain. but he cannot face the
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american people in 2020 and say this is not my fault. i take your point. but what he can do, and let us get specific on the middle east, he can point, at 0bama's red line on chemical weapons with bashar al—assad, which would produce an american military response, which of course, it did not. by donald trump actually made good on the motion of that being a red line. —— but. frankly, many people criticising donald trump during the campaign in the early days of the presidency, like former cia director, michael hayden, are now saying, do you know what, he handled that really well, and it was an important signal and and it was an important signal and an important question he sent with that airstrike on the airfield in syria. —— important message. maybe you will need to reassess.” syria. —— important message. maybe you will need to reassess. i don't
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know about you guys, but many people, including ours, felt it was a good decision. if syrians are going to drop chemical weapons on civilians, the us should go out and hit them and hit them hard on principle. that is what he did. but i want to draw a distinction between hitting a syrian air base and coming up hitting a syrian air base and coming up with a political plan going forward that will address this carnage in syria in the long—run. i have seen no effort, really, to address the politics or the diplomacy of the issue, and no effort to address what syria should be when the war ends. i think president 0bama failed miserably on that, but i don't see any renewed effort from president trump to say, 0k, we are going to lead a diplomatic effort and work with others and see what we can come up with. iron men, just whacking the syrian air force on one of their air
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basesis syrian air force on one of their air bases is not solving the problem. but it is in saying i will take action when it is merited and i will drop the mother of all bombs on is fighters where they are. this is a man who does things. 0bama, frankly, you were his ambassador in iraq, who made this happen, hejust you were his ambassador in iraq, who made this happen, he just wanted to get out of iraq and get out of afghanistan and it seems he did not wa nt to afghanistan and it seems he did not want to use american military force in any decisive way. donald trump, coming back to the point of being unpredictable, he was decisive. that is the point. that matters. i would like to say about president 0bama, he went after more bad guys with cruise missiles than anyone in the
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history of america and set a record that will be hard to beat. he did go after people. the problem is he did not want to state in any way that he wa nted not want to state in any way that he wanted to stay in the middle east. there are two wars in syria. 0ne wanted to stay in the middle east. there are two wars in syria. one is a warof there are two wars in syria. one is a war of annihilation against islamic state. there is no negotiation with those people. we have to keep going after them and tell we have essentially killed off. the other issue is the war of succession in damascus and whether the united states can work with others, including the russians, the iranians, and maybe the saudis and others to see if there is a solution they are. and that is where i think american presidents need to be judged to find a solution. the syrian air force, hitting them, no question, it was the right decision. when you come after civilians, we have to restore deterrence, and we also have to launch punitive raids. that is what it was, punitive. but
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we don't have a political goal. that is what i want to see a man notjust whacking people when we're mad at them. we are almost out of time. in your diplomatic style, you have been identified alongside hillary clinton. some say you would have gotten a seniorjob if she won. but in 3.5 years, would you reflect on things and say, donald trump, much to my surprise, proved to be a much more effective foreign policy president than i ever thought possible? i don't rule that out. i think to some extent, he has had a much sharperfocus, think to some extent, he has had a much sharper focus, especially in dealing with china. we have a lot of issues with china. human rights issues. trade issues. the south china sea issues. i think he has
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very much sharper and the spear and said we need to put north korea as a priority. i like seeing priorities in diplomacy. coming in with christmas trees of things you want and not getting anything done, well, when you set a priority, you have a better chance of taking care of it. i welcome that approach. my only concern is that i don't really see the mechanisms by which you can follow through. diplomacy is not just showing up, it is following up as well. i don't really see that. i would like to see him either empower the foreign service he has got there, or if he needs to bring in other people, that is fine as well. we need to get on with the task. america cannot be in retreat. it has to be directly engaged on these very tough issues. we are out of time now, but, christopher hill, thank
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you very much forjoining me on the show. hello. we are watching a weather change later this week which will bring some rain to some areas that have been mainly dry for several weeks. until then, it is as you were. this is the satellite picture on monday. cool in the cloud, warm in the sunshine. variable cloud in the next few days. but the main theme is until the end of the week, most places will stay dry. high pressure is stretching across the uk. we are waiting for low pressure to make a move. i will show you that later this week. it will not be bone dry on tuesday. there will be enough cloud to the far north—east of scotland, especially in the northern isles, giving occasional light rain and drizzle. limited sunshine to begin the day. this is sam. sunny spells in scotland. especially in northern ireland. blue skies to begin the day. cloud in england and wales living western fringes with some sunshine to begin with but elsewhere you can
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see the cloud cover across much of the midlands into yorkshire and east anglia. another single—figure temperature start to the day. 0n the cool side like recent mornings. as the day goes on, we will nibble at this cloud. some will start cloudy. sunshine coming through. that's more of wales and the west midlands. parts of yorkshire, rather cloudy. maybe the odd spot of drizzle once again. essentially dry. some rain in the northern isles. cold with the cloud. warmer in south—east england. the breeze is less noticeable on the north sea coast. a bit more cloud into scotland through tuesday night into wednesday morning. wednesday, starting elsewhere clear and quite chilly. temperatures lower than this away from large cities and town centres. gardeners take note of the potential impact on delicate plants of this cold temperature. a sunny start on wednesday
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especially in england and wales. southern scotland and northern ireland seeing sunny spells. more cloud the further north you are in scotland. some outbreaks of rain around. some warmth in the sunshine again. warmer around the north sea coast compared with recent days. on thursday, most places staying dry. variable cloud and sunny spells. cloud building in the south of the uk. we begin to get showers and outbreaks of rain. that will lift north in friday and saturday. not a washout. as we move from high pressure to low pressure, though, there will be rain in areas that have nothing very much for quite some time. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories:
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the former us attorney general says she warned president trump's administration that general michael flynn was open to russian blackmail, before he was forced to resign. the russians also knew what general flynn had done, the russian also knew that general flynn had misled the vice president and others. preparing for power — france's incoming president begins the transition process before taking office in under a week's time. record numbers of migrants have tried to reach europe so far this year — we have a special report on the rescue efforts in the mediterranean. these women look really exhausted. they're coming on one by one. one of the women i see has got a little child with her.
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