tv Lockup Colorado--- Extended Stay MSNBC June 29, 2019 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
and people in seoul were dusting out bomb shelters. they thought there could be a war, accidental or intentional. there was a lot of anger with president trump that he was provoking kim jong-un. now the president seems to take credit for dialing back the same tension that he himself dialed up. tension that president trump very distinctly dialed up. >> it is now the top of the hour 2:00 in the afternoon there by the 00dmz in seoul, south korea. we are covering breaking news at this moment. msnbc. and we're interrupting normal programming to bring you the developments that we've just learned about in the last hour here at msnbc from a press conference between president the president s of south korea, moon jae-in. the big headline, when the president said this, confirming through his words that he indeed will be meeting with the leader of north korea, kim jong un.
th this is what he saidki within t last 45 minutes. >> we're going to the dmz border, and i'll be meeting with chairman kim. i look forward to it very much. i look forwardwa to seeing him. we've developed a very good relationship. and we understand each other. i do believe he understands me and i thinkie i maybe understan him. and sometimes that can lead to very good things. >> many topics were covered along with his discussions of president xi. this in addition to the statement that we were just discussing. but if you're justre joining ust the top of the hour j the president, president trump, saying that president obama had wanted to meet with kim jong un and that indeed from his recollections, from what he knows, president trump saying, thatru kim jong un did not wanto meet with him. as well as security issues, relationships with south korea itself.th let's go to hans nichols who is there with the president in seoul, t south korea. really a lot to cover in a short a time here.
but again, asa i was just sayi, hans, the big headline is he's saying yes, we are going to be meeting withoi kim jong un. >> and it's a historic meeting. having a u.s. president potentially walk into north en korean territory will be historic. we know donald trump has a flair for the dramatic. the would satisfy president's need for that sort of theatrics, that sort of dramatic moment. just atht little bit on the timeline here. you know, the criticism that some of the obama administration's officials make about their own government and their ownou approach was that ty neglected north korea. this wasn't necessarily a high priority. and when presidentss obama, or then president-elect obama and the still sitting president, president obama, and president trump, got together and had that meeting, trump was warned by obama that he needed to make sure to get north korea right. part of that had to do with the acceleration of the ballistic missile program by the north koreans. and youhe saw in the early part of the trump administration an accelerationmp of testing, an
advancement of testing. i want to say in 2017 there are some 16 to 20 different ballistic missile tests, depending on how you count. and crucially, they achieved intercontinental ballistic missiles, something that couldr hit thess mainland of the unite states. it's at that point you that really saw the rhetoric from the trump administration increase. now,mi then you did see a cessation from thedi north on their stopping of their testing to some extent. testing some engines. we've talked about this. short-range testing as well. the trumpin administration like to claim creditp for that. and theyfo may very well be rig. but we don't know for certain what motivated the change by kim jong un. now, at the same time these talks are ongoing. and richard, a crucial thing to look for in the next couple hours is how long this meeting is. president trump clearly downplaying expectations saying it will just be a couple of minutes. if this meeting goes on longer, it veers in not quite a summit but a summit light.
and that gives the prospect, the possibility that they will talk aboutth real issues, namely, ho is north korea going to completely denuclearize and crucially whatmp will the verification regime be. there are a lot of issues between the north and the u.s. on this. you saw it collapse in hanoi. they have serious and substantive differences. they need to iron those out. this is an attempt to get that back onem track. and it is going to be quite a historic moment there in the dmz. richard? >> you know, with that, hans, let's goth straight back to the dmz with richard engel, our chief foreign correspondent. richard, do we know in terms of timing, is it any moment that we expect president trump to be arriving there, t richard? as well as kim jong un? i see there's buses behind you. ie' don't know if that was ther earlier when we were speaking. >> reporter: no, there have been buss and? traffic moving in and out of this viarea. on the south korean side the dmz is something of a tourist
destination as well. people can come here. there are food vendors overlooking the dmz. families can come. they can picnic. they can barbecue. so this is always quite an active area. then inside the dmz it is a closed military zone and that is where they -- the president and kim jong un are goingt to be meeting. just a b little bit more information about the redmz because it is smfg an anachronism in history. it is very muchto a cold war-li creation, more akin to checkpoint charlie than anything else that we have in the world today today. at the end of hostilities in the korean war this area was set up specifically so that the two sides wouldn't cross each other'sde border again and that theyin could have a neutral are where they could have dialogue, a neutral area that would be under an international control. in thisnt case it is under the united nations control and has
been since 1953. and it creates this unique space where the north and south korean leaders can get together, not feelt necessarily threatened b can go there and have dialogue. there are actually even some houses, some tents that straddle both sides of the border. and they were erected with the idea should the tension ever get so high that it looks like the north and south are on the brink of war they could get into the same building but each stay on their own side of the border and have a dialogue to try to reduce the tensionto and try to avert a -- avert another war, the breakout once again of the korean war. so this still exists. it is like i said, an anachronism in history to have this international zone with an actual line of demarcation
between the two. and that is what we're going to see in action today with kim jong un probably coming out of the building on the north korean side, walk up to the line of demarcation, and president trump coming from the south korean side walking up to that very small wall. and if they follow what has happened in the past, i think they will probably reach over, shake hands, and tha and then h symbolic crossing over. we do see some helicopters coming in right now. we havemi seen a lot of helicopters coming in today. so unclear if that is the president or part of an advance team. but i can tell you the local journalists starting to train their cameras in that direction. we'vera been seeing a tremendou amount of activity with vehicles, with helicopters
coming in and out of the dmz for the last couple of hours for this e visit. by schedule we were expecting it anytime soon but they were running a bit behind in terms of this meeting happening and the visit from the president himself. there at the dmz. richard engel, who is there. victor chcha, who is on the pho with us right hanow. ands msnbc current affairs analyst as well as a former director of asian afashz for the national security council joins us on the phone. still with us on the phone at the moment. vict victor, how many missiles is ofimated -- what's the range the number of missiles that north korea has that have nuclear capability? >> well, north korea has short, medium, and long-range ballistic missiles that are arrayed in three strategic belts going up the northern part of the peninsula. they have around 300 deployed short and medium range missiles thatan can target anything including u.s. troops in japan and south korea.
so when the president says that the short-rangeth missiles that north korea fires don't really matter, he only cares about the long-range ones, that's not really t accurate because those short-range ones pose a threat to u.s. citizens who live in japan, korea, and then if you talk about interimmediate yacht-range ballistic missiles as far as hawaii and guam. those things matter as well. so these are a real threat. i mean, these are not -- these are a threat and they continue to grow. and meeting the north korean leader at the dmz when none of this stuff has been resolved is like saying you won the super bowl without playing the game. there's been no progress actually in nuclear talks, and the crowningpr achievement of a actual agreement would be the thing that they're about to do, which is the two leaders meeting at the dmz. but this is all being done backwards, if you will, in that they're trying to claim victory for things that have not yet happened. >> the old fake it until you make it, if you will. as you're saying. for now at least. let's bring in by phone retired
army colonel jack jacobs. msnbc military analyst. you heard colonel, how jack -- excuse me, how victor was happening the nuclear capability, the interimmediate yacht missiles as well as the long-range missiles that could be of great consequence. >> and they continue to develop their capabilities. it's one thing toft delivery means. it's another thing to have the warheads. but you've got to be able to make the o two. it's not entirely clear whether or not all of their delivery vehicles can have nuclear capability. but there's no doubt about the fact that they all threaten not just american interests but our allies' interests as well in the entire region. even t forgetting about capabily of hitting the mainland of the united states. one thing that richard -- that victor cha mentioned, we should
keep in mind, and that is no progress has been made whatsoever. and one of the reasons why this is so is that north korea has no interest in giving up any of its nuclear capabilities. don't forget that the nuclear weapons are its life insurance. there's no motivation for the north koreans to give up its nuclear weapons. and it's difficult to envision a situation in which anybody can guarantee north korea anything sufficient sufficiently to motivate north korea to giv up its weapons. that's why they developed them in the first 'splace. now, china, there was an old saying that all routes to north korea go through beijing, china
doesn't have a lot of interest in the united states increasing any of its influence on the korean peninsula. north korea doesn't as well. and the net result of that as victor said earlier was that what we're going to see today is a photo opportunity and it's hard to see how it's going to result in anything positive. if what we're looking for is north korea to give up any of its nuclear capability. >> hans nichols. thank you so much, colonel. hans nichols still with us. hans, one of the points, if we can pull two together here, not only what was made by the colonel but also by victor and richard engel, is this divided house. there at panmunjom, there at the jsa, at the dmz, these houses, these buildings where it is but there's a
line down the middle. and that's really the way many koreans feel on the peninsula, that they are living in a divided house, that they want to be rejoined in some form or fashion here. and they must wonder, especially the 10 million in the smallfa tn that you're in there in seoul, about what a militarized north korea can mean to the end of that or to the conflagration that we so much worry about. >> reporter: there is a greath about the cern closeness andco proximity of noh korean artillery. that's not just u.s. officials. that's south korean officials. and that's oneea of the reasons the moon government was brought to power, because they have this open sunshine policy that was started by severalha liberal governments evago. but of direct negotiations. you talk about divisions. one place where they are united, and a that is the trump administration and the moon government. they are on the same page here. i think it bears noting that in some ways the n south korean an the u.s. relationship on this,
at least between this sitting government, has been very close and they've been working in tandem to make sure that these negotiations have someth sort o prospects for success. no one is under any other impression this is going to beu an incredibly difficult hallenge, as some of our other guests have been anoting, the life insurance policy, the existential threat north korea feels just by the presence of those 28,000 troops. a little bit on the logistics here, it's about a 20 to 25-minute helicopter ride away from yongsan garrison. the anpool, the group that travs with the president, left there about five minuteshe ago. so just doing some public math here, dorichard, i think we can expect the president to land at the dedmz in about 20 minutes o so. somete back and forth on that. but that gives you a sense of just how quickly this is all moving. now, the president said he'dui been thinking about thisre for long timehi and only broached i yesterday publicly on twitter. we don't know to what extent there w had been back channel conversations to grease this up. and the trump administration wouldn't exactly come clean on that on how much of this had
been long planned because they like the dramatic. president trump has a flair for theha dramatic. and one thing about sort of the escalation and the rhetoric and the tension, it does bear noting about last march the u.s. turned off all these military exercises. the military likes to call them exercises. president trump calls them war games. which is something that in the military they don't like. but president trump did turn off what he called war games. that's things like freedom guardian and fullhi eagle. these arean massive exercises. they basically stopped doing them at a national level and really wanted tot let the nort know that while yes, they do have an incredible a military assets richard wased talking abt those three aircraft carriers, they tried to dial down the rhetorical import of military training, of war games, as their critics call them. and that whenir you talk to administration officials did allow some sort of space for conversation to take place in the beginning ofnv these negotiations. i hate to talk about t the cloc here all theo time but i do thk
the length of this meeting matters. if this is just a shorthand shaikh, a photo op for both sides, we'll see how much comes out of this. if this goes on longer, it's an indication they're talking of substance, they'real talking of strategy, and they're talking about how to have a next full summit. and we'll see. when the president was pressed on whether or not hehe would ha that this year, he didn't w see to want t to box himself in. he wants to take his time. but the president knows the political clock as well as anyone. he knows he's up for re-election. he wants to runs on what he thinks is an accomplishment. richard? >> hans, how do south koreans feel about this? i was there over the last month. they had two missile tests when i was not too far from where you were at. and they barely even registered it. they barely even talked about it. there's that dynamic for south koreans. there's also theic dynamic here that oh, it's the united states again leading what is very essential, very importantle to south koreans specifically. >> reporter: i was here in south
korea this time about a year ago, a littleab earlier in the march time period and at that time there was a great deal of concern about thehe military an strategicnc implications becaus as everyone well knows and as u.s. k military officials know seoul is in artillery range of north korea and whatever military scenario you have that is a lot of firepower that can rain down heref awfully quickl. it would be very difficult for the u.s. even with all its assets to take all those artillery pieces out because they're buried in the mountains. some of the rand corporation estimatesn are something like 250,000 civilian casualties in the opening hours of a conflict. so that's widespread here. it's felt. but they've also seemed to live with that'v fear and they've accepted it.ha now, on the economic frontac that's a different story. and you talk about economic advisers to the u.s. government or youlk talk to south korean economists. there is concern about how south korea would absorb north korea in termsth of the economic shortfalls that they have. because clearly they have struggles in north korea. that's a separate conversation. it's similar to s what you saw happen in germany when the east
and west were reunited where the west hadun to absorb a lot of economic losses of the east and they had some real growth challenges. that is on gpeople's minds her. at the same time, you probably know as well as anyone, there is a desire to have unification on the peninsula and that overriding emotional desire is a pretty powerful pull. richard? >> and thefu complexity, certainly. richard engel, who is 150 miles away from where you're at, hans, let's go to you, richard. and that sensitivity to again not only nuclear short-range missiles but that which is traditional military ability that north korea has, that does enga endanger seoul, which is not too far away from where you'r standing. >> so i'm just going to pan the camera before i answer. we're look at chinook helicopters but quite a few of them. just from the naked eye you can see one, two, three, four, five, six.
heading right into the dmz. that is not a usual occurrence. so we're seeing quite a bit of -- not all chinooks. appear to bel blackhawks as we. so as you can see, in preparation of the president's arrival more military equipment isva being set in there. it appears to be either part of an advance team or at this late hour probably more like a close protection team. the e dmz, although it is a demilitarized zone, is still -- it can be a very tense area. just abouten a year ago in late 2017 a north korean soldier who was stationed on the north koreanhe side decided to take t opportunity ande defect and he ran across the border area, the
same border where president kim jong un are trying to meet, and the north korean guards didn't want him to escape in south tkorea, opened fire o him. he dropped to the, ground. and then the south koreans had to wait till the cover of darkness to try to pull his body onto north korean -- onto south korean territory. he survived. he' kaip he escaped. he is now living in south korea. you can see this is stilt a very n sensitive area, an area where tensions run very, very deep. and it is also described as -- it's called the demilitarized zone, but it is only demilitarized in that the areas around it are incredibly militarized. so on the south korean side where i am right now you have about 30,000 american troops. you also,0 have the entire sout korean army. both of them standing there to make sure that north korea doesn't once again roll across the border and invade this country as it did in 1950 at the
start0 of the korean war. then you have this buffer zone. theuf dmz where the meeting wil take place. and then as hans was talking about before, you have the north korean side. the north korean side is mountainous and buried into thosent mountains are hundreds not thousands if not tens of thousands of artillery pieces and those artillery pieces are pointed directly at seoul. and the idea is if there were ever to be a conflict, if the u.s. or another country were to attack north korea, north korea wouldor fire on seoul and there would be no saving the city and the 10 million people in the center of seoul and the 20 million people who live in greater seoul would be in serious risk if not more. so things are heating up. if hans's timeline is correct, any minute now we should see the president's helicopters arriving after we saw what looked like a
military advance team flying overhead. >> richard, when that happens certainly do wave us down in case we are still talking at the moment. we'll get straight back to your cameras immediately. as we saw four military helicopters just at the start of richard's report just now fly overhead. and we expect again within the next five or ten minutes that the president, at least from what we understand, should be arriving at the dmz. whether we'll actually be able to see'l that helicopter arriver not is to be determined. victor cha still on the phone with us right now. a part of this legacy that now ranges so many decades, what, seven decades, victor, or so, is there is required military service of all young men there in south korea. so each and every one of them, each successive generation, has been reminded of what the dmz certainly can mean, of what the armistice means historically, and for the future their hope, at least for many, that at some point will rb reunification.
but then on the flip side, as richard wase, reporting, north koreans, as they perhaps -- let's go back to richard engel. >> reporter: we are seeing more helicopters arriving. i am always nervous about identifying who and exactly what is on, but we are seeing helicopters arriving right into the center of the dmz. we're not going to know who exactly is on those helicopters until we get final confirmation from theon very small traveling pool that issm traveling with t president. but it does seem like the arrival is happening now with so many different nghelicopters. again,re standing on the ground hard toin know exactly who on board. but i think it's happening. >> thanks fork doing, that
richard. let's go to hans nichols, who is also on top of this for us. hans nichols, as you know, many marine ones might be there. we don't know which helicopter the president might be on. you have some informationmi for us. >> that was a schakowsky helicopter. that's what the president travels on. he sometimes haskyen multiple helicopters that fly in. they do f that for decoy reason. typically when the president leaves on the south lawn he has one helicopter pick him up and two in theco air, almost a gamef three-card monte to foil any would-be assassin or terrorists. one thing we need to acknowledge here and that is the physical risk that president donald trump is taking and the great deal of heartburn theea secret service well as the military must have right now. the secret service never lets the president be exposed to a flank, in this case a front, that they haven't already scoured and/or combed. wherever you travel with the president there are mentr with long gunsar and long binoculars looking over the horizon making sure that there aren't any threats to theer president.
normally, they have that area cordoned off, there are shields, there are barriers. whether they're physical or they're actually some sort of metal or concrete barrier. for the president to walk into north korea that is a great deal of exposure that's probably concerning the secret urservice. now, it's not entirely exposed, as richard knows from just the topography of the peace house and how it's located. but that must be giving the secret service heartburn. that is erunprecedented. i mean, even when you think of reagan's speech behind -- in front of the berlin wall's ther heer was a couple beats away from -- a couple steps away from what there is the brandenburg gate. that was the most exposed a president has been as i recall, that's the only thing annualogo and that was of course a different time and there are probably different security protocols as well. but this seemsol pretty unique d you have to wonder about what's going through the secret service's head right now,ug richard. >> especially given how highly militarized it is despite being the zedmz as you're noting ther hans. let's go to -- >> well, look, we also just saw
this --e we also just saw this with iran, right? where the president was willing to gift leadership of iran a pass in saying it could have just been a rogue general. so while yes, the president may have an assurance from kim jong un that his safety is assured, there are potentially rogue elements on the other side. and there'sen no guarantee that everyone on that north korean side doesn't wish president trump or presidentth kim jong u ill will. and that's aon huge risk. and i think we should acknowledge that. >> let's getkn back to richard engel. are you seeing anything? and reflecting what hans said there about security and where they may or may not be shake hands. >> yes there is always a risk that one of the soldiers on the north koreanth side or in theora soldier on the south korean side could decide to start world war 3. but i think that is a fairly small risk because there is an enormous deterrence factor.
there are 30,000 american troops generally on this a side of the border with their guns pointed at north korea. so should there be an incident today involving the u.s. president while the leader of north korea is there i think it would be -- it would start a war on the spot. i think that thear risk is quit small but it is certainly something that secret service agents, which is what they're do, have undoubtedly been spending time thinking about. hs not, however, the first time we are hearing about it. the idea that president trump would be coming to the dmz was always on the cards. other presidents have come to the hedmz in the past. other diplomats have come to the dmz in the past. so they do have quite a well-rehearsed security protocol for bringing foreign dignitaries into this area. what they don't have a reverse protocolve for is having both o these highly protected world
leaders coming in and meeting together. becauseet kim jong un also travs with ang very large security detail. so you're going to have v president trump if he's not already there or arriving soon showing up -- i would assume he's going to have people all p around him, perhaps trying to stay out of the shot so that it doesn't look like some sort of military assault, trying to stay out of the camera lens and kim jong un asns well with his security at his back. >> andty again for those who ar just joining us here on msnbc, what we are waiting and what could be happening right now is that president donald trump could be meeting potentially for that two minutes that he described with kim jong un. there at the demilitaryized zone. that's where richard engel is at the moment. and i believe when we got the notification about 20 minutest ago that now would be that time. weth did see some helicopters g overhead, over the spot where
richard engel is reporting from right now. two waves. it could be that that meeting is just about to get started. and of course as it does or when it does if we have the information from the pool we'll get that straight to you here on msnbc. josh ledderman, nbc news correspondent, also there in seoul, korea. what do you know in terms of either thekn timing from what hs nichols was telling us about as well as thete video that richar engel was showing us as well? >> the logistics of this even from the standpoint of trying to bring itt to the public are incredibly difficult given the last-minute nature of this and some of the technological challenges of bringing television to people from somewhere like the demilitarized zone. but we doem expect the first pictures from thatpe meeting to come pretty shortly. and it's interesting, richard, how even yesterday as we were talking with president trump in japan about this meeting that
he's been hyping really for several days now, he seemed to be attuned to the prospect that if this fell apart that people would say that he had basically been stood up by kim jong un and pushed back on the suggestion that that would reflect anything negative about either him or his relationship with kim jong un. but itn. has really illustrated pattern for the president where he tries to use these in-person meetings, this personal diplomacy,me albeit not particularly substantive if it's just as wear expect a few minut and at handshake, to try to jumpstart diplomacy that he hopes will be more substantive. we saw that even just yesterday when he met with the chinese leader inme japan. didn't strike i a full trade de but was able to use that meeting to try to, indeed was able to relaunch negotiations toward ending that trade war and averting some of those watariff. ande he seems to be hoping tha this meeting with kim jong un will accomplish a similar task, that they're nota going to agr
on denuclearization today during auc brief meeting in the dmz, b that by moving forward and having this personal interaction hey can get things back on track that have really been stalled sinceav hanoi and that potentially in the future we might start to see that process pick up a lot more steam, richard. >> thank you so much, josh. i wantnk to bring in by phone n gordon chang. gordon chang is a columnist for the daily beast and author of "nuclear showdown: north korea takeswd on the world." gordon, much criticism has been given to this being just a photo op. let's look at the other side of the coin. what can be the most positive thing that can happen from this meeting withap kim jong un and president trump? >> i think j the most important thing is relationship building. and relationship building is important not if you want to disarm the north koreans. if you want to disarm the north koreans you apply pressure to them.es but if you're trying to woo north korea t away from china tn what president trump has been doing hasnt really moved the ba
forward. right now of course we focus on disarmame disarmament. and as many people have pointed out the north koreans have gone backwards on that. in the last year where there has been this relationship building attempt the north koreans have been mpincreasing the pruvoduct of fissile material and they've been upgrading their facilities for ballistic missiles. so this has not been moving in the right direction. >> victor cha, what do we know about the human rights problems that have been so emblematic of kim jong un and what he has done, whether it was inspectors from the iaea who on their way moving from one site to another would see x, y, or z to actual reports andor those who escaped? richard engel interviewed one as hege was mentioning earlier tha escaped from north korea. well, i mean, let's be clear. this is the worst human rights-abusingn regime in the world today. and the president is legitimizing these human rights abuses every time he meets with
the north t korean leader and makes no progress either on the nuclear sideei or on the human rights side. for most peramericans the most obvious example of this is the detainment, torture and then a university of virginia student, otto warmbier. which the president said he believed kim when kim said he knew nothing about it. know, this is -- these are horrible human rights abuses. in every dimension. the worst human rights abuses aside from the prison camps is that the north rikorean regime will not allow their people access to outside information in the world. there's no freedom of movement in north korea. there areth no civil liberties. people cannot gather in gruchz larger th larger than three, particularly men, in north korea. and there is ala proliferation
ski spying by north korean citizens on each other to prove disloyalty to the regime as a way tore advance your own socia status in the society. the regime's oppression has caused the society to turn on itself in the worst possible way. so if president trump does choosees to walk across that military demarcation line, that cement barrier between -- that divides the two, into north korea, it is essentially legitimizing this e regime and this leadership without really gettingwi any of the things he wants on the side in terms of nuclear weapons or tension reduction, things of that naturt 37. >>io again, we're still waiting for notification that kin deed president trump hast met kim jg un as he mentioned in his press conference about an hour ago, that was confirmed. we haveth seen some activity the at the dmz. and when we do get notification from the press pool that -- it's a very - small one. that is with the president.
we will get that informationth you. and of course anywe video that have. back to gordon chang. what is the view of president xi of the 35-year-old kim jong un and what he means to china and china's objectives not only economically but also on the world stage when it comes to its military moves? >> for xi jinping the north koreans are an asset because north koreans can bedevil the international community, as they're very good ioat, and whe that happens we look to china for help and the chinese then extract concessions from us. china for instance has been helping the north koreans with their ballistic missile program, giving them what we think is the technology for solid fuel missiles, and also there's been aan steady flow of components, equipment andea material for thr nuclear weapons program that have come from china. so basically, beijing is using the north koreans as a tool, and they do see them pretty much as
inferior status, as they have for thousands of years. >> so president xi does not north korea to disarm? >> i think that is indeed the case. because if the chineseis wanted the north ifkoreans to disarm t north koreans would disarm. you've got to remember, kim jong un went to chinese soil four straight times before xi jinping went to northor korea. and that's a real indication of the power relationship between beijing and pyongyang. >> beokay. we're just getting this in to us, but out to richard engel who's down by the dmz as we wait for the president to arrive. richard engel, i think the word is that the president did reach the landing zone but we don't know whether he's actually at the meeting point. is that what we know? >> reporter: well, i think we may have a little bit of delay in communications. i thinkin some of that is probay by design. i can tellly you from where we e right on the edge of the dmz, we have not seen any more helicopters. there was that flurry of activity we caught on camera
with the group of helicopters arriving andro then two helicopters following them a few minutesco later. since then there has been nothing in the air in this area at all. so it is very possible they are on the ground and they are work out the last-minute logistics, the movements, how they're going to be walking around the site, and it is also possible that we won't get the pictures of these live, we could get a little bit of a delay for the safety of the people involved. so frankly, it could very well be that this meeting is taking place or about i to take place right now and we wouldn't know about it until it happened a short while later. >> right in that window at the moment of what we thought at least by ourat estimates and wh was being reported by the pool that they should be in that space now. but of course as you mentioned, as you know so well, richard engel, wel, may not get video o pictures live. we will get it later. we mayt get notification becau
security protocols that are in place. while i've gotha you, richard, d you heard me maybe speak with gordon chang about this as well as victor ascha, the issue of human rights, and i wanted to get back to that interview that you had done with again that north korean that had escaped, right? that was in the d dmz. and what you learned about human rights from that interview and that story. >> reporter: actually, i didn't do thatr: interview. that was keir simmons. it was a different correspondent for nbc. but i'm familiar with the story. and actually yesterday i interviewed another north korean defector. this was the one i interviewed yesterday was the most senior northth korean politician to ha crossed over in decades. he was an ambassador to the united kingdom. and i sat down with him at length and i asked him, what do you anticipate from this meeting, what do you think are the costs and benefits from it? he does not believe, or did not
believe then, that the north korean leadership has any intention of giving up its nuclear weapons. he thinks that this is playing to thes north korean leader's hands, that this gives him propaganda victories at home, that makesto him seem more legitimate, that president trump is playing for a campaign that is going to play out overt next year and a half, that kim jong un wants to stay in power for the next several decades, so that he needs s to establish hi bona fides as the young man who brought the united states to north korea, the young man who was able to show the world that north korea is strong. and victor chare was talking abt the control of information inside north korea, although some cell phones get smuggled into north korea from china, i've been to north korea. generally the control of information is absolute. people have been living so long under the l totalitarian system
that they believe the propaganda, they are -- they may know it's false but they don't have access to alternate sources of s information. so that is -- they are processing the information that they are given. and what they have been given is that north korea fired missiles that it f decided to ramp up it nuclear program and after it fired missiles extended the range of its missiles, carried out a number of nuclear tests. the president of the united states, the most powerful country on earth, came begging. there was a recent exchange of letters. president trump said that he received a beautiful letter from kim jong un on his birthday, and that letter prompted president trump to respond in kind, sending hkim jong un a letter. and that letter diplomacy may in fact have set the groundwork for what we're seeing right now. inside north korea, however, it was not portrayed that way. thed letter that was initially
sent from the -- from kim jong un to wish president trump a happynt birthday wasn't mention. only thatme was mentioned -- wh was only mentioned was that president trump sent kim jong un a letter. so if you're inside north korea, what you're seeing play out or what you will see play out when we finally get the pictures is north korea that was strong, president trump came in response to north korea's strength. president trump sent kim jong un a letter, and now president trump is coming to visit north korea in the g demilitarized zo. so there is absolutely a propaganda victory that kim jong un is going to paint for himself, and it is quite easy to paint propaganda victories when the onlyt kind of information available in the country is propaganda. >> and from the government and for so many years. hans nichols, when we think about shaping the story, you
heard the criticism before that president trump would like to have this visit with kim jong un to zraktd frdistract from otherl issues that are brewing at hom, something you are very much in tune with. what's been the response to that from the administration and been the talk, if you will, about this being potentially of that criticism? >> reporter: well, the administration thinks that they a lot of that talk, which is why you see so much direct engagement from the president. you saw an 80-minute press conference. you see the white house actively using social media to try to talk directly to their supporters. you see it in the t president's rallies. the white house social media team has already tweeted out a video of the president's view from the helicopter on marine one leaving seoul heading up to the dmz. so they'ree clearly aware of their ability to shape the narrative -- >> hans, i want to interrupt. >> coming out of the summit -- yeah. >> i just want to interrupt.
we have some live pictures right now, what we believe to be part of the motorcade of president trump. we understand thinkotes may be n overlook site and then they will go down to the three blue buildings or that area later. at leastt that's what the word is.t' as we watch some of these vehicles.h i'm not sure tough that video up at the moment of the -- >> yeah. >> but go ahead. this isea what we're watching. >> reporter: okay. so what we appear to see there is an official government vehicle coming in. typically something the president travels in. we also saw a south korean flag on that as well. we know the president is also with histh south korean counterpart. he's also being accompanied by secretary of state mike pompeo. that's according to an administrationmp official. it's not like these will be totally solo negotiations. it's clear the president will be there with a team and he has th support of moon jae-in as well, as well asn secretary of state. now, i'm just looking. and justt real quickly on somef the quality of the video there. the cell signal isn't great.
so some of the pool notes are delayed because the cell signal isn't that strong. and what you see, the broadcast coming across, just to get in the technology of it, that requires a lot of cell service. so the pixelates, that's because the service isn't that great right now. hard to tell from what's going on there where the president is in this picture if we see him yet. obviously there's security as well. richard? >> hans, give us a sense of the overlook point here. i'm not sure if there's more than one. i've only been to one of them, and of course there may be more than one. i'm an ware of at the moment. just to kind of give us a sense of what we're seeing. do you have any idea -- i know' you're ado little bit farther ay from the dmz. >> reporter: i don't. and richard may be -- >> here comes the president. >> reporter: okay.>> there we see the t.president. and it looks like he's going up to an observation post. let's see u if we can listen. >> let's go to richard engel real fast here, hance, since he
is close to this location. richard engel, i'm not sure if you have this video. and again, pixelating a little. >> reporter: i do. >> great. tell us what you i know of what we're seeing. >> reporter: what we're seeing is president trump on one of several observation eiposts. and you'rerv right there, were many different towers and observation areas owthere. and he is getting a briefing from a military commander. i'm not in a position right now to identify him, but he is being shown what seems to be where the north korean positions are, what the layout are. i've gotten briefings like this. it is quite typical when you get there, you go up onto a high space, and then the general will explain to you that's the south korean side, that's the north korean side, those are the mountains, on the back side of the mountains isin generally whe the artillery pieces are. it is part of the standard protocol when you arrive there
that you get an understanding of the layout. not intuitive. there aren't that many places in the world't that are like this, where you have south korea or an independent state, then an international buffer zone in the middle controlleder by the u.n. and then a heavily fortified enemy statevi right on the othe side. also the border area there dsht dmzre has a straight line throu it. there are hills and mountains. sought border is not a straight line. there are parts where theyai cue around. and it is not intuitive just looking at it where one country starts ander the other begins. so i think he is getting an orientation briefing without audio but just having done similar thingsav myself and loo at thegs pictures. i think he'she getting a milita orientation briefing. >> richard engel, the video we may lose shortly, but you've been at these observation points before. describe to us what you do see and reallyt for the most part what you don't see because i
think what you're kind of giving a head nod to is there's a lot of nothing you're look at for a greatlo expanse. 150 miles wide you were saying, some two miles deep. >> reporter: so the dmz, the demilitarized zone, is this band of territory set up after the korean war to prevent a resumption of hostilities. 2 1/2 miles wide, 160 -- excuse me. 160 miles across. and 2 1/2 miles deep. and it is an area that are multiple structures,th multiple guard towers.s, there are an estimated 1 million landmines still in the area. lots and lots of barbed wire. on one side, the side where i am right tnow, you have 30,000 roughly american troops and the south korean army. on the other side you have the north u korean army. and then critically artillery pieces. thousands if not tens of thousands of north thkorean
artillery piece that's are buried into there mountains. and those artillery pieces are pointed at south korea. so when you go there, you don't necessarily see lots and lots of troops. you see mountains. but when you get a briefing, the military commanders, because all of these sites have been thoroughly mapped, thoroughly surveyed from the ghair, the military commanders willai tell you that's where the north koreans have the biggest concentration of missiles. that mountain is also fortified. there are also tunnel networks that were set up, bunkers that were set up. you're talking decades, of fortifications that have been put into this tiny area. in some places it's been called the most dangerous tripwire in the world because a wrong step here could cause a very, very quick and very dramatic escalation of military force because you have theve north koreans withyo all of their weapons on a hairtrigger on the north -- just on their side of
the dmz and 30,000 american troops and the south korean army, which is a very modern, very capable army on this side of the border. and then in between them just a 2 1/2-mile-wide land controlled by the u.n. set up to prevent the two sidesup from clashing again. >> and again president trump, we're showingre video to the le of you, richard, of the president just moments ago on one of those viewing platforms. he tried -- remind us again. he tried to visit the dmz before but weather stopped ndhim. sod this is his first visit. >> reporter: this is his first visit. other presidentsis have come he before. many foreign dignitaries have come here before. president reagan. president obama came. president clinton. it is a standard stop on the tour because it is also so historic. the united states obviously the mainou military participant in e
korean war. generally, u.s. presidents come here to pay.s respects, to hono the sacrifice, to see the conflict that never truly ended. the korean war still lives on in many ways in the dmz because you have these built-up forces on either side -- you have these built-up military zones on either side of the dmz with their guns pointed at each other and there's always this fear that should thingser escalate, should things go wrong in a very short amount of time it could start firing guns. the dmz frankly was set up to do exactly what we are seeing right now. was set up as a neutral area for hostile parties, for belligerents to come together in a protected space right on the bordersp and engage in negotiations and this has never been t done before. u.s. presidents have come to the dmz. like i tsaid, mostly for the historic value to pay tribute
and get a better understanding of the korean warbe that still lives on in a way but never using the dmz for what it was designed to do, which was to engage way hostile power and engauge in diplomacy. there are plenty people we've been talking about it today, that think this is not the right time, that president trump is abusing this facility, he's using it for a photo op, that he is not getting enough oit of it, that he is giving the north koreans too much legitimacy, that this kind of visit should come at the end of a diplomatic process, that this should come after the north koreans take concrete steps to get rid of their nuclear weapons. but it is instead much more along the lines of the way president trump is driving this with taking dramatic action first and hoping that results will follow.
>> live pictures. the video coming in and going -- it may get a little sketchy or pixelated. you can see it right now freezing. we're going to stay n on it for this visit, the first visit from president trump and the historic meeting if it does happen, we expect itdo to happen with kim jong un. sometime in the next half hour or so. here are pictures of the president just moments ago at the prdmz. moone jae-in the leader of sou korea standing right next to him. how important is it for presidents to visit the dmz? >> it's extremely important for them to visit the dmz. as richard said every previous president has doneha it. president trump when he came to korea i think it was in 2017 actually did not have a plan to go visit thetu dmz. he was going to visit camp humphries which is a large u.s. military installation south of
seoul. tensions were very high at the time. i think many people thought it wasn't a good time to go to the dmz. thee security risks were quite high. but he r tried to do it. but fog that morning made it very difficult for him to do so. the outpost that he's visiting is traditionally what u.s. presidents do. what'sen interesting about his visit this time, and it's really speaking of this effort at a peace process is normally the president would go up there, he would put on a bomber jacket or an army jacket and stand there with bin oculars and look out, be very stern and talk about the derns and strength of t deterrence and strength of the alliance. but you see he's out there in his suit with the korean atmosphere. seems a much more relaxed atmosphere than what we normally its when presidents go to the e dmz -- >> victor, hang on one second. i think the president's speaking. let's see if we can get any audio here.k e
i believe from what we were able to listen -- >> the individual that is with this entourage. victor cha, you were speaking a moment ago about the importance of presidents visiting the dmz. >> yeah. it's always been a very important place forlw president to go to demonstrate the strength of the alliance. again
. earlier in the trump presidency, it looked like to sides could have an accidental conflict or an intentional conflict with north korea firing off ballistic missiles and tufting nuclear weapons and president trump responding and insulting kim jong-un, you could feel the tension inside the dmz, when people went there. when i went there, we were told to not linger, not to shine lights inside north korea, so that we did not provoke an international incident. that we didn't draw fire.
at the time, they were propaganda games going on with the north koreans, blasting music, blasting propaganda, north korean traditional propaganda songs so they could be heard on the south korean side and the south korean side would respond with their music, to though the others what they were missing us out on, that th world had moved on. those games, those mind games, they have stopped. those speakers have been taken down. you don't feel the level of tension that you did earlier in president trump's presidency throughout seoul and you don't feel it inside the dmz. the question is, who is responsible for that? president trump is making a case, i mean, in these