tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN April 16, 2017 2:00am-3:01am PDT
the u.s. vice president arrives in seoul, south korea, just hours after north korea test fires another missile. we'll have live reports from the region, including pyongyang. and reaction to that failed missile launch from major powers with a great deal at stake on the korean peninsula. s also, we'll go live to turkey where voters vote on a new constitution. welcome to our viewers around the world. i'm ivan watson in hong kong. >> i'm george howell in tat cnn headquarters in atlanta. >> and i'm natalie allen. let's start the program. u.s. vice president mike pence
arrived in south korea a short time ago. his plane landed in seoul just hours after the latest provocation from pyongyang, north korea. early sunday, the regime of kim jong-un tried but failed to test another missile. south korean officials say the launch attempt was made from the port city of sinpo on the east coast. a u.s. official says the land-based rocket malfunctioned almost immediately and exploded. cnn correspondents are covering these developments all across asia. alexandra field is live in seoul. matt rivers is in beijing. and will ripley is one of the few western journalists in north korea right now. we're going to start with alex. what more can you tell us about apparently this failed missile launch from north korea? >> reporter: well, we're learning what u.s. officials know. they believe this was a failed attempt, that this launch failed wng four to five seconds of the
time that it was launched and that it happened at the same site where there was a previous attempt earlier this month. this kind of missile launch test doesn't come as any surprise. it's not taking the world by surprise. tensions have been very high on the korean peninsula this week. there was a great deal of expectation that kim jong-un, north korea's dictator, would try and pull off some kind of provocative action. there had been suggestions coming out of washington, coming out of the u.s., that evidence shows that country is ready to pull off its sixth nuclear test at any moment. there had been some speculation they could conduct a test like that to coincide with the holiday that they celebrated in north korea yesterday, which is the most important day on the calendar. that didn't come to bear, but when day broke in this region, there was what is being called this failed missile launch. the big question for everyone was how the u.s. would react if pyongyang decided to carry through with some kind of provocative measure. we'll remind our viewers here, ivan, that they have moved u.s. warships into the region, the waters off the korean peninsula,
as a deterrent against provocation from pyongyang. all indications we're getting from washington right now are that there really won't be a reaction. they have acknowledged that a failed test happened. really, there will be no response beyond that. the thinking there is that there's no need to give any more attention to kim jong-un, no more focus to pyongyang at this moment because of this failed attempt, which again flouts so many sanctions that have been handed down. this is the fifth attempt at a ballistic missile launch just since the start of the year, as well as last year's unprecedented number of missile launch, ivan. >> all right. thanks, alex. we're going to go now to the north of the demilitarized zone to will ripley standing by in pyongyang. will, do you have the opportunity to ask north korean officials about this reported missile launch and apparent failure? >> reporter: yeah, we had a meeting with north korean officials today, ivan. certainly there are members of the north korean government, people who are elite, who have
access to outside media who are aware of these reports. however, there will be no official comment, no acknowledgment by north korea that this has happened. as a general rule, north korean propaganda doesn't report about their military tests when they're failures. however, they do herald and trumpet their successes. we've seen in the past when there have been successful missile launches, photos and videos released showing the north korean leader kim jong-un presiding over the site, giving the order, and when north korea tries to launch another missile, because it's not if but when, and if it is a success, then you can expect an announcement from the north koreans. might not happen immediately though. sometimes these things are -- you know, the videos are edited, screened, approved, then the nws comes outside inside north korea up to 24 hours after the event, even though the rest of the world might have been
talking about it for quite some time. >> will, you heard alex talking about how the ballistic missiles, the nuclear tests are all banned according to united nations security council resolutions. when you ask north korean officials about that, how do they respond? >> reporter: well, they don't think that it's fair. they think that other countries have been allowed to develop and obtain nuclear arsenals and successful missile programs, and they feel -- the mind set here, it's a militaristic mind set where it's almost like north korea against the world. even their closest ally, or patron, if you will, china, still there's an adversarial relationship there. kim jong-un has never met with xi jinping. the most high-profile meeting they had was early on when he came to power, and he met with dennis rodman, the nba star. this is a country that feels it's taken a difficult path, has
had to go it alone. they're convinced their system is the right system, at least the government that's in power is convinced of that. in this awe to betariuthoritari anybody you ask on the street also feels this is the right path for the country. they feel justified in developing these develops to protect their national sovereignty. they say they don't want to use them but aren't afraid to if they feel provoked or cornered by the united states. >> all right. i'm going to turn to china and our man in beijing. that's matt rivers. we're hearing reports now that u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson just spoke with the chinese top diplomat, presumably about korea. we know that washington has been pressing beijing for years, decades, to come down harder on north korea and its program for developing weapons of mass destruction. you can almost imagine how some
of that phone conversation may have played out, right? >> reporter: yeah, no details yet on that call between the top diplomat here in china and secretary of state rex tillerson. but you're right. both sides, ivan, have really made their positions known quite clearly. on the u.s. side, they very strongly believe under the trump administration that china should be using its economic leverage that it has quite a bit of over pyongyang to get the kim jong-un regime to stop developing these weapons, to stop testing nuclear devices and missiles. what china very swiftly and consistently argues is that the united states needs to return to the negotiating table. if washington and pyongyang don't sit down and talk, there can be no lasting peace on the korean peninsula. these are long-held positions from both sides. the question moving forward is, is there any middle ground there? can there be some sort of an agreement that can come between
china and the united states? that would go a long way towards potentially solving this ongoing crisis in north korea. at least at the moment, the two sides do seem to be pretty far apart. >> and quickly, matt, any official confirmation from the chinese about the alleged north korean missile launch? >> the chinese, no. as far as we have heard so far, we've gotten no statement from the ministry of foreign affairs on this. but they usually will acknowledge it. it could just be it's a sunday and they're not really responding. we haven't heard anything specifically, but they are consistent. they always condemn it. they say these launches violate international law and serve to make an already tension situation that much worse. >> that's right. some people do take a day of rest today. let's go back to south korea, to alexandra field, who happens to be at the headquarters for the u.s. military in south korea. the u.s. vice president mike pence just arrived in south korea. what kind of message is he
bringing to this long-time american ally, which is right next door to north korea? >> reporter: look, everything about this trip, ivan, is designed to reflect and endorse the alliance between the u.s. and south korea. a very long-standing alliance, some 60 years now. this is the headquarters for the u.s. military in south korea. it's also the headquarters for the combined command here. so these are two militaries that work closely together, some 30,000 u.s. servicemen and women who live here, working hand in hand with hundreds of thousands of korean service members. that's the reason why vice president mike pence is coming here. he's having an easter service with the troops, both from the u.s. and south korea, then having a dinner with them. it is an affirmation of the alliance between these two countries. it's also a personal trip to some extent for vice president mike pence, who's escorted by his family. his father is a korean war veteran. this trip started for vice
president pence with a visit to the cemetery, the national cemetery here to honor those who fought. he then came here to meet with troops, but it gets serious after this point. he goes on to meet with the acting president of the south korea. from here, he'll go on to tokyo, where he'll meet with the prime minister. they'll be tackling head on the question about what to do to counter the growing north korean nuclear threat. you have another provocation again from north korea this morning, that failed missile launch. what they're really talking about now is a wider view, the long-term strategy, the secretary of state from the u.s. had been out here last month announce that the era of strategic patience was over. so what's the response now? what role will the u.s. take? those are all questions the vice president will talking about as he continues his tour through asia, ivan. >> and alex, this isn't just a time of regional tension. it's also a time of deep uncertainty in south korea, this critical american ally with big questions about the future leadership of the country right now, right? >> reporter: right.
you've had an elected president who was impeached and ousted from office. now you've got an acting president who has been tasked with meeting with these high-level u.s. officials and trying to chart the course forward. the vice president, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense. but this acting president won't even be in office in a couple weeks. it's important right now during this presidential election to sort of take the pulse of the country. that previous president was impeached. she was a conservative party president. the conservative party had been in power for some ten years in south korea. they advocate a very tough stance toward north korea. the candidates leading in the polls now are a democratic party candidate and a center left candidate. those are parties which have traditionally taken a different kind of approach to north korea, have argued for more open communication. they've been somewhat more resistant to the u.s. missile defense system that the conservative party here in south korea had signed off on. so that's sort of a wild card
factor here. who is the next president and how could that next president's administration intend to shape policy toward north korea and continue to work on this relationship with the u.s. it's a bit awkward, to say the least, ivan. >> it's a good point. now, will ripley, i think you're still standing by in pyongyang. i know that this is just the latest of many trips you've made to the hermit kingdom. i'm wondering in this sleepless week of reporting you've had there, if there are any takeaways from this latest week of reporting and at this time of tension in the region. >> reporter: yeah, this is my 11th trip to the country. i have to say, this is probably the first time that i have had what i would consider to be some very authentic, fairly deep conversations with north koreans, both in the government capacity or those working for nongovernment agencies. we see a lot of officials at the
military parade and other events that were hosted for the international media. i have had discussions with north korean, ranging from older, in their 50s and 60s, to north koreans in their 20s. the younger generation here, many of them speak fluent english. they're well educated. they're aware of what's happening in the world. yet, they firmly believe their system is the right system. they say they believe in their leader, kim jong-un. but they also desire more prosperity for north korea. they desire a seat at the table for north korea in the international community. they hope for a peaceful environment where north korea, with its system, is allowed to exist. they hope for reunification of the korean peninsula, for the north and south to come back together but in a way that still a i lows their system, their socialist system to survive. what strikes me is the depth of these conversations. these are not robotic people who
have been consuming propaganda and don't have individual opinions. they do. and they can acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of other countries, including the united states and its system. they still strongly believe that they have a right to exist as a country. that's what they say they hope for. putting politics aside, putting the government aside, i hope that some day the north korean people do have an opportunity to interact with the global community because i think there are a lot of smart minds here and people have a lot to offer the world. >> that's a good note to end on there. i want to thank our excellent correspondents for sharing their expertise and their input from different sides of the region. so we have alexandra field in south korea, will ripley in north korea, and matt rivers, of course, in the chinese capital. thank you to all of you. now, moving on, in the wake of north korea's failed missile test, here's a brief look at the recent history of the hermit kingdom's weapons and missile
development programs. last june the regime test fired an intermediate range ballistic missile called the musudan. it flew about 400 kilometers before landing in the sea. in august, poyongyang had its most successful test firing of a submarine launched missile. then north korea conducted its most powerful nuclear test to da date. in february this year, pyongyang fired a new ballistic missile, the kn-15, that traveled some 500 kilometers. last month, the regime fired four ballistic missiles eastward and three of them landed within 200 nautical miles of japan's coastline. on april 5th, less than two weeks ago, north korea launched another missile that landed in the sea off its east coast. earlier, i spoke to a senior fellow at the center for defense studies at kings college, london.
i asked him if there's anything washington can do to stop north korea and its efforts to develop nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. >> i think there is still an option for negotiation. for some time now, there has been talk of entering what we term a grand bargain with the north koreans. president trump has already indicated his willingness to talk to kim jong-un, and i think provided the united states and its allies set realistic objectives, then an agreement could possibly be reached with the north koreans. to understand what you can achieve, we must understand two things. number one, the north koreans will never give up their nuclear weapons. that horse has long bolted. anybody who talks about the north koreans being prepared to denuclearize is living in a fantasy world. we're going to have to accept
that the north koreans will continue whatever agreement is reached to retain their nuclear weapons. the second parameter of these discussions is this, that i cannot believe that any u.s. administration would tolerate a capability of the north koreans to target the continental united states with nuclear armed missiles. so within those two parameters, negotiations are going to have to take place. >> and let's just be clear. with the saber rattling, with the aircraft carrier strike groups from the u.s. that is now steaming towards the korean peninsula, you've got both sides flexing their muscles now, but if one side was to shoot, the potential consequences on the korean peninsula would be catastrophic, wouldn't they? >> well, yeah, war would be catastrophic. i remember participating in a war game in the late 1990s.
even before north korea had nuclear weapons. the view then was that escalation would be terrible. look, we're talking about two types of north korean missile activities. one is a test, one is an actual strike on the united states. the north koreans don't have the capability to hit the united states at the moment, but they're working irrevocably and at speed. what we can see in the next few weeks or months is a test of a very long-range missile. then the united states has to decide what to do. there's been talk of americans trying to shoot down that missile. there is a weapon called the egis-3 block 2a which apparently, according to some reports, can shoot down an icbm test in its ascend phase. whether that's possible, i don't know. that's all classified material. i'm not even sure if that weapon exists in deployable form yet. if such a thing happens, obviously, yeah, a
miscalculation could lead to escalation, even if both parties don't want to escalate. >> that's my earlier conversation. i'm going to turn it over now to george howell and natalie allen for more of the world's news from cnn world headquarters. >> ivan, thank you. still ahead, they were finally leaving their homes when they were attacked. we'll tell you about the blast that could end the fragile evacuation deal in syria. also, turkey could make history this day as voters go to the polls. we'll take you live toist istan, tell you what that is about. you have access to in-depth analysis, level 2 data, and a team of experienced traders ready to help you if you need it. ♪ ♪ it's like having the power of a trading floor, wherever you are.
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they had hoped, perhaps, this was a journey on the way to a moment of respite. context as to why these evacuation buses were so important. the ones attacked were leaving two towns north of syria. these are full of regime sympathizers but were in a rebel-held province of idlib. also, in the south of the country, were towns full of rebel sympathizers. they were besieged by the regime. so the u.n. brokered a kind of swap, if you like, allowing a simultaneous evacuation of these two towns that were regime loyal in the north, while rebel sympathizing towns in the south were also being evacuated. it was those the regime loyal town that came under attack today. we don't know precisely whose territory they were in when this blast hit, but we think it was a car bomb, and it does appear to be that the evacuation still continued after this tragic, horrifying episode. in the past, buses from the area
have come under attack from people who clearly were extremists. it wasn't quite clear which group they were affiliated with, but nothing like the scale of devastation today. this, of course, has many worried in rebel sympathizing areas of some sort of regime reprisal. as a result, still focused very much on the terrifying toll on civilians on those buses. as i say, dozens of people of the 3,000 leaving losing their life from this car bomb. they felt they were on their way to safety. these towns had suffered from besieging, starvation, lack of medical supplies for months. these swaps, some say, will alleviate that suffering. but at the same time, do potentially change the demographic ethnic map of syria permanently. syria still seeing absolute savagery on both sides now as this war limps into its seventh year. nick paton walsh, erbil, northern iraq. >> terrible to see there in
syria. now we turn to turkey. voters are heading to the polls there. >> their vote will decide whether to give the country's president sweeping new powers. the so-called power bill would change turkey from a constitutional democracy into a presidential republic. >> the referendum requires a simple majority. ian lee is standing by for us a the a polling station in istanbul to tell us more what this is about. >> reporter: hi, natalie. yeah, we've been seeing people coming in and out all day. historically, turkey has high turnouts in these sorts of votes and referendums. it really, though, boils down to a yes and no vote. a yes would shift the country from the parliamentary system to a presidential system. those who support it say that it will give the president more power to strengthen the economy and also stabilize the country. those who oppose it, those in the no camp, say that it doesn't
have enough checks and balances. it will give the president too much power over making of laws and the judiciary. so quite a historic referendum. in the lead up to this, there's been a heavy security presence across the country. dozens of people who are suspect the to having ties to isis have been arrested according to state media. >> all right. the vice president is now speaking in south korea. we'll listen in. >> let me invite a round of applause from all of the great soldiers and their families who are gathered here for general vincent brooks and the great leadership he provides here to united states forces. general, we are proud. [ applause ] to chaplain kim and all those who made the service so special
to us. my daughter audrey already told me that was one of the best sermons she's heard in a year and a half. so what a special easter. [ applause ] and we're just honored to be with you all today and looking forward just to some good food and to some good fellowship. but it is a pleasure to be with you today. on behalf of my wife karen and our two daughters, happy easter in south korea. it's a joy to be with you all. [ applause ] i bring greetings this morning from your commander in chief, president donald trump. i spoke to the president early today, and i spoke to him on the way over. he asked me to be here, and he told me in no uncertain terms to
make sure i told all of you we're proud of you and we're grateful for your service to the united states of america on this frontier of freedom that is south korea. [ applause ] in fact, i can say with confidence that every american is proud of your service here. the attention that this part of the world has gotten from people back home is probably no surprise to all of you gathered here today. this morning's provocation from the north is just the latest reminder of the risks each one of you face every day in the defense of the freedom of the people of south korea and the defense of america in this part of the world. your willingness to step forward, to serve, to stand firm without fear, inspires our nation and inspires the world.
and it's an honor for us to share this meal with you today. thank you for your service. [ applause ] and let me say, as the general mentioned, as proud parents of a united states marine -- >> hoorah! >> it is the greatest privilege of my life to serve as vice president to a president who cares so deeply about the men and women of our armed forces and their families. days like today make me think of the separation that comes at special times of the year for those who serve. so would all of you in uniform join me in giving a rousing round of applause to the family members who are here and the family members far away. we appreciate their service and their support. [ applause ]
and let me promise those family members and all of you in uniform here today that under president trump's leadership, we're going to rebuild our military. we're going to restore the arsenal of democracy. we're going to give our soldiers, sailor, airmen, marine, and coast guard the resources you need and deserve to accomplish the mission you are given and come home safe. that's a promise from your commander in chief. [ applause ] this is a challenging time all over the world but especially here in the asia pacific. the opportunity for me to be here today at such a time is a privilege for me. let me assure you, under president trump's leadership,
our resolve has never been stronger. our commitment to this historic alliance with the courageous people of south korea has never been stronger, and with your help and with god's help, freedom will ever prevail on this peninsula. [ applause ] but it is easter sunday, and as i look out at all these courageous americans and courageous koreans who are gathered here today, i'm deeply humbled. i truly am. we celebrate today what karen and i and those of us gathered here recall as that resurrection sunday and that worship service was so sublime. but it puts me to mind of one of my favorite stories in the old book. it's a story of a moment where the nazarean encountered a
soldier. soldier walked up to him and told him that he had someone ill in his home and he asked if he might take action to be helpful. as jesus began to walk with him, he said, no, you don't need to come with me. he said, i'm a man under authority. he said, i tell one to do this and he does it. i tell another to do this, and he does it. he said, you just say the word and that servant under my household will be healed. and the words that ever struck me from that story were there at that crossroads. it's simply said that jesus was amazed. at no other point in any of the stories of his life do i hear that he was amazed. except when he was speaking to a soldier. because he saw orientation to authority and he saw faith.
let me say on this most holy of days for those of us who claim christ as lord, we're amazed too. we're humbled. we look out today, and we see courage writ large in the soldiers and families who are gathered here. i just want to assure you on behalf of people all across the united states that in these troubled times in this part of the world, your courage and your valor still amazes the american people. so we just wanted to come and say thank you, say thank you for your service and thank you, general, for your leadership and the leadership and service of all those represented here carrying on a tradition and commitment to freedom here on
this peninsula that's now more than six decades in the running and succeeding far beyond those who carved this free society in this ancient land could possibly have imagined, perhaps. the american soldier, shoulder to shoulder, with the korean people who fought for and wore the freedom more than six decades ago. i stand before you very moved on this easter sunday because one of those soldiers more than six days ago -- 60 years ago -- was my dad. as we landed today on the peninsula, i looked out at those rolling hills, and i thought about second lieutenant edward j. pence, who was with the 45th infantry division of the united states army.
dad served here in combat. it was in this month, this very week in 1953, that my dad was awarded a bronze star here in korea for action in combat. you know, like so many who have worn the uniform and come home, my dad didn't think the heroes were the ones that came home. whenever he spoke of his time here in korea, he spoke of the ones that didn't come home. he spoke of friends lost, sacrifices made. and so on this day, i think of my dad, gone 29 years now, but still enshrined in the hearts of everyone in our family. and i think of what dad would be thinking about and i believe is thinking about as he looks down to see his third son return to
that place that he left so many years ago and to see that the sacrifices that were made here, the commitment that endures here, has resulted in a free and prosperous south korea. and so it shall ever be. so for the sake of all of you who wear the uniform today, the sake of all who have gone before, thank you for your service. and happy easter. [ applause ] >> the first time we've heard officially from the vice president, mike pence, after arriving in south korea. he just attended a sermon there with the troops who serve and now having a fellowship dinner with them. north korea, he said, our resolve has never been stronger, and he continuously thanked the troops for their courage and
valor. this, of course, an incredible time that the vice president lands, just after north korea tested another missile. for more about that and this trip, let's go to ivan watson now in the region. >> thank you, natalie. north korean state media so far have not reported on pyongyang's failed missile test early sunday. south korea says the rocket was launched from the north korean port of sinpo on the east coast. the u.s. military says it blew up immediately so there wasn't much time to gather data. this latest provocation came just hours before u.s. vice president mike pence arrived in seoul for the first leg of a trip to asia and australia. now, alexandra field is in seoul, and cnn's will ripley is reporting from pyongyang at this time. i'm going to go to alex field first. you're at the headquarters of the u.s. military, which has nearly 30,000 troops deployed in south korea. and of course, this is a
personal visit. it is important for his family, for vice president pence, because his father is a veteran of the korean war in which more than 33,000 u.s. soldiers died on those battlefields there. >> reporter: yeah, this is such an important moment, not just for these two countries, for the alliance, for the service men and women a part of this alliance, but you could hear it from vice president mike pence as he spoke just a few minutes ago to those service members. they are celebrating, having an easter dinner together. he talked about just exactly how personal of a trip this is for him. you heard him get, i think, almost a little bit emotional as he talked to them about the commitment that those who fought made and the path that they paved for freedom here in south korea. he reflected on his father's service. his father was a veteran, received a bronze star, but he also talked about the fact his
father would si that the ones who were the real heroes were the ones who did not come home, and of course that's something that vice president mike pence would clearly have been thinking about when he touched down here in south korea. the first order of business on the agenda was a trip to the national cemetery here to pay respects. then he came here to join the troops, and he was very clear in delivering the message you heard just moments ago about the support that is coming from washington, the support coming from the president, the importance of the work that the u.s. and the south korean forces continue to do here together. you also heard vice president mike pence saying that this morning's provocation from north korea, that failed missile attempt, is a reminder of what the troops here face every day in their effort to defend and protect south korea and to ensure security here on the peninsula and for the region as well as beyond that, ivan. >> all right. and i'm going to turn now to will ripley in pyongyang. the fact that vice president pence talked about the korean war, that brings an important
kind of open sore to the front. that is the fact that there still is not an official state of peace between north korea and the u.s. in the more than 60 years since that deadly war was waged on the korean peninsula. doesn't that get to the crux of the current tensions? >> reporter: yeah, that's right. technically the two sides are still at war. they signed an armistice agreement but never a peace treaty. it was interesting to listen to the vice president of the united states talk about the history of the korean war because that war and what occurred still dominates much of the discourse here in north korea as well. but of course, this country -- and it has built entire museums with their version of the korean war, which is dramatically different from the version accepted by most outside historians, historians outside of north korea. north korea tells its citizens that the united states was the
aggressor. i've been to museums where they present documents and photos that claim to prove their side, that the united states, not north korea, started the war, and it was the north korean veterans who valiantly defended this country from the imperialist, as they call it, united states. so the sentiment, the emotional sentiment the vice president shared is also expressed very routinely by veterans of the korean war here in north korea and by the lieders eaders of th country who praise the veterans for their service in what they consider fighting off the american attack. and it goes to show that history plays such a key role in certainly the north and south korean dynamic and really the dynamics of this entire region. everything from world war ii and the japanese occupation of the korean peninsula prior to world war ii, long disputes between various country, between china and japan, japan and korea, and of course now the united states' involvement in the region. it all plays into the events we see unfolding just this morning
at the crack of dawn when north korea conducted yet another, albeit unsuccessful, missile test. >> will, i'll never forget the scene of dozens of north korean veterans in the summer of 2013 waiting for hours in the baking heat in pyongyang for one of those military exercises, those parades, and the strength that those old men and women had sitting there in those difficult conditions. all right. fascinating conversation with will ripley in pyongyang and alexandra field on the other side of the demilitarized zone. we're going to take a break now, but stay with cnn for more news. capture every moment. o ♪ but what you really can't plan for is when the moment captures you. marriott now has 30 brands in over 110 countries.
but we've got the get tdigital tools to help. now with xfinity's my account, you can figure things out easily, so you won't even have to call us. change your wifi password to something you can actually remember, instantly. add that premium channel, and watch the show everyone's talking about, tonight. and the bill you need to pay? do it in seconds. because we should fit into your life, not the other way around. go to xfinity.com/myaccount and just moments ago, the vice president of the united states, mike pence, spoke with
korean military personnel and u.s. military personnel in seoul, south korea. for more reaction on the raised tensio tension in the korean peninsula and what it means for the united states, let's bring in the senior lecturer in international relations. thank you so much for being with us, leslie. we know, first of all, the official statement from the united states. it has been sparse. it has been very short. only a statement coming from the defense secretary james mattis. but given the statement has been so short, what do you take from it? >> well, remember, this was a failed missile test, and it took place while vice president pence was on his way to the region. so -- and there's been a real focus on the administration's likely response to north korea. of course, the real concern is north korea will develop the ability to launch a missile that
could reach the continental united states within the next three years, if not sooner. now, there's been an aircraft carrier sent to the region, which is clearly intended to deter as well as monitor and perhaps pave the prospect for a response, if there were a missile that was launched heading towards south korea or japan or the united states. but i think the response right now is muted. there will be discussions going on, and the options, as all experts on north korea like to sarks are a say, are all universally bad. i expect the immediate response to this particular failed missile strike is likely to be relatively low key. the broader strategy is one of pressure on north korea, but i think one of the real concerns here right now is that if you look at america's broader diplomatic strategy in the renarena region, the united states does not have ambassadors in place in south korea, does not have an
ambassador in place in japan or china, and does not have an assistant secretary of state of east asian affairs appointed in the state department. it's absolutely crucial that the current administration put these people in place so that the diplomacy in the region can take place on a daily basis. that will be absolutely crucial, and of course working through china to get some leverage over north korea economically will be absolutely essential. remember 85% of north korea's trade takes place with china, so china becomes an absolute essential partner in this. >> we're just starting to hear comments about the failed missile launch. the vice president there in seoul, reassuring soldiers there. i want to read the statement coming from the defense secretary. let me read it to you in full. again, it's sort, but it says, the president and his military team are aware of north korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch. the president has no further
comment. here's the question that i have. again, a very short response coming from the united states. you point out that the infrastructure for diplomacy is lacking several key figures in that region. is there still a chance, though? how important is diplomacy at this point, and how important would china be in that equation? >> well, i think the diplomacy that's essential for the u.s. is working with its allies the region, working with the japanese, working with south korea on a daily basis to be aware of what developments are taking place and working very closely with china. the meeting between president xi and president trump appears to have gone well. there's some sense among experts that china might be willing to put more economic pressure on north korea, but having those diplomats in the region -- it takes a long time for vice president pence to fly to the region. he's going to many events over the course of the next several
days. but that daily diplomacy with regional partners is absolutely essential and critical. trump has been lately showing his willingness to use hard power, but of course hard power needs to be reinforced on a daily basis through diplomacy and other mechanisms. so it's absolutely essential that those people are in place sooner rather than later. >> leslie, thank you so much for your insight. we'll stay in touch with you. still ahead here, it's one of the holiest days on the christian calendar. a live report from the pope's easter sunday mass still ahead. with e*trade you see things your way. ♪ ♪ you have access to the right information at the right moment. ♪ ♪ and when you filter out the noise, it's easy to turn your vision into action. ♪ ♪ it's your trade.
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crest [hd]. 6x cleaning*, 6x whitening*á i would switch to crest [hd] over what i was using before. live video here from vatican city. st. peter's square is packed. pope francis is moving through the crowd, sending out well wishes. he's completed his mass there in front of them. now we await his message to the world. of course, this is easter sunday, the day many christians around the world celebrate jesus rising from the dead. >> the pope celebrated the easter vigil mass saturday night where he urged catholics to feel the pain of the poor and of immigrants. >> for more, let's go to delia
gallagher. she's our vatican correspondent. she joins us now live from rome. hello, happy easter to you. >> reporter: and to you, natalie and george. as you said, the pope has just wrapped up his mass. he's gone around the square to say hello to some of the 50,000 people, according to the vatican, who are with him this morning for easter mass. as you can imagine, security is tight. the roads around the vatican have all been closed to traffic. there are several check points for the tourists to get through, including metal detectors, in order to get into the square as well as an increased police presence between vatican and italian police forces. what the pope will be doing now, natalie and george, is going up to the main balcony in front of st. peter's to give this message to the world. to the city and to the world in latin. it's really his chance to focus on some of the areas around the world, which he wants to call attention to. something that he's been doing throughout this holy week given the many situations, what he says is a piecemeal third world
war happening. so he'll be making those remarks in a few minutes, as soon as he reaches the balcony. we should also mention today is the birthday of the pope emeritus, pope benedict xvi. he's 90 today. he was not at the mass, but pope francis visited him as his home to wish him well last week. george, natalie? >> thank you so much. >> thank you. we'll wait to hear what his message is to the world. thanks. thank you for watching this hour of "cnn newsroom." i'm natalie allen. >> and i'm george howell here in atlanta. >> and i'm ivan watson in hong kong. for viewers in the u.s. "new day" is next. for everyone else, stay tuned for erin burnett "out front." you're watching cnn, the world's news leader.
anxiously anticipated missile launch has failed. the missile blew up almost immediately of it after it was fired. >> they are ready to shoot anything down. >> this is certainly the most tense i've ever experienced in 11 trips to this country. >> i'm so sad my presidency is finally coming to an end. >> no, sir. you still have over 1,300 days left. >> i don't know. have you teseen my tweets about north korea? this could all be over by monday. >> start a civil war. >> you never
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