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Putin and Biden Meet Face-to-Face, Issue Praise and Warnings; China Sends Astronauts to Its Space Station for First Time; Europe's First Big Heat Wave of the Year Hits Paris; Biden And Putin Meet Face- To-Face; Militants Launch Incendiary Balloons Into Israel; China Launches Astronauts To Its Space Station. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired June 17, 2021 - 02:00   ET

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


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[02:00:30]

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello and welcome to our viewers around the world. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM. President Biden is back at the White House after historic summit with Vladimir Putin. Well, they both say talks were productive. Some issues remain unsolved.

Plus, airstrikes and burning balloons. Just days after taking office. Israel's new government is facing its first test.

And three, two, one, blast off. China's astronauts have successfully launched into orbit but they won't be staying at the International Space Station.

The U.S. presidency is now back at the White House after the highest stakes summit of his long career. Joe Biden's big one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin was considered a critical test of his ability to confront that country. The talks lasted just a few hours with both leaders calling them constructive and positive. We were warned from the get-go not to expect any dramatic breakthroughs or tangible results.

But there was a lot of potential for conflict with all these areas of contention ranging from election interference and cyberattacks to Ukraine and human rights abuses. But the President say there were no threats or ultimatums.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I told President Putin my agenda is not against Russia or anyone else. It's for the American people.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The meeting had results. It was substantive. It was concrete. And it took place in an atmosphere that was geared toward achieving results.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COREN: But at different times of the day, both presidents got a little defensive. CNNs Kaitlan Collins explains how the summit unfolded.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden summing up his first summit with President Putin.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did what I came to do.

COLLINS: The two leaders met behind closed doors for under three hours in Geneva inside in progress on their way out.

PUTIN (through translator): The talks were quite constructive.

BIDEN: The tone of the entire meetings, I guess it was total four hours was good, positive.

COLLINS: But it was clear that divisions on critical issues like cyberattacks and human rights remained.

BIDEN: The bottom line is I told President Putin that we need to have some basic rules of the road that we can all abide by.

COLLINS: Putin summed up the summit first. Praising Biden while denying any role in recent ransomware attacks and brushing off concerns about jailing his political opponents.

PUTIN (through translator): They've said that most of the cyberattacks in the world are carried out from the cyber realm of the United States.

COLLINS: Biden said he pressed Putin on multiple fronts and would continue to do so.

BIDEN: I also told him that no President of the United States could keep faith with the American people if they did not speak out to defend our Democratic values, to stand up for the universal and fundamental freedoms that all men and women have in our view. That's just part of the DNA of our country.

COLLINS: Biden expressing confidence that Putin would not continue to ratchet up tensions with the U.S.

BIDEN: The last thing he wants now is a Cold War.

COLLINS: The two agree to send their respective ambassadors back to their countries and attempt to establish guardrails on cyberattacks.

BIDEN: I talked about the proposition that certain critical infrastructure should be off limits to attack period, by cyber any other means.

COLLINS: At times, Biden rebuked his Russian counterpart after he equated jailing political opponents with arresting rioters who stormed the Capitol.

PUTIN (through translator): As for who is killing whom and throwing whom in jail people came to the U.S. Congress with political demands. 400 people

BIDEN: I responses kind of what I communicated. And I think that's a -- that's ridiculous comparison.

COLLINS: Biden's saying they will know in three to six months if there can be a productive dialogue but growing visibly angry when asked if the summit will lead to real change from the aggressive Russian leader.

[02:05:02]

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you so confident he'll change his behavior, Mr. President?

BIDEN: I'm not confident he'll change his behavior. Where the hell -- what do you do all the time? When did I say I was confident? I said -- I said -- what I said -- look, let' get it straight, I said, what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacts to them and it diminishes their standing in the world. I'm not confident of anything. I'm just stating a fact.

COLLINS: The President later apologizing for his response.

BIDEN: I owe my last question an apology. I shouldn't have -- I shouldn't have been such a wise guy with the last answer I gave.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: And during that summit, President Biden said he did not make any threats toward President Putin. But he did say that, yes, the U.S. is capable of carrying out cyberattacks on their own powerful cyberattacks at that. And he said, that is something the Russian leader is well aware of. Kaitlan Collins, CNN traveling with the President in Geneva.

COREN: Well, Leslie Vinjamuri is with the Chatham House at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. She's the head of the U.S. and Americas program and comes to us from London. Leslie, great to have you with us. Obviously, few of America and Russia's long-standing differences were actually result from the summit. But I guess it's a start. What's your take away of what was achieved?

LESLIE VINJAMURI, HEAD OF THE U.S. AND AMERICAN PROGRAMME, CHATHAM HOUSE: Well, I think there -- first, there was a big question as to whether it should take place. And I think the -- my read on that will be yes, that it was good that clearly President Biden went in saying he wanted predictability and stability, he clearly wanted to deliver a message, as he said, in that press conference.

There's nothing that can substitute direct talks. I think this is a president who was far from naive about the threats that Russia presents on multiple dimensions. And he mapped out those issues that they talked about. So, I think he's sort of drawn a line, they've gone through the issues. I don't think it was a pleasant meeting. It's clearly ended early. But I think that the bar was set very low. And it seems to have gone as well as can be expected. And remember that the, you know, the week, the sequence, heavily sequenced a week of international diplomacy, leading up to it really would have sent a signal to the Russian leader that the West, that NATO, that the European Union that this was really a set of actors who were on the president side as the president came to Geneva to deliver that message.

COREN: But in -- as you mentioned, believes in direct talks in personal relationships. And he described the tone of that less than three-hour meeting as good and positive that there was no hostility. I mean, how would you describe the way that Biden has perhaps handled Vladimir Putin?

VINJAMURI: I -- again, I think that this is a president that's very well aware that the risk is in not talking. And so I think it's delivering the message being very clear. And telling the rest of the world that there will be talks for the simple reason that, you know, drawing a line continuing to draw it, but making sure that there is conflict, that it's not a result of mistakes -- mistaken beliefs about others intentions, miscalculations.

And that that message continues to be delivered very clearly on human rights, on democracy. But really the -- one of the most striking things was when President Biden said that we have -- we have identified 16 sectors where there must not be attacks on America's critical infrastructure. And I think that is clearly a threat, a note that there would be a response. And that is a very significant moment in light, of course, of the recent cyberattacks.

Well, red lines have been drawn before and this was a red line. Do not touch these 16 critical pieces of infrastructure. Will it be different this time round now that President Biden has issued this warning, if you like, he said, it wasn't a threat, more of a warning to Vladimir Putin.

VINJAMURI: It was a warning. And he also, of course, said or he -- it's -- it appears to be the case that there will now be a high level working group that will continue to talk across these two countries about cybersecurity issues. So, the talking goes on. At the same time, we have to assume that the United States is drawing up plans for a response in the event of future attacks. And that was, you know, the message that the President clearly delivered.

And not very subtly, really, again, drawing a line in the sand. And the fact I think also, we have to note that the President began before he went down that long list of key security issues. He began with a fundamental difference that he sees between the United States and Russia also China as we know which is about respect for universal human rights, which he said were, you know, a product of being born. So this is a president again, who's drawing a very clear line.

[02:10:00]

VINJAMURI: And any number of behaviors is intending to hold it to -- that this, you know, is a typical meeting but I think it went quite well.

COREN: Leslie, Putin says he wants a better relationship with the United States but no -- made no assurances on changes in Russia's behavior. Do you envisage a shift in Russia's behavior now that this summit has been had?

VINJAMURI: I think that there will be perhaps on both sides, some relief, that there's clarity, that there's a bit more predictability not necessarily in terms of direct security challenges, but in terms of the likely clarity of response. Remember that for four years of Donald Trump's leadership, it was always uncertain what would happen in the United States because on the one hand, Congress was so -- was so strong and opposed to Russia's aggression.

But President Trump sent a very different signal. And now it's very clear that the U.S. line by the question of Russia, the groups aligned. And so I think there will be -- there will be a better interaction just in that one sense that there will be more predictability on the tough line that will be drawn.

COREN: I guess it's now up to those working groups from the United States and from Russia to work on those critical issues and see if they can garner any results in the coming months. Leslie Vinjamuri joining us from London, great to get your insight and perspective. Thanks so much.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

COREN: The Israeli military has yet to respond to a second day of incendiary balloon attacks from Gaza. Militants have been floating them across the border for years, but this time around Israel responded with airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza. The latest volleys started at least four more fires in the farmlands of southern Israel. For more now, let's go to Hadas Gold.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas-led militants in the Gaza Strip rocked Tuesday. Militants in Gaza launching incendiary balloons over the border earlier in the day, colorful party decorations often attached to explosive devices or just lit on fire, sparking at least 20 blazes in southern Israel, according to Israeli officials.

The Israeli Air Force responding striking what it says were come as a military complexes and meeting places. Palestinian media reporting material damages, but no casualties. Hamas calling the Israeli airstrikes a failed attempt to stop our people solidarity and resistance in the holy city. Militants say they sent the balloons in reaction to a right-wing Israeli flag march in Jerusalem on Tuesday where demonstrators danced and sang in front of one of the main entrances for Muslim worshippers to the Old City.

Chanting Jerusalem is ours, some even saying death to Arabs. The annual march which celebrates Israel gaining control of the Western Wall and East Jerusalem in the 1967 war rescheduled to Tuesday after it was cancelled last month when Hamas launched rockets towards Jerusalem helping to trigger the 11-day bloody conflict. The airstrikes overnight a harsher response to these incendiary balloons than in the past were tolerated.

A test and a message from the newly installed government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett who has previously advocated for greater military action in response to these incendiary balloons. More balloons launched Wednesday, sparking at least four more fires according to Israeli officials, showing the possibility that an imminent and serious escalation cannot be ruled out. Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: Let's go live now to Jerusalem where we're joined by Elliott Gotkine. Elliot, are we expecting Israel to respond to these latest balloons? And I guess, can the new government afford not to respond politically?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anna, it's unclear if Israel will respond to this latest attacks from the Hamas- controlled Gaza strip with those incendiary balloons. It has in the past said that it reserves the right to respond at a time of its choosing. And indeed, Benny Gantz, the defense minister, who was also defense minister, underneath, ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said, look, you know, it doesn't mean we're necessarily going to respond to each rocket or each balloon, you know, at 3:00 in the morning or something, but that Israel reserves the right to respond as and when it sees fit.

And as you say and as Hadas noted in her report, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has in the past, criticized the former Prime Minister Netanyahu for not being tougher on the Gaza Strip. So he's kind of also, especially when his government is just three days old, kind of trying to prove or refute the accusations by the former prime minister that his government will be weak in the face of attacks from Hamas and other threats.

So in that sense, he may be feeling a little bit constrained but thus far and we spoke to the IDF this morning and they said that there weren't any responses last night. There hasn't been a response so far but that doesn't mean that there won't be one perhaps today or in the future.

[02:15:00]

COREN: We know that this is obviously testing the new coalition government, as you say, only a few days old. But are any of the internal divisions coming to the fore?

GOTKINE: I think at the moment, we saw some divisions, for example, over the approval of this march, this flag march that Hadas mentioned in her report that took place on Tuesday. The Ra'am Party, this is the party -- the first time, a party in a governing coalition has come from Israel's Arab community. They were opposed, calling it a provocation. And -- but the march was actually approved by the internal security minister who's from the left-wing Labor Party.

So I guess this was their first challenge. It doesn't look to be, you know, a massive problem for the coalition government right now. But I suppose this just goes to show how difficult it is going to be going to be going forward to carry out policies that for example, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett support that some of the coalition's other constituent parts manifestly do not support and to see just how far those strains could go or at what point they would need to reach before threatening the integrity of this coalition.

But for now, it seems OK and that this current crashes that we've seen over the last couple of days do not look to be leaner, like a fatal blow for this coalition.

COREN: Elliot Gotkine joining us from Jerusalem. Good to see you. Many thanks. Well, police target to pro-democracy newspaper here in Hong Kong. Coming up. The arrests and the new first under the city's national security law.

Plus, new cases of COVID-19 are on the decline and Japan's leader says they'll soon decide whether to lift the state of emergency. We'll explain what that means for the Tokyo Olympics.

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COREN: Hong Kong Police are again targeting the pro-Democracy Apple Daily newspaper. They arrested five directors of the embattled paper on Thursday. The city's Security Secretary said the executives are suspected of criminal conspiracy under the controversial national security law. 500 police officers swarmed and searched the papers headquarters with a warrant that allowed them to seize journalistic materials.

The newspapers founder Jimmy Lai already faces charges under the security law and is serving a sentence for unauthorized assemblies in the 2019 protests. Our Ivan Watson joins us now from Hong Kong with more on this. And Ivan, a newsroom that has been allowed to operate freely here in Hong Kong since 1995 is now a crime scene. What can you tell us?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Police calling it a crime scene, they say they sent 500 police officers to raid this newsroom and to search the residences of the five executives of the popular newspaper who have also been arrested and they say that their warrant allows them to search journalistic materials. Apple Daily publishing photos of just the large number of uniformed police in the entrance of their building.

[02:20:11]

WATSON: And also showing them seated at the computers of journalists in the newsroom as well. And the police have said, hey, we're going to be searching their phones, we're going to be searching their computers as part of this investigation. Take a listen to what the Secretary of Security here in Hong Kong has to say about this raid.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN LEE, HONG KONG SECURITY SECRETARY: This is the conspiracy. We're not talking about media work or generalist work, we are talking about a conspiracy in which the suspects try to make use of journalistic work to collude with a foreign country or external elements to impose sanction or take hostile activities against Hong Kong and PRC.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: Yes. I mean, that official insisting that this is not an assault on press freedoms in Hong Kong, but at the same time sending out a somewhat ominous warning saying, you know, don't collude with people from Apple Daily newspaper. That was echoed by another senior police official. I might add that both of these individuals are under sanctions from the U.S. as of last year, accused of being involved in politically motivated arrests here in Hong Kong.

This is the second time, Anna, that the newsroom of Apple Daily has been raided in under a year. Its founder Jimmy Lai has been sentenced to prison on other charges for participating and organizing unauthorized assemblies. And is also facing a charge under Hong Kong's controversial national security law and will be appearing in court we believe, next week, Anna.

COREN: Ivan, when this national security law was introduced, Carrie Lam, the city's chief executive said that only a handful of people would be affected. And yet, here we are, you know, a year on, 114 people have been arrested. The opposition movement virtually decimated. It would seem the freedom of speech, freedom of expression is under assault here in Hong Kong.

WATSON: Well certainly, this city is not the same as it was, let's say two years ago there. It certainly is not the same freedom for the original political opposition, organized political opposition to operate. You've had scores of activists and lawmakers who are facing charges under the national security law for participating in an election primary ahead of elections that were then postponed for a year.

You haven't had an authorized protest or street March we believe since January of 2020, under the grounds of COVID. That has been banned as effectively by the police. So, you also have a statement when the National Security Law was introduced, that it would not operate retroactively. But we heard from the secretary of security, John Lee, that he was accusing Apple Daily of publishing articles inciting foreign countries to participate in sanctions talking about back in 2019 before this national security law was enacted.

Take a look at what the Foreign Ministry of Taiwan has said in response to this saying, "Authoritarianism is waging a brutal war on Apple Daily Hong Kong, a desperately endangered symbol of freedom in Hong Kong." Not much of a surprise that China's liaison office here in Hong Kong has fully endorsed the police raid on one of the city's most popular newspapers, Anna. COREN: Is it like living in a very different Hong Kong. Ivan Watson, great to see, thank you for that.

We have less than six weeks until the start of the Tokyo Olympics. We should know in the coming hours if a state of emergency for Tokyo will expire on Sunday as planned. If it is lifted, the number of spectators allowed at the venues could double from 5000 to 10,000. CNN's Blake Essig joins us now from Tokyo with the very latest. Blake, what do we know?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anna, just to start, we just learned not too long ago that as far as the vaccine rollout here is concerned Japan as we've reported over and over and over again, it's been incredibly slow still only about six percent of the Japanese population has been fully vaccinated. But there is some good news. The rollout is starting slowly to pick up pace and perhaps as an incentive to get vaccinated.

Public broadcaster NHK is reporting that starting in late July, Japan will begin issuing vaccine passports.

[02:25:04]

ESSIG: Now the passports would include the traveler's name, nationality, passport number and vaccine date. The certificates would only be issued based on vaccination records. Now with the vaccine passport, the Japanese government is asking other countries to exempt travelers from having to quarantine or shorten the quarantine period upon arrival. Now Japanese businesses have been pushing for this introduction to a vaccine passport for a while now in an effort to revive travel.

Now on the Olympic front, the decision today, as you mentioned by Japan's Prime Minister to either remove extend or institute a quasi- state of emergency order in 10 prefectures where restrictions are already in place will go a long way in determining the number of fans allowed to attend the event. And we know foreign spectators have already been banned. And at this point, no decision has been made regarding domestic fans.

But just yesterday, government officials reiterated that there will be a cap on spectators at big events. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHIGERU OMI, JAPAN'S TOP MEDICAL ADVISER (through translator): We have confirmed with the government about two things. The first is that allowing 10,000 spectators at venues would only apply to areas where quasi curbs have been lifted. The second is that limit plans are not tied to the Olympics. We've agreed with the government on it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ESSIG: Japan's top COVID-19 adviser went on to say that if any sort of state of emergency order is in place that the number of spectators allowed to be limited to 5000 people or half the capacity of the venue whichever figure is lower. Now either way, this is the clear sign yet that local spectators will likely be allowed to attend Olympic events. Organizers say that a final decision is expected at later this month, Anna.

COREN: Good news for those spectators. Blake Essig joining us from Tokyo. Many thanks. Well, France is ending its national curfew meant to keep the coronavirus from spreading on Monday, 10 days ahead of schedule. The prime minister says it's because COVID numbers have been improving faster than previously thought. The curfew started in January initially running from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. local time.

France is also relaxing its outdoor mask mandate in most places starting today. Indoors though, face coverings have to stay on for now.

We're following the highly anticipated summit in that Geneva. CNN's Matthew Chance pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin on some key issues and we'll have his answers next.

Plus, China takes a big leap forward towards having a human presence in space.

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[02:30:00]

ANNA COREN, CNN NEWSROOM: Welcome back. Well, Joe Biden is back in Washington after wrapping up his first presidential trip abroad with the high-stakes summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both leaders say the three hours of face-to-face talks were mostly positive but without any big breakthroughs. And while there were areas of possible cooperation, several contentious issues remain.

CNN Matthew Chance has more from Geneva.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN MOSCOW CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The historic summit started in chaos. Kremlin and White House press packs jostling for position. U.S. and Russian presidents themselves faced off inside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I hope that our meeting will be productive.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: It's always better to meet face-to-face.

CHANCE: Always better to meet face to face, he said, the words trend (ph) out by the scuffles. But the undiplomatic start to this controversial meeting set the tone.

Could you characterize the dynamic between yourself and President Biden, was it hostile or was it friendly?

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: I think there was no hostility, quite the contrary. We don't share the same decisions in many areas, but I think that both of these sides showed a willingness to understand one another and to find ways to bring our oppositions closer together.

CHANCE: But there are some things the two presidents will never agree on, like the appalling treatments of Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition figure who was poisoned then jailed, his anti-corruption campaign shut down. Russian military threats against Ukraine as well cyberattacks emanating from Russia are also a major thought in the relationship side, something President Biden wants stopped.

Secondly, throughout these conversations, did you commit to ceasing carrying out cyberattacks on the United States? Did you commit to stopping threatening Ukraine security? And did you commit to stop cracking down on the opposition in Russia?

PUTIN: As for cybersecurity, we reached an agreement chiefly that we will start negotiations on that. I think that's extremely important.

CHANCE: It was only a partial answer, and the conference almost moved on. But to his credit, President Putin took my follow-up.

PUTIN: Is some of the question I answered?

CHANCE: That's correct, and thank you very much for coming back to me sir. So there were two other parts to the question. The first one is, did you commit in these meetings to stop threatening the Ukraine? remember, the reason the summit was called in the first place, so the timing of it was when Russia was building lots of forces across (INAUDIBLE). And the second part of the question -- the third part of the question was, did you commit to stopping your crackdown against the opposition groups inside of Russia led by Alexei Navalny?

PUTIN: Well, I didn't hear that part of the question, maybe it was the interpreter or maybe (INAUDIBLE) to ask the second question.

CHANCE: On Ukraine, he restated the Kremlin's line, about exercises on Russian soil being a threat to no one. And he again refused to alter Alexei Navalny's name.

PUTIN: This person knew that he was breaching the laws effective in Russia. He should have noted that as a person who was convicted two times. I would like to underscore that he deliberately ignored the premise of the laws.

CHANCE: So far, there is no sign this summit has changed President Putin's uncompromising stance.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Geneva.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: Well, China is taking a big step towards building its own space station. On Thursday, the nation launched astronauts to its orbiting space station module for the first time. And according to state media, they are less than two hours away from their scheduled docking. These three astronauts will spend three months in orbit, a new record for China's space program. Well, Steven Jiang joins us now from Beijing with more on China space station ambitions. And, Steven, what does that involve and what can you tell us about the crew?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, Anna, you know, after that picture perfect launch, the astronaut so far have had a smooth ride. Their spaceship is still making some adjustments to lineup for docking, as you mentioned, that's going to happen fairly soon.

So their whole journey is about six-and-a-half hours, not that much longer than a trans-continental flight in the U.S. but these astronauts' final destination obviously far more incredible. Once they are docked, they are going to be spending three months in space, as you mentioned, mostly inside the living section of that core module China launched back in April conducting experiments, installing and testing equipments, but also preparing this module for further expansions. Because, remember, this latest launched was just a third in a series of 11 missions in total aimed at completing this project. So China will be sending more crewed missions, as well as cargo spacecraft carrying supplies in the coming months.

Now the Chinese are doing this on their own because they have long been excluded from the International Space Station because of the U.S. objections in 2011.

[02:35:06]

The U.S. Congress actually passed a law to prohibit NASA from cooperating with the Chinese because of the national security concerns. You know, many critics have long linked to Chinese space program to their military ambitions. And when you look at these three astronauts, they're all seasoned pilots and officers from the People's Liberation Army with the commander actually holding the rank of a major general.

But the Chinese, of course, say, because of the U.S. plot cave, that forced them to really make a virtue over necessity, developing their own technologies and achieving their own breakthroughs. And it's these kinds of invasions of breakthrough that have enabled them to catch up with the U.S. fast and get them whether to date, Anna.

COREN: Steven, we know that China has ambitious plans. What is China's future in space? What does it look like?

JIANG: That's right. Their plans are actually increasingly ambitious. The first goal, of course, is to complete the space station, and that is supposed to be up and running by the end of next year. And that is actually potentially going to make their space station the only working space station in orbit because the International Space Station is approaching the end of its functional life.

And then, of course, the Chinese space program is also working increasingly closely with their Russian counterparts to explore lunar research. They are already released their -- have already released the plan to build a permanent research base on the moon by the end of this decade with several joint missions actually already being scheduled, with the first one happening as early as this coming October. Anna?

COREN: A day of pride for China, no doubt. Steven Jiang, good to see you, many thanks, reporting from Beijing.

Well, Europe is dealing with its first major heat wave of 2021. Will it be a repeat performance of the sweltering some just like two years ago? We'll see how close we are now from those heat records.

And this photo at the end of the U.S./Russia summit projected an air of relative calm. But the scene on the other side of the cameras was a different story. We'll explain that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COREN: Welcome back to CNN.

Well, parts of Nepal are now dealing with flash flooding and landslides. Heavy monsoon rains have battered the region for three days. Official say, seven people are now missing and one person has died, some are having to leave their homes as several rivers overflow their banks.

While meantime in Europe is now sizzling through its first major heat wave of the year. Temperatures in the western part of the continent are nearing levels not seen since 2019. Well, that's when heat records fell one by one across the region.

In Paris, temperatures hit 34 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, that's about 8 degrees cooler than the record from two years ago, but still quite toasty.

[02:40:00]

The good news is that France, at least, the storms are expected to push out most of that heat.

Well, the same of the U.S./Russia summit was at a stately, 18th century lakeside villa in Geneva, a suitable backdrop for high stake diplomacy conducted on a global stage. But when it was all over, and the news media gathered for a photo opportunity, decorum was quite literally shoved aside.

Jeanne Moos, explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): President Biden ditched his jacket at the summit.

BIDEN: The sun is hot.

MOOS: Not as hot as things got at the photo op.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Listen to me, stop pushing.

MOOS: Or even just getting into the photo op. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Move back, we're trying to go in. Back off.

MOOS: Security prevented some of member of crew from going in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need to get up with that camera, though, guys. I'm his sound.

MOOS: Couldn't even hear President Biden and part of the time, this photographer's big head was in the way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you move, because I can't get a shot of both of them. Can you move, because we can't get a shot? Can you move?

MOOS: That head reminded some of Georgia dome when it was about to imploded, but then a bus pulled up and demolished the weather channel shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, bus. Get out of the way. Get out of the way, bus.

MOOS: The head at the Biden/Putin photo op was just as immovable. President Biden himself seemed somewhat the news, while President Putin looked bored and keep drumming his fingers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they're just sitting, the two leaders in there, looking at us like we're animals.

MOOS: When the photo op ended, the action really began.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I told you go away please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't move over here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go away please.

MOOS: Security physically lifted still photographer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand up. Stand up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop pushing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't push me. Guys, there's a cord here.

MOOS: The poor reporters said she was pushed multiple times, nearly to the ground. We have not seen shoving of this caliber since then President Trump pushed the Prime Minister of Montenegro to get to the front of a photo op. A shave that recently got the swapped head treatment may cooler heads prevail.

Forget world peace, just try to get through the photo op in one piece.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: That's what you call a true media scramble, Jeanne Moos. Well, thank you so much for joining us. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Another hour of Newsroom is next with my colleague, Rosemary Church, from Atlanta.

But coming up after the break, World Sports with Patrick Snell. Please stay with CNN

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