Around the World

North Korea: The Impossible State

It was only early March when North Korea agreed to halt nuclear and missile testing in return for 240,000 metric tons of food assistance from the United States.

Just a month later, the offer of food is in doubt and North Korea is set to launch a long-range rocket to put a satellite into orbit. The United States has condemned the launch as a violation of their agreement.

North Korea believes there's a clear difference between a ballistic missile launch and a satellite launch, but US negotiators are holding firm that they were very clear that there is no distinction between the two.

While the Obama administration played down the significance of the initial deal as simply a first step in rebuilding the frayed relationship between the United States and North Korea, there was a lot of hope that the agreement signified change under the new leadership.

"But," According to Victor Cha, "given where we are in the situation today, it doesn't look like it's going to be a lot different, in fact it looks like it could get a lot worse."

Cha, author of the new book The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future and the former Director for Asian Affairs in the White house's Security Council, joins Christiane Amanpour on Around the World to discuss the current relationship between the United States and North Korea.

"I'm kind of worried about what the future may hold, because we thought Kim Jong Il was unpredictable and perhaps belligerent but this fellow may be even more so."

The stakes are high and a successful launch will raise concerns that North Korea is capable of launching ballistic missiles as far as Alaska, Hawaii, even western United States. "If they can lift a satellite into orbit it shows they may have the capability to launch long range missiles."

  • Early Glance: Railroad companies

    Shares of some top railroad companies are mixed at 10 a.m.: CSX fell $.09 or .3 percent, to $28.12. Canadian National Railway Co. rose $.99 or 1.7 percent, to $58.66. Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. fell ...

  • Early Glance: Health Care Equipment companies

    Shares of some top health care equipment companies are mixed at 10 a.m.: Becton, Dickinson & Co. fell $.76 or .7 percent, to $113.43. Covidien plc fell $.77 or 1.1 percent, to $69.82. Patterson fell $.28 ...

  • Smartphone Battery Charges in 30 Seconds
    Smartphone Battery Charges in 30 Seconds

    Doron Myersdorf has had a busy couple of weeks. When we sat down with him during a quick trip to New York, the Israeli inventor had been taking phone calls from investors and smart phone manufacturers who want a piece of what may be revolutionary technology. His start-up company, StoreDot, has invented a smartphone battery [...]

  • Obama seeks to ease Asian allies' doubts during visit to Japan
    Obama seeks to ease Asian allies' doubts during visit to Japan

    By Linda Sieg and Matt Spetalnick TOKYO (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will use a state visit to Japan on Thursday to try to reassure Tokyo and other Asian allies of his commitment to ramping up U.S. engagement in the region, despite Chinese complaints that Washington's real aim is to contain Beijing's rise. Obama will be treated to a display of pomp and ceremony meant to show that the U.S.-Japan alliance, the main pillar of America's security strategy in Asia, remains solid at a time of rising tensions over growing Chinese assertiveness and North Korean nuclear threats. It was unclear, however, whether a last-ditch round of talks between U.S. and Japanese negotiators would yield a breakthrough on a two-way trade pact seen as crucial to a broader trans-Pacific agreement that Obama has championed. The challenge for Obama during his week-long, four-nation tour will be to convince Asian partners that Washington is serious about its promised strategic "pivot" towards the region, while at the same time not harming U.S. ties with China, the world's second-biggest economy.

  • Why we need a maximum wage
    Why we need a maximum wage

    The debate about rising economic inequality that's been building since the financial crisis of 2008 has approached a boiling point in recent weeks thanks to the publication in English of French economist Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century. The book has already received a rave review by Paul Krugman in the New York Review of Books (headlined "Why We're in a New Gilded Age"), and has been the focus of a cover story in The Nation as well as both an op-ed column and news article in the New York Times.

  • Prosecutors: Prep school graduates ran drug ring
    Prosecutors: Prep school graduates ran drug ring

    ARDMORE, Pa. (AP) — Two prep school graduates sought to use their sports connections and business acumen to establish a monopoly on drug sales to high school students in the affluent Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia, authorities said Monday.

  • Teaser: chaos reigns in final season of 'True Blood'
    Teaser: chaos reigns in final season of 'True Blood'

    Two months before kicking off the seventh and final season of its famous vampire show, HBO has released the first footage from the coming episodes in a teaser that shows the town of Bon Temps in a state of total chaos. Abandoned by the US government, Sookie and her friends are contending with very difficult circumstances, as the town is under attack by vampire zombies infected with the Hepatitis V virus. And what will become of Eric, the lead vampire played by Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgard? The 30-second clip preserves the suspense surrounding what awaits the blond vampire, who has been in a tight spot since the end of the previous season.

  • Pentagon scientists show off life-size robot
    Pentagon scientists show off life-size robot

    US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel got a first-hand look at a life-size robot that resembles Hollywood's "Terminator," the latest experiment by the Pentagon's hi-tech researchers. But unlike the cinematic version, the hulking Atlas robot is designed not as a warrior but as a humanitarian machine that would rescue victims in the rubble of a natural disaster, officials said on Tuesday. The 6-foot-2-inch (187 centimeters) Atlas is one of the entrants in a contest designed to produce a man-like life-saver machine, the brainchild of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). DARPA, the Pentagon's research arm known for futuristic projects often evoking science fiction, showed off the Atlas robot to Hagel, but except for LED lighting, the humanoid was apparently switched off on a "static" display.