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North Korea Tests Nuclear Device; Ceasefire Agreement In Talkalakh Could Be Model For Syria; 'Leading Women': Angeliki Frangou

Aired February 12, 2013 - 08:00:00   ET


PAULINE CHIOU, HOST: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.

International condemnation: North Korea announced that it has conducted a third nuclear test provoking outrage around the world.

Also ahead, vacancy at the Vatican: a look at who could in line to replace the pope.

And an exclusive report from inside Syria. As the war rages on, we bring you the remarkable story of one ceasefire.

And first to North Korea. The foreign ministry says Tuesday's nuclear test was done with maximum restraint as a defensive measure against the United States. And says if the U.S. continues to show hostility, it would be, quote, "inevitable for North Korea to conduct stronger measures."

The seismic event happened here in an underground facility near the northern city of Ponggye-ri. Its location is not far from the sites of North Korea's last two nuclear tests.

Today's nuclear test was conducted despite international warnings and official sanctions already in place for North Korea. And it isn't the first time this reclusive nation has defied the international community. In 2006, the UN security council unanimously imposed sanctions on North Korea after it test fired a series of missiles. Months later, North Korea conducted its first nuclear test, condemned once again by the security council and sanctions were extended.

Despite that, Pyongyang continued with rocket launches and a second nuclear test in 2009. And renewed sanctions, time after time, did not stop North Korea from going ahead with this rocket launch last December.

A statement from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the nuclear test is, quote, "a clear and grave violation of relevant security council resolutions."

So what happens next? Well, the UN security council has called an emergency meeting and is set to meet within the next hour. Countries including the U.S., Russia, Japan, Britain and South Korea have all condemned today's nuclear test. And they are looking to the UN security council for action and also for answers.

The Chinese foreign ministry says China has just summoned the North Korean ambassador because of, quote, "dissatisfaction over today's nuclear test."

Well, for more on that, let's go live to Richard Roth who is at CNN New York. Richard, so now we're seeing signs already that China is not very pleased. What can we expect to happen at the security council meeting in about an hour or so?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And that ambassadorial summoning would of course be taking place in Beijing, not here at the United Nations.

Some feel the UN security council could be, quote, sanctioned out. But they can always, these legal experts there, find something to isolate Pyongyang. China, perhaps at its most angriest at North Korea for this -- another nuclear test, perhaps could sign on with the United States, Britain, France for tougher measures.

But North Korea, through one official already in Geneva this morning overseas is saying, look, don't expect North Korea to listen to these resolutions.

The Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov saying he expects an adequate response from the UN. Does anyone really feel at this moment that any piece of paper in New York will accomplish anything? It will bring, according to Ban Ki-moon, he hopes, the secretary general of the UN to show international unity.

This meeting taking place in about an hour will be behind closed doors. We'll get our first indication of just how tough the UN security council wants to be and whether it will make any dent in North Korea's militarization.

CHIOU: Now, Richard, I think we have lost your -- we've lost your audio, so I apologize, but I do want to ask you one more question. You had touched on sanctions. Now China signed on to more sanctions after that rocket launch that we saw in December. I mean, could we see the unthinkable, which is China really taking a hard line on North Korea?

ROTH: Hopefully you can hear me. It's unclear whether North Korea can hear the UN security council. Its official in Geneva that disarmament talks today said that the resolutions won't be listened to, really, by Pyongyang. They won't make a difference. China could step up its commitment to any new sanctions.

China, of course, worried about destabilization on the Korean peninsula worry that North Korea could either collapse and provide a huge flood of refugees, or be an easy path, according to some worriers in Beijing, for U.S. troops to eventually confront China. We may see a more aggressive Chinese tone -- not publicly, but behind closed doors. But it took awhile for the U.S. to woo Beijing onto this latest round of sanctions a couple of week ago, despite the latest rocket launch. So I don't think you're going to see something unbelievably dramatic at the outset here.

CHIOU: OK. We heard you loud and clear right there. Thank you, Richard. We know you're going to have a busy day following this emergency security council meeting. We'll be checking in with you throughout the day.

Well, North Korea says today's nuclear test was conducted using more sophisticated technology than before. Anna Coren joins us live now from Seoul, South Korea with more on this angle of the story.

Anna, North Korea is boasting about today's test. How different is it from the last two tests?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pauline, I think you'd have to say that this test was a success. And that's not just coming from the North Koreans, that's also coming from the analysts that we have spoken to in the last few hours.

You know, according to North Korea, this was a successful third nuclear test. They were able to test an atomic bomb that was more powerful, smaller, and lighter, which of course would indicate that they're on their way to developing a miniaturized nuclear warhead that would fit on top of a ballistic missile.

Now they tested that technology back in December and successfully with that long range rocket launch when they sent a satellite into orbit.

Now this rocket has the capability of traveling more than 10,000 kilometers. Well, that is North Korea to mainland USA. So if they're now developing a small enough nuclear warhead, then they could potentially have a nuclear missile. And this, of course, is of grave concern, not just to the region, but also to the international community. This is North Korea really sending a message that they are a force to be reckoned with, Pauline.

CHIOU: Anna, the timing of this is quite curious. Why did North Korea choose this particular day?

COREN: Yeah, very interesting isn't it? This was one of the dates that analysts had speculated that North Korea may have gone ahead with the nuclear test. The reason being is that President Barack Obama is due to give his State of the Union Address later today. So that is, I guess Kim Jong un's way of upstaging the president. And he'd love nothing more than to grab some of the headlines away from President Barack Obama.

You know, North Korea wants recognition. They want to be relevant. They want to be legitimate. And this is their way of developing a nuclear arsenal in that they can gain political leverage and political legitimacy, Pauline.

CHIOU: Anna, watching this story very closely from Seoul, South Korea. Thanks so much, Anna.

Well, there is still a major question when it comes to actions like this from Pyongyang. Analysts must try to determine the difference between real and empty threats from secretive North Korea.

Here's what the north is capable of. First, of course, nuclear tests and these were already carried out in 2006 and also 2009 and both were condemned by the UN. Rocket launches are also possible. After inviting the world to witness that humiliating failure in April of last year, the north saved face with a successful launch just this past December.

But here's the catch, the two capabilities have yet to come together. And analysts say North Korea does not have the technology needed to mount a nuclear warhead on a missile or to target a missile effectively.

Now capability is one part of the equation, judging intention is another. This is the first time North Korea has conducted a nuclear test since Kim Jong un took the reins of power. His father, you'll remember, died in December of 2011.

CNN's Matthew Chance takes a look at Kim Jong un's behavior to date and the image he seems so careful to project.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kim Jong un appears to have an increasingly dangerous taste in publicity stunts. While North Korea's state television is shown overseeing the country's December rocket launch and being applauded wildly after its success. This latest nuclear test may bolster that image as a hardline military commander.

Analysts say that's a conscious effort by the regime in Pyongyang to cast this young, untested leader, in the image of his predecessors, his father and grandfather.

HAHM CHAE-BONG, ASAN INTSTITUTE: It's a very paternalistic -- I mean, leadership. It's always been that. Kim il-Song was the father of the people. Kim Jong-il was the father of people. And believe it or not, the guy is only 28 or 29 years old, but he's also the father of the people. So, you know, when you see all the generals who are in their 70s with the way they behave in front of him, you know, they behave as sons, you know, and younger people would do in front of great authority.

CHANCE: But there is a softer side of Kim Jong un not seen in North Korea for decades. He's been pictured enjoying an amusement park in Pyongyang and appears regularly in public with his young wife, something his reclusive father never did. He even delivered the first televised speech by a North Korean leader since 1994 when his grandfather did it, hinting at much needed economic reforms.

It all fueled speculation Kim Jong un may have been prepared to open up his secretive state, but analysts say that's proved to have been wishful thinking. The picture of this figure is far from complete.

CHAE-BONG: We know that he went to school in Switzerland as a young boy. We know that he was not groomed for this leadership since very long time ago. It has only been in very recent years, and under rather murky circumstances under which he was suddenly thrust into this role it seems to us. He's very young. He doesn't have any experience. He has absolutely not political base. So it seems to me that the power base is still very much unsecured.

CHANCE: That's not the impression one of the world's most repressive regimes wants to portray. Its tightly controlled media is filled with orchestrated scenes like these of the young Kim being adored, almost worshiped by his people, impervious it seems to criticism of his actions from outside.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Seoul.


CHIOU: And stay with us right here on News Stream. We have more to come on the widespread condemnation of North Korea's nuclear test, including how U.S. reaction is likely to play out on the day of the country's State of the Union Address.

Plus, the business of choosing a new pope begins. And we'll look at all the options.

And from inside Syria, CNN's Fred Pleitgen has the exclusive story of a local ceasefire agreement that could serve as a model for peace across the nation.


CHIOU: Well, speculation is growing over who will succeed Pope Benedict XVI after his surprising resignation on Monday. A papal spokesman says a new pontiff will be chosen by Easter or by March 31. He will become the spiritual leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. Two-thirds of them currently live in the developing world. And that figure is expected to grow significantly.

So, should the new pope represent this trend?

Well, here are some of the contenders. 69 year old Cardinal Leonardo Sandri was born in Argentina. And he heads the Vatican's office for eastern Catholics. He previously held church offices in Venezuela and Mexico.

Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana is also in the running. He's 64 years old and heads the Vatican's justice and peace department.

Another African cardinal being suggested is 80 year old Francis Arinze. The Nigerian was one of the principle advisers to Pope John Paul II.

Well, there are also several European contenders. The final decision will be made by the 118 voting members of the College of Cardinals. Let's get more on that part of the selection process. CNN's Jim Bittermann is live at the Vatican right now.

Jim, not all of the cardinals will get to vote. Who gets to vote and when does this whole process start?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you've got to be under 80 in order to vote. And when it starts, that's something we're all wanting to know here. Basically we've heard a little bit more detail this morning from the papal spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi who has been holding a news conference is just finished a few minutes ago. And during that news conference he fleshed out a few details. He said Pope Benedict XVI will keep up a normal schedule right up until the day he resigns. His last public audience will be the 27th of February and then he resigns on the 28th.

After the 28th, he'll be taken to Castel Gandolfo, which is the papal summer residence outside of Rome, for a period of which we don't know how long duration. And after that, he will take up will be his permanent residence at a monastery inside the Vatican, a monastery that has been renovated over the last few months, although Father Lombardi said it had nothing to do with the papal resignation, but a chapel has been added to that monastery.

And then, of course, will be the question of the conclave, that's the election process to determine who will be the next pope. And Father Lombardi said that cardinals would begin gathering in Rome in the first two weeks of March, in the first 15 to 20 days he said he thought the conclave could begin. But all of it is obviously still a little uncharted territory. The exact dates haven't been determined. He said that invitations have not been sent out to the cardinals. He said the cardinals are smart men.

Ask about the role of the pope and any new papacy, he said that this pope, Benedict XVI, is a man who would not interfere or cause any issues for the new pope. He said he expects the pope will retire to a discrete life of reflection and prayer, Pauline.

CHIOU: Jim, Pope Benedict XVI is considered highly intellectual and a traditionalist. What kind of pope could his successor be, could we see someone in his mold or maybe quite different?

BITTERMANN: Well, I think you know one of the things that we've talked about several times here is the fact that so many of the cardinals in the College of Cardinals who will make this selection are -- were hand picked by Pope Benedict XVI. So they are in some ways reflect his political views and his views on church tradition and church doctrine.

On the other hand, some of them are much more public than Benedict XVI was. Benedict XVI was very much an inside player. He was inside the church. He was not necessarily a pastoral pope. Whereas John Paul II, his predecessor was a pastoral pope, was out in the community a lot more.

So one could think that perhaps with this sort of alternation, as you sometimes see in the Vatican from one pope to the next, that the next pope would be more of a pastoral person, not so much a thinker but more of a doer in the way that John Paul II was. One could think that, but there's always surprises when these conclaves come up, Pauline.

CHIOU: And Jim, you had mentioned that the cardinals will start arriving in the beginning of March. To use just an analogy from politics, could there be some campaigning going on starting today with some cardinals jockeying for their favorite at this point? Can you give us a sense of what goes on behind the scenes?

BITTERMANN: Sure, Pauline, one thing that's interesting -- these cardinals are very public figures, but they don't always know a lot about each other, because they're isolated in the various parts of the world. It's only during the election of the pope that they, in fact, get together in a massive way. And so when these events do happen, they can have a chance to size each other up. And I know that the last time, when Pope Benedict XVI was named, in fact, there was a period during these general congregations, these are sort of prayer masses that go on, and can go on for weeks, before the actual conclave, that during these general congregations, the various cardinals can get a look at each other, because sometimes they don't know very much about each other, and look at the kind of characteristics that they, perhaps might like to see in a future pope, Pauline.

CHIOU: Very interesting insight. Jim, thank you very much. Jim Bittermann there live from Rome.

Well, there's much more to come right here on News Stream. Rebel fighters are reporting a major gain in northern Syria. And we'll bring you an exclusive report from one remarkable town where both sides have chosen peace.


CHIOU: Welcome back to News Stream. The Syrian observatory for human rights says rebels have captured a military airport in northern Syria, the strategic al-Durrah airbase is in Aleppo province. The group says five rebel fighters were killed during the battle for that airport and about 40 government troops were killed, wounded, or captured. It says fleeing government troops left behind ammunition, heavy machine guns, and other military hardware.

Well, fighting rages on in many parts of Syria. The guns have mostly fallen silent in one town. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more on a ceasefire that could provide an example for the rest of the country.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A leader of the Free Syrian Army directs his troops on the front line in the town of Talkalakh. He goes by the name Al-Abrash (ph) and has dozens of fighters under his command.

What you find here in Talkalakh is the typical sort of urban combat that you often see in the Syrian civil war. These guys have their positions here in a residential house, maybe, and from this position the Syrian military is literally only a couple of yards away. So this is really very, very close, urban combat, sniper firing, all those kinds of things.

While the opposition Free Syrian Army controls Talkalakh, the town is surrounded by regime troops. But few shots are fired here these days. The two sides have agreed to something remarkable, a ceasefire. It's shaky, but it's holding.

"We are for peace," the rebel commander says. "We don't want war. We're 100 percent committed to peace. But if they want war, we're ready for that. We didn't agree to the ceasefire out of weakness, we did it to protect the women and children."

Talkalakh has seen heavy fighting since the uprising against the Assad regime began. Many civilians were forced to flee as rebels and government troops battled it out in the streets. The houses here bear witness to the fierce clashes that took place. But now, Talkalakh has become a model project of sorts. The ceasefire was brokered by a private initiative, led by a sheikh and a member of Syria's parliament.

The same men who took us to meet the rebels who were stunned to see international journalists allowed in the town.

"After the agreement, there have been some individual violations with a soldier opening fire, or there might be a shooting," the imam says, "but those have been dealt with straight away. Compared to the past, this is a state of peace and security."

But many here say make no mistake, this town is still under siege.

The ceasefire, of course, if very fragile, and there are a lot of complaints by the people here who say they're still getting harassed by the Syrian military who say they're still getting shot at, at times by the Syrian military, but it certainly appears to be somewhat of an improvement to what was going on here before, which was pitched battled. And as you can see, some shops are reopening, and there seems to be some light coming back to the city center.

We're invited to a meeting. A parliamentarian is an Alawite, the same sect as President Bashar al-Assad. But he's accepted by the mostly Sunni members of the Free Syrian Army. The men agree on almost everything. They don't want a sectarian rift in Syria. They don't want foreign jihadist fighters entering the country, and they say government thugs must be stopped from harassing the population here.

But there is one position the rebels will not back down from.

"Our goal is to bring down the regime," he says. "It's impossible to change that, impossible to back down from that goal."

The ceasefire is a small, local experiment. Those behind it believe what works in Talkalakh might also work elsewhere.

"We've already tried to apply this concept in areas of Damascus," he says. "So this can be applied anywhere in Syria as long as there is no interference from other countries."

Still, the acknowledge, fighting could erupt again at any time. Three members of the Free Syrian Army have been killed since the ceasefire was put in place. Even with the truce, both sides remain entrenched, weapons ready, prepared for battle.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Talkalakh, Syria.


CHIOU: You're watching News Stream. Just ahead, the world condemns North Korea over its latest nuclear test. We'll have reaction from Beijing and Washington.

And speaking of Washington, we'll tell you why the timing of today's nuclear test holds particular significance for U.S. President Barack Obama.

Stay with us.


CHIOU: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream and these are your world headlines.

The United Nations security council is due to meet in a half hour to discuss how to respond to North Korea's underground nuclear test. Earlier today, Pyongyang said the move was a defensive measure against the U.S. in response to quote, "hostile activity against North Korea." U.S. President Barack Obama called the test provocative and said it requires swift and credible action by the international community.

There's intense speculation about who will replace Pope Benedict XVI, a day after he shocked the world by announcing his resignation. Just a short time ago, a spokesman for the pope said that he had not been forced to step down because of any specific illness.

The French National Assembly is prepared to vote on a bill to legalize gay marriage and to give same sex couples the right to adopt children. We are expecting big protests in Paris over this bill which is thought likely to pass into law.

European health ministers will meet in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss what's in meat products. In Ireland, Sweden, Britain and France meals purporting to be made of beef have been shown to contain substantial quantities of horse meat. Romania has rejected claims that it was responsible for falsely describing horse meat from its abattoirs as beef.

Well, let's take a look at the timing of North Korea's test. It comes as China is in the middle of lunar new year celebrations. It's also just days before the birthday of Kim Jong un's late father, Kim Jong-il, an important occasion in a country the reveres its leaders.

And it also comes on the very day that U.S. President Barack Obama is due to publicly outline his second term agenda in the State of the Union address. Mr. Obama was quick to condemn today's nuclear test, calling it "highly provocative" and "a highly provocative act." For more on this, let's bring in CNN's world affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty live from Washington. Jill, what has the White House been saying about this test?

JILL DOUGHERTY, WORLD AFFAIRS REPORTER: Well, obviously, they are condemning it, Pauline. They are calling it highly provocative, but also, you know, when you look at the President Obama's statement, he's saying that this is a threat not only to U.S. national security, but to international security, and also, in that statement that he issued this morning, he said that the U.S. is remaining vigilant in the face of this, and steadfast in defense commitments to allies in the region, and that is very important, because right now, obviously, many of the allies of the United States in Asia are very concerned about this. We -- hence we have this action and the meeting at the United Nations Security Council, and so for President Obama it's a serious issue, both for the United States and for relationships to other countries.

Pauline, another interesting point about this is, just this evening, this coming evening when President Obama will deliver here in Washington his State of the Union address, he was going to be talking -- not in great detail, but about arms control, arms control with Russia and the possibility of further cuts. Now, as I speak with experts, they are saying this doesn't necessarily change overall the long term -- push for cutting nuclear armaments, but it does make a problem for the president in terms of how he addresses it on the very day that the North Koreans set off this -- this explosion.

CHIOU: Yeah, and no doubt North Korea timed this because -- partly because of the State of the Union address, really to send the message. And speaking of the allies in the region, Jill. We got new governments in this region. We've got a new president of South Korea, a new prime minister in Japan, new leadership in China. So, what kind of message is North Korea trying to send?

DOUGHERTY: Well, you know, it's -- one factor that we have to remember is when they decided to do this, it wasn't just yesterday. In order to carry out this type of test, they had to do preparations, they had to repair some of the tunnels, et cetera. So one expert I was speaking with said that they might have made that determination back even, you know, six months ago. So, exactly what's happening on this exact day, we don't know. But the overall message, certainly, is to say that they are -- they have -- they believe the right to test, that they are going to do it in spite of what the rest of the world thinks. And that they are intent on showing that they are a very strong nation.

It's, obviously, as experts say, has a lot to do with the internal situation of this relatively new leader who wants to show that he is strong, and then also his father's birthday is coming up this -- on Saturday of this week, that's another, you know, date. So it's hard to parse precisely what they -- they wanted to say exactly in their message. Another aspect of this is, what did they exactly do? I mean we know that they set off this explosion, the United States director of National Intelligence is saying several kilotons. But nobody knows exactly how big it was, it appears to be bigger than they expected, and was it uranium or plutonium? And was it a miniaturized weapon as the North Koreans have been saying, or which could be put on top of the missile, or was it something else? So they are -- an awful lot of questions, and they will be answered eventually, probably, but in the meantime, it's very unclear precisely what kind of explosion they carried out.

CHIOU: Yeah, there still are a lot of questions. Although North Korea, Jill, is boasting that this explosion today was much stronger than the one that we saw in 2006 and 2009 ...


CHIOU: And they are even saying, it was lighter, and they are saying it was miniaturized.


CHIOU: So, the question is, is there a real concern in the U.S that North Korea is close to trying to -- to trying to get a nuclear warhead on a missile, especially since they are saying that this time around, they've got more bang for their buck, for example.

DOUGHERTY: That is the overriding worry, is that they could, in combination with long range missiles, ICBMs, which, by they way, they tested recently when they put that satellite into orbit, they called it, you know a delivery vehicle, but that also, that missile could be used to launch -- to deliver, I should say, a nuclear bomb. So, the concern would be if you have a small enough bomb on top of a long range missile, it could go much farther than just Asia. And the United States, thinking of its own concern, would be quite worried about that. The other question that's very important is what kind of material were they using, because up to now they were using plutonium, and you get plutonium from existing stockpiles of nuclear materials. It's finite. They have, probably, experts say, enough for maybe about six weapons or six bombs. But that runs out. If it's uranium, that means that they have been able, somehow, to process uranium, to enrich uranium, and that would mean that they would have almost unlimited resources to create bombs, and that is very worrisome.

CHIOU: Because they do have uranium deposits there, in North Korea.

DOUGHERTY: Sure. You're absolutely right.

CHIOU: Jill, thank you very much. Yeah. Yeah,, there's so much to talk about with this particular story. Thank you very much, Jill. Jill Dougherty there, a world affairs correspondent.

As North Korea's main ally, China, is the source of crucial economic and political support to the regime in Pyongyang, and for that reason, the Chinese leadership is often thought to hold considerable sway over North Korean foreign policy. Well, senior international correspondent Matthew Chance joins me now live from CNN, Beijing. And Matthew, we've just learned that Beijing has recalled its North Korean ambassador. So, obviously, Beijing is showing its displeasure. What kind of issues does Beijing has to weigh right now?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, my understanding is that it's summoned the ambassador to -- from North Korea to Beijing, into the Foreign Ministry to have what they describe as solemn discussions with him about this much recent, third North Korean nuclear test. This is a real slap in the face for China for its diplomatic efforts, it made no bones about it. It had been encouraging North Korea to step back from the nuclear brink, as it were, and not carry out a third nuclear test.

It had allowed state newspapers in China to print editorials that were sharply critical over the past couple of weeks of North Korea's threats to go ahead with the nuclear test. One editorial saying that the prevention of North Korea from carrying out a nuclear test was a major test, a grave test, that's the world it used, of Chinese diplomacy - well, it seems to be a test that has failed, because that explosion, that test went ahead. And that's something that has not been well received by the Chinese at all.

They issued an official statement shortly after the test was confirmed by North Korea, the foreign ministry saying that they resolutely opposed the action taken by North Korea, called on North Korea as well to not take any further measures that would inflame the situation further. But they've used this kinds of language, this kind of language with North Korea in the past. They similarly opposed the two previous tests by North Korea. And I think that that underlines, even though there is this perception that China has a lot of influence over North Korea, underlines this sense that Pyongyang is out of China's control. Even though it does give a lot of aid, a lot of fuel, a lot of food, a lot of diplomatic support to North Korea, it still can't tell it what to do over the nuclear issue.

CHIOU: Yeah, North Korea certainly thumbing its nose at everyone around the world, including China. Now, back in December, Matthew, China did agree to tightening sanctions against North Korea. We've got the U.N. Security Council meeting in about half an hour, so -- do you get the sense that China may even be in favor of even more sanctions, and if so, how effective really are these sanctions?

CHANCE: Well, you're right. China did sign up to the latest raft of sanctions of the United Nations Security Council, it's obviously a permanent member of the Security Council, it could have vetoed them, but it didn't. It didn't even, you know, it actually supported them, it didn't even abstain. That's - which it's done in the past. But according to diplomats close to the negotiation, it did succeed in substantially watering down the impact of the sanctions on North Korea. It was on that watered-down basis that it -- that they supported it.

Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of focus now on what China will do in terms of sanctions. It has been delivered this slap in the face diplomatically by North Korea. Will it now kind of take a more aggressive, more hard-line stance towards its ally? I mean, there may be a clue in this -- in another parts of the statement issued by the Foreign Ministry. They are calling on all relevant parties to stay calm and continue to use dialogue and talks in order to resolve the problem of the denuclearized Korean Peninsula. So, that part of the Chinese statement indicating that their preference is still for talks, not for sanctions. Although, you know, we'll see what the Chinese position is when this Security Council meeting gets under way in several hours from now in New York.

CHIOU: Yeah, we'll see what all the countries say. All right, Matthew, thank you very much. Matthew Chance there, reporting live from CNN, Beijing.

Well, still to come NEWS STREAM, a preview of the Champions League, the round of 16. Will the action include David Beckham in his new home? We'll have the sports update.


CHIOU: This week on "Leading Women," we meet Greek shipping executive, Angeliki Frangou. She is chairwoman and CEO of the Navios Group. She launched her own shipping company when she was just in her 20s. Becky Anderson found out how she did it.


BECKY ANDERSON, CBS CORRESPONDENT: Greece. Recognized for its maritime prowess around the world. This leading Greek shipping executive has industry roots that go back five generations.

ANGELIKI FRANGOU, CEO, NAVIOS GROUP: I think shipping is my DNA. I think what's inevitable is that I would have followed my passion.

ANDERSON: Her passion let her establish not one, but four shipping and logistic companies, valued today at more than $4 billion. She is a chairwoman and CEO of the Navios Group, a quartet specializing in transporting products, such as chemicals, petroleum, grains and soy around the world.

(on camera): You are a woman in this business. Does it -- does it matter?

FRANGOU: I can say that I'm blind to gender, race, religion -- and if you don't see limitations, the future is ahead of you.

ANDERSON (voice over): This maritime shipping magnate who defies stereotypes is Angeliki Frangou.

Greek mythology has it that Helen of Troy was the face that launched 1,000 ships. For this modern-day Greek, it was a $2 million loan and a dose of business savvy that launched her fleet.

(on camera): When you started, you started in (inaudible), ship your own, right?

FRANGOU: Yes. When we started, the United States was the grain provider of the world with Russia. Today, the provider of grains in the world is South America.

ANDERSON (voice over): In more than 20 years in industry, Frangou has gone from a single ship to operating roughly 100 vessels. How she started her business is a remarkable story.

It began when she quit her job on Wall Street in 1989, deciding to be her own boss. She was just 25. After getting her hands on some capital, she flew to Rio de Janeiro and purchased an ailing ship, the Fulvia (ph).

(on camera): What do you remember of those days?

FRANGOU: You know, you start from (inaudible). You arrive, you have a vessel that you need to reactivate, it hadn't worked for a long period. Everything possible in there was stolen, so at least there were instructions of how to reconnect. And you have to rebuild it, refit it, and start.

ANDERSON: Armed with a degree in mechanical engineering, a background in finance, and a family history in shipping, Frangou led efforts to get the ship seaworthy. And then officially entered the shipping business. She says by 2004, the asset value of the company had grown to more than $150 million. That same year, she raised $200 million to acquire Navios and merged her business under the Navios name. She then expanded into the emerging markets.

(on camera): And your family is steeped in shipping, five generations. Was it inevitable that you get into shipping, do you think?

FRANGOU: I think what was inevitable is that I would have followed my passion. I mean my parents, really, they allowed all of us to be involved in what we like. After all, we spend 70 percent of your awake day in your work. You have to enjoy it.

ANDERSON: Navios has quarters in Piraeus in Greece, not far from Athens. It's where I met Frangou. The company also has offices in several other countries, and owns two ports in South America, including here in Uruguay, which ships products such as grains, sugar and salt among other dry goods. The Navios fleet has a carrying capacity of about 11 million tons.

Navios says it sails to about 400 ports around the world, with more than 2,200 crew members on vessels worldwide.

(on camera): And I want to get the sense of a life in a day of a CEO of a shipping company. So just walk me through that day, if you will.

FRANGOU: You start from (inaudible) that can tell you what happens with every vessel that is open and where you have to fix in the world, what is the conditions. And you may have a new building vessel that is coming, shall we have to make sure that all conditions are met, angles to be fixed. The one thing you learn when you're 25 and you start your company, that you can never set off your phone.

Now we have 3,000 employees, 500 of them in offices; 2,500 seafarers. The life of these people rely on you. You do not have the right to ever (inaudible) on the job. You have to be there.

ANDERSON (voice over): Frangou says as chairwoman and CEO of Navios, she spends a third of her time around the world on business.

(on camera): What do you know about this exhibition?

ANDERSON (voice over): In the coming weeks, more on Frangou and her company, what she enjoys doing when she's not working.

FRANGOU: Look at the golden jewelry.


CHIOU: Coming up in a moment on NEWS STREAM, the International Olympic Committee has made a shocking announcement about what sport will not be part of the 2020 Summer Games. We'll have details after the break.


CHIOU: Some news is coming into us right now at CNN, and CNN understands that U.S. President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address will announce a major cutback in the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. We're -- OK, we will have more on this story in just a little bit. We do have a reporter on that story who broke that news.

Let's go to sports now. The manager of the Nigerian national football team has performed a remarkable U-turn when it comes to his future with the new African champions. Pedro Pinto joins us now to explain. Hello, Pedro.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi. The day after becoming only the second man ever to win the Africa Cup of Nations as a player and a manger, Stephen Keshi had announced he was going to quit his post as a Nigeria coach, but the 51-year old has had a change of heart. Keshi announced on Tuesday that he is staying after all. He met with Nigerian sports minister Bolaji Abdullahi, and ironed out the differences he had with this nation's football federation. It had been reported that Keshi had a falling out with officials after they booked a flight home for the squad ahead of their quarterfinal against tournament favorites Ivory Coast, a match the Nigerians won 2:1. But all is well that ends well right now, and Keshi is staying on.

It's back after a ten-week break. The Champions League returns on Tuesday with the first matches in the round of 16 taking place. There are two games on the schedule for later. Paris St. Germain are playing at Valencia. Fans expecting to see David Beckham in action will be disappointed. He's only recently started training with his teammates since his high-profile signing, and will watch Tuesday night's match at the Mestallia (ph) in Spain in the stands.

Further north in Europe, in Glasgow, to be precise, Celtic are hosting Juventus. It's a battle between sides that are leading their respective leagues. The Scottish club is hoping to repeat their famous victory over Barcelona in the group stage of the competition, but it won't be an easy task. Juvie (ph) haven't lost a single game this season in the champion's league.

Well, it had been a while since the Boston Celtics have tasted defeat in the NBA. They had won their last seven games, all without star point guard Rajon Rondo, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season with an injury. Well, the winning streak couldn't last forever, and it came to an end on Monday night. Boston had beaten Denver in a triple overtime game on Sunday, and they looked fatigued against the Bobcats in Charlotte. When the Celtics expanded their fourth quarter lead to five points, you would have thought the game was over, but their tired-leg struggle to keep out the Bobcats down the stretch, Campbell Walker creating the shot for Gerald Henderson, who drains the three-pointer, and later Walker hands it off for Ramon Sessions, who hits the jumper to put Charlotte in the lead.

Now, Boston had plenty of chances to get back on top, but you know what, they just couldn't make a shot. They missed their last six field goal attempt. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Avery Bradley -- they all failed to connect. Boston lose in North Carolina, 94 to 91, the final score.

One more note to pass along. The International Olympic Committee decided to drop wrestling from the Summer Games, a surprise decision that removes one of the oldest Olympic sports starting from the 2020 Olympics. Eliminating one sport allows the International Olympic Committee to add a new one to the program later this year.

That's a quick look at sports for this hour. Back to you in Hong Kong.

CHIOU: All right. Thank you very much, Pedro. And now we're going to go from sports to weather, where there is a rare sight in Venice. High water and snow together. Mari Ramos is live at the World Weather Center. Mari, we don't usually see this together, do we?

MARI RAMOS: No, you know, the aqua alta, or the high water does seem to happen usually during this time of the year, sometimes more severe than others. The episode that we just had experiencing right now in Venice was actually particularly high with as much as 90 percent of the city that had high water, 143 centimeters. That's how high the tide went.

This is a picture from San Marco Square. You can see, this is before the water came in, a lot of snow on the ground, which is pretty rare indeed. It does snow every once in a while, but look at this picture of the piazza -- the chairs -- I don't know if you noticed, they are covered in snow and ice right in these areas here. So it is this rare sight of the ice and the water and the snow, all that happening at the same time. It kind of changes things for people, because while you're maybe used to the high water, this is extremely cold, the temperature barely made it out of freezing. You can see all of that ice floating around at the same time. Kind of scary and dangerous, too, because then you're really talking about a lot of problems with hypothermia. It's not like when -- you sometimes see the tourists come swimming in this water sometimes and not even worried about it. And it is also the last day of carnival.

So I think a lot of those celebrations, probably, will have to be put on hold. The water has receded, and today the tide not expected to be as high as what we had yesterday. It happens when you get an area of low pressure right in here, that kinds of helps funnel in the water here into this northern side of the Adriatic, and that's precisely what we have, yet again. It's been happening quite a bit this year, with storm system after storm system moving right through the central portion of the continent here. Most of the moisture has now moved on, back over toward Southeastern Europe, this is where the bulk of the wet weather will be. The southern half of Italy, and we have yet another area of low pressure starting to form here across the western Med (ph). It's been cold, too. Minus three, Milan, only ten in Madrid, minus one in Brussels, and even as we head into London and Paris, we are still looking at temperatures that are slightly above freezing, but only two degrees in London right now. Got to wait until Thursday when we start to see the temperatures moderating somewhat across the western edges of Europe, but the rest of (inaudible), they still remain quite cold with the heavy snowfall across the Pyrenees, through the Alps, Central Europe, and that area of low pressure kind of sticking around at least through the day on Wednesday. There is the chance for severe weather still across portions of the south. I don't think we're going to see any tornadoes, but there is a chance for some stronger storms coming through there.

From cold to hot, temperatures very hot across parts of Australia. 28 in Perth right now. But you made it to 40 degrees today, and again, as we head into tomorrow, with those mostly clear skies and just a few pop-up thunderstorms, it's going to be very hot again as those hot winds from the interior continue to move through here, with highs reaching close to 40 degrees Celsius again. A little bit of a cooldown as we head into the latter part of the week, and also very hot, Carnival celebrations in Rio. This is a picture from last night. Yeah, today is Mardi Gras, today is Fat Tuesday. And the end -- the day before Ash Wednesday, the day before Lent, high temperature in Rio. Right now, it's already 28. It will be about 32 degrees for your daytime high today. Back to you.

CHIOU: Yeah. Carnival in Rio looks a whole lot more fun than Carnival in Venice right now.


CHIOU: OK. Thanks so much. Mari, thanks very much.

Well, we have a recap now of news just into CNN. As we mentioned, CNN's Jake Tapper has learned that U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union address later tonight will contain a major announcement about U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He will say, by this time next year, 34,000 U.S. troops will have returned home from Afghanistan, that is half the number currently there. So we have that piece of nugget from the State of the Union address. And we will see also if he touches on what happened in North Korea today. And that is NEWS STREAM. But the news continues at CNN, "World Business today" is coming up next.