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North Korea Claims Successful H-Bomb Test; U.N. Security Council to Hold Emergency Session; Iranian-Linked Terror Plot Uncovered; German Police Investigate Multiple Assaults; Trump Questions Cruz's American Citizenship; North Korea's History of Nuclear Tests; Police Officer Rescues Abducted Toddler. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 6, 2016 - 10:00:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: This is the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center. Thanks for joining me. A lot to talk about this hour.

North Korea says it's tested a hydrogen bomb. If true, that would mean one of the world's most unpredictable nations has the capacity to create an

explosion way more powerful than Hiroshima.

The claim has ignited a chain of condemnation from countries around the world but many experts do say they doubt Pyongyang has the technology to

pull it off. Well, we've tapped into our vast global resources for comprehensive coverage on this, beginning with Paula Hancocks in Seoul.

Hi, there, Paula. Exaggerated claims or not, this has many deeply worried.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Robyn. We have some new information out just in the past few minutes. A closed door meeting has

ended between the intelligence services here in South Korea and some lawmakers that were being briefed. Those lawmakers have now briefed CNN.

And what they say is that according to the intelligence services, they can't give credibility to North Korea's claim that this was a hydrogen


Now the reason for this is, they say, that it should have been -- the destructive force should have been somewhere in the realm of 15 to 50

megatons but in fact what it was is 6 kilotons.

So certainly that is much smaller than what they would expect from a hydrogen bomb, even if they've managed to miniaturize this bomb, that would

be about 50 to 60 kilotons. So clearly, according to the intelligence services, they don't believe that Pyongyang's claim is correct. But let's

see how this did play out throughout the day.


HANCOCKS (voice-over): Kim Jong-un signs the order for nuclear test number four, a handwritten note from North Korea's leader saying the country is,

quote, "Starting the year with exciting noise of the first hydrogen bomb."

If this is true, it would signal a huge jump in the country's nuclear capability, a hydrogen device far more powerful than previous atomic bombs.

But South Korea's defense ministry says it would be difficult to believe it was hydrogen according to Yonhap News Agency. Officials say it could be

days before they know for sure. Some say they may never be 100 percent certain.

Condemnation from around the world has been swift. China, one of North Korea's few allies says it opposes the tests, saying it did not have prior

knowledge of it. South Korea's President Park Geun-hye calls it a provocation which threatens people's lives.

PARK GEUN-HYE, SOUTH KOREA PRESIDENT (through translation): It is important to take stern measures with the U.N. Security Council and

international community, with the United States and our allies.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): The United States, Japan, the U.K. and others adding to the condemnation. South Korea's military is on alert.

North and South Korea are still technically at war. A peace treaty was never signed after the Korean War. A United Nations Security Council

meeting has been called Wednesday. Previous nuclear tests have been met with sanctions.

JASPER KIM: You can apply sanctions. It can condemn verbally, it can point fingers but, as you've seen before, North Korea doesn't really

respond to that.


HANCOCKS: It seems as though this test did take all the intelligence services by surprise. The first three that North Korea carried out, they

at least warned China beforehand, if not Russia and the United States.

But in this closed door meeting, the intelligence services here in South Korea told lawmakers that it appears no intelligence services saw this

coming. So it did come as a surprise -- Robyn.

CURNOW: OK. Thanks for that update from Seoul. Paula Hancocks. Appreciate it.

The United Nations Security Council is holding an emergency session, expected to begin in the next hour. CNN's Richard Roth is at the U.N. with

a preview of what we can expect.

Hi, there, Richard.

We heard in Paula's story there, what are the options for world leaders here?

What can they do?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: They've been limited with North Korea refusing to obey multiple Security Council resolutions through

the decades. Japan and the United States requested this meeting. It's behind closed doors.

Some feel there could be more sanctions, though many haven't worked, on North Korea leadership. It doesn't seem to really make a difference.

There is a groundswell inside the U.N., Robyn. There seem to be more and more countries really getting on the bandwagon opposing this North Korea

regime, which may seem simple but to outsiders, it takes some time with many of these nations, many signed on to a very strong resolution

condemning North Korea inside the general assembly late last year. However, that's not do anything to help the people of North Korea.

The U.N. has a special condition of inquiry, which said there have been patterns of rapes, abductions --


ROTH: -- forced migrations, a whole range of bad things. But this, if it's a significant -- if it's a hydrogen bomb test, it certainly got the

attention of the Security Council, which seemed to stop rushing in, even when missiles were being launched. They were almost fed up with it.

China, as we just heard, is going to be the main focus behind closed doors. Moscow today already expressing disappointment, U.K.; but, again, what they

can really do, well, we'll try to ask them as they walk in. But I wouldn't expect any rabbits out of the diplomatic hat -- Robyn.

CURNOW: OK. Thanks so much, Richard Roth, and we'll keep an eye on that meeting. Appreciate it.

As we are having this discussion, what is the difference between a hydrogen bomb and an atomic bomb?

And why would it matter?

Well, Joe Cirincione can help with that. He's president of the Ploughshares Fund, a group that aims to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

Hi, there, Joe.

Before we get to your assessment of what you think this might or might not be, I just want you to quickly, briefly give us a 101 lesson on the

difference between an H-bomb and an A-bomb.

The H-bomb is much more powerful, isn't it?

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE, PRESIDENT, PLOUGHSHARES FUND: Yes, the atomic bomb like we dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki uses the power that comes from

splitting atoms. An enormous amount of energy is released when you can split atoms.

A hydrogen bomb takes a small amount of hydrogen, usually isotopes like deuterium or tritium and uses an atomic bomb -- it's actually two bombs in

one -- it uses an atomic bomb to heat and compress that hydrogen, to basically re-create the conditions that exist in the sun and all stars, the

basic energy force in the universe.

Fusion, it fuses atoms together. And when you do that, you release much more energy, 10 times, 100 times the energy that you get from a fission


Our first hydrogen bomb released 10 megatons of explosive force, 10 million tons of explosive force, compared to the atomic bombs we dropped on Japan,

which were 15,000 tons 15 kilotons. So an H-bomb is about a thousand times more powerful than an atomic bomb.

CURNOW: And we're seeing the -- yes, and we're seeing those images from that H-bomb test, U.S. hydrogen bomb test in the early 1950s as you were


OK. So let's talk about today. Our reporter in Seoul saying South Korean intelligence doubts this is a hydrogen bomb.

What do you think?

What's your assessment?

CIRINCIONE: All the early indications cast doubt upon North Korea's claim. The size of the test that we detected is in the range of 6 kilotons to 7

kilotons, 6,000 to 7,000 tons, that's actually smaller than their last test. Even a failed hydrogen bomb test would be 10-20-30 kilotons of

explosive yield. So it doesn't look like a true H-bomb test.

What it very well might be, which is where the claim comes from, is something that's in between these two types of weapons, what's called a

boosted nuclear weapon that uses a small amount of hydrogen to boost the fission process in an atomic bomb.

CURNOW: So it's sort of a little bit of radioactive hydrogen.

What -- how will we know?

You know, I understand that there is some analysis in the area above North Korea.

But will we ever definitively know?

CIRINCIONE: Yes, we will know. When the nations of the world negotiated the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty back in the 1990s, they created

the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, which has put out an international global network of sensors and monitors.

So we have seismic signatures. That's how we know the size of this test. We also have atmospheric sensors and other devices that can trace the

radioactivity given off by this test as it enters the water, as it enters the atmosphere.

And you'll be able to detect the trace elements that come. You'll be able to tell whether this was a fusion reaction or a fission reaction. We

should know definitively in a few days.


So my next question is, does it matter if it's a hydrogen bomb or an atom bomb or a combination of both?

Either way, it points to North Korea, a rogue nation with an unpredictable leader, actively developing nuclear weapons without constraint and

scientists learning lessons, gaining valuable knowledge every time.

CIRINCIONE: Yes. So the bad news is, since 1998, North Korea is the only country that has tested any nuclear weapon and this is now their fourth

test. They're just flouting the international standards; every time any country does that, it weakens the standards. So it requires a strong


The good news is that this is not a demonstration of an increase in their capability. If they, in fact, had a hydrogen bomb, something with a

million tons of TNT, that would be something that could destroy South Korea, one or two of those bombs could destroy South Korea.

You do not want North Korea to have that kind of capability. It looks like they tried to make an advance, they didn't --


CIRINCIONE: -- get there but they're bragging about it as if they did.

CURNOW: OK. Great to have your perspective. Joe Cirincione, appreciate it.

CIRINCIONE: Thank you.

CURNOW: Well, North Korea's latest test is fueling some uncertainty in already jittery world markets. Here's a look at the big board, down over

200 points. And of course global shares have been sliding for five straight days. Not a great start to the new year, sparked by also fears

about China's slumping economy.

Well, ahead here at the IDESK, the growing rift between Saudi Arabia and Iran. We're going to take a look at that as another Saudi ally is scolding

Tehran for the attack on the Saudi embassy there.

And with less than a month to go before the first major test of the U.S. election season, Donald Trump brings up an issue he says could be, quote,

"very precarious" for his party. It involves his main Republican rival. More on that after the break.




CURNOW: Thanks for joining us, I'm Robyn Curnow. This is the INTERNATIONAL DESK.

Now just days after cutting ties with Tehran, Bahrain says it's uncovered an Iranian linked terror cell that was plotting attacks there. It's the

latest example of the growing turmoil pitting Iran against Saudi Arabia and its allies, which include Bahrain. Well, Nic Robertson is in Riyadh. He

joins me now live.

Hi, there, Nic. We've heard in the last few hours, Jordan, another Saudi ally, has thrown its weight behind the kingdom. That's one example of all

these diplomatic moves.

But is the actions in Bahrain an escalation -- I got that out eventually -- but is it a change and what more can we expect?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: There's definitely an up tempo in the amount of rhetoric coming from Saudi Arabia and its allies

against Iran. Absolutely.

And the claim that we've heard from Bahrain today, that they uncovered an Iran-inspired plot inside Bahrain, is not the first time, of course, that

they've talked about Iranians trying to stir up trouble in Bahrain. They've been talking about this since the Arab Spring to February 2011.

But you know we've heard from Djibouti as well today, all being a minor nation but part of a group of Sunni nations that supports Saudi Arabia.

So the sectarian nature of what we're hearing and the talk about Iran being the problem in destabilizing the region here, the Jordanians calling in the

Iranian ambassador in Jordan today to tell him that they have to protect embassies in Tehran, as is called for under international law.

So all of this is amplifying what's been --


ROBERTSON: -- going on in the background. And that's what's causing concerns, obviously, because this tension is potentially very destabilizing

in the region right now.

CURNOW: With that in mind, what is Washington doing about it, if anything?

And how shaky is the U.S.-Saudi relationship at the moment?

Has it changed?

And has that impacted on how Saudi is acting now?

ROBERTSON: It's definitely changed. It's evolved, again, since the Arab Spring.

If you go back to that point, Saudi Arabia looked to the United States, saw that it wasn't backing its allies in the region, decided that they would

have to take a stronger line in building up their security services and looking to their own security in the future.

If you look at the nuclear deal with Iran that the United States and European nations struck just a few months ago, just last year, then you can

see Saudi Arabia, as that deal came closer and closer, speaking out against it more and more. And that's changed the dynamic of the relationship here.

So United States has certainly called on Saudi Arabia, in advance of the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr, against this. They've spoken out against the

execution. They are now talking about moving beyond that and tamping down the tensions in the region.

But the United States' ability to influence events in Saudi Arabia is not as big as it used to be. And for Secretary Kerry, a concern as he tries to

move towards getting a solid peace process going in Syria.

CURNOW: Indeed. Questions on how this spat will impact that peace process, if any. Thanks so much. Nic Robertson in Saudi. Appreciate it.

Let's change tack. Thursday marks the first anniversary of the terror attacks that killed 12 people at the offices of "Charlie Hebdo" magazine

and five others around Paris. Now a special edition of the magazine hit newsstands today.

In typical "Charlie Hebdo" fashion, it's sparking controversy. The cover shows a bearded figure of God carrying a rifle with the words, "The killer

is still out there." It drew protests from the Vatican.

Well, in the U.S., investigators are asking for the public's help in tracing the movements of the San Bernardino terrorists who killed 14

people. A timeline of events the day of the attack has an 18-minute gap.

An FBI official says during that time the killers could have stopped at a storage unit or a house. And investigators want to make sure the couple

wasn't contacting others who could have been helping them. They later died, if you remember, in a police shootout.

And German chancellor Angela Merkel is set to speak less than an hour from now about the country's refugee crisis. It comes amid a rising level of

fear over the influx of more than a million migrants last year.

Protesters took to the streets of Cologne last night after dozens of women reported being robbed and sexually molested during a New Year's Eve

celebration there. And as Atika Shubert now reports, the perpetrators were described as gangs of Arab or North African men.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New Year's Eve at the Cathedral Square in Cologne, Germany, has always been a

rowdy party scene, a fireworks free-for-all. But police now report that dozens of women were sexually assaulted and robbed in the chaos.

Police say victims described the perpetrators as small gangs of, quote, "Arab or North African men."

"The men surrounded us and started to grab our behinds and touch our crotches. They touched us everywhere. I wanted to take my friend and

leave. I turned around and in that moment someone grabbed my bag."

Only identifying herself as "Linda," this victim says she is too scared to go out alone and still has nightmares.

"I thought the whole time in the crowd they could kill us or rape us and no one would even notice. Nobody noticed and nobody helped us. I just wanted

to get out."

Other women agreed, saying there was no one to help them.

"We ran to the police but we saw the police were so understaffed they couldn't take care of us, and we, as women, paid the price."

By Tuesday morning, the headlines blared that a, quote, "sex mob" of Arab men had attacked local women.

In a nationally broadcast press conference, Germany's justice minister said the scale and nature of the attacks may constitute a, quote, "new dimension

of organized crime," but also cautioned against jumping to conclusions.

HEIKO MAAS, GERMAN JUSTICE MINISTER (through translation): During these investigations, it will become clear which circle of perpetrators is

involved. Making this an issue to oversimplifications and connecting it to the issue of refugees is nothing more than misuse of the debate.

Now, it is about determining the facts and drawing the necessary conclusions.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Police have so far recorded 90 criminal incidents, a quarter --


SHUBERT (voice-over): -- of which were sexual assaults. One rape was reported. At the time, there were roughly a thousand people in total at

the square. Not all were perpetrators.

Police say that many of the assaults were likely distraction techniques. The real aim was pick-pocketing, mostly mobile phones and tablets.

Police are still investigating, combing through surveillance video of the area. But the assaults play straight into public fears that the influx of

refugees would also bring a crime wave, fueling right-wing criticism of Germany's open-door policy towards refugees.

Local residents gathered in angry protests at the site of the attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): What happened here is terrible but, at the same time, not everybody who was here in this square should be

incriminated. That is not acceptable, either. The perpetrators must be caught and brought to justice.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Fear, anger and suspicion. The country is already straining under the influx of nearly a million refugees, a tinder box that

won't take much to catch fire -- Atika Shubert, CNN, Berlin.


CURNOW: Thanks to Atika for that report. And of course we'll keep an eye on what Angela Merkel has to say in the next hour or so.

Coming up here on the IDESK, Donald Trump is taking aim at his Republican presidential rival, Ted Cruz, by casting doubts on whether he is eligible

to be president because of where he was born. Now some say it could be an issue for the court. More on that after the break.




CURNOW: Welcome back. Now to the race for the White House in the latest attack by Donald Trump. The Republican front-runner is taking aim at Ted

Cruz, who's his biggest challenger right now. Now he says the fact that Cruz was born in Canada could hurt the party's chances in November. Here's

Athena Jones with that story.


DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know what it all means. I know that other people are talking about it.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump deflecting last night in New Hampshire, the front-runner saying Republican rival Ted Cruz's

natural-born citizenship is a question that only other people are asking.

TRUMP: People are worried that if he weren't born in this country, which he wasn't, he was born in Canada and he actually had a Canadian passport

along with a U.S. passport.

JONES (voice-over): Trump said in an earlier interview with "The Washington Post" that Cruz being born in Canada could be "very precarious"

for the GOP.

Asking Republican voters to think twice, saying, "Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years? That would be a big problem."

Trump hinting Democrats could take Cruz to court because the Constitution requires a president to be a natural-born citizen.

The junior senator was granted citizenship by birth since his mother was an American citizen. But what constitutes natural-born for a president has

never been tested in court.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I think I'm going to let my response stick with that tweet.

Cruz responded with this metaphorical tweet, linking to Fonzie from "Happy Days," jumping a shark.

CRUZ: One of the best way to respond to this kind of attack is to laugh it on and to move on to the issues that matter.

JONES (voice-over): Meanwhile, Trump's campaign rallies continue to be --


-- packed with controversy. A supporter shouting, "President Obama's a Muslim," last night.

TRUMP: What did you say?

I didn't hear it. OK. I didn't say it.

JONES (voice-over): The billionaire pretending to be outraged.

TRUMP: Oh, I'm supposed to reprimand the man.

Who was the man that said that?

I have to reprimand. How dare you. OK.

Have I reprimanded?

OK. I'm admonishing you for the press.


CURNOW: Athena Jones reporting there.

So what does it mean that one of the leading presidential candidates is being questioned on whether he's legally able to be commander in chief?

Well, senior political reporter Stephen Collinson joins me now from Washington to help sort this all out.

I mean, this is a pretty big job, the President of the United States. Clearly for many people, being born in the United States is a big issue.

But it's not as simple as that, is it?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No. That's right. As Athena said, this has never been challenged in court. But the Constitution

of the United States says that the president must be a natural-born citizen.

Now some people take that to mean being born within the geographical boundaries of the United States.

But most constitutional scholars think Ted Cruz is safe here because, although he was born in Canada, he was born to a U.S. mother. And when he

returned to the United States when he was 3 years old, he didn't have to petition for citizenship. He was already considered a citizen.

So Donald Trump is raising this; it seems unlikely that, even if Donald Trump was -- Ted Cruz was the nominee and became president, there would be

an actual court challenge that would go all the way up to the Supreme Court, for example, and this would become a big issue.

But it's an example of the way that Donald Trump is able to seize on something that could discomfit one of his rivals and change the

conversation. Right now, Ted Cruz seems to be becoming the biggest rival to Donald Trump to winning the Republican nomination. And I think Donald

Trump is very keen to change the subject -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Indeed. I mean, it is quite a strategic move because, you know, even if, you know, this goes all the way to the Supreme Court, as you say,

the mere fact that it goes all the way to the Supreme Court, that a possible Republican candidate is tied up in some legal battle, the mere

threat of that, the mere thought of it could dissuade the Republican Party from even chancing that.

COLLINSON: Yes, I think it could. There have been occasions in the past, for instance, in 2008, John McCain, the Republican nominee, he was born in

-- on a U.S. military base in Panama.

And in fact, two of his potential rivals, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, sponsored a bill in the Senate to make it clear that he was considered a

natural-born citizen. So I think there's precedent that could stop this case from working its way all the way up the legal tree.

But Donald Trump, of course, has form in this area. He spent two years questioning the birthplace and the citizenship of Barack Obama, who was

born in Hawaii, which only ended when the President of the United States showed up in the White House Briefing Room, brandishing a copy of his own

birth certificate.

At the time, a lot of us thought that Donald Trump was being what the president called a carnival barker. He was mounting an absurd campaign.

But in retrospect, it turns out that the people that tuned into that campaign are now forming Donald Trump's political base. So he knows how to

use these questions in a shrewd political way, which gets him attention and which excites the people who plan to vote for him.

So it's possible that some of them could take a second look at Ted Cruz, as you say -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Indeed. He's speaking exactly to his base.

Many of them still believe that President Obama wasn't born here, don't they?

COLLINSON: That's right.

CURNOW: Steven Collinson, thanks so much. As always, appreciate it.

Well, still ahead, North Korea faces a heap of outrage after claiming it detonated a hydrogen bomb. What the international community is doing in

response after the break.





CURNOW: Watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK, I'm Robyn Curnow. A lot of news. Let's get to it. Here are the headlines.


CURNOW: Well, back to our top story, North Korea's claim that it tested a hydrogen bomb. This is not the first time North Korea has conducted a

nuclear test. Will Ripley looks at Pyongyang's nuclear program and speaks with North Korean scientists, who insist their work has a peaceful purpose.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): August 1998: Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un is just 15 years old when his father, the late leader, Kim

Jung-il, fires a multistage rocket over Japan, demonstrating North Korea's frightening potential to develop rockets that reach around the region.

Then this, October 2006: North Korea announces its first underground nuclear test, joining the small group of nations that posses nuclear


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The United States condemns this provocative act.

RIPLEY (voice-over): The U.N. slaps crippling sanctions on an already struggling regime. But North Korea forges ahead, claiming nukes are its

only lifeline, protection from the U.S. government, which it says is hell bent on toppling the regime.

In 2007, Pyongyang agrees to halt its nuclear ambitions in exchange for international aid, but it's short-lived and the program resumes.

December 2012: in spite of U.N. resolutions condemning rocket launches, North Korea fires what it calls a peaceful satellite into space. Increased

sanctions stoke the North's anger further.

State media announcing a third nuclear test in February 2013: with each test, North Korea gains valuable new knowledge in weaponizing its nuclear


In May, another bombshell, North Korea claiming it has miniaturized nuclear weapons, warheads small enough to put on a missile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: well, I think the situation is very dangerous. There's no constraints on his program and North Korea seems determined to build up

its nuclear arsenal.

RIPLEY (voice-over): North Korea also seems determined to develop rocket technology, despite the sanctions, including recent upgrades to its Sohae

launch site.

U.S. intelligence believes the facility has an underground rail line, moveable building and a cover over the launch pad, all designed to hide

activity from prying eyes in the sky. But North Korean space scientists we met in September told us their purpose is peaceful.

"Our launch is no threat to the U.S.," said this researcher, speaking to us outside from Pyongyang's new satellite control center.

RIPLEY: What can you say to the world to prove that this is not a ballistic missile program in disguise?


"Why on Earth we would have any intention of trying to drop nuclear bombs on the people of the world, including the United States?" said the director

of scientific research and development.

But North Korea's own state media boasts a growing nuclear arsenal and willingness to strike if provoked. This latest escalation leaves many

wondering just how far is North Korea and its unpredictable young leader willing to go -- Will Ripley, CNN.


CURNOW: Questions there from Will.

Well, nations across the globe are criticizing North Korea's tests. And in the past few minutes, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called it, quote,

"deeply troubling and profoundly destabilizing."

Well, our Ivan Watson joins us now from Hong Kong.

With all of that in mind, let's talk specifically -- hi, there, Ivan -- about the Chinese.

Is this a slap in the face to Beijing?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It can be interpreted that way. And the reaction from the Chinese government has been to swiftly

condemn the North Korean neighbor for this nuclear test. Take a listen to this excerpt from a statement from the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs.


HUA CHUNYING, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): Today the Democratic People's Republic of Korea conducted a nuclear test

again, despite universal objection from the world.

China strongly condemns this deed. We strongly urge the DPRK to abide by its commitment to non-nuclearization and to stop adopting measures that

would worsen the current situation.


WATSON: Big question will be, would China adopt any measures, perhaps, to try to convince the North Korean regime to back down, to stop pursuing its

nuclear weapons program?

And we just don't know whether some of those measures might take place. Now over the course of last fall, there were signs that there were perhaps

-- there was a rapprochement in relations between Beijing and Pyongyang. We'd heard that perhaps some of the ties had been strained of late.

One of the signs that perhaps the relations were improving was the fact that North Korea and Kim Jong-un dispatched a girl band to Beijing to

perform a concert for members of China's Communist Party, the band, Moranbong.

Well, before the band was able to perform, Kim Jong-un made an announcement, a claim, that North Korea developed atomic weapons, a

hydrogen bomb and, shortly after that, the concert was scrapped and the Moranbong girl band had to go back home.

That was a sign, perhaps, that relations were deteriorating between these two neighbors -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Yes. Not often we use girl bands as a measurement of interpreting foreign policy and relations but, you know, with that in mind, how do we

interpret the U.S.-North Korea potential here?

I mean, after the success of the Iran deal, I mean, is there any possibility of negotiations on that level?

WATSON: It's a good question but there are some sharp differences here, for example, Iran has never claimed to have a nuclear weapons program. It

always insisted that its nuclear program was purely for peaceful civilian energy needs.

North Korea is dramatically different from that, Robyn. It has actually enshrined its nuclear weapons program within its constitution. It is a

critical part of its national identity.

And that is something that the U.S. government, even in its response to this nuclear weapons test, continues to refuse to acknowledge. In fact, in

its statement, it said that the U.S. refuses to recognize that North Korea is a nuclear armed state.

So that makes it much more difficult to bring these two governments together to start to begin some kind of negotiating process, the likes of

which we saw the U.S. invest enormous diplomatic and political capital in to push through that nuclear deal with Iran.

CURNOW: OK. Thanks for that perspective in Hong Kong, Ivan Watson. As always, thanks.

Well, this is the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Ahead, a dramatic police rescue caught on video. What the officer in the U.S. did to comfort a freezing,

frightened little girl.





CURNOW: Welcome back. Well, it was an abduction that could have ended in tragedy. Instead, it ended with a big hug and reassuring words of calm

from a clearly relieved policeman. Take a listen and look at this video.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, sweetheart.

You OK?

Come here. Come here. Come here. I know, come here. No, no. Sit in the car.


Let's get warm right here, OK?

Let's get warm, OK?

CURNOW (voice-over): Oh, wow. This police video shows the moment an officer in the U.S. state of New Mexico rescued a missing little girl. She

had been whisked away by a thief, who stole her mother's car as she sat inside.

The toddler was cold and scared, as you see, sitting there on the side of the road but she wasn't seriously hurt, though the last word police were

still looking for the carjacker and clearly her mum must have been incredibly relieved, too, when they got that call radioed in.


CURNOW: We're ending on that happy note. That does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. I'll be back in just over an hour

with much more on North Korea's claim of a hydrogen bomb test. But in the meantime, I'm going to send you over to Alex Thomas, who has got some

sports news.