North Korea: The Impossible State

Christiane Amanpour, Matthew Drake, Iva Zoric, David Miller & Mark Monroy
Around the WorldApril 12, 2012

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."