North Korea Announces H Bomb Test; Microsoft Announces Driverless Car Technology at CES; Oculus Rift Begin Presales. Aired 8:00a-9:00a ET - Part 1

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Car Technology at CES; Oculus Rift Begin Presales. Aired 8:00a-9:00a ET - Part 1>

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Car Technology at CES; Oculus Rift Begin Presales.>

[08:00:15] KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream.

Now, North Korea's triumphant claim of a hydrogen bomb test is met by universal condemnation, including from its closest ally, China.

Now, China's one child policy is gone, but the impact will be felt for decades.

And the return of virtual reality: Facebook's Oculus will beginning selling their headset in just a few hours from now.

We are tracking reaction around the world to the latest nuclear test claim by North Korea. Without exception, it's one of condemnation that comes after Pyongyang announced it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb for the first time.

Now even North Korea's traditional ally, China, is adding its voice to the outrage. We'll have a live report from Beijing on that in just a moment. But first, our Paula Hancocks is in Seoul tracking the latest developments.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 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, but 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 test saying it did not have prior knowledge of it.

South Korea's president, Kark Geun-hye calls it a provocation, which threatens people's lives.

PARK GUEN-HYE, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT (through translator): It is important to take stern measures with the UN security council and international community with the United States and our allies.

HANCOCKS: The United States, Japan, the UK 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, PROFESSOR: It can apply sanctions, It can condemn verbally and point fingers, but as we've seen before, North Korea doesn't respond to that.

HANCOCKS: North Korean observers say that what Pyongyang really wants is a conversation with Washington and recognition of its nuclear power status, a recognition which the U.S. has said it will never give.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.

(END VIDOETAPE)

LU STOUT: Let's take a moment to look at some of the flamboyant language used in the official nuclear test announcement from the North Korean government.

The North Korean news agency calls the nuclear test a world startling event and says it would be specially recorded in the national history spanning 5,000 years.

Now, the nation also places the blame squarely on Washington. North Korea says the nuclear test was an act of self-defense against the U.S. to protect against the, quote, ever growing nuclear threat and blackmail by the U.S.-led hostile forces.

And a few hours ago on North Korean TV, more reaction, this time from North Korean citizens.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): First H bomb experiment success. It really excites me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm so happy. I heard the news coming out of that notice board. The whole workplace is fired up and the streets are fluttering with the news of the new power. It's so satisfying and makes my heart happy, makes we want to dance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: Interesting but not surprising reaction from the streets of Pyongyang there. Now, CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson joins us now with the latest on the story. Why is North Korea making this hydrogen bomb test claim and the timing? Why now?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, judging by the statements of the North Korean state media, first of all, they refer to this as an "h" bomb of justice. And as you mentioned, they've also said that this is a measure of self-defense against what North Korea describes as the ever growing, quote, nuclear threat and blackmail by the U.S.-led hostile forces. So, we can assume they do feel they to protect themselves and this is one of those measures.

We also have to look at the record of of the young leader, Kim Jong- un. Now, North Korean state television put out pictures of him signing a document dated December 15, just a few weeks ago, basically giving the order to carry out this test and saying that it was going to be -- to help commemorate the convention of the Workers Party, that's the ruling party in North Korea, which is expected to be held in May. That will be the seventh convention of the Worker's Party in some 70 years. So, presumably it is a show of strength and also internally.

Snd we also have to keep in mind that Kim Jong-un's birthday is just two days from now, perhaps that figures in somehow as well.

Finally, there's his record of nuclear tests. This is now the fourth nuclear test since 2006. The second, however, that Kim Jong-un has led in less than two years. It says something about the very aggressive posture he has taken since this young leader took over power from his father..

[08:05:49] LU STOUT: So, this is a test claim directed at an international audience as well as a domestic audience inside North Korea. It's a hydrogen bomb test claim. How worried should the neighbors of North Korea be right now?

WATSON: All of the neighbors have expressed alarm right now saying that this is -- and they've all condemned it as well.

So, you have statements coming out from South Korea, from Japan, condemning this, also from North Korea's trading partner and previous ally China, condemning this, even Russia has vigorously condemned this action.

The Japanese government told CNN that it has sent two planes up to test the air to try to get more information. Was this, in fact, a hydrogen bomb? Take a listen to what the Japanese president had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHINZO ABE, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): north korea's nuclear test is a serious threat to our nation's security and absolutely cannot be tolerated. we strongly denounce it.

Japan will take a firm response, including at the UN security council, in cooperation with the United States, South Korea, China and Russia on this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: So we're waiting for United Nations security council meeting convened by Japan. And a lot of people will be looking at the U.S. right now, which hasn't been negotiating of late with North Korea, to see how it can bolster support for its allies in this time of real concern.

LU STOUT: It will be interesting to see what the international community can do, because what they've been doing so far doesn't seem to be working.

Ivan Watson reporting live for us. Thank you very much indeed for that.

Now, let's get reaction now from Beijing. CNN correspondent Will Ripley is there. He joins us now.

And Will, the North Korea nuclear test claim, it has been called a slap in the face for China. And just how angry is Beijing right now?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Publicly, they are strongly condemning this action. And we can only imagine that privately they are -- the rhetoric would be even stronger.

Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a very public symbol of support to the North Korean regime when he sent Liu Yushan a very high ranking member of the standing committee of China's Communist Party to Pyongyang for the Workers Day parade back on October 10, where you saw Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader, and Liu Yushan, holding up their hands in front of the crowd, a true sign of friendship. There was a handwritten letter delivered. That was just a few months ago. And at that time, there had been speculation about a possible missile launch, or a possible nuclear test, and that didn't happen. A lot of people were thinking that perhaps North Korea wasn't going to engage in any provocative action, because it was focused on trying to build up its relationship with the government here in Beijing.

Obviously, what happened today changes the game in a bit. It is clearly a message from the North Korean regime that although the relationship with China is crucial in aspects of trade and also protection politically with the global community, because China has been one of the few countries that often stands up for North Korea.

Nonetheless, this provocative action is something that China simply cannot endorse. And so they're calling for high level meetings and they are one of the country's growing list of countries, including the U.S., South Korea, Japan, France, the UK, that are all condemning the actions by the regime just two days before Kim Jong-un's 33rd birthday.

LU STOUT: And the international community is really looking to China to do something about this. Because, well, it's been often said that China is the one country with leverage over North Korea, especially economic leverage. But how much leverage does it have today? And can China use it?

RIPLEY: Well, without trade with China, the North Korean economy would have a very difficult time continuing on. China is vital to North Korea's survival economically and there's a lot of cross border trade. Listen to what the ministry of foreign affairs is saying about the situation, there is some pretty strong language coming out of here in Beijing tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUA CHUNGYING, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN (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. It is China's consistent and staunch position to realize denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, prevent nuclear proliferation and maintain peace and stability in northeast Asia.

We strongly urge the DPRK to abide by its the commitment to non- nuclearization and to stop adopting measures that would worsen the current situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: But you notice there, there this was nothing from the Chinese government saying that they were going to take any action against the North Korean regime, at least not at this moment. Nothing discussed publicly.

But China does make it very clear, Kristie, that stability the alliance, the friendship with North Korea, very important strategically for China given the close relationship between the United States and South Korea.

LU STOUT: Yeah, and Beijing will face increased pressure, especially internationally, to reign in Kim Jong-un. Will Ripley reporting live for us. Many thanks indeed for that.

You're watching News Stream. And still ahead on the program, U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a tearful appeal on gun control. We'll look at the new steps he's taking to try to curb gun violence.

Plus, families in China can now have two children, but some say the end of the country's one child policy is too little, too late.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, world leaders are voicing outrage this hour after North Korea said it carried out its first ever test of a hydrogen bomb.

If true, that would be far more powerful than any of the nuclear weapons it claims it tested in the past.

Now, global powers have focused their outrage on the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Now, let's start with the reaction on the peninsula itself. South Korean president Park Geun-hye calls it a provocation that threatens lives. She is calling on the UN security council to act.

Now, that group will hold a meeting in just a few hours from now. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman has echoed that, calling such a test, quote, a flagrant violation of international law and the existing UN security council resolutions.

And here is what the U.S. ambassador to Japan, Carolyn Kennedy, had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAROLYN KENNEDY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO JAPANE: We stand with Japan and our partners and allies in solidarity against North Korean provocations and we will work closely together in the coming days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: Now, U.S. President Barack Obama has made an impassioned call for a sense of urgency in tackling gun violence. In Washington on Tuesday, he sidestepped lawmakers, announcing new measures on guns to be introduced by executive action.

And speaking sometimes through tears, Mr. Obama outlined plans to extend background checks on gun buyers and he spoke about what motivates him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: From every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun. Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad.

And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: Such an emotional moment there. The president surrounded by victim's families.

But Mr. Obama's Republican opponents are already blasting his plan, saying that they will throw up legal and political hurdles to stop him from introducing them.

Now, do join CNN for a special look at guns in America with U.S. President Barack Obama, Anderson Cooper hosts an exclusive one hour live town hall event. See it Thursday night at 8:00 in Washington. That's 9:00 a.m. Friday morning in Hong Kong, only here on CNN.

Now, the lunar New Year is coming sin a month. And China's post office is celebrating with a special release. The new stamps feature a monkey being kissed by not one, but two baby monkeys. It's a nod to China's historic move last year to end the one child policy in a bid to bolster the workforce in an aging popuation.

Now, Matt Rivers has more on the now defunct the policy and the effects that are still being felt.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Their voices carry beyond the small room where they gather.

Men and women, some off pitch, most filled with emotion, all with two things in common: they each had one child and that child has died.

He sings louder than the rest. He lost his son last year, leukemia took him at 31 years old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He was sick for so long and suffered for so many years. We tried our best to save him, but could not.

RIVERS: Young is like so many other Chinese parents who raised children over the past three decades. The official policy here was one couple, one child, so he only had one. Now, his son is gone as is any chance for grandchildren to carry on his name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think if I had had two children it might be a little easier to deal with this loss. I think we've made a sacrifice for China's economic development.

RIVERS: Parents like Yong (ph) pay the human cost of social engineering that was at times carried out in brutal ways.

Rights groups say forced abortions and sterilizations were a regular occurrence. Couples who could afford it, could pay fines to have a second child.

WU YOSHUI, LAWYER (through translator): the so-called social support fees are actually a method for local authorities to rake in money.

RIVERS: Wu Yoshui is a Chinese lawyer who says local governments strongly rely on fines to help fund their operations. He says he did his own study and sent letters to each of China's 31 provinces asking for information on the amount of money made from one child policy fines in 2012. 24 responded and together, reported they made 20 billion yuan, about $3.2 billion U.S. dollars.

Enforcing that policy and collecting those fines requires an incredible amount of manpower. The government says roughly half a million people work for the Family Planning Commission. They've helped create an entire generation of only children, a deeply entrenched bureaucracy that isn't going anywhere.

Wu thinks that bureaucracy will use old methods to enforce the new limit of two kids per couple.

YOSHUI (through translator): I'm not optimistic about the new policy. I think the local Family Planning Commission will continue to force abortions.

RIVERS: Continued enforcement, including fines, because local governments will still need that revenue.

For people like Yong Chun Hai (ph), questions about the future are irrelevant. He and others here grieve about the past.

He says his son was very kind, getting choked up. Nothing will ever replace his pain, he says.

Whether things change for others in the future, no longer his concern.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Beijing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:22:45] LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream.

Driverless cars, virtual reality, wireless kitchen gadgets, all of it is on display at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It's a chance for the world's gadgetmakers to launch their visions of the future.

Now CNN business correspondent Samuel Burke is there now. He joins us live. And Samuel, good to see you again.

We heard that Microsoft is announcing a new partnership to move into driverless cars. Tell us about the tie-in.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right.

We're so focused on what goes inside of a self-driving car, but really what we're realizing is everything that needs to be around a self-driving car for companies like Microsoft to make them work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BURKE: We've been in a lot of self-driving cars but the point of this technology is what it can do with you in the driver's seat now that the car is driving for you.

So, what do I do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just drive off normally and then if you're confident, when we're between the lines, you can resume the system using the resume button.

BURKE: OK, push resume. It took over, I can feel it take over the steering wheel right away. My feet are off the pedals and hands up.

I see that a person just appeared on the dash board. So what's happening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We reduced the speed from 30 kilometers per hour to 20 because the band worn by the pedestrian.

BURKE: But do you think that people are going to be wearing smartbands all the time that the cars around them will come around? Is that far fetched.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could possibly be a smartphone. So if your smartphone has the same capability as your band, more or less everybody is carrying a smartphone.

BURKE: All right, so we're coming to a stop light that's red. How does the car know it's red? Does it have a camera?

UNIDENITIFIED MALE: No, so the traffic light is communicating through wi-fi with the car.

BURKE: So, now it's going yellow, about to turn green, it takes off again. Do you think these type of traffic lights are the future? Because I've been in other driverless cars where they just have a camera looking at normal stop lights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For a higher level of automation, it will be necessary.

BURKE: So, smart cars need other smart devices around them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, yes, in the future, you will also need smart infrastructure.

BURKE: This is a smart car embedded with Microsoft technology. So I can talk to the car.

[08:20:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, in the future what will happen, if the driver is not necessarily needed for the driving task anymore, he can be productive. He can use the display here and you can talk to Cortana.

Cortana, what's the weather in Las Vegas?

CORTANA: It's currently 49 and cloudy in Las Vegas.

BURKE: Send an email to Peter.

CORTANA: What should the email say?

BURKE: Hey, Peter, I'm running a little behind schedule, period. Is there any way we could move lunch to a bit later question mark?

CORTANA: Send it, add more, or make changes?

BURKE: Send it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: All right.

So, as we saw just then, I mean, the future of cars, the future of transport really a core theme there at CES. And Samuel, an emerging theme this year is something called the bud tender. It's billing itself as the world's first medicinal marijuana recommendation engine. Please explain.

BURKE: Well, this is the first time that we've seen this. The mix of technology and marijuana. You know, it's becoming legal in more and more places and we're seeing this mix. The robot, like you described, that's made by a company, the CEO is here with me, David Goldstein.

So, you have this robot as well as the device that I'm wearing right now.

DAVID GOLDSTEIN, POTBOTICS, CEO: Absolutely.

BURKE: So, this scans your brain but it also (inaudible) with marijuana. But tell me how this works before we get to the marijuana part.

GOLDSTEIN: Absolutely.

This is a consumer grade EEG. So, what it looks at the brain waves and brain functionality of a patient or a user, and specifically how that relates to cannabis is that patients can look at how cannabis is that them.

So, it we're talking about an insomnia patient, whether they could actually see whether they were getting more drowsy.

So, rather than relying on a patient saying I'm feeling a little bit more drowsy, maybe, maybe not, this is actually putting some science behind it. It's quantifying the effects of cannabis, which is really exciting from the patient's standpoint, but also from a larger research standpoint.

BURKE: And why did you want to focus on marijuana? Here you are, you have something that doesn't necessarily have to work with marijuana. It's still not legal in so many places here in the United States and around the world. So, is it a difficult business?

GOLDSTEIN: You know, you need technology to move this industry forward. You need to have the ability to look at the quantified model of cannabis, just like any other pharmaceutical grade drug.

So, it was really a rallying call. There's such a painful trial and error process for patients right now, because it is not a legal market. We're trying to add more science to that to really make the field more transparent for them and make the selection process that much easier.

BURKE: And the robot that you have that is sensory. How does that -- it doesn't relate to this.

GOLDSTEIN: You know, it actually does tie in. What that's called it's called PotBot. And it's available right now on PotBot.com. The actual robot allows you to create a profile with the PotBot infrastructure. And within that ecosystem you to create a profile with the infrastructure and you can wear this medical EEG and you can see how your brain waves are reacting to cannabis and then see what other strains are being recommended to you that would give you similar neurological responses.

BURKE: And then the robot...

GOLDSTENI: And then the robot actually links it together.

BURKE: And, Kristie, it's more than a $3 billion business, the marijuana industry. So, I've never tried it. I don't think I'm going to any time soon, but we know so many people need it for medical use all around the world.

LU STOUT: Well, when you're ready, you can always put a Randi Kaye live on air.

But, I mean, it's interesting that you -- what you pointed out. I mean, this technology is already available, but you have this new application that's out there, this multibillion dollar industry. So, something like this is just a matter of time of the. And PotBot, but tender, the names, high tech, I mean, the punning can just go on and on.

Samuel Burke, live from CES in Las Vegas, thank you so much. Take care.

You're watching News Stream. Still to come on the program, our top story today, North Korea is drawing outrage and skepticism from around the world after claiming it detonated a hydrogen bomb. We go to South Korea for the latest reaction ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(HEADLNIES)

[08:32:24] LU STOUT: If confirmed, it's not the first time North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon, but this could be the most powerful one by far.

Now, three previous tests, all clustered within a few kilometers of each other, between 2006 and 2013 were of atomic bombs or A-bombs. And we know how strong they are.

This is what U.S. forces dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, killing more than 200,000 people. But today's test of what Pyongyang claims to be a hydrogen bomb takes things to a whole new level. The H bomb is hundreds of times more powerful here's why.

Now, atomic bombs use a process called fission to split plutonium into smaller atoms releasing massive amounts of energy, hydrogen bombs use fusion. Instead of splitting big atoms, it combines small atoms like hydrogen.

Now, essentially, it's two bombs in one with the A bomb working as a trigger for the H bomb to release a much bigger nuclear punch.

Now, if this morning's test was indeed an H bomb, it would mark a major step forward in North Korea's nuclear capabilities and make the hermit kingdom more of a threat.

Let's get some perspective on the internal North Korean and regional dynamics at play now. Jean Lee, a journalist and lecturer on North Korea at the Yongsai University in Sotuh Korea, joins us now live from Seoul. Jean, thank you for joining us.

And your thoughts on this. How much truth is there to North Korea's hydrogen bomb claim?

JEAN LEE, JOURNALIST: You know, we don't know. And we may not know. North Korea has not allowed in international inspectors for years. And there's a very small window for these radio isotopes to be checked. So, we may not know.

But regardless, what we do know from this claim is the direction that North Korea is headed. What these tests provide for us, is a kind of benchmark or guideline to which direction they are headed, how committed they are to building nuclear weapons and to go from an atomic bomb to a hydrogen bomb, that is a huge leap, as you point out.

And on top of that, the big issue for last couple of years has been can they get this bomb small enough, can they miniaturize it so that they can put it on a long range missile.

And the hydrogen bomb would certainly get them closer to that goal.

LU STOUT: Now, let's get into the mind and thinking of Pyongyang right now. And you said up the AP news bureau in Pyongyang and was based there for a period of time. What does this claim reveal about what's happening inside North Korea, you know, the regime and pressure Kim Jong-un is under to make this bold statement?

[08:35:00] LEE: Indeed, what this does is underline the commitment that the regime has, that Kim Jung-un, has to building this nuclear weapons program.

I do like to point out that North Korea did enshrine the pursuit of nuclear weapons in its constitution, something that the outside world is going to have to contend with.

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