CNN news 2016-12-27

Another international story we've been following concerns the secretive nation of North Korea. It's been a rival of South Korea and the U.S. since fighting stopped in the Korean War in 1953. North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un has spoken out repeatedly against the U.S. and his communist government has continued to develop nuclear weapons, even though the United Nations says that's illegal and has heavily penalized North Korea's economy, to try to get the country to stop.

So, with a new American leader taking office in January, what can be expected between the U.S. and North Korea?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, cnn CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't know where the Trump administration will place North Korean nukes on its list of priorities, but one thing is for sure, that in seven or eight years, North Korea has made leaps and bounds in terms of its nuclear capability and I'm talking about nuclear weapons.

SUBTITLE: What next for Trump and North Korea?

AMANPOUR: What is most, most troubling for the United States is that North Korea is working on long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles that would be able to reach the United States and that would, once there's a militarized warhead, be able to carry a nuclear payload as far as the United States.

This is an existential problem for the United States unlike any other that exists in the world today.

We went to see the North Korean plutonium processing plant. Its only nuclear plant that was known to the world, back in 2008 at Yongbyon.

It has taken me at least nine years to get this visa.

What we saw there under the Bush administration efforts to close down that plant, to restrict their nuclear weapons and nuclear program.

How many fuel rods are in the pond now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): About 1,600.

AMANPOUR: And then we went back, a few months later, to watch the cooling tower be blown up as a physical demonstration of pulling back on their nuclear program. Everything has changed in the years since then.

How will the president deal with it? What are the options?

War is not an option, according to all the analysts. You're talking nuclear war if war becomes the option.

So far, of course, diplomacy hasn't worked, at least not enough.

U.S. relies on China to try to do its North Korean bidding. China will have to be convinced by the United States that it will, the U.S., allow as part of negotiations, the Kim dynasty to survive. That is the most important thing to the Kim dynasty, and for China, it wants that as well because it doesn't want to see destabilization in the whole millions of millions of North Koreans fleeing into China if the whole thing falls apart.

And so, it's going to take some very creative, out of the box diplomacy that there will be no question of regime change, and therefore the best one could hope for is some really robust arms control agreement.