THERE have been relatively few occasions on which the five veto-bearing members of the UN Security Council have been able to agree on a resolution with real bite against an offending nation. Too often an agreement to abstain from voting by one or another of the major powers has been the only way to make progress. But there seems a real prospect that, today in New York, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States will all put their names to a resolution which will significantly increase the impact of tough sanctions against North Korea following its nuclear test on May 25. The Russian ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, put it very well yesterday when he said: Having sanctions and things like that is not our choice, but a certain political message must be sent, and some measures must be taken, because we are facing a very real situation of proliferation risks. China's interests are different but it seems that Beijing has also had enough of North Korea's troublesome behaviour. The latest theory about North Korea's awkward tactics is that they are designed to provoke a crisis threatening the country's very existence which Kim Jong II's son, Kim Jong Un, will be seen to face and defuse - thus further establishing his credentials to succeed his ailing father. It is hard to believe but then looking at North Korea there is nothing normal about the state at all.
Looking at North Korea, there is nothing normal about the state at all