Both Russia and China are backing sanctions against North Korea. There is a "but" in there, though. Neither one appears to be willing to back sanctions being issued under chapter 7 of the UN Charter. That could be a real problem, because an interdiction and inspection program will require the ability to use force if it is to be successful. Russia flat rules out the use of force and reminds the world that they share a border with North Korea.
China and Russia, which both border North Korea, met with other veto-holding members of theto discuss a range of sanctions proposed by the United States and Japan to pressure Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program.
China's U.N. Ambassador, Wang Guangya, told reporters: "I think that there has to be some punitive actions." He added: "We need to have a firm, constructive, appropriate but prudent response to North Korea's nuclear threat."
In Moscow, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov called the reported test a "colossal blow" to the non-proliferation regime but, like China, insisted an eventualresolution on this issue should not involve the use of force.
"For us that is very important … imagine if there was military action on the territory of North Korea … North Korea has borders with three countries, and one of them is Russia," he told reporters.
The United States, France and Britain, the other Council permanent members, agreed that tough measures were needed fast, despite the fact that only one country — Russia — has said the evidence so far available confirms a nuclear blast actually occurred.
No vote has been scheduled but Japan's U.N. Ambassador Kenzo Oshima, this month's council president, said: "The general feeling of members is to get it done as early as possible."
In Beijing, China said it had no information about widespread speculation that North Korea might be ready to conduct a second test.
Asked what Beijing thought of the possibility of military action, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news conference: "I think this is an unimaginable way."
A Hong Kong newspaper, Wen Wei Po, reported that China had canceled leave for troops along at least part of its border with North Korea and that some were conducting "anti-chemical" training exercises.
That last sentence is very troubling. What is China thinking here? Since not even Kim is nuts enough to attack the Chinese, there appears to be an implicit threat to North Korea with these actions by the Chinese. If I were Kim, I'd think very seriously about abandoning his plans and possibly transferring his plutonium to Chinese control.
Or they might just come over and take it.