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Has North Korea finally gone too far?

Consensus is rising in the international community: Enough cajoling, it's time to get tough.

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North Korea may have gone too far with this week's nuclear blast and missile launch, potentially provoking the kind of harsh international action that it has more often than not avoided in the past.

But it may also be that Pyongyang is operating with a different set of objectives: focused on solidifying its place in the world's nuclear club, come what may.

The United Nations Security Council is preparing a new resolution condemning North Korea's recent steps. The aim is to halt what it considers to be Pyongyang's threatening and destabilizing actions.

Several council members are calling for tough new sanctions. China and Russia, traditionally less eager to punish North Korea, are employing harsher rhetoric and reaffirming the need to walk the North back from nuclear status.

At the same time, officials, proliferation experts, and Asia analysts are increasingly calling for a new international approach to North Korea. They suggest that the country should no longer be treated like a child to be cajoled, but instead as a violator of international law that must face the consequences of its actions.

France, for example, wants the new resolution that Security Council members began discussing Tuesday afternoon to "include new sanctions ... because this behavior must have a cost and a price to pay," said Jean-Pierre Lacroix, France's deputy UN ambassador.


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