The “toothless” UN Security Council resolution on the North Korean torpedo attack is discouraging. The act of war is condemned, yet the perpetrator remains unnamed. Such is the price of bringing China aboard and ensuring unanimity among the five permanent members of the Security Council.

Beijing is Pyongyang’s only ally, but it is also the only outside power with a measure of influence in the Stalinist kingdom. North Korea is not a place for sprinters; progress there requires staying power. Whatever is behind the recent attack, it is not the last gasp of the regime.

The fate of the Kim dynasty is more or less known, but not the circumstances of its exit. To preserve peace on the Korean Peninsula, a modicum of unity among the five countries dealing with North Korea is a conditio sine qua non. Under these circumstances, taking account of China’s sensibilities makes sense.