As I write this, I'm sitting in a booth overlooking the United Nations General Assembly. Speaker after speaker takes to the podium. A few people in the audience have earphones on but don't look too interested in what the speakers have to say.
Judging from the scene in front of me, you would think it's business as usual. But today, it most certainly is not. A nation - a world - awaits word from the Security Council, meeting just a floor below where I am.
Every 30 minutes or so, Security Council members come out from their meeting and make a few remarks at the podium. For the last six or so hours, we have heard a lot of similar language coming from the delegates - phrases like "we must react firmly" - "swift and immediate action" - "grave situation in North Korea." Missing from all these remarks - the details being discussed. The sanctions themselves. What will be different this time around, hours after North Korea claims they successfully conducted a nuclear test.
Even once the proposed sanctions are known (and as I write this blog, I see more details are emerging), I'm particularly interested in China's reaction. Many analysts (including our Andrea Mitchell) have noted China's conflicting interests. Certainly, having a nuclear neighbor is a threat. But with China providing much of North Korea's food and fuel, they also have an interest not to impose sanctions that would destabilize North Korea. The threat - an influx of North Korean refugees into China - something the country wants to avoid.
Another interesting key point - to what extent will Ambassador John Bolton (and for that matter, Christopher Hill - U.S. envoy to the six-party talks) back up their strong words with tough action. Bolton has said, not too long ago, that if North Korea decides to carry out nuclear tests, "it will be a very different world a day after the test." Just how different will our world be?
We watch and wait.