North Korea's government has declared the 1953 armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War has been canceled.
Not to worry, a United Nations spokesman assured reporters the same day. North Korea cannot unilaterally dissolve the armistice, he said.
We feel so much better.
Fortunately, Pyongyang under three different dictators has rattled its saber frequently and loudly for decades without reopening the Korean War and dragging the United States back into a bloody conflict. Americans have good reasons to believe North Korea will not invade its neighbor this time, either.
But development of missiles and nuclear weapons makes the country more of a threat, and it would be nice if the U.N. could help deal with it.
Bureaucratic comments such as the world body's spokesman made this week give no cause for confidence, however. North Korea cares no more for diplomatic niceties than did Adolf Hitler when he left the League of Nations in 1933. The U.N. must avoid repeating this kind of useless activity so as not to seem irrelevant.