These latest sanctions on North Korea are being described as “by far the strongest” ever imposed.
“This will cut deep,” US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley declared.
But then she said the last round, just last month, would be a “gut punch” that would put Kim Jong Un “on notice”.
Instead, in the interim, he ordered another nuclear test, by far the country’s strongest to date.
The previous resolution, in November 2016, was feted as “the toughest and most comprehensive sanctions regime ever imposed by the Security Council”.
Since then, North Korea has successfully tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles, capable of hitting mainland United States, along with a variety of other short and medium-range weapons.
We should be clear about what sanctions are, and what they are not.
Passing a resolution at the UN Security Council allows the international community, and particularly its five veto-wielding permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) to demonstrate unity, to deliver a form of collective admonishment to the state at hand.
Unfortunately the reality, as Mr Kim understands only too well, is that these countries are far from united in agreement on the way ahead.
This latest round of sanctions was only able to be passed after substantial watering down.
You could argue this is just a function of the normal negotiating process between multiple member states and compromise in this forum is inevitable.
But on North Korea there is a fundamental difference in position between China and Russia on the one hand, and the United States and its allies on the other, which likely reassures Mr Kim that there is a limit to how far sanctions will ever be allowed to go.
He knows neither China nor Russia is prepared to push his regime to the point of collapse.
In China’s case, this is driven by fears of the regional instability and refugee crisis that would follow, and the prospect of a subsequent united Korean peninsula, under the leadership of Seoul and therefore allied to the United States, across the border.
The danger of unsecured nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the failed state next door is also distinctly troubling.
Russia, which also shares a border with North Korea, is similarly unenthusiastic about the idea of losing another buffer state, and having US troops creep closer to its eastern flank.
President Putin is also deeply suspicious of anything that looks like the path to US-led regime change, and the overthrowing of leaders, however despotic, in his backyard.
Both countries are pushing their own double freeze proposal – where the US and South Korea suspend joint military exercises on the peninsula, and North Korea freezes its nuclear programme.
Nikki Haley has rejected the proposal as “insulting”.
What sanctions are not is a solution in themselves.
If the idea is to ratchet up the pressure incrementally until the point where Mr Kim decides to unilaterally disband his nuclear and missile programmes and call for talks, we could be in for a very long wait, during which time his scientists will be pressing ahead with all urgency to perfect their nuclear capable ICBMs.
During the 1990s, when the country was experiencing mass famine which killed up to three million of its citizens (the true number is still unknown), the regime continued to prioritise the military, under Kim Jong Il’s signature ‘Songun’ (military first) policy.
This is what Vladimir Putin means when he says North Korea would “eat grass” before it gives up its nuclear programme. Plenty of its people have had to do so before.
If this is a choice between the survival of his regime, which he appears to believe the nuclear deterrent will secure – North Korean officials often quote the examples of Libya and Iraq as what happens to states that give up their nuclear weapons – and the further suffering of his citizens, it’s hard to believe Mr Kim will choose the latter.
What seems much more likely is that he will continue testing his missiles, and we will be back here again before long.