It appears the Kang Nam is about to become a footnote - and a short one, at that - to the story of the ongoing confrontation between North Korea and other world powers.
A U.S. destroyer continues to shadow the Kang Nam, which left a North Korean port on June 17. You may remember that U.S. officials said the ship was thought to be carrying weapons destined for Myanmar, in violation of a United Nations embargo on arms shipments into or out of North Korea.
For several days there was talk of the Kang Nam being stopped and searched. That was downgraded to a plan to search the ship if it entered a port such as Singapore.
Now, U.S. officials are saying that the vessel will not be stopped or searched in port. It will be allowed to proceed to Myanmar, which has vowed to search it for weapons. Myanmar, too, is under a U.N. weapons embargo, so there is no reason to believe that regime.
What happened? Was U.S. intelligence about weapons on the ship faulty? Or are the United States and other U.N. nations backing away - again - from a confrontation with North Korea?
Those are questions U.S. officials should be required to answer.