Japan slapped limited economic sanctions on North Korea Wednesday and moved with the United States to condemn Pyongyang at the U.N. Security Council after the Stalinist state unnerved the region by test launching a barrage of least seven missiles.
In Washington, President Bush said the missile tests have further isolated North Korea from the rest of the world, which he said was "sad for the people of North Korea."
Earlier, the United States and Japan urged the Security Council to denounce the missile tests swiftly in strong terms. The U.S. envoy to the world body said none of the council's 15 members defended the North Korean action at a hastily called meeting of the Security Council in New York.
North Korea has nothing in the world approaching an "ally", and being as the country is run by an isolated, backwards and violent regime, hardly anyone is sympathetic to North Korea's claims to national security concerns.
William Arkin gives the Bush administration credit for it's low-key response:
North Korea definitely shouldn’t be rewarded for its tantrum, and punishing it is also a certain type of reward. No instead, we should cautiously ignore the Muddled Kingdom, work to remove it from the front pages, let its neighbors take the diplomatic lead, shake our heads in exasperation at what can only be described as really bad behavior of no true consequence, and then build a strategy to eliminate the country Eastern European-style, circa 1990.
Certainly he's correct that North Korea is desperate for attention. There's speculation that North Korea has ramped up the missile tests because Iran's getting all of the attention as of late. Of course North Korea's motivations are not the same as Iran's. North Korea is suspected of already having nukes; Iran wants them. North Korea is most likely making noise so it can get something in return; Iran just wants it's nukes, unless somebody can persuade it with it a deal it can't say no to. What I don't really agree with him about is letting others take the lead on diplomacy. That's what's gotten us stalled six-party talks for the last seven months. No, North Korea wants us to be involved, because for one reason or another they don't feel like they can get what they want without us involved, whether it be some sort of security assurance, food aid, nuclear energy assitance, etc. We can't really go rushing to talk to them now, or North Korea will (rightly) conclude that firing off a few missiles-even ineffective ones-is what it takes to get things moving. But simply backing off and letting things sit at the status quo, is not the solution. Perhaps next time North Korea-which seems unfazed by sanctions as they are unconcerned with how many of their own people starve-will decide that it needs to launch more effective missiles, with longer range, in our general direction. Then things could get hairier than they are now, and the more easily excitable among us will start calling for strikes on North Korea or something. No, we should be involved with North Korea, whether it's behind the scenes, in front of the scenese, low-key, whatever. To do otherwise is to simply continue the way things have been going, and that's untenable and unwise.