Defying international condemnation, an unrepentant North Korea fired off missiles and rhetoric as the world struggled with its continuing sabre-rattling.
A huge banner made plain Pyongyang’s attitude to its critics — America being crushed by a giant hand — as the North’s rubber-stamp leadership and selected party acolytes celebrated news of today’s twin rocket launch. Kim Jong-Il may be enjoying his moment of fame, but the grandstanding could be aimed at keeping the military onside as the increasingly-frail leader prepares his succession. Complaints from world leaders were simply brushed aside in a show of perfect political choreography. Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke last year, but his grip on his country seems as tight as ever. The UN will impose tougher sanctions — Russia has said the Security Council’s very credibility is at stake — but North Korea has been under sanctions for years. Its people have nothing and its leadership nothing to lose. The world may struggle to impose its will.