There was an old Looney Tunes cartoon that had this big dog (a bulldog?) that had a little dog companion. The little dog would jump around the big dog, all the time chatting about this and that in a manic manner "hey boss, hey boss!"
That's what North Korea reminds me of sometimes. It seems rather apparent that, of the countries that comprise the Axis of Evil, North Korea is the one that least concerns the administration. Every now and then we say something to show that we at least acknowledge the existence of the Chonger and his nefarious existence (I can't stop mentioning 2+ million less in population over 10 years, as compared to tens of thousands elsewhere). This time, the country suggested that it is capable of effecting, and has a right to launch, a pre-emptive strike against the United States.
What does North Korea want? They want the same cooperation with the US on nuclear issues as India has. This seems to be standard MO with North Korea. Threaten to try to strongarm your position. Then, when things look like they might be going the right way, have some incident (the crab war, the submarine incident, the poplar tree, the tunnels) come up and screw everything up again. It's a great way to keep the uninformed masses under your control. As an aside, I suggest anyone who bitches about the media slant here in the US read the tripe that the KCNA (google search it, I won't link) offers daily and consider what might happen if the press weren't critical and didn't demand accountability from the government.
North Korea really wants continued attention, because the more attention it gets, the more likely it is to get aid. Now they are essentially threatening the US with nuclear weapons and preemptive strikes. Yet we do nothing. What should we do? We liberated Iraq for WMDs that it didn't have to stabilize a country that isn't stable. We're threatening Iran with sanctions for looking into nuclear development. North Korea announces it has WMDs and threatens to use them against the US. Millions of people have died in North Korea in the last ten years from starvation. Prisoners live on 8 ounces of rice and 20 kernels of corn a day - prisoners often convicted of questioning the government, or being homeless, or speaking, or thinking. Tobacco for counterfeit cigarettes, opium, and heroin are all big crops in North Korea. The country runs in a shadow, believing that the rest of the world is worse off than they are, so swept up in Juche (self reliance). Perhaps we liberated the wrong country. Perhaps freedom should have started in the land of the morning calm first.