N. Korean Launch Puts Spotlight on U.N.

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North Korea may have failed to put its latest rocket into space, but it flew twice as far as any other it's launched.

A watching world is complaining and calling for quick punishment, but likely unable to do anything about it.

Click the player to watch the report from CBN News Senior Washington Correspondent Paul Strand followed by Pat Robertson's comments on what North Korea hopes to gain with the missile launch.

The president's focus this weekend was on nuclear weapons, especially with the world all a'buzz over North Korea's Sunday missile launch.

"Certainly this launch does put them closer to being able to strike the United States," said the Brookings Institution's Michael O'Hanlon. "Certainly it gives them more capability. That they can stage rockets and more generally that they have got the basic concept correct."

Will U.N. Invoke Sanctions?

President Obama and his administration have called on the United Nations to act.

"It is our view that this action merits a clear and strong response from the U.N. Security Council," said U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice.

"Violations must be punished," Obama said. "Words must mean something. The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons. Now is the time for a strong international response."

But it's likely little will happen, except talk. That's because China, North Korea's main protector in the security council, can veto any U.N. action.

"It's calling for calm," said Lingnan University professor Brian Bridges. "It's calling for restraint, but ultimately because it is the main provider of fuel and food to North Korea, it does have the key role to play in this. I think China will probably not take any strong action."

Gingrich: U.S. Can't Afford to Wait Any Longer

But in the U.S., at least one Republican was saying he would have disabled the missile.

"We do not appreciate the scale of threat that is evolving on the planet," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Fox News Sunday. "And North Korea is a totally irresponsible dictatorship run by a person who is clearly out of touch with reality. And I think to say, 'We're now going to have another meeting of the U.N. to have another paper resolution that has meaningless effect' is very dangerous."

Gingrich went on to warn about the North Koreans.

"We have been talking about this since the Clinton administration," he said. "And they have been building nuclear weapons and building better and better missiles while we keep talking. And one morning, just like 9/11, there's going to be a disaster, and people are going to look around and say, 'Gosh, why didn't anyone think of that?'"

The Korean launch upstaged Obama's highly-publicized speech on nuclear disarmament.

"If we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable," he said. "I'm not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly -- perhaps not in my lifetime. We have to insist, 'Yes, we can.'"

Obama suggested since the U.S. is the only nation to have ever actually used nuclear weapons, it is America's duty to lead the world towards nuclear disarmament.

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Paul Strand

CBN News Senior Washington Correspondent

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