North Korea has served China/Russia as a pit bull next door threat to South Korea/Japan and therefore to the U.S. as well. It has also served successive U.S. administrations as a convenient excuse for an Asian outpost and a threatening distraction consuming media attention when other subjects might otherwise be publicized.
No longer heavily supported by Russia, less supported by China and economically sanctioned by the West, North Korea is much weakened from its state when it invaded South Korea; its nukes are its only significant threat to any not living next door. And South Korea has a strengthened military plus resident U.S. military to give the Northerners pause. The North Koreans rattle their nukes to supplement their failed economy with extorted aid; the donors of that aid find it cheaper and easier than other alternatives. And it all maintains the Kim dictatorship, or has so far, keeping China’s neighbor predictable as well as useful.
Other than those considerations, North Korea seems to us but sound and fury signifying nothing. Iran, currently receiving a free pass from the Trumpfolk, Pakistan, the unacknowledged U.S. foe in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, the financial base of most of the world’s organized Islamic terrorism, all seem more damaging than North Korea while little is said about them. That is how the game is currently played. Human lives are to politicians, either voters to be bribed and publicly “educated” into conformance or foreign and so available game pieces to be disposed for maximum advantage.
Previously, that would have been considered inappropriate; it is now routine in a post Christian West. Realistically, it was pretty routine previously too but it was at least thought shameful whenever it leaked out into public view. Now, it’s just today’s political propaganda, pretending to be news.