The US says six-party talks represent the best way to resolve a crisis over North Korea after it tested missiles - one thought capable of hitting the US.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said world condemnation showed this was not a US-North Korea issue.
Ms Rice said there were tools to stop Pyongyang's "brinksmanship". President George W Bush said the tests had left North Korea more isolated.
The United Nations Security Council has held emergency talks over the tests.
A draft resolution, sponsored by the US, Japan and Britain, is being discussed. It is said to demand that:
- Pyongyang immediately stop the development, testing and deployment of ballistic missiles
- Member states prevent the transfer of resources, items and technology that could contribute to North Korea's missile programme.
There is no indication if or when it may be passed by the council.
China and Russia have already said they do not back sanctions against North Korea.
The seven North Korean missiles - including a long-range Taepodong-2, which the US said failed shortly after take-off - fell into the Sea of Japan.
Tokyo led regional condemnation and announced a range of sanctions against Pyongyang, which has remained defiant.
A North Korean foreign ministry official has defended the missile launches, saying they were a matter of national sovereignty, Japanese media reported.
The North has been feeling ignored with the US refusing talks on its nuclear plans, says the BBC's Charles Scanlon in Seoul.
"It is now not a matter of the United States and North Korea ... it is really a matter of the region saying to North Korea that it has to change its behaviour," Ms Rice said.
The international concern over the tests demonstrated that the North Koreans "may have perhaps of miscalculated that the international community would remain united", said the US secretary of state.
Ms Rice said Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill was consulting the other countries at the six-party table - China, Japan, South Korea and Russia.
"It would still be incumbent on the North Koreans to use that kind of infrastructure to address these issues," she said.
"The international community does have at its disposal a number of tools to make it more difficult for North Korea to engage in this kind of brinksmanship and to engage in the continued pursuit of its nuclear weapons programmes and of its missile programmes."
Tokyo - one of North Korea's harshest critics, and in easy reach of a long-range missile - has already said it will ban the entry of North Korean officials, chartered flights and a ferry.
NORTH KOREAN MISSILE MOVES
1998: Tests long-range Taepodong-1 over Japan
1999: Agrees to moratorium on long-range tests
2003: Six-nation talks begin on N Korea's nuclear programme
2005: Six-nation talks stall
July 2006: N Korea launches seven missiles, including long-range Taepodong-2, which fails
The US and North Korea's neighbours have been on heightened alert in recent weeks amid suspicions that Pyongyang was preparing to launch the Taepodong-2, which has a range of up to 6,000 km (3,730 miles).
It was Pyongyang's first test of a long-range missile since a self-imposed moratorium in 1999.
The last time North Korea tested a long-range missile was in 1998, when it launched a Taepodong-1 over northern Japan.