The UN Security Council has condemned North Korea’s successful rocket launch, saying it violated a 2009 council resolution banning “any launch using ballistic missile technology”.
The UN’s most powerful body said in a brief statement after closed consultations on Wednesday that it will consider “an appropriate response”.
The council said that after the North’s failed launch in April it demanded that Pyongyang halt all launches.
Just before the meeting, the US and its European allies called for the Security Council to deliver a strong reaction to Wednesday’s launch.
But whether China, North Korea’s closest ally, will agree to new sanctions remained unclear.
|NORTH KOREA’S KEY MISSILE AND ATOMIC TESTS:|
August 31, 1998: Intermediate-range missile fails to put satellite into orbit
July 4, 2006: Failed test-launch of more advanced Taepodong-2 missile
October 9, 2006: First atomic test carried out
April 5, 2009: Unha-2 rocket places satellite into orbit (no satellite detected)
May 25, 2009: Second atomic test
April 13, 2012: Long-range Unha-3 rocket explodes minutes after takeoff
December 12, 2012: Unha-3 rocket places satellite into orbit
The successful rocket launch is widely seen as a test that takes North Korea one step closer to being capable of sending a nuclear-tipped warhead as far as California.
North Korea officials say the rocket is meant to send a satellite into orbit to study crops and weather patterns, and Pyongyang maintains its right to develop a civilian space programme.
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from Seoul said that the Ministry of National Defence said that the satellite had been detetected and that it seemed to be in a stable orbit which seems to be going around the earth every ninety-five minutes.
“What they are not saying is whether the satellite is actually functioning. They’re not saying that it isn’t, they’re just saying that they have not been able to establish which frequency it might be communicating with Pyongyang on,” he said.
“So they aren’t yet sure whether the satellite will do what the Pyongyang scientists
said it would do, which is monitor weather patterns and crops in North Korea.”
The Security Council has imposed two rounds of sanctions against the North, following each of its nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
After North Korea’s failed rocket launch in April, the council unanimously approved a presidential statement in which it expressed “its determination to take action accordingly in the event of a further DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] launch or nuclear test”.
Council diplomats have speculated that existing sanctions could be widened to include financial measures and target additional companies and individuals in North Korea.
The council could also consider measures that would lead to more robust implementation of sanctions, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions have been private.