WASHINGTON: North Korea’s recently launched satellite has achieved stable orbit but not yet transmitted data back to Earth, U.S. sources said of a launch that has so far failed to convince experts that Pyongyang has significantly advanced its rocket technology.Sunday’s launch of what North Korea said was an earth observation satellite angered the country’s neighbours and the United States, which called it a ballistic missile test. It followed Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test in January.”It’s in a stable orbit now. They got the tumbling under control,” a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
That is unlike the North’s previous satellite, launched in 2012, which never stabilized, the official said. However, the new satellite is not believed to be transmitting, another source added.U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with the leaders of South Korea and Japan by phone on Monday night and reassured them of Washington’s support, while also calling for a strong international response to the launch, the White House said.The United States and China, Pyongyang’s only major ally, are negotiating the outline of a new U.N. sanctions resolution that diplomats hope will be adopted this month.
The U.N. Security Council has imposed sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear tests and long-range rocket launches dating back to 2006, banning arms trade and money flow that can fund the country’s arms programme.But a confidential U.N. report, seen by Reuters, concluded that North Korea continues to export ballistic-missile technology to the Middle East and ship arms and materiel to Africa in violation of U.N. restrictions.
The report by the U.N. Security Council’s Panel of Experts on North Korea, which monitors implementation of sanctions, said there were “serious questions about the efficacy of the current United Nations sanctions regime”.Western diplomats told Reuters that restricting North Korean access to international ports is among the measures Washington is pushing Beijing to accept in the wake of the Jan. 6 nuclear test and the weekend rocket launch.