The North Korean satellite launched on February 7 is in orbit but it is not yet clear whether it is working, South Korea’s defense ministry has said.
North Korea has said the Kwangmyongsong-4 is a communications satellite and that February 7 launch was a complete success.
However, the move was internationally condemned as North Korea is banned under UN sanctions from using any ballistic missile technology.
The US said on February 8 that this could include “a range of economic sanctions that would further isolate North Korea” and send a clear signal “that the resolve of the international community here is firm”.
The US has also said it will help South Korea deploy an advanced missile defense system as soon as possible, officials from the Pentagon have said.
South Korea’s defense ministry said the launch indicated North Korea now has long-range missiles with a 7,500-mile range, the Yonhap news agency reports.
It remains unclear whether it has developed the technology to make a missile re-enter the atmosphere, critical if it is to use the missile as weapon.
North Korea insists its space program is purely scientific in nature but the US, South Korea and even Pyongyang’s ally China say the rocket launches are aimed at developing inter-continental ballistic missiles.