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He noted that North Korean officials shrugged off the Obama administration’s attempt to reach out to the regime in 2009 and that a U.S. deal last year to provide food aid in exchange for North Korea’s abandonment of its uranium enrichment program failed.

“There were hopes that talking would prevent another provocation,” Mr. Klingner said. “There is now less optimism.”

More sanctions ahead?

The launch was carried out in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, which ban North Korea from conducting ballistic missile tests.

Analysts questioned the effectiveness of further sanctions.

“They are already [are] one of the most heavily sanctioned countries on earth and also one of the most isolated,” said Ellen Kim, a research fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The question now is, are sanctions enough, or do we need more effective measures, and whether we have such measures in our policy toolbox that we can deploy.”

Ms. Kim noted that ChinaNorth Korea’s No. 1 trade partner and only regional ally — has played a constructive role in trying to pressure the rogue nation to obey the U.N. resolutions.

China clearly came out beforehand to oppose the rocket launch, but their influence is limited,” she said. “We need to see how China will do in the United Nations Security Council.”

Meanwhile, Bruce Bennett, an analyst for the Rand Corp. in Santa Monica, Calif., said North Korea is thought to have first obtained ballistic missile technology — Scud missiles built by the Soviet Union — from Egypt in the late 1970s.

“Either they reverse-engineered the Scuds they got from Egypt, or they got help from the Soviets, or the Soviets just sold them the parts,” Mr. Bennett said.

Kristina Wong reported from Washington. Shaun Waterman in Washington contributed to this report.