Seoul, South Korea - North Korea's leader has ordered more satellite launches, state media said Friday, two days after Pyongyang's long-range rocket launch triggered global outrage and UN condemnation.
Kim Jong-Un, who oversaw Wednesday's launch, said its success underscored the need for “to develop the country's science, technology and economy”, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
North Korea says it placed a satellite in orbit for peaceful research, but critics say the launch amounted to a banned ballistic missile test that marked a major advance for the communist state's nuclear weapons programme.
The UN Security Council held emergency talks after the North, already under international sanctions for nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, ignored pleas from friends and foes and went ahead with the launch.
The council warned of possible measures over what the US called a “highly provocative” act as it and other countries including South Korea and Japan demanded a new round of sanctions against Pyongyang.
Kim had issued the final written order for the rocket launch on Wednesday morning and “keenly observed” the whole process, said KCNA.
By placing a satellite in orbit North Korea had “further consolidated the status of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) as a space power and demonstrated that the country has reached the highest level in terms of cutting-edge science and technology”, it reported Kim as saying.
The launch “showed at home and abroad the unshakable stand... to exercise the country's legitimate right to use space for peaceful purposes”, Kim said, according to KCNA.
Analysts say the symbolism of the launch was a prime motivating factor for North Korea as youthful Kim, who is not yet 30, shores up his leadership a year on from the death of his father Kim Jong-Il on December 17 last year.
A previous launch of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket in April ended in embarrassing failure, with the carrier exploding shortly after take-off, and Kim was seen as keen to mark this month's anniversary with an emphatic success. - Sapa-AFP