North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un pushes for more satellite launches

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has promised to put more satellites in space.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has promised to put more satellites in space.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has promised to put more satellites in space, even as the international community prepares to punish his regime over a long-range rocket launch just last week.

At a banquet to congratulate the scientists, technicians and officials who contributed to the Feb 7 launch, Mr Kim noted that the mission had come at "a complex time when hostile forces are more bloody-eyed than ever to strangle" the North, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Monday (Feb 15).

North Korea sparked international anger last week with the launch of the Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite, which came just a month after its fourth nuclear test.

The launch, which most in the international community viewed as a disguised ballistic missile test, violated multiple UN resolutions banning the nuclear-armed country from the use of ballistic technology.

Mr Kim said the success of the launch was made possible by the team's "blood-sealed trust" in the ruling party and added that the scientists' sweat had provided the rocket's main fuel.

He urged the gathering to use the success as a springboard "to achieve higher targets and thus launch more working satellites", KCNA said.

The United States, along with Asian allies South Korean and Japan, are spearheading efforts at the UN Security Council for a strong resolution that will impose harsh sanctions on Pyongyang over the recent nuclear test and rocket launch.