North Korea Kim Jong-un rocket launch
A South Korean lawmaker has called for the assassination of Kim Jong-un  in order to stop North Korea's nuclear programmeKCNA via Reuters

In a show of defiance, the belligerent ruler of North Korea has called for more satellites to be launched by the hermit kingdom. Kim Jong-un said the North should strengthen itself because its adversaries are getting "ever more frantic to suffocate" Pyongyang.

Separately, a South Korean lawmaker has called for the assassination of Kim. "Everybody will be happy if Kim Jong-un is removed. Kim Jong-un is a criminal. Getting rid of a criminal is appropriate and does not violate international laws," Ha Tae-keung, a member of the National Assembly, told South Korea's YTN. Only Kim's assassination would stop North from pursuing its contentious nuclear programmes, he added.

At a celebratory event to mark the success of the launch of a long-range rocket, which Pyongyang claims carried an earth observational satellite, Kim praised North Korean scientists and technicians. The North's fierce critics – the US, South Korea and Japan – have said the launch on 7 February was a covert mission to test its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) technology.

Hailing the recent launch, which violates UN regulations, Kim "called for turning out scientific research to hit a higher target with the present great success as a springboard for greater victory and, thus, launching more working satellites". The North's scientific pursuits should not be stopped even in the wake of threats from "hostile forces", he added. According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the event was attended by top officials in the isolated nation.

Tensions have escalated in the Korean peninsula subsequent to Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test, swiftly followed by a rocket liftoff. Seoul responded by shutting down the jointly run Kaesong industrial complex and pulling its workers. As South Korea expects a flurry of provocative responses from the North, various state-run institutions have also raised security so as to counter a potential cyberattack from North Korea.

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