North Korea has pledged to launch more satellites into space, with the country laying out a detailed multi-year programme. Pyongyang said it would not hesitate to press ahead with its plans since a sovereign state has every right to frame its own policies.
Tensions have been escalating in the Korean Peninsula, with the North repeatedly improving its nuclear and missile capabilities with little regard to global calls to scale down the programmes.
The reclusive Kim Jong-un regime is officially banned from conducting nuclear and ballistic missile tests. However, the diplomatically-isolated nation hardly pays any attention to UN regulations.
"It is a global trend that a country seeks economic growth with the space programme," said the country's major mouthpiece Rodong Sinmun, revealing that Kim's regime has put in place a five-year space development programme.
The commentary carried by the North Korean daily claimed that an ambitious satellite communication system, which will be operational by June 2019, will help contribute to "economic development, including geostationary satellites, and people's lives".
"Some countries have manipulated UN sanctions resolutions against us and hindered the sovereign country's space development. It is not a tolerable act," it added.
It is widely suspected that the North is covertly using its satellite programme to develop its ballistic missile operations due to the similarity in rocket technology involved in sending satellites to space and launching long-range missiles.
However, the country argues that its satellites are meant for civilian purposes only.
Pyongyang has so far launched two satellites – the Kwangmyongsong-1 (Bright Star-1) and Kwangmyongsong-4 – under the name which refers to the former leader Kim Jong-il. While the first launch took place in August 1998, the second one was carried out in February 2016.