Published : 2012-12-31 10:46
Updated : 2012-12-31 10:46
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un again hailed this month's largely successful launch of a long-range rocket, saying the launch boosted "great national self-esteem," the North's official media said Monday.
Kim delivered the remarks to scientists, technicians, workers and officials involved in the Dec. 12 launch that put a satellite into orbit at a banquet which he hosted on Sunday, the North's Korean Central News Agency reported.
The young leader "once again warmly congratulated those people on successfully launching the satellite to fully demonstrate the undying feats of leader Kim Jong-il," KCNA said in a report.
Kim also praised them for boosting "great national self-esteem and conviction of sure victory into all the service personnel and people" and greatly increasing the "international position and influence of the DPRK (North Korea)," it said.
While the North insists the rocket launch was part of its peaceful space program, it drew international condemnation as a disguised test of banned ballistic missile technology.
Analysts have said this month's launch was sure to solidify Kim's grip on power, about a year after he took control of North Korea following the death of his father Kim Jong-il.
The U.N. Security Council is weighing options to punish North Korea for violating U.N. resolutions that ban the North from testing any ballistic missile-related technology, but China is apparently resisting any tougher sanctions against Pyongyang, Seoul officials said.
North Korea is already under international sanctions for carrying out two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. (Yonhap News)