The powerful sister of North Korean Kim Jong-un has accused the United States of "gangster-like" hypocrisy for criticising her country's failed launch of a military spy satellite and insisted a successful launch will be made soon.
Kim Yo-jong said on Thursday North Korea's efforts to acquire space-based reconnaissance capabilities were a legitimate exercise of its sovereign right and restated the country's rejection of UN Security Council resolutions that ban it from conducting any launch involving ballistic missile technology.
"If the DPRK's satellite launch should be particularly censured, the US and all other countries, which have already launched thousands of satellites, should be denounced. This is nothing but sophism of self-contradiction," she said.
She noted how the United States closely monitors the North through its own reconnaissance satellites and other aerial assets, calling the Americans a "group of gangsters" who would deem it as "illegal and threatening" had North Korea attempted to send a satellite into space by balloon.
"The far-fetched logic that only the DPRK should not be allowed to do so according to the [UN Security Council's] 'resolution' which bans the use of ballistic rocket technology irrespective of its purpose, though other countries are doing so, is clearly a gangster-like and wrong one of seriously violating the DPRK's right to use space and illegally oppressing it," she said.
"It is certain that the DPRK's military reconnaissance satellite will be correctly put on space orbit in the near future and start its mission," she added.
North Korea said the rocket lost thrust after a stage separation and crashed in waters off the Korean Peninsula’s western coast. Washington, South Korea and Japan had quickly criticised the launch.
Adam Hodge, a spokesperson at the US National Security Council, said Washington strongly condemns the North Korean launch because it used banned ballistic missile technology, raised tensions and risked destabilising security in the region and beyond.
In her statement, Yo-jong briefly mentioned Hodge's comments before saying the United States "is letting loose a hackneyed gibberish prompted by its brigandish and abnormal thinking."
Wednesday's launch extended a run in North Korean military demonstrations, including the test-firings of around 100 missiles since the start of 2022 that underscored Kim's attempts to acquire dual ability to conduct nuclear strikes on both the US mainland and South Korea.
The International Maritime Organization's maritime safety committee adopted a rare resolution on Wednesday denouncing North Korea for conducting launches without proper notification, which have "seriously threatened the safety of seafarers and international shipping."
Japan's coast guard, which coordinates and distributes navigational warnings in the region, wasn't notified by North Korea until Monday, although such warnings should be made no less than five days in advance.
A military spy satellite is one of several high-tech weapons systems that Kim has publicly vowed to develop to bolster his nuclear deterrent in the face of US sanctions and pressure.
The UN Security Council imposed economic sanctions on North Korea over its previous satellite and ballistic missile launches, but it has failed to punish the North over its recent tests.
The council's permanent members China and Russia have continuously rejected US-led efforts to toughen sanctions on Pyongyang, underscoring a divide deepened over Russia's war on Ukraine.