UN has condemned North Korea's launch of a satellite into space, the latest in a series of rocket and nuclear tests
Kim Jong-Un has said he is planning to launch more satellites, declaring space exploration to be a "strategic goal" for North Korea.
The defiant message came after the secretive state was condemned by the United Nations for launching a satellite into space, the latest in a series of rocket and nuclear tests which have alarmed the West.
"Conquering space is ... a fierce class struggle against the hostile forces seeking to usurp our peace and sovereignty", Kim was quoted as saying at an awards ceremony for those involved in the launch.
"The advance toward space... is the DPRK's (North Korea's) strategic goal," he said, adding that the scientists who worked on the project were "admirable heroes" as he honoured them with medals.
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 testing ballistic technology.
On Tuesday the president of South Korea threatened tough action against the North to help it come to the "bone-numbing realisation" that nuclear activity will only bring about its downfall.
Park Geun-hye pledged further "strong" measures after suspending operations at a jointly-run industrial park.
Kim's latest missile launch comes hours after the US sent four of its F-22 stealth fighter jets to South Korea as a warning to the North.
The radar-evading Raptor jets, accompanied by eight more planes from South Korea and the US, flew to Osan Air Base near Pyeongtaek, 45 miles (70km) south from the border with North Korea.
On Thursday, Barack Obama approved new sanctions against North Korea, aimed at anyone importing goods or technology related to weapons of mass destruction into the country.
Under the bill already passed by Congress, penalties for the sanctionable activities would include the seizure of assets, visa bans and denial of government contracts.
And for the first time, it establishes a framework for sanctions in response to North Korean cyber threats.
Talks this week between Seoul and Washington could also see an agreement to deploy the American missile defence system, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System (THAAD), in South Korea.