North Korea defends satellite launch at UN

North Korea's ambassador made a rare appearance at the UN Security Council on Monday to defend his country's launch of a spy satellite, as leader Kim Jong Un studied images including of the White House and Pentagon.

Western powers, Japan and South Korea have said North Korea violated Security Council resolutions by launching the satellite last week.

The totalitarian state has said that its new eye in the sky has already provided images of major US and South Korea military sites, as well as photos of the Italian capital Rome.

On Monday it took "in detail" images of the White House and the Pentagon in Washington, according to state-run KCNA news agency, which said Kim was reviewing the photos.

He also counted some aircraft carriers at a military base and a shipyard in the neighboring state of Virginia, the report said.

At the Security Council, North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations, Kim Song, complained that other countries faced no restrictions on satellites.

"No other nation in the world is in the security environment as critical as the DPRK," said Kim, using the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"One belligerent party, the United States, is threatening us with a nuclear weapon," he said.

"It is a legitimate right for the DPRK as another belligerent party to develop, test, manufacture and possess weapons systems equivalent to those that the United States possesses or is developing."

He mocked US charges that satellite technology also helped North Korea hone its missile capacity, questioning whether the United States put satellites into orbit "with a catapult."

The US ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, rejected North Korea's assertion it was acting in...

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