North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s powerful sister on Thursday dismissed international condemnation of Pyongyang’s recent spy satellite launch as “absurd”, saying her country would never relinquish its space programme. Kim Yo Jong’s statement came after the United Nations Security Council convened a session on Monday to discuss the North’s November 21 launch of a military reconnaissance satellite. During the session, a senior UN official told the council the global body’s resolutions “expressly prohibit” Pyongyang from conducting launches using ballistic missile technology. “I deplore the fact that the UNSC… is being turned into a land of lawlessness where the sovereignty of independent states is wantonly violated,” Kim Yo Jong, who is the regime’s effective chief spokeswoman, said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. Nuclear-armed North Korea is barred by successive rounds of UN resolutions from tests using ballistic technology, and analysts say there is significant technological overlap between space launch capabilities and the development of ballistic missiles. But Kim Yo Jong said criticisms against the country’s satellite project were “false” arguments that denied “the DPRK’s sovereign rights”, referring to the North by its official name. North Korea, she affirmed in the English-language dispatch, “will never sit face to face with the US” to put its “sovereignty” as an “agenda item for negotiations”, reiterating Pyongyang’s commitment to satellite development. North Korea will “continue to exercise its sovereign rights,” she said, “without being restricted in the future.” Since last week’s launch, the North has claimed its new eye in the sky has provided images of major US and South Korean military sites, as well as photos of the Italian capital Rome. It has not yet disclosed any of the satellite imagery it claims to possess. Last week’s launch of the “Malligyong-1” was Pyongyang’s third attempt at securing a military eye in the sky after two failures in May and August. Seoul has said the North received technical help from Moscow, in return for supplying weapons for use in Russia’s war with Ukraine.