Despite pressure from China and the west, North Korea plans to launch a ballistic missile that will carry a satellite into space.
Political analysts say the launch, which would violate U.N. resolutions on the heavily sanctioned state, is aimed at boosting the legitimacy of its young new ruler Kim Jong-un who inherited power after his father's death in December.
"The peaceful development and use of space is a universally recognized legitimate right of a sovereign state," the North's state KCNA news agency said.
North Korea says it is using the rocket to launch a satellite to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, the country's founding ruler and grandfather of the current ruler.
The United States, and others, say it is much the same as a ballistic missile test and therefore off-limits for the isolated state which has for years been trying to build a nuclear arsenal.
Washington, which last month agreed to supply North Korea with food in exchange for a suspension of nuclear tests, missile launches and uranium enrichment and to allow nuclear inspectors into the country, called the planned launch "highly provocative".
More troubling perhaps for Pyongyang, which is long accustomed to trading invective with Washington, Beijing called the planned launch a "worry" in a rare attempt to put public pressure on its impoverished ally.
The North has invited foreign observers and journalists to attend the launch.
It announced the planned launch on Friday just weeks after the deal with Washington. It will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung.
It should have been expected that the NoKo's would pull something like this. They are daring us to cancel food shipments to hungry people with this provocative act - something China would no doubt heavily criticize.
Their ballistic missile obviously has a dual use - both military and civilian satellite purposes. It amounts to a test of a military asset and should raise the question of additional sanctions against the Communist state.