North Korea's top governing body warned Thursday that the regime will conduct its third nuclear test in defiance of UN punishment, and made clear that its long-range rockets are designed to carry not only satellites but also warheads aimed at striking the United States.

The National Defence Commission, headed by the country's young leader, Kim Jong-un, rejected Tuesday's UN Security Council resolution condemning North Korea's long-range rocket launch in December as a banned missile activity and expanding sanctions against the regime. The commission reaffirmed in its declaration that the launch was a peaceful bid to send a satellite into space, but also said the country's rocket launches have a military purpose: to strike and attack the United States.