News Column

Kim Observed North Korea Rocket Firing

Dec 14, 2012
Kim Jong Un

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was in the missile command center to observe his country's rocket launch to put a satellite into orbit, official media said.

Kim also stressed the need to make similar launches in the future, the Korean Central News Agency said.

"The dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un ... gave a final written order regarding the launch of the second version of Kwangmyongsong-3 to the Korean Committee of Space Technology at 8 a.m. (Wednesday)," KCNA reported and that Kim "visited the General Satellite Control and Command Center at 9 a.m., one hour before the launch."

"Kim Jong Un learned about the preparations for the launch and issued an order on the launch and keenly observed the whole processes of the launch," the report said.

It said Kim also expressed "great satisfaction over the successful launch of the satellite by our scientists and technicians and highly estimated their feats."

The North Korean action has been strongly condemned by several countries, including the United States, Russia, Japan and South Korea as well as the U.N. Security Council because it violated U.N. resolutions.

Those resolutions prohibit the Pyongyang, which conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, from nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Just after the launch, North Korea justified its action saying it was for peaceful and scientific purposes.

"No matter what others say, we will continue to exercise our legitimate right to launch satellites and thus actively contribute to the economic construction and improvement of people's living standards," a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

The young and relatively unknown Kim took over as North Korean leader a year ago after the death of his father Kim Jong Il and since then has been consolidating power.

Kim was quoted by KCNA as saying the "successful and accurate entry of the satellite into its pole-to-pole trajectory further consolidated the status of (North Korea) as a space power ..."

"He stressed the need to continue to launch satellites in the future, too, to develop the country's science, technology and economy," KCNA said.

In its report, the official Xinhua News Agency of China, a close ally of North Korea, carried a KCNA photograph showing Kim applauding the satellite launch.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2012