North Korea Vows Mores Satellite Launches

Posted December 13th, 2012 at 11:10 pm (UTC-5)
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is vowing to send more satellites to space, just days after the country's successful long-range rocket launch provoked international condemnation.

The official Korean Central News Agency said Thursday that Mr. Kim “stressed the need” to continue the satellite launches “to develop the country's science, technology, and economy.”

The United Nations Security Council condemned Wednesday's launch as a “clear violation” of sanctions barring Pyongyang from carrying out missile or nuclear tests.

But the launch was welcomed in North Korea, where hundreds of thousands of civilians and soldiers gathered Friday to celebrate the success of the mission. State television showed the huge crowd standing in tightly organized ranks in Pyongyang's central Kim Il Sung square.

Observers say the timing of the launch was meant to coincide with Monday's first anniversary of the death of Mr. Kim's father, former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

Pyongyang was embarrassed by the failure of a similar launch in April, just months after the young Mr. Kim succeeded his father in power. The successful launch helped bolster the credentials of Mr. Kim, who is thought to be in his late 20s.

State media have been quick to highlight what they say is Mr. Kim's first-hand role in the mission. The KCNA praised the “dear respected marshal,” who it said “keenly observed the whole process of the launch.”

State television broadcast images purporting to show Mr. Kim and senior military officials visiting the satellite control center just hours before lift-off. It said he gave the “final written order” for the launch.

Analysts have acknowledged that the object placed into space does appear to have achieved orbit, but have not yet confirmed whether it is successfully communicating with Pyongyang.