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`Kim Jong Il Watched Rocket Launch`

Posted April. 07, 2009 08:50,   


In unprecedented news coverage, North Korean media reported yesterday that supreme leader Kim Jong Il observed the entire process of launching the communications satellite Kwangmyongsong-2 at the General Satellite Control and Command Center Sunday.

The reports did not elaborate on the location of the center.

Kim was quoted as saying, “There`s a need for a new turn in conquering outer space and making peaceful use of it based the successful launch of the satellite,” and took photos with scientists and technicians to celebrate their contributions, according to North Korean media.

Kim was accompanied by key Workers` Party officials, including Chon Pyong Ho, chairman of the defense industry policy and inspection department under the Central Military Committee of the party`s central committee, and Chu Kyu Chang, vice director of the party`s munitions department.

This is the first time for Pyongyang to announce Kim`s public whereabouts on the day of a rocket launch, in contrast to when he made no public appearances for a month before and after long-range missile launches were conducted in 1998 and 2006.

The media coverage is interpreted as an attempt to maximize the launch`s political impact and propagate the integrity of his regime both in and out of Pyongyang ahead of the first meeting of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly Thursday.