Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media issued an official report on 12 December (Wednesday) on the launch of the U’nha-3 carrier rocket from the Sohae Space Center earlier in the day. The launch of the U’nha-3 and its payload the Kwangmyo’ngso’ng-3 [KMS-3] was done “true to the last instructions of leader Kim Jong Il.” According to KCNA, “Carrier rocket U’nha-3 with the second version of satellite Kwangmyo’ngso’ng-3 atop blasted off from the Sohae Space Center in Ch’o’lsan County, North P’yo’ngan Province at 09:49:46 on December 12, Juche 101(2012). The satellite entered its preset orbit at 09:59:13, 9 minutes and 27 seconds after the lift-off.”
The KMS-3 ” is going round the polar orbit at 499.7 km perigee altitude and 584.18 km apogee altitude at the angle of inclination of 97.4 degrees. Its cycle is 95 minutes and 29 seconds.” The KMS-3 “is fitted with survey and communications devices essential for the observation of the earth.” The U’nha 3’s launch “is a proud fruition of the Workers’ Party of Korea’s policy of attaching importance to the science and technology. It is also an event of great turn in developing the country’s science, technology and economy by fully exercising the independent right to use space for peaceful purposes.” The KCNA report implies that the launch of the U’nha-3 is linked to the one-year anniversary of the demise of supreme leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) who passed away on 17 December 2011.
According Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics the U’nha-3 launch was “a perfect success for north Korea.” McDowell wrote: ” The Unha-3 rocket carried the second flight model of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite. Initial reports indicated that the first and second stages of the rocket fired successfully with second stage impact near the Phillipines. US tracking then cataloged object 39026 as 2012-072A in a 494 x 588 km x 97.4 deg sun-synchronous orbit with a 0900 local time descending node; two further objects were cataloged in similar 497 x 582 and 498 x 570 km orbits.”
On 12 December DPRK state media carried a statement from the country’s Foreign Ministry (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) which said that the “U.S. over-reacted to the DPRK’s satellite launch in April out of hostile feelings which compelled the DPRK to reexamine the nuclear issue as a whole” and that “we hope that all countries concerned will use reason and remain cool so as to prevent the situation from developing to undesirable direction.” The full English statement says:
The successful satellite launch in the DPRK was a desire at the behest of leader Kim Jong Il and part of peaceful work in line with the country’s scientific and technological development plan for the economic construction and improvement of people’s living standard.
All the people across the country are greatly excited at the news of the successful launch and progressives are extending sincere congratulations to them.
Hostile forces, however, are showing signs of sinister bid to take issue with the launch for peaceful purposes, while terming it “violation of resolution” of the UN Security Council.
The right to use outer space for peaceful purposes is universally recognized by international law and it reflects the unanimous will of the international community. So this issue is not one over which the UNSC can say this or that.
Only the DPRK’s satellite launch is regarded as long-range missile launch for military purposes, “provocation” and cause of increasing tension. This is prompted by the hostility toward the DPRK.
The U.S. over-reacted to the DPRK’s satellite launch in April out of hostile feelings which compelled the DPRK to reexamine the nuclear issue as a whole.
The concept of hostility will not be of any help, and confrontation will not help settle anything, either.
We hope that all countries concerned will use reason and remain cool so as to prevent the situation from developing to undesirable direction.
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 the standard of people’s living while conquering space.
Compare the DPRK Foreign Ministry’s statement with the 12 December remarks from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, according to Xinhua English:
China regrets the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) satellite launch amid the “universal” concern of the international community, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday.
Spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a daily news briefing, responding to a reporter’s question on DPRK’s satellite launch.
“The Chinese side always holds that (all sides concerned) should find an ultimate way to long-lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula through dialogues and consultations,” Hong said.
“(We) hope that all sides concerned will keep calm on the issue and make joint efforts to safeguard the overall situation of peace and stability on the peninsula,” he added.
The DPRK successfully launched a satellite into orbit earlier Wednesday, the country’s official KCNA news agency reported.
“The DPRK is entitled to the peaceful use of outer space, but that right is currently restrained by relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” Hong said, adding that the DPRK, as a member of the United Nations, is obliged to observe the Security Council resolutions.
In response to a question on “what action the Security Council should take,” Hong said the Chinese side holds that the Security Council’s response should be “prudent and moderate” and conducive to maintaining the overall peace and stability of the peninsula instead of escalating tensions there.
DPRK state media reported on 12 December that journalists based in Pyongyang were given a tour of the General Satellite Control and Command Center. The center was described as “a combined base for observing and controlling satellite of Kwangmyo’ngso’ng series and a hub for scientific researches essential for the development of the national economy and improvement of people’s living standard including earth observation and communications.” The invited journalists “were briefed on the fact that the DPRK manufactured the second version of satellite Kwangmyo’nggso’ng-3 and carrier rocket U’nha-3 on its own efforts and by its technology and successfully launched the satellite, true to the last instructions of leader Kim Jong Il” and “looked round the general control and command room.” The journalists also “watched a video showing carrier rocket U’nha-3 putting the satellite into orbit” and “heard in great excitement signals of immortal revolutionary hymns “Song of General Kim Il Sung” and “Song of General Kim Jong Il” transmitted from the satellite.”
The next likely DPRK-based events linked to the success of the U’nha-3 launch will be Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) and members of the DPRK central leadership attending a commemorative photo-op session with the technicians, experts and other personnel who participated in the launch, as well as a celebratory mass rally in Pyongyang.