North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Jong Un Visits General Satellite Command and Control Center to Order U’nha-3 Launch

Kim Jong Un (L) applauds after the launch of the U'nha-3 during his visit to the General Satellite Command and Control Center in northern Pyongyang on 12 December 2012 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Un (L) applauds after the launch of the U’nha-3 during his visit to the General Satellite Command and Control Center in northern Pyongyang on 12 December 2012. Also in seen attendance is KWP Secretary Pak To Chun (R) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

DPRK state media reported on 14 December (Friday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited the General Satellite Command and Control Center in Sanum-dong in northern Pyongyang, one hour after he “gave a final written order regarding the launch of the second version of the Kwangmyo’ngso’ng-3 [KMS-3] to Korean Committee for Space Technology at 8 a.m. on December 12, 2012.”  Attending the launch of the U’nha-3 with KJU were DPRK National Defense Chairman [NDC] and Director of the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Administration Department, Jang Song Taek (Chang So’ng-t’aek), and KWP Secretary of Machine-Building and Military Industries and NDC Member, Pak To Chun (Pak To’-ch’un).  KJU’s last reported public appearance was his meeting at the KWP #1 Office Complex with members of a Communist Party of China [CPC] delegation led by Li Jianguo.

Korean Central Television news anchor Ri Chun Hui delivering the news bulletin reporting on KJU's visit to the GSCCC and observation of the launch of the U'nha-3 rocket on 12 December 2012 (Photo: KCNA/KCTV screengran)

Korean Central Television news anchor Ri Chun Hui delivering the news bulletin reporting on KJU’s visit to the GSCCC and observation of the launch of the U’nha-3 rocket on 12 December 2012 (Photo: KCNA/KCTV screengran)

Kim Jong Un (R) greets KCST and KPA officials upon arriving at the General Satellite Control and Command Center in Pyongyang to observe the launch of the U'nha-3 and Kwangmyo'ngso'ng-3 satellite (Photo: KCNA/KCTV screengrab)

Kim Jong Un (R) greets KCST and KPA officials upon arriving at the General Satellite Control and Command Center in Pyongyang to observe the launch of the U’nha-3 and Kwangmyo’ngso’ng-3 satellite (Photo: KCNA/KCTV screengrab)

Kim Jong Un enters the GSCCC on 12 December 2012 to authorize and observe the launch of the U'nha-3 (Photo: KCNA/KCTV screengrab)

Kim Jong Un enters the GSCCC on 12 December 2012 to authorize and observe the launch of the U’nha-3 (Photo: KCNA/KCTV screengrab)

The order authorizing the launch of the U'nha-3 and Kwangmyo'ngso'ng-3 bearing KJU's signature (L) and Kim Jong Un talking on the telephone to Korean Committee for Space Technology (R) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

The order authorizing the launch of the U’nha-3 and Kwangmyo’ngso’ng-3 bearing KJU’s signature (L) and Kim Jong Un talking on the telephone to Korean Committee for Space Technology (R) (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

KCST personnel at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (Sohae Space Center) (Photo: KCNA/KCTV screengrab)

KCST personnel at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (Sohae Space Center) (Photo: KCNA/KCTV screengrab)

A view of monitors observing the U'nha-3's launch on 12 December 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

A view of monitors observing the U’nha-3’s launch on 12 December 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

(Photos: KCNA/KCTV screengrabs)

(Photos: KCNA/KCTV screengrabs)

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Kim Jong Un smokes a cigarette while watching the launch of the U'nha-3 on 12 December 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un smokes a cigarette while watching the launch of the U’nha-3 on 12 December 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

KCST personnel at Sohae (L) talk with Kim Jong Un (C) following the successful launch of the U'nha-3.  KJU departs the GSCCC (R) to congratulate KCST personnel stationed at the GSCCC (Photos: KCNA/KCTV screengrab)

KCST personnel at Sohae (L) talk with Kim Jong Un (C) following the successful launch of the U’nha-3. KJU departs the GSCCC (R) to congratulate KCST personnel stationed at the GSCCC (Photos: KCNA/KCTV screengrab)

After arriving at the GSCCC KJU “learned about the preparations for the launch and issued an order on the launch and keenly observed the whole processes of the launch” and he “expressed great satisfaction over the successful launch of the satellite by our scientists and technicians and highly estimated their feats.”  KJU thanked personnel of the Korean Committee for Space Technology [KCST] on behalf of the KWP Central Committee.  According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un said that:

The second version of scientific and technological satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 is Juche satellite in every aspect as it was developed and manufactured by the DPRK with its own strength, technology and wisdom. Successful and accurate entry of the satellite into its pole-to-pole trajectory further consolidated the status of the DPRK as a space power and demonstrated that the country has reached the highest level in terms of cutting-edge science and technology.

The successful launch of the satellite served as an occasion that showed at home and abroad the unshakable stand of the WPK and the DPRK government to exercise the country’s legitimate right to use space for peaceful purposes and to develop the country’s science, technology and economy.

The launch was successful even though it was made in the winter time when difficult scientific and technological problems arise. This is a proud victory that demonstrated the high level the country’s science and technology have reached.

Kim Jong Un “stressed the need to continue to launch satellites in the future, too, to develop the country’s science, technology and economy” and “set forth important tasks” to “bring about a fresh turn in scientific researches into space and satellite launch field based on the successful launch of the second version of satellite Kwangmyo’ngso’ng-3.”  According to KCNA, KJU “repeatedly spoke highly of the ardent loyalty and patriotic devotion made by scientists and technicians who greatly contributed to strikingly displaying the might of science and technology of Chuch’e Korea to the world.”  After the launch and making his remarks, Kim Jong Un poses for commemorative photographs with KCST managers and personnel at the GSCCC.

Kim Jong Un at the General Satellite Command and Control Center on 12 December 2012.  Also seen in attendance is KWP Secretary Pak To Chun (L) and NDC Vice Chairman Jang Song Taek (R) (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un at the General Satellite Command and Control Center on 12 December 2012. Also seen in attendance is KWP Secretary Pak To Chun (L) and NDC Vice Chairman Jang Song Taek (R) (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un greets Korea Committee for Space Technology personnel prior to a commemorative photograph with them on 12 December 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un greets Korea Committee for Space Technology personnel prior to a commemorative photograph with them on 12 December 2012 (Photo: KCNA)

KJU talks with senior officials (L) and greets GSCCC personnel after the successful launch of the U'nha-3 on 12 December 2012 (Photos: KCNA/KCTV screengrabs)

KJU talks with senior officials (L) and greets GSCCC personnel after the successful launch of the U’nha-3 on 12 December 2012 (Photos: KCNA/KCTV screengrabs)

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