North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Jong Un Visits the Sohae Satellite Launching Center

Kim Jong Un with Korean Committee for Space Technology personnel during a visit to the Sohae Satellite Launch Center, where the U'nha-3 rocket was launched on 12 December 2012 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

Kim Jong Un with Korean Committee for Space Technology personnel during a visit to the Sohae Satellite Launch Center, where the U’nha-3 rocket was launched on 12 December 2012 (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

DPRK state media reported on 14 December (Friday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) made a congratulatory visit to the Sohae Satellite Launch Center (Sohae Space Center) in Tongch’ang-ri, Ch’o’lsan County, North P’yo’ngan Province.  KJU’s last reported public appearance was his visit to the General Satellite Control and Command Center in Pyongyang to authorize and observe the 12 December 2012 (Wednesday) launch of the Kwangmyo’ngso’ng-3 satellite using the U’nha-3 carrier rocket.  According to KCNA, KJU arrived at the Sohae Center “at dawn by making a long trip along a snow-covered road.”  The phrase “untrodden snow-covered path” has recently been a recurring phrase in essays and editorials appearing in DPRK state media (i.e. Rodong SinmunMinju JosonKCBS).

Kim Jong Un greets managers at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (Photos: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un greets managers at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (Photos: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un (2nd L) talks with a KCST manager during a commemorative photo-op with officials at the Sohae Satelllite Launching Center (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un (2nd L) talks with a KCST manager during a commemorative photo-op with officials at the Sohae Satelllite Launching Center (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un greets Korean Committee for Space Technology personnel during his congratulatory visit to the Sohae Space Center (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un greets Korean Committee for Space Technology personnel during his congratulatory visit to the Sohae Space Center (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un greets KCST personnel during a visit to the launch site in Ch'o'lsan County, North P'yo'ngan Province.  Seen behind him is his sedan (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un greets KCST personnel during a visit to the launch site in Ch’o’lsan County, North P’yo’ngan Province. Seen behind him is his sedan (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un greeted Korean Committee for Space Technology experts and technicians who participated in the U’nha-3’s launch and attended a commemorative photo-op with them.  KCNA reported that KJU “highly praised the scientists and technicians for having performed feats in successfully putting the satellite into orbit by carrier rocket U’nha-3, true to the last instructions of leader Kim Jong Il.”  KJU’s next stop was to the General Satellite Launch Command Center and watched the video of the 12 December rocket launch.

Kim Jong Un visits the General Satellite Launch Command Center at the Sohae Space Center to re-watch the video of the 12 December 2012 launch of the U'nha-3 rocket (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un visits the General Satellite Launch Command Center at the Sohae Space Center to re-watch the video of the 12 December 2012 launch of the U’nha-3 rocket (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un (R) congratulates a KCST manager who participated in the 12 December 2012 launch of the U'nha-3 rocket (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un (R) congratulates a KCST manager who participated in the 12 December 2012 launch of the U’nha-3 rocket (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un talks to KCST managers and personnel during a visit to the Sohae Space Center from where the U'nha-3 rocket was launched on 12 December 2012.  Also seen in attendance appears to be KWP Propaganda and Agitation Department Deputy Director Kim Pyong Ho (R) (Photo: KCNA)

Kim Jong Un talks to KCST managers and personnel during a visit to the Sohae Space Center from where the U’nha-3 rocket was launched on 12 December 2012. Also seen in attendance appears to be KWP Propaganda and Agitation Department Deputy Director Kim Pyong Ho (R) (Photo: KCNA)

After watching the video, KJU remarked that “the scientists and technicians of the DPRK successfully implemented the last instruction of Kim Jong Il to lift off a scientific and technological satellite in 2012 which marks the centenary of birth of President Kim Il Sung at a time when the whole country is pervaded with boundless yearning and reverence for Kim Jong Il” and thanked those involved on behalf of the Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee.  According to KCNA KJU said that “the successful launch of the satellite is a striking demonstration of the general national power of the DPRK” and “told them to come to Pyongyang and visit together with him Kim Jong Il who lies in state at the Ku’msusan Palace of the Sun to make a report to him on the successful launch of the satellite.”

According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un said “The successful launch of the satellite once again demonstrated before the whole world the will of the DPRK to unconditionally carry out what the WPK decides to do.  The successful satellite launch is a shining victory of the WPK’s policy on science and technology and its idea of pushing back the frontiers of latest science and technology.  It is necessary to continue holding fast to the policy of giving importance to science and technology in future, too, and this is a consistent line of the WPK.”  KJU “underscored the need for the whole party and state to establish traits of attaching importance to science and technology and not to spare investment in developing them” and “expressed great expectation and conviction that the scientists and technicians at the space center would bring about a fresh turn in space scientific research and satellite launch on the basis of the latest successful liftoff.”

(Photo: KCNA)

(Photo: KCNA)

(Photo: KCNA)

(Photo: KCNA)

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