North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Rocket Launch Personnel Depart Pyongyang

Buses carrying personnel who contributed to the 12 December 2012 U'nha-3 rocket launch ride past Pyongyang Central Railway Station prior to departing the city on 4 January 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

Buses carrying personnel who contributed to the 12 December 2012 U’nha-3 rocket launch ride past Pyongyang Central Railway Station prior to departing the city on 4 January 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

DPRK state media reported on 4 January (Friday) that scientists, technical staff and other personnel involved in the 12 December 2012 U’nha-3 rocket launch departed Pyongyang.  Nearly three weeks after arriving in Pyongyang, at the invitation of Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) the rocket launch personnel returned to their respective research complexes, factories and Sohae Space Center.  The rocket launch personnel arrived in Pyongyang on 15 December 2012.   Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium President Kim Yong Na, DPRK Cabinet Premier Choe Yong Rim and other senior officials saw the rocket launch personnel off from the Koryo Hotel.  The rocket launch personnel were then bused around Pyongyang.

Senior Korean Workers' Party and DPRK Government official applaud as rocket launch personnel depart Koryo Hotel in central Pyongyang on 4 January 2013.  Seen in this image are (L-R): Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Tae Bok, Pak To Chun and VMar Kim Yong Chun (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Senior Korean Workers’ Party and DPRK Government official applaud as rocket launch personnel depart Koryo Hotel in central Pyongyang on 4 January 2013. Seen in this image are (L-R): Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Tae Bok, Pak To Chun and VMar Kim Yong Chun (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Buses transporting rocket launch personnel ride past  the Pot'ong Gate, at the intersection of Ch'angkwang and Ch'o'llima Streets in central Pyongyang on 4 January 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

Buses transporting rocket launch personnel ride past the Pot’ong Gate (background), at the intersection of Ch’angkwang and Ch’o’llima Streets in central Pyongyang on 4 January 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

Buses containing participants in the 12 December 2012 launch of the U'nha03 rocket ride past the 25 April House of Culture in Pyongyang on 4 January 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

Buses containing participants in the 12 December 2012 launch of the U’nha03 rocket ride past the 25 April House of Culture in Pyongyang on 4 January 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

Minister of the People's Armed Forces, Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (3rd L) shakes hands with a Korean Committee for Space Technology manager on 4 January 2013.  Also seen in attendance are Gen. Choe Ryong Hae (L) and Gen. Hyon Yong Chol (2nd L) (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (3rd L) shakes hands with a Korean Committee for Space Technology manager on 4 January 2013. Also seen in attendance are Gen. Choe Ryong Hae (L) and Gen. Hyon Yong Chol (2nd L) (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

KCNA reported that “huge crowds of Pyongyangites lined along the tens of km-long route from Pyongyang Railway Station to Yo’nggwang Street, Kim Il Sung Square, Ch’angjon Street, Mansudae Street, Pot’o’ng Gate, Yongung Street, Ch’o’nsu’ng Square, April 25 House of Culture, Ryonghu’ng Crossroads and Ryo’nmot-dong” and ” people from all walks of life, youths and students warmly sent them off.”  Director of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] General Political Department Gen. Choe Ryong Hae, Chief of the KPA General Staff Gen. Hyon Yong Chol and “high-ranking officers of the KPA, officials of the armed forces organs and other servicepersons of the KPA and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces warmly sent them off.”  Upon their return home, the launch personnel “had an emotion-charged meeting with officials, families and relatives.”

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