North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

KJU Watches Rocket Engine Test


Kim Jong Un smiles after a rocket engine test in a photo that appeared on the top-center of the front page of the September 20, 2016 edition of the WPK daily organ Rodong Sinmun. Standing behind him is Kim Jong Sik, WPK Central Committee department deputy director and member of the WPK Central Committee (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his visit to the Kosan Fruit Farm. 

DPRK state media reported on September 20 (Tuesday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) guided a rocket engine test at Sohae Space Center in Tongch’ang-ri Ch’o’lsan County, North P’yo’ngan Province.  Also in attendance were Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Department Senior Deputy Director and WPK Political Bureau Alternate [candidate] Member Ri Pyong Chol [Ri Pyo’ng-ch’o’l] and WPK Central Committee Deputy Director Kim Jong Sik [Kim Cho’ng-sik].

According to state media reporting the “high power engine is single engine whose thrust is 80 tf [tons of force]” and the “test was aimed to make a final confirmation of the feature of combustion chamber, accuracy of valves and control systems and structural reliability of the engine during 200 seconds-long working time.”


Photos of the rocket engine test and Kim Jong Un guiding the test which appeared on the bottom left of the front page of the September 20, 2016 edition of the WPK daily organ, Rodong Sinmun (Photos: Rodong Sinmun/KCNA).


Jong Un ordered the test to commence and it “showed that thrust and other technological indexes of the engine accurately reaches the estimated values and the feature values of all systems of the engine remained stable throughout the working time.  The successful manufacture of the engine provided a firm scientific and technological guarantee for developing and completing the carrier rocket for a geostationary satellite during the five-year program for national aerospace development and made it possible to acquire sufficient carrier capability for launching various kinds of satellites including an earth observation satellite at a world level.”

Kim Jong Un expressed “great satisfaction over the results of the test and highly praised the officials and scientists and technicians of the National Aerospace Development Administration for having successfully and devotedly carrying out the task given by the Party in a short span of time.”

He remarked the “space science and technology and the space industry are an important barometer for estimating our national power” and called “for more dynamically paving the avenues to space conquest by conducting in real earnest the work for developing the space in order to fulfill the five-year program for national aerospace development.”


View of Kim Jong Un guiding a rocket engine test, and personnel celebrating the test which appeared on the bottom right of the front page of the September 20, 2016 edition of the WPK daily newspaper, Rodong Sinmun (Photos: KCNA/Rodong Sinmun).


He said that the “development and use of space are an important policy of our Party and an important work for which the state should make susatained efforts.  The National Aerospace Development Administration should carry out the space development with a main emphasis on the satellite development and manufacture and launch more satellite for different uses by indigenous efforts and technology and thus turn out country into a possessor of geostationary satellites in a more couple of years to come.”

Jong Un noted that “thanks to the implementation of the Party’s line of prioritizing science and technology world-startling unprecedented miraculous successes have been made in the field of cutting-edge science and technology including space technology despite the difficult economic condition of the country.”  He requested “the officials, scientists and technicians to round of the preparations for launching the satellite as soon as possible on the basis of the successful test and thus bring the news of greater victory to the people who have steadfastly lived and struggles under the leadership of the Party, unwaveringly trusting it, though they have fastened their belts owing to the enemies’ harsh sanctions and moves to stifle the DPRK.”

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