N. Korea celebrates rocket launch as 'gift of loyalty' to Kim Jong Un

PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of -- Hours after the rest of the world already knew, North Korea's state media triumphantly announced in a special news bulletin to the nation Sunday it had successfully launched a satellite into orbit, calling it a major milestone in the nation's history and the "greatest gift of loyalty" to the country's young leader, Kim Jong Un.

See Full Article

In a possible hint of what might lie ahead, however, North Korea's state media implored the nation on the eve of the launch to be prepared for whatever "violent storm" may be coming.

They may need to: the U.S., South Korea and Japan have strongly condemned the launch, and potential new sanctions over both the launch and the North's purported hydrogen bomb test just one month ago are now being discussed in the U.N. Security Council.

North Korea's most famous and venerated TV newscaster, dressed in a traditional pink gown, proudly announced on the TV bulletin -- reserved for extremely important events -- that the Earth observation satellite Kwangmyongsong-4 had been successfully put into orbit early Sunday morning. She called it an "epochal" moment.

The satellite's name means Shining Star.

The news Sunday was the first acknowledgment of the rocket preparations made to the North Korean public, even though the launch plan had been released in advance to international organizations to avoid accidents with commercial shipping or aircraft and had been closely watched by experts around the world for more than a week.

As the news aired, crowds in Pyongyang cheered and applauded as they watched the news of the launch, which was displayed on large screens at different places around the capital.

"As far as I know, there are few countries in the world that launched their own satellites," said one, Pyongyang resident Ri Hyon Gil. He added that he was proud of both the launch and the news of the H-bomb test because they demonstrate the North's scientific and technological progress.

North Korea claims to have successfully put four satellites into orbit. Foreign observers have confirmed only two -- this one and a similar probe launched in 2012. They also question whether the 2012 probe ever transmitted any signals back to Earth, though the North claims it broadcast patriotic odes to the nation's leaders.

It may take several days to confirm whether Sunday's satellite is alive and transmitting signals to the ground.

North Korea's official news agency, KCNA, called the launch a "complete success" and said it marked a major advance in "developing the country's science, technology, economy and defence capability by legitimately exercising the right to use space for independent and peaceful purposes."

The inclusion of "defence" in that statement could be problematic in the weeks ahead.

North Korea has resolutely denied claims by Washington, Seoul, Tokyo and the United Nations that its space launches are intended to test ballistic missile technology and thus banned under international resolutions. Instead, it has said its space launches are strictly for peaceful purposes.

It had also been careful not to trumpet this launch until after the satellite was confirmed in orbit.

But in another report just before the launch, which like the "violent storms" report made no direct mention of the rocket or the international condemnation it has received, noted that Monday is the anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army in 1948.

That, along with the birthday of former leader Kim Jong Il on Feb. 16, a major holiday called the Day of the Shining Star in North Korea, are likely why the North planned the launch at this time.

As KCNA put it:

"The fascinating vapour ... trailing in the clear and blue sky in spring of February on the threshold of the Day of the Shining Star, the greatest national holiday of Kim Il Sung's Korea, is a gift of most intense loyalty presented by our space scientists and technicians to the great Comrade Kim Jong Un, our dignified party, state and people."

Jon contributed the local quote and reaction in Pyongyang. Talmadge, AP's Pyongyang bureau chief, reported from Tokyo.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • U.S. warship collides with tanker near Singapore; 10 missing

    World News CTV News
    SINGAPORE -- A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer collided with a tanker early Monday in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca, and at least 10 sailors are missing. The Navy said five others were hurt. Source
  • U.S. prof killed boyfriend as part of sexual fantasy: prosecutors

    World News CTV News
    CHICAGO -- The fatal stabbing of a hairstylist in Chicago was part of a sexual fantasy hatched in an online chatroom between a Northwestern University professor and an Oxford University employee, whose plan included killing someone and then themselves, prosecutors told a Cook County judge Sunday at a bond hearing for the men. Source
  • 10 missing after U.S. warship collides with tanker near Singapore

    World News CBC News
    A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer collided with a tanker early Monday in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca, and at least 10 sailors are missing. The Navy said five others were hurt.Captain, 2 others on U.S. Source
  • Anti-fascist groups hurl chairs, bottles, bricks in clash with far-right protesters in Quebec City [Photos]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Just one week after a white supremacist protest erupted in violence that injured several people and took a woman’s life in Charlottesville, Va., the far-right group La Meute and counter-protesters clashed in Quebec City on Sunday, with some throwing chairs, wine bottles and bricks. Source
  • Evacuation order lifted after B.C. wildfire destroys dozens of homes

    Canada News CTV News
    WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. -- Hundreds of people are being allowed to return to Loon Lake, B.C., more than a month after flames forced them from their homes and destroyed dozens of buildings in the community. Source
  • Trump to talk U.S. strategy on Afghanistan, South Asia in address Monday night

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump will lay out a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan in a prime-time television address Monday night, according to a White House statement Sunday. The statement said Trump will be in Fort Myer in Arlington, Va. Source
  • Solar eclipse transforms tiny Oregon town into red hot tourist destination

    World News CBC News
    On a large map mounted on a barn wall, hundreds of visitors are pushing pins to mark their hometowns. The pins cover the globe, literally from Botswana to Barrie, Ont., which is where Marc Francis sticks his red pin. Source
  • 'A genius comedian': Hollywood says goodbye to Jerry Lewis

    World News CBC News
    Comedians in Hollywood are paying tribute to one of their own and a trailblazer in slapstick, Jerry Lewis. Ontario-born Jim Carrey credited Lewis with being a major influence on his career. "That fool was no dummy. Source
  • Justin Trudeau takes aim at 'racist' rallies, urges trust in immigration system [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians should maintain confidence in the immigration system even as thousands of asylum seekers continue to pour into the country. Speaking to reporters Sunday, Trudeau said that none of those walking across the United States border would receive any special advantages in their quest to come to Canada, stressing to Canadians and would-be refugees alike that border hoppers must go through the usual security checks and immigration…
  • 'Get some stability': Kasich wants Trump to stop the White House staff churn

    World News CBC News
    Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich urged President Donald Trump on Sunday to stop the staff chaos at the White House and "build a team." Kasich appeared on CNN's State of the Union two days after strategist Steve Bannon became the latest to leave Trump's staff, and is among those who fear the turnover is hampering Trump's ability to notch a major legislative victory. Source