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

  • Search widens for U.S. Marine Corps pilot missing in Japan

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO -- The search for a Marine Corps pilot who ejected from an F/A-18 jet in southern Japan was expanded to a wider area after daybreak Thursday, the U.S. military said. The aircraft was on a regular training mission Wednesday when the incident occurred about 190 kilometres southeast of Iwakuni, the Marine Corps said. Source
  • Judge's ruling ends vote recount in Michigan

    World News CBC News
    A federal judge who ordered Michigan to begin its recount effectively ended it on Wednesday, tying his decision to a state court ruling that found Green Party candidate Jill Stein had no legal standing to request another look at ballots. Source
  • Lost senior survives sub-zero night in Manitoba wilderness after car crash

    Canada News CTV News
    An 82-year-old Winnipeg man who got lost more than 100 kilometres from home and drove his car into a ditch survived a frigid night alone in rural Manitoba by walking through the snow looking for help. Source
  • Trump chooses hardliners but talks softer on immigration

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, whose last command included oversight of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre, to run the Department of Homeland Security, people close to the transition team said Wednesday. Source
  • Muslim group denounces Edmonton LRT incident as 'hate crime' calling it 'absolutely horrifying' [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The national organization representing Canadian Muslims is calling on Edmonton police to lay hate crime charges against a man after two Muslim women were threatened with a noose on a city LRT platform. National Council of Canadian Muslims communications director, Amira Elghaway, said the incident on Nov. Source
  • Long-awaited Canada border bill introduced in U.S. Congress

    Canada News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A bill to simplify crossing the Canadian-U.S. border has just been introduced in American Congress. It's a long-awaited development. The Harper and Trudeau governments have both signed so-called preclearance deals with the Obama administration, but the arrangement required implementing legislation and U.S. Source
  • Animal rights activists cheer cop who ‘rescued’ kitten from drug user

    Canada News CTV News
    Constable Beth Richardson was greeted by cheers from animal rights activists as she headed into a police tribunal Wednesday. The Durham Regional Police officer is being charged with discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act in connection with a January incident in which she removed a kitten from a drug user’s home. Source
  • Canadian man in video of scuffle with Chicago policeman sues

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    CHICAGO — A 61-year-old Canadian man who was arrested after a scuffle with an off-duty Chicago police officer is suing the officer. Terence Clarke of Baden, Ontario alleges in the excessive force lawsuit filed Wednesday that Officer Khaled Shaar instigated the 2015 fight and then conspired with other officers to cover it up. Source
  • 1 officer killed, 1 wounded in Georgia; shooter at large

    World News Toronto Sun
    AMERICUS, Ga. — A man fatally shot one Georgia police officer and wounded a second before fleeing an apartment complex near a college campus that went on lockdown as a precaution, authorities said. They said the suspect is believed to be armed and dangerous. Source
  • Hunter accused of killing upright walking bear sues 6 people

    World News Toronto Sun
    MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A hunter who says he was falsely accused online of killing a New Jersey black bear that walked upright on its hind legs and became an internet celebrity has sued six social media posters. Source