North Korea celebrates 'thrilling' satellite launch while praising Kim

Kim Jong Un has opened an "exultant era filled with happiness and victory," North Korea stated.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  Feb. 8, 2016 at 1:37 PM
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SEOUL, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- North Korea state television showed footage of people in Pyongyang celebrating the launch of the Kwangmyongsong-4, an earth observation satellite, while showing the liftoff multiple times over the weekend.

Pyongyang aired scenes of North Koreans commemorating the universally condemned launch Monday, a spectacle that included fireworks – on the Lunar New Year holiday.

KCNA praised North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying Kim has opened an "exultant era filled with happiness and victory." The fireworks marked the occasion of the satellite launch and the Lunar New Year, North Korea stated.

On Monday, North Korea showed the rocket launch more than 20 times throughout the day, and state-controlled newspaper Rodong Sinmun dedicated its entire issue to the launch, calling it a "thrilling salute to total victory," Yonhap reported.

"An executive decision beyond anyone's imagination has been carried out ahead of the Seventh Party Congress," the Rodong statement read, adding "all sectors" of North Korea should launch their own satellites.

One page of the newspaper showed a smiling Kim, and a headline read North Korea's satellite 'Gwangmyongsong-4' had been launched successfully.

Some aspects of the launch, however, may not have gone according to North Korea's plans, South Korean television network SBS reported.

According to Seoul's Defense Ministry, the first stage of the launch vehicle with propellants fell into the Yellow Sea north of North Korea's Hwanghae Province, rather than near the South Korean city of Gunsan, as North Korea had estimated.

The heavier rocket used to launch the satellite Saturday could have consumed fuel at a faster rate than the 'Unha-2' launch in 2012, Seoul's intelligence and military officials said.

South Korean lawmaker Shin Kyung-min told reporters the satellite weight has increased, and the Kwangmyongsong-4 is more than 200 pounds heavier than the previously launched object.

North Korea actions are being taken seriously in Seoul and Tokyo.

Kyodo News reported Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he supports the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system THAAD, or Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, on the peninsula.

Suga added there are no plans to deploy the system in Japan.

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