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DPRK leader Kim Jong Il observes satellite launch

TOP leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Il observed the whole process of the launch of an experimental communications satellite yesterday morning, DPRK state media said in an overnight report.

Kim, who is general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the National Defense Commission of the DPRK, watched the launch at the General Satellite Control and Command Center, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Kim expressed "great satisfaction" over the successful launch and repeatedly praised the "patriotic devotion" of the scientists and technicians who "developed both the multistage carrier rocket and the satellite with their own wisdom and technology," the KCNA reported.

The DPRK leader also stressed the need to "bring about a new turn in conquering outer space and making a peaceful use of it on the basis of the successful launch," the agency added.

According to earlier reports by KCNA, the DPRK launched an "Unha-2" rocket at 11:20 am local time (0220 GMT) yesterday from the East Sea Launch Ground in the east coast of the country, and sent a "Kwangmyongsong-2" satellite into orbit in about 9 minutes.

South Korean and Russian news agencies reported that the rocket did carry a satellite, dismissing speculations that it was a disguised missile launch. The United States, however, said what the DPRK launched was a "Taepodong-2 missile" and it was a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1718.

The UN Security Council held an emergency session on the DPRK launch on Sunday afternoon at the request of Japan.

The president of the Security Council, Mexican UN Ambassador Claude Heller, told reporters at the end of the closed-door meeting that members of the 15-nation body "agreed to continue consultations to take appropriate actions" in response to the DPRK rocket launch.


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