Seoul, Apr 6: North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was present at the controversial missile launch that happened on Sunday, Apr 5. He reportedly praised the scientists after watching the satellite propelled into orbit.
Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Kim was briefed on preparations for the launch before observing the entire process from the command centre. The KCNA added that Kim who was accompanied by the Worker's Party of Korea officials, met the scientists and technicians behind the launch and 'warmly encouraged them'.
"Kim Jong-il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK and supreme commander of the Korean People's Army, visited the General Satellite Control and Command Centre to watch the process of launching the experimental communications satellite Kwangmyongsong-2 on Sunday," the agency said.
The three-stage rocket launch took place at 11.20 am which was 10 minutes earlier than the time given by South Korea. The North's regime seems to be eager to give its people a scientific triumph to strengthen support at a time of lingering uncertainty over the health of Kim Jong-il.