North Korea celebrates its landmark launch
N Korean leader (C) celebrates the launch with scientists and technicians. REUTERS photoHundreds of thousands of North Koreans rallied Dec. 14 in the freezing cold to celebrate the country’s rocket launch, staging a choreographed show of defiance under their youthful leader’s “endless” wisdom.
The enormous rally in central Pyongyang, shown on state television, came two days after the launch of the three-stage rocket and just ahead of the anniversary Dec. 10 of the death of new leader Kim Jong-un’s father, Agence France-Presse reported.
Dec. 14’s rally was an emphatic demonstration of organized support for the Kim dynasty, as the massed ranks of civilians and soldiers chanted their obeisance under giant portraits of Kim’s father and grandfather. Addressing the crowd, which stood in organized ranks in Kim Il-sung Square, senior officials lavished praise on the Kim dynasty and its scion for the rocket launch, which came after an April attempt ended in fiery failure. Unbowed, North Korean state media said Kim, who is in his late 20s, had personally signed off on the rocket launch and had declared his regime’s “unshakable stand” that the program will continue.
On the other hand, Dec. 12’s successful launch, in which North Korea put a satellite in space for the first time, may have helped cement the position of Kim’s uncle Jang Song-thaek and Choe Ryong-hae, the military’s top political strategist, as well as Ju Kyu-chang, the 84-year-old head of the country’s missile and nuclear program, Reuters reported.