UK & World News

  • 14 December 2012, 11:06

North Korea Rocket: Mass Rally Staged

Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans have gathered for a government-staged rally to celebrate a long-range rocket launch, state TV has shown.

Below a grey sky and with flags flying high, the huge crowd of soldiers and civilians stood in neat ranks and applauded various speeches from officials.

Military and party figures praised the country's young leader Kim Jong-Un and hailed the success of Wednesday's launch, which has been condemned by the international community.

Jang Chol, president of the State Academy of Sciences, said: "This was achieved thanks to the Great Marshall Kim Jong-Un's endless loyalty, bravery and wisdom."

North Korea has said the launch was designed to place a satellite in orbit for peaceful research. Critics say it amounted to a banned ballistic missile test.

The communist state is not thought to have a nuclear warhead small enough to mount on a missile, but the launch has been seen by many as an advance in its weapons programme.

South Korea's navy has retrieved rocket debris that fell into sea and it will be studied to determine the North's rocket-launching capabilities.

The rally in Pyongyang came hours after state media published a statement by Mr Kim ordering more launches in spite of global outrage.

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