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Saturday, April 14, 2012
Hours later, journalists in Pyongyang told 'satellite failed'
Pyongyang — North Korea's official news agency waited several hours to issue a report Friday about the communist country's failed rocket launch and offered only a very brief account of the event.
"The DPRK launched its first application satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province, at 7:38:55 a.m. on Friday. The earth observation satellite failed to enter its preset orbit," the Korean Central News Agency said,
"Scientists, technicians and experts are now looking into the cause of the failure," it added. DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's official name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The KCNA report, issued shortly after noon, was the first mention by the North's official media that a launch was attempted.
Hours before the admission, an official of the North's Korean Committee for Space Technology told foreign reporters in Pyongyang to monitor the launch that he had "no information" about foreign media reports that North Korea had fired the rocket.
"No information now," the unidentified official said.
A large monitor set up at the international press center in a Pyongyang hotel remained dark and silent well after the launch took place at 7:39 a.m. at the space facility at Tongchang-ri, about 50 km south of North Korea's border with China.
Journalists from various parts of the world who gathered at the center were unable to get any hard information, and the official said only that authorities would release relevant information "in due course."
A Chinese reporter, expressing frustration with the lack of information, said it was just business as usual in North Korea.
"They (North Korea) are always the last ones to report, after everybody else."
A hotel employee, asked for any information he may have heard in Pyongyang, said: "I have heard nothing so far. When did it happen?"