The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has made everything ready to launch an earth observation satellite, an official said on Wednesday.
Photo taken on April 8, 2012 shows the rocket for launching Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite installed on the launch pad in Tongchang-ri base, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). DPRK announced last month its plan to launch the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite to mark the 100th birthday of late leader Kim Il Sung, which has triggered global concerns. [Zhang Li/Xinhua]
On Wednesday morning, the DPRK government invited a group of journalists to visit the General Satellite Control and Command Center, located some 20 km northwest of Pyongyang.
Paek Chunghou, general director of the facility, said at a briefing that workers had put the satellite on the rocket and fuel was being injected into the rocket.
"We're sure that we will be successful," he told reporters through an interpreter.
When asked if the DPRK would launch the satellite on Thursday since the weather conditions were very good, the director said he was still awaiting the order for the exact time to launch the satellite.
The DPRK's late leader Kim Jong Il visited the control center with Kim Jong Un in 2009 before the launch of the Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite.
In a guided tour of some of the facilities inside the two-storey white building, in a big hall on the second floor, Xinhua reporters saw 16 people working on computers or monitoring screens showing real-time data such as the temperature of the satellite and the conditions of the orbit.
To show the world that the satellite has been constructed for peaceful purposes, "they will also provide the world with photos of the satellite," the director said, adding that the foreign journalists were given "this precious chance" by the DPRK's present leader Kim Jong Un to report what is really going on.
"As you have seen here, you will know this is a satellite but not a missile, which has a warhead," Paek said, adding that decades of misunderstanding and hostility by the West towards the DPRK had fueled mistrust.
He said the country's third earth observation satellite "got our dear leader Kim Jong Un's scientific guidance in detail."
"I am very excited as well as nervous for now. We are waiting for the order to launch it and will succeed," he said.
The DPRK announced last month it would launch the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite between April 12 and 16 to mark the centenary of late DPRK founder Kim Il Sung's birth.
The announcement has triggered strong reactions from the United States, South Korea and Japan, with all three countries putting pressure on Pyongyang to halt the launch.
Regarding the DPRK's planned satellite launch as "provocative" and "inconsistent with its commitments," the United States suspended planned food aid to the country on March 28.
On Feb. 29, the two countries announced they had reached a deal under which the DPRK agreed to suspend nuclear enrichment activities as well as long-range missile launches and allow international inspectors back into the country, while the United States would provide the DPRK with 240,000 tons of food aid.
South Korea also maintains that the DPRK's satellite launch may actually be a test of a long-range missile.
Both South Korea and Japan have warned that they would intercept the rocket if it or its fragments threaten to hit the two countries.
As an important regional player and the host of the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue, China also expressed concern over the developments surrounding the satellite launch, calling on all parties concerned to exercise restraint and seek proper solutions via diplomatic channels and by peaceful means.