North Koreas leader Kim Jong Il attended the launch of a long-range rocket by the reclusive communist state, officials have said. Mr Kim was briefed on the launch and observed it at the command and control centre. "He met with the scientists and technicians who have contributed to the satellite launch by devoting all their wisdom and enthusiasm with ardent patriotism and warmly encouraged them before having a photograph taken with them," the KCNA agency said. North Korea says it successfully placed a satellite into orbit, although that was denied by the United States and South Korea. Analysts say the launch was, in effect, a test of a ballistic missile designed to carry a warhead potentially as far as the US state of Alaska.