North Korea's spy satellite appears not to be operational despite successfully entering orbit last November, South Korea's defense minister said Monday.

"(The satellite) is neither reconnoitering nor communicating with the ground, but just orbiting without activity," Defense Minister Shin Won Sik told reporters.

North Korea launches a Chollima-1 new-type carrier rocket transporting the Malligyong-1 reconnaissance satellite at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground in Tongchang-ri in November 2023. (KCNA/Kyodo)

North Korea has claimed it officially put its Malligyong-1 reconnaissance satellite into service in December. The country said photos taken by the satellite include major South Korean and U.S. military sites, though they have yet to be released.

Shin was skeptical about the claim by Pyongyang, saying that given the information shared with the United States, the satellite is orbiting normally but not operating as intended.

North Korea has said it plans to launch three more satellites this year, and Shin said the next one could take place as early as late March.

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