N. Korea’s ‘satellite’ not working: sources

February 4, 2016
The Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket carrying the second version of Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite, is launched at West Sea Satellite Launch Site in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province, December 12, 2012 in this picture released by the North's KCNA news agency in Pyongyang early December 14, 2012. (Yonhap/KCNA)

FILE — The Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket carrying the second version of Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite, is launched at West Sea Satellite Launch Site in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province, December 12, 2012 in this picture released by the North’s KCNA news agency in Pyongyang early December 14, 2012. (Yonhap/KCNA)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — A 2012 North Korean satellite remains in orbit but it is not operating, which adds credibility to the view that its repeated long-range rocket launches are veiled intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests, government sources here said Thursday.

The North succeeded in putting the Kwangmyongsong satellite into orbit on what it claims to be a space vehicle in December 2012.

“It’s in orbit even now 500 kilometers above Earth,” a source said. “But a signal is not detected (transmitted to the ground). It’s not functioning as a satellite.”

Another source said the satellite lost signal a few days after being sent into orbit and it’s in an unstable orbit.

“It proves that the rocket launch at that time was an ICBM test disguised as a space program,” said the source.

Earlier this week, Pyongyang informed U.N. agencies of its plan to send another observation satellite into orbit between Feb. 8 and Feb. 25.

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