N Korea Tests Under Water Nuclear Weapons

Desk Report

Published: 19 Jan 2024, 10:06 am

North Korean state media published these images of the "underwater nuclear system"

North Korean state media published these images of the "underwater nuclear system"

North Korea says it has tested an "underwater nuclear weapons system" in response to joint military drills by the US, South Korea and Japan, according to state media reports.

The test of the "Haeil-5-23", a name North Korea has given to its nuclear-capable underwater attack drones, took place in waters off its east coast.

The North has carried out similar tests previously.

But the latest comes amid a noted escalation in the North's rhetoric.

It has repeatedly stated that is is building up its military arsenal in preparation for war that could "break out at any time" on the peninsula.

Its leader Kim Jong Un this week declared that the goal of re-unification was over and designated the South as the "principle enemy".

His statements have also followed several claimed advances in his country's military and nuclear capabilities - including in its underwater operations.

Last September, the North revealed what it claimed was its first submarine capable of launching nuclear weapons.

Since March 2023, it has also claimed tests of its Haeil system - underwater unmanned nuclear-armed drones.

Little is known about these weapons or their claimed performance but analysts say they are a less significant weapon than the North's nuclear ballistic missiles.

The North last year conducted several tests of its long-range missiles.

Last year it also said it had put a spy satellite in space and has pledged to put more there this year.

On Friday, its defence ministry said it had tested the underwater system to "deter the hostile military manoeuvres of the navies of the U.S. and its allies", according to KCNA's report.

Washington, Seoul and Tokyo carried out joint three-day drills involving a US aircraft carrier in the waters around the Korean peninsula earlier this week.

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