According to the state media, North Korea tested an underwater attack drone capable of generating a radioactive tsunami.
This week, the nuclear-capable drone was launched off the coast Riwon County in South Hamgyong Province.
According to the Korean Central News Agency, it reached its target at Hongwon Bay where it detonated the test warhead. It had been submerged for more than 59hrs at depths of 80-150m.
Unmanned Underwater Nuclear Attack Craft Haeil is the name of the drone. Haeil means tsunami.
It is designed to be sneaky and get into enemy ports and naval fleets before releasing an underwater explosion that emits radioactive waves.
KCNA stated that the test “verified [the drone’s] reliability” as well as “confirmed it’s lethal strike ability”.
Four “strategic missile cruisers” were also tried, and flew for over two hours above the ocean.
“The respected comrade Kim Jong Un was extremely satisfied with the results,” KCNA stated.
The announcement comes after the US and South Korea have completed an 11-day joint exercise. Additionally, the US is reportedly preparing to send an aircraft carrier into the region for additional military drills.
North Korea called the exercises “intentional and persistently provocative” and stated that they had made it “an irreversible danger point”.
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It called the US “imperialists” while South Korea was a “puppet régime of traitors” and said that they had “kicked off large-scale, dangerous drills, which were actually drills for occupying DPRK”.
Lee Jong-Sup, South Korean defense minister, said that North Korea was unlikely to have the technology to arm its most sophisticated weapons. However, it had made “significant advances”.
Leif-Eric Easley is a professor at Ewha University, Seoul. He said that Pyongyang’s recent claim of having a nuclear-capable submarine drone should be met skeptically.
“But it is clear that it is intended to demonstrate that the Kim regime has such a variety of nuclear weapons that any pre-emptive strike or decapitation strike against them would fail catastrophically.”
After a record number of 70 missiles fired last year, North Korea fired more than 20 cruise and ballistic missiles this year.
Kim is open to negotiating relief from Western sanctions, but he refuses to accept US demands that his nuclear program be curtailed first. He believes this is essential for the North’s defense.