Kim Jong Un Tests ‘Underwater Nuclear Weapons System’ Amid Growing Tensions With US, South Korea

In a recent development, North Korea has declared that it has carried out a test of an “underwater nuclear weapons system.” This announcement comes amidst escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

What Happened: The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Friday that the test was a response to joint military exercises conducted by the United States, South Korea, and Japan, which North Korea perceives as a serious threat to its security, reported The Washington Post.

The test involved the “Haeil 5-23” system, a new model of the unmanned, nuclear-capable underwater attack drone that North Korea has been developing in the East Sea.

While North Korea is actively expanding its nuclear-capable arsenal, analysts remain uncertain about the readiness of its underwater system for deployment. Despite this, North Korea has been vocal about the test, stating that its “underwater nuclear defense readiness condition has been further perfected.”

“Our army’s underwater nuke-based countering posture is being further rounded off and its various maritime and underwater responsive actions will continue to deter the hostile military maneuvers of the navies of the U.S. and its allies,” a defense ministry spokesman said in a statement.

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This test follows a series of recent provocations by North Korea, including the alleged firing of a medium-range missile with a hypersonic warhead. The U.S., South Korea, and Japan have been conducting joint naval exercises in response to these provocations.

Why It Matters: The recent test is the latest in a series of aggressive moves by North Korea. In March last year, North Korea tested a new “secret” nuclear-capable underwater attack drone that could generate a radioactive tsunami. This test was also framed as a response to the U.S. and South Korea’s military drills.

Earlier this week, North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, labeled South Korea as the “primary foe” and expressed preparedness for potential conflict. This rhetoric followed Kim’s directive to the North Korean military to “thoroughly annihilate” South Korea and the U.S. if provoked.

These developments have raised concerns about the potential for a conflict on the Korean Peninsula, with the U.S., South Korea, and Japan taking steps to bolster their deterrence and response capabilities against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat.

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Photo by Alexander Khitrov on Shutterstock

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