Infostani International: In defiance of joint military drills by South Korea, the United States, and Japan this week, North Korea conducted an underwater nuclear weapons system test, as reported by state media KCNA on Friday. The test of the “Haeil-5-23” system, its nuclear-capable underwater attack drones, occurred off the east coast. The move follows three days of naval drills, raising tensions in the region.
North Korea Conducts Underwater Nuclear Weapons Test in Protest Against Joint Military Drills
On Friday, state media KCNA reported that North Korea, in protest against the joint military drills conducted by South Korea, the United States, and Japan this week, carried out a test of its underwater nuclear weapons system. The defense ministry’s think tank conducted the test of the “Haeil-5-23” system, the name given by North Korea to its nuclear-capable underwater attack drones, in the waters off its east coast. The report did not specify the date of the test.
An unnamed spokesman from the North Korean ministry accused the United States, South Korea, and Japan of becoming “frantic” with military exercises and warned of “catastrophic consequences.” The three countries’ navies conducted three-day regular drills until Wednesday, accompanied by the US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, aimed at enhancing responses to North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile threats.
According to the spokesman’s statement, as reported by KCNA, “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 US and its allies.”
South Korea’s defense ministry, later on Friday, issued a warning against North Korea’s recent series of weapons tests and called for an immediate halt. In a statement, it asserted that “Our military is thoroughly prepared for North Korea’s provocations under a solid joint defense posture with the United States,” vowing “overwhelming” responses if North Korea stages a direct provocation.
Japan’s Foreign Minister Addresses North Korea’s Weapons Tests, Pledges Continued Efforts to Curb Development
Japan’s foreign minister Yoko Kamikawa, responding to questions about the North’s latest test during a news conference, declined to comment on “each and every one of those activities” but pledged continued efforts to curb its weapons development.
The new drone system, dubbed “Haeil,” meaning tsunami, was reportedly first tested in March 2023, with state media stating its intention to conduct sneak attacks in enemy waters and destroy naval strike groups and major operational ports by creating a large radioactive wave through an underwater explosion.
This reported underwater test follows North Korea’s firing of a new intermediate-range, solid-fuel hypersonic missile, condemned by Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo as a serious violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Nuclear envoys from the three allies gathered in Seoul on Thursday, condemning Pyongyang’s arms trade with Russia and its increasingly hostile rhetoric, coinciding with North Korea’s foreign minister’s visit to Moscow and meeting with President Vladimir Putin.