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Photo provided by North Korea's KCNA News Agency showing an explosion triggered by an underwater nuclear drone on March 23, 2023. Photo provided by North Korea’s KCNA News Agency showing an explosion caused by an underwater nuclear attack drone, March 23, 2023. STR/AFP

North Korea claims on Thursday March 23 to have tested an underwater nuclear attack drone capable of triggering a “radioactive tsunami” and blames US-South Korean military exercises for being at the root of the deterioration in regional security.

Pyongyang conducted its own maneuvers this week, including testing a new submarine nuclear missile launch system, North Korea’s state news agency KCNA said on Friday. “This underwater nuclear attack drone can be deployed on any coast and port, or towed by a surface vessel,” KCNA reported.

The purpose of this weapon is to “surreptitiously infiltrate operational waters and create a large radioactive tsunami (…) to destroy enemy naval assault groups and major operational ports,” he said,” she adds.

According to KCNA, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally oversaw the trials. Footage released by the official daily Rodong Sinmun shows a smiling Kim and what appears to be an underwater explosion. The agency also claimed Pyongyang on Wednesday fired strategic cruise missiles “equipped with a test warhead simulating a nuclear warhead.”

Also read: North Korea fires several cruise missiles

Information “greeted with skepticism”

Still, analysts have cast doubt on North Korea’s claims. The idea that Pyongyang has “a nuclear-capable underwater drone should be viewed with skepticism,” said Professor Leif-Eric Easley of Ewha University in Seoul. “Pyongyang’s claims of a new weapons system are not the same as a credible demonstration of its capabilities,” he added.

In a post on Twitter, US analyst Ankit Panda did not rule out that the test claim was an “attempted deception/psychological operation”. Despite everything, the claim is “shocking,” Sejong Institute’s Cheong Seong-chang told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

If true, it’s hard to imagine how Seoul “could respond to such a formidable new weapon from North Korea that can (say) completely destroy key operational ports in the south.” KCNA also says that “Pyongyang is more than ready to use its tactical nuclear weapons at any time,” An Chan-il, a defector-turned-researcher, told AFP.

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nuclear power

After a record year of weapons testing and a mounting nuclear threat from Pyongyang in 2022, Seoul and Washington stepped up defense cooperation and conducted their largest joint military exercises in five years on March 13-23, 2023.

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North Korea views all such exercises as rehearsals for an invasion of its territory and has repeatedly warned it will respond “massively.” On Friday, KCNA described the joint exercises between the United States and South Korea, dubbed the “Freedom Shield,” as an exercise aimed at “occupying” North Korea.

Pyongyang’s “underwater nuclear attack drone” exercise was “conducted with the aim of warning the enemy of a real nuclear crisis,” the agency reported. Kim Jong Un also pointed out that the North’s nuclear capabilities are “reinforcing at a faster rate,” according to KCNA.

Also Read: North Korea Fires New Ballistic Missile At Sea Of Japan

In 2022, Pyongyang called its status as a nuclear power “irreversible”. The North Korean leader recently called for an exponential increase in its weapons production, including tactical nuclear weapons.

Washington has repeatedly reiterated its “unwavering” commitment to defend South Korea by using “the full breadth of its military capabilities, including nuclear capabilities.” For its part, South Korea is trying to reassure public opinion, which is quite worried about American commitments regarding what is known as extended deterrence, which thanks to American military means, including nuclear weapons, can prevent attacks on allies.

Friday’s statement comes about a week after Pyongyang fired its most powerful missile, the Hwasong-17, its second ICBM test in 2023.

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North Korea Has Tested A New Underwater Drone For Nuclear Attacks – S Chronicles

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