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North Korea Announces Successful Test Of “Radioactive Tsunami” Weapon

North Korea claims to have tested an underwater nuclear attack drone capable of causing a “radioactive tsunami,” which experts question.

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On Tuesday, North Korea tested a device that it claimed to be an underwater nuclear attack drone in Riwon County. The photo was captured by EPA-EFE/KCNA.
On Tuesday, North Korea tested a device that it claimed to be an underwater nuclear attack drone in Riwon County. The photo was captured by EPA-EFE/KCNA.

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Summary:

  • North Korea said that it had successfully tested an underwater nuclear attack drone that can cause a “radioactive tsunami” that can destroy enemy naval striker groups and major operational ports.
  • But experts have doubts about North Korea’s claims, saying that the country may not have the advanced technology needed for such a weapon.
  • Still, North Korea’s work on new weapons is a big problem for South Korea, which may not be able to do much about it if North Korea does get these kinds of weapons.
  • Pyongyang is adding more ways to launch its missiles, and more testing could help it come up with “formidable” new ways to send a nuclear payload.

North Korea claimed on Friday to have successfully tested an underwater nuclear attack drone with the capacity to trigger a “radioactive tsunami,” while accusing the US-South Korea exercises of contributing to the deterioration of the regional security situation.

State media say that Pyongyang’s military drills, including a new test of an underwater drone that can carry nuclear weapons, were a response.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) described the mission of the weapon, called Haeil, meaning “tsunami” in Korean, as to “stealthily infiltrate into operational waters and make a super-scale radioactive tsunami… to destroy naval striker groups and major operational ports of the enemy.”

The report stated that the drone could be deployed at any coast or port or towed by a surface ship for operation.

On Tuesday, North Korea tested a device that it claimed to be an underwater nuclear attack drone in Riwon County. The photo was captured by EPA-EFE/KCNA.
On Tuesday, North Korea tested a device that it claimed to be an underwater nuclear attack drone in Riwon County. The photo was captured by EPA-EFE/KCNA.

The test was conducted under the supervision of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday, according to the KCNA, and photographs released by the daily Rodong Sinmun showed a smiling Kim and what appeared to be an underwater explosion.

On Wednesday, Pyongyang fired strategic cruise missiles “tipped with a test warhead simulating a nuclear warhead,” the agency said.

However, analysts have questioned North Korea’s claims. Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, stated that the idea that Pyongyang has “a nuclear-capable underwater drone should be met with skepticism.”

“Pyongyang’s claims about a new weapons system are not the same as a credible demonstration of capability,” he added. US-based analyst Ankit Panda wrote on Twitter that it could not be ruled out that the announcement was “an attempt at deception/psyop.”

Cheong Seong-chang, a researcher at the private Sejong Institute, said that even if the claims were not true, they were “shocking.”

He said that it would be hard for Seoul to respond if North Korea had the power to “completely destroy the South’s major operational ports.”

An Chan-il, a defector-turned-researcher based in Seoul, said that the KCNA statement showed that “Pyongyang is more than ready to use its tactical nuclear weapons at any time.” “This obviously further strengthens Kim’s justification for his future nuclear tests,” he added.

Experts suggest that Russia has already developed a similar weapon, the nuclear-capable Poseidon torpedoes, but the advanced technology required for such weaponry may still be beyond North Korea’s capabilities.

Choi Gi-il, a professor of military studies at Sangji University in Wonju, South Korea, said, “For an unmanned submarine to go deep underwater without being seen, it needs advanced technology like control sensors and radar.”

North Korea has not yet obtained such advanced technology to the extent that it can deploy nuclear unmanned sea drones in combat.

Choi says that Pyongyang is doing more than just stockpiling nuclear warheads. It is also “trying to advance and diversify launch mediums,” which is what the Haeil drone is part of. With more tests, the North Korean military might find “formidable” new ways to deliver a nuclear payload.

In short, North Korea said it had tested an underwater drone that could attack with a nuclear weapon and cause a “radioactive tsunami.” Some experts have questioned whether or not these claims are true, but others say that if they are, the new weapon would be a big problem for South Korea.

The development of advanced technology is required for such weaponry, but the Haeil drone is in line with North Korea’s efforts to move beyond stockpiling nuclear warheads and develop new ways of delivering them.

This article was based on a news report from the Taipei Times available HERE.

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