N Korea conducts 'underwater nuclear weapons system' test

N Korea conducts
# 19 January 2024 13:45 (UTC +04:00)

North Korea says it has carried out a test of its "underwater nuclear weapons system" in response to drills by the US, South Korea and Japan this week, APA reports citing BBC.

The underwater drone, which supposedly can carry a nuclear weapon, was tested off the east coast, state media said.

There is no other evidence of the tests being conducted and Seoul had earlier said the North's descriptions of the drones' capability were exaggerated.

South Korea called the reported tests a "provocation".

It "threatens peace on [the] Korean Peninsula and the world," the South Korea's defence ministry said, adding: "If North Korea directly provokes us, we will respond in an overwhelming manner following the principle of immediate, strong, and terminal action."

The North has claimed tests of its "Haeil-5-23" system before, but the latest incident comes as the North has ramped up military action in recent weeks.

On Sunday, it claimed to have deployed a new solid-fuelled intermediate-range ballistic missile.

That followed live-fire drills at the maritime border with South Korea in the first week of January.

Pyongyang leader Kim Jong Un has also been increasingly aggressive in his policy direction and rhetoric - ending several agreements aimed at peace-keeping in recent months.

On Friday, North Korea said it had been provoked by joint drills by Washington, Seoul and Tokyo to carry out a test of its underwater weapons, according to a report by state agency KCNA.

It accused the exercises of "further destabilising the regional situation" and threatening the North's security.

The US, South Korea and Japan say they have conducted more exercises in the past year as a deterrence response to the increasing frequency of North Korea's military actions, which include multiple tests of its nuclear ballistic missiles and launches of new weapons. All such actions are in breach of UN sanctions.

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