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North Korea’s claimed test of Haeil-5-23 underwater nuclear attack drone qualified as fabricated.

| Naval News Navy 2024

South Korea's presidential office has expressed doubts about North Korea's recent claims regarding the testing of an underwater nuclear weapon system. According to Kim Soo-yeon of the Yonhap news agency, the South Korean government is considering the possibility that North Korea's assertions are exaggerated and fabricated. North Korea announced on January 19 that it conducted a significant test involving an underwater nuclear attack drone, the Haeil-5-23, in response to joint naval exercises with South Korea, the United States, and Japan.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Contextual illustration/artist rendering for North Korea's Haeil-5-23 underwater nuclear attack drone (Picture source: Navy Recognition)

The South Korean presidential office's press release stated that, based on their comprehensive analysis, it is unlikely that North Korea possesses a nuclear-powered system for underwater tests. They noted that there is no known development of a small reactor that could fit into a torpedo-like device.

Verifying the authenticity of North Korea's claims has been challenging because Pyongyang has not released any related photographs, which they typically do when substantiating their statements.

South Korea's military has been closely monitoring North Korea's development of underwater weapons systems, such as nuclear attack drones and submarine-launched ballistic missiles, through intelligence and surveillance assets in collaboration with the United States. The South Korean government is committed to strengthening anti-submarine capabilities and defense measures around ports to respond to potential threats effectively. They reiterated their readiness to counter any contingency related to North Korea's military activities.

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