North Korea conducts another test of underwater nuclear drone

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SEOUL, South Korea (Reuters) North Korea on Saturday claimed it tested this week a second known type of nuclear-capable underwater attack drone designed to destroy naval vessels and ports, adding to a flurry of weapons demonstrations this year that have heightened tensions with rivals.

The report of the four-day test came a day after the nuclear envoys of the United States, South Korea and Japan met in Seoul to discuss the growing North Korean nuclear threat and called for stronger international efforts to crack down on illicit North Korean activities funding its weapons program.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said the drone, named “Haeil-2” after a Korean word meaning tsunamis or tidal waves, traveled underwater for more than 71 hours before successfully detonating a mock warhead in waters near the eastern port city of Tanchon on Friday. KCNA said the test proved that the weapon could strike targets 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) away with “fatal attack ability.”

North Korean state media last month reported two tests of another drone, named “Haeil-1,” and described the weapon as capable of setting off a “radioactive tsunami” to destroy enemy vessels and ports.

Analysts, however, are skeptical whether such a device would add a meaningful new threat to North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal built around missiles and whether it’s reasonable for the North to pursue such capabilities considering its still-limited supplies of nuclear bomb fuel. The South Korean military said it believed North Korea’s claims about Hale-1 were likely “exaggerated or fabricated.”

On Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden’s special envoy to North Korea Sung Kim met with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Seoul to support North Korea’s efforts to evade UN Security Council sanctions. issued a joint statement calling for increased international support to Curb ambition for nuclear weapons.

The envoy expressed particular concern about North Korea’s cybercrime and the export of illegal workers, which could potentially increase if Seoul opens its borders further amid concerns about the mitigation of COVID-19. It says there is

In 2023 alone, North Korea has launched about 30 missiles in her 11 different launch events. This includes intercontinental ballistic missiles that have shown potential range to reach the U.S. mainland, and several short-range weapons designed for nuclear strikes on South Korean targets.