North Korea tested a new underwater nuclear weapon capable of causing a “radioactive tsunami” earlier this week, according to Pyongyang’s state media on Friday.
Separately, the North conducted a cruise missile drill using missiles “tipped with a test warhead simulating a nuclear warhead,” as Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) described the joint military exercises between South Korea and the US as a “actual drill” for “occupying” Pyongyang.
The drills were ordered by the Central Military Committee of the North’s governing Workers’ Party (WPK) from March 21 to 23, “in order to notify the enemy to an actual nuclear crisis and verify the dependability of the nuclear force for self-defense,” according to Yonhap News Agency.
The “underwater nuclear attack drone” was deployed off the coast of Riwon county, South Hamgyong province, on Tuesday and arrived at the target point in the waters around Hongwon Bay put up as a dummy enemy port on Thursday afternoon, with its test warhead detonating underwater.
For 59 hours and 12 minutes, the drone flew “along an oval and pattern-8 track at an underwater depth of 80 to 150 metres in the East Sea of Korea.”
The North stated that the drones, which are designed to “stealthily infiltrate operating waters and create a super-scale radioactive tsunami” to destroy enemy naval striker units and major ports, can be deployed “at any coast and port or pulled by a surface ship for operation.”
North Korea began developing such underground nuclear weapons in 2012 to “outpace the military and technical superiority of the imperialist aggressor forces”, the KCNA said.
The “secret weapon” was called “unmanned underwater nuclear attack craft ‘Haeil'” during the WPK’s seventh congress in 2021 and has undergone more than 50 shakedowns in the previous two years, according to the report.
According to the KCNA, the North also tested strategic cruise missiles “tipped with a test warhead simulating a nuclear warhead” on Wednesday.
It stated that two “Hwasal-1” and two “Hwasal-2” strategic cruise missiles launched from South Hamgyong province accurately hit the target specified in the East Sea.
The missiles flew for 7,557 to 7,567 seconds and 9,118 to 9,129 seconds in their “planned 1,500km- and 1,800km-long oval and pattern-8 orbits, respectively.”
On Wednesday morning, the South Korean military said it detected multiple cruise missile launches from the North’s eastern city of Hamhung.