North Korea says it carried out underwater strategic weapon system test

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By Heekyong Yang and Ju-min Park

SEOUL, April 8 (Reuters) – North Korea has conducted another test of a nuclear-capable underwater attack drone, its state media reported on Saturday, the latest demonstration of its military capabilities as it faces off against the United States and South Korea.

North Korea tested a nuclear-capable unmanned underwater attack weapon called “Haeil-2” from April 4 to April 7, state media reported, more than a week after it disclosed a new underwater drone called “Haeil-1”, which translates as tsunami.

The North’s KCNA state news agency said that during the underwater strategic weapon system test the drone cruised 1,000 km (621 miles)for 71 hours and 6 minutes and successfully hit a simulated target.

“The test perfectly proved the reliability of the underwater strategic weapon system and its fatal attack ability,” KCNA said.

Some analysts are sceptical as to whether the underwater vehicle is ready for deployment but KCNA said the system would help contain military action against North Korea.

Photographs released by state media showed a large, dark-coloured torpedo-shaped object as well as tracks of the object’s underwater trajectory and blast visible on the surface of the sea.

North Korea has been regularly testing various weapons for months and ramped up its activity in recent weeks in response to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.

In recent weeks, it has unveiled new, smaller nuclear warheads and fired an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking anywhere in the United States.

A combination photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows the testing of an underwater strategic weapon system by a national defence science research institute in North Korea. According to KCNA, the ‘underwater nuclear attack drone “Haeil-2” entered into the test in Kajin Port, Kumya County, South Hamgyong Province on 04 April, and ‘cruised 1,000 kilometres of simulated underwater distance’ and ‘accurately detonated underwater’ at the simulated targeted place in the waters off Ryongdae Port, Tanchon City, South Hamgyong Province on 07 April. EPA-EFE/KCNA EDITORIAL USE ONLY

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