South Korea Skeptical of North Korea’s Claim on Underwater Nuclear Attack Drone Test

SEOUL: South Korea's presidential office expressed skepticism on Sunday regarding North Korea's recent assertion of having conducted a significant test of an underwater nuclear attack drone, considering it to be potentially "exaggerated and fabricated."

According to Yonhap News Agency, North Korea claimed on Friday to have tested the Haeil-5-23, an underwater nuclear attack drone, in the East Sea. This action was reportedly in response to recent joint naval drills involving South Korea, the United States, and Japan. However, the South Korean presidential office, analyzing the claim, suggested that North Korea's assertion might be overstated and possibly untrue. "Taking into account comprehensive analysis so far, we are weighing the possibility that North Korea's claim is exaggerated and fabricated," the office communicated in a press release.

The presidential office, led by President Yoon Suk Yeol, elaborated on the technical aspects of the claim, stating, "If tested, it is presumed to be a kind of torpedo, but there is a very slim possibility that it is a nuclear-powered system." They noted the improbability of developing a small reactor capable of fitting into a torpedo with a diameter of less than one meter. The office also mentioned the lack of photographic evidence from Pyongyang, which hampers the verification of the North's claim.

Further, the press release indicated that the South Korean military, in collaboration with the United States, has been monitoring signs of North Korea developing underwater weapons systems, including nuclear attack drones and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The office assured that South Korea's military possesses superior striking capabilities to counter such weapon systems and plans to further enhance anti-submarine capacities and defensive postures over ports.

In response to North Korea's firing of a solid-fuel hypersonic missile on January 14, the office of President Yoon Suk Yeol affirmed that South Korea will expedite the development of a multilayer missile defense system to confront the evolving threats from the North.

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