North Korea tested a nuclear-capable underwater attack drone designed to destroy naval vessels and ports, it said Friday.
North Korea’s military said it conducted the test in the country’s eastern waters in response to naval drills by the U.S., South Korea and Japan which ended Wednesday. The underwater drone is among a broad range of weapon systems North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un continues to test and develop as he expands his arsenal of nuclear-capable weapons.
“Our army’s underwater nuke-based countering posture is being further rounded off and its various maritime and underwater responsive actions will continue to deter the hostile military maneuvers of the navies of the U.S. and its allies,” North Korea’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.
It added: “We strongly denounce the U.S. and its followers for their reckless acts of seriously threatening the security of (North Korea) from the outset of the year and sternly warn them of the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by them.”
North Korea did not specify when the test occurred. It first tested the drone last year.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have risen to their highest point in years, with the test of the drone coming days after the North Korean dictator declared he would be scrapping the idea of a peaceful reunification with South Korea.
He also said his country would rewrite its constitution to define South Korea as its most hostile foreign adversary.
North Korea conducted its first ballistic missile test of 2024 on Sunday. It was described as a new solid-fuel, intermediate-range missile tipped with a hypersonic warhead, potentially capable of striking U.S. military bases in Guam and Japan.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry has disputed the capabilities of the drone and has denounced North Korea’s recent tests as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
The South has said Kim’s nuclear ambitions are a threat to “peace in the Korean Peninsula and the world.” It also said the U.S. and South Korean militaries would remain firm against possible North Korean provocations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.