NKorea Claims Test of Underwater Nuclear-Capable Drone

    NKorea Claims Test of Underwater Nuclear-Capable Drone
    Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • North Korea's state media reported on Friday that a new test of its alleged underwater nuclear drone system, dubbed Haeil-5-23, has been carried out in the waters off its east coast, as Pyongyang has ramped up military action this year.

    • This is the fourth time that the development of the unmanned underwater vehicle, which North Korea claims to be a kind of maneuverable torpedo that can be fitted with tactical nuclear warheads, has been covered by state-run agencies since its public introduction last March.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    There's no independent proof of the Haeil-5-23 test, let alone that it was successful. In any case, Pyongyang is probably exaggerating both the development stage and capabilities of this weapon. Kim's irresponsible war rhetoric, coupled with the ongoing buildup of the world's fourth-largest standing army, indicates a significant strategic shift in which he may be looking to exploit the global geopolitical chaos to unleash a military conflict with the US and its allies. The free world needs to strengthen its military deterrence, for this is the only language Kim understands.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The Haeil-5-23 is further proof that North Korea is technologically capable of defending its territorial integrity and sovereignty militarily, if necessary. It's not Pyongyang that's stoking regional tensions, but the US and its allies. Since Seoul has decided to stick to the geopolitically motivated US hysteria against the North, Pyongyang had no choice but to fundamentally shift its stance toward Seoul. Domestic opposition to the logic of confrontation is growing in South Korea, and by misjudging reality and miscalculating its strength, Washington and its vassals are heading for self-destruction.

    Nerd narrative

    There's an 18% chance that there will be a full-scale war between North Korea and South Korea by 2050, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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