While North Korea has previously claimed tests of its "Haeil-5-23" system, this latest incident comes amid an escalation of military activities by the reclusive nation. The North recently asserted the deployment of a new solid-fuelled intermediate-range ballistic missile and engaged in live-fire drills at the maritime border with South Korea in early January.

The international response to North Korea's claims has been cautious. South Korea, casting doubt on the accuracy of the information, stated that the North's descriptions of the drone's capabilities were exaggerated. Japan, on the other hand, refrained from commenting on the reports.

North Korea, through its state agency KCNA, accused the joint drills conducted by the US, South Korea, and Japan of "further destabilising the regional situation" and posing a threat to its security. The country argued that the underwater weapons test was a response to the provocation caused by the joint exercises.

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Tensions have been escalating as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has adopted a more aggressive policy direction and rhetoric in recent months. He declared the abandonment of the goal of reunification with South Korea over the New Year period, designating the South as the "principal enemy."

Additionally, North Korea has claimed several advances in its military and nuclear capabilities, including advancements in its underwater operations.

The US, South Korea, and Japan maintain that their joint exercises are conducted as a deterrent response to North Korea's increasing frequency of military actions, which include multiple tests of nuclear ballistic missiles and launches of new weapons—actions that are in violation of UN sanctions.

Despite international efforts to curb North Korea's military ambitions, Kim Jong Un has repeatedly asserted that his regime is preparing for a potential conflict that could "break out at any time" on the Korean Peninsula.