Doesn't matter what it NEEDS to be, it LITERALLY IS that, because that's how the episode was written. Subsequent productions invalidated the "theoretically" and are thus a retcon. What you're really saying is "In my headcanon, they're just talking about what the Romulans are currently doing." That's all well and good, but your headcanon isn't shared by Discovery's writers, seeing how it is, you know, in your head. UESPA was retconned as literally "a 22nd century agency that launches (unmanned) probes," as demonstrated by its only OTHER reference from "Friendship One." Both of which are themselves references to the mention in "Tomorrow is Yesterday," and neither of which change the fact that the USS Enterprise does not answer to UESPA. Kirk's line "Our authority is the United Earth Space Probe Agency" is therefore stricken from canon; that's NOT who he works for, because the writers decided so. Yes, they COULD be. But they AREN'T. The difference between "What is" and "what could be" is literally the difference between canon and headcanon. This is fiction, dude. Discrepancy LITERALLY IS discontinuity unless it is deliberately reconciled on-stage. Those of us behind the fourth wall can make up anything we want to explain it, and that's where "willing suspension of disbelief" falls into play. Or the characters can break the fourth wall themselves and say "Huh... interesting discrepancy" which pretty much covers up the discontinuity by hanging a lampshade on it.