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Seismic activity detected near North Korean nuclear site

25 September, 2017, 01:01 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • TV screens show a news programme with an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a market in Seoul South Korea

China's natural disaster administration said on Saturday it had detected a magnitude 3.4 quake in North Korea that was a "suspected explosion", raising fears the isolated state had conducted another nuclear bomb test weeks after its last one. North Korea has marched closer to achieving a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike America.

Another Korea Meteorological Administration official, who also didn't want to be named, said the agency saw the possibility of the quake being caused by a tunnel collapse as low.

But the official from the South Korean agency said the analysis of seismic waves and the lack of sound waves clearly showed that the quake was not caused by an artificial explosion.

A US intelligence official and USA -based non-governmental experts said their initial assessment was that the quake was either natural or connected to North Korea's latest and largest nuclear test on Sept.3, and not caused by a new nuclear test. But they're also not ruling it out given the North's increasing number of nuclear and missile tests.

The quake occurred at a sensitive time when North Korea is likely to make further provocative acts after its leader pledged to retaliate against the United States.

US President Donald Trump on Friday warned "madman" North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un that he would be "tested", the latest in an exchange of insults between the two.

"This could probably mean the strongest hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean", North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in NY on Thursday in response to a question about what action the regime might take against the U.S.

As North Korea escalates its nuclear threats and the U.S. responds with new sanctions, dialogue between the two countries' leaders has devolved into a name-calling match that some consider unsafe.

"When Mr. Trump threatens to annihilate 25 million people in North Korea, he is endangering 51 million South Koreans", said Jeong-ae Ahn-Kim, representative of Women Making Peace in South Korea.

The North Korean leader's warning about "fire", which echoed President Donald Trump's August statement threatening "fire and fury", was par for the course in their increasingly tense relationship. Earlier this year, China also announced that it had suspended coal imports from North Korea for the rest of the year. The last atmospheric nuclear weapons test was in October of 1980, conducted by China.

They also prohibit North Korea from importing any natural gas liquids and condensates, and cap Pyongyang's imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho arrives at Kennedy International Airport in New York City on September 20 in advance of his keynote speech at the United Nations.

In a rare direct statement, Kim said that Trump would "pay dearly" for the threats, and that North Korea "will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history". Let's hope that's what we get at most out of it, too.

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