Quake in North Korea sparks fears over new nuclear test

Quake in North Korea sparks fears over new nuclear test

Quake in North Korea sparks fears over new nuclear test

Numerous scientific agencies on both sides of the Pacific detected an quake Saturday near the site where North Korea set off a hydrogen bomb earlier this month, at first prompting speculation of another weapons test, before a consensus appeared to emerge that the tremor was a natural occurrence.

President Donald Trump has put China at the forefront of USA efforts to rein in North Korea's nuclear program.

So-called atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons were banned by the USA, the then-Soviet Union and numerous world's nations in a 1963 treaty, though China conducted the last such test known worldwide in 1980.

All of North Korea's previous six nuclear tests registered as earthquakes of magnitude 4.3 or above.

Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho comments Thursday on the sidelines of a United Nations gathering followed an extraordinary direct statement by Kim in response to President Donald Trump's threat to "totally destroy" North Korea.

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A secondary tremor detected after that test could have been caused by the collapse of a tunnel at the mountainous site, experts said at the time.

The latest quake was recorded at a depth of 0km in North Hamgyong province, home to the Punggye-ri nuclear site, South Korea's meteorological agency says.

The seismic activity was reported against a backdrop of growing tension over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile intentions.

The Ministry of Commerce said it will implement UN Security Council Resolution 2375 by halting the export of liquefied natural gas and gas condensate to North Korea from today and limit exports of refined oil from October 1. The president's office did add that "analysis is still ongoing so we will keep you posted".

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said it could not conclusively confirm whether the quake was man-made or natural.

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The Chinese Academy of Sciences also released a report saying the quake was likely a "lagged collapse earthquake", echoing worldwide experts' hypotheses that the natural disaster was a delayed repercussion of a previous detonation.

President Donald Trump listens during a luncheon with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, in NY.

The quake also caps a week in which President Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un exchanged increasingly bellicose insults and follows a threat on Thursday by the North to carry out a significantly more unsafe nuclear test.

North Korea has launched dozens of missiles this year, several of them flying over Japan, as it accelerates a weapons program aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.

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