CTBTO looking at 'unusual seismic activity' in North Korea

Pauline Gross
September 25, 2017

According to the reports, the 3.4-magnitude natural disaster was detected near North Korea's nuclear test site, where previous tests that resulted in earthquakes have been carried out.

North Korea's foreign minister has said the Communist nation may test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean after dictator Kim Jong Un vowed he would take the "highest-level" action against the United States, South Korean media reported Thursday.

Two seismic events recorded in North Korea were probably not caused by deliberate explosions, according to a nuclear watchdog.

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"We can not conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event", it said.

Xinhau, China's official news agency, said the country's seismic service registered a 3.4 magnitude event that it originally viewed as "likely caused" by an "explosion".

Atmospheric tests of nuclear-armed missiles, as NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reported, are unsafe for a host for reasons, including the potential for sending nuclear fallout in unpredictable patterns and, if a test were to be administered by North Korea, in the direction of the U.S.

The North's last test, on September 3, was the country's most powerful detonation, triggering a much stronger 6.3-magnitude quake that was felt across the border in China.

North Korea's nuclear tests to date have all been underground, and experts say an atmospheric test, which would be the first since one by China in 1980, would be proof of the success of its weapons programme. It measured the quake at 3.5 magnitudes on the Richter scale.

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Tensions have continued to rise around the Korean peninsula since Pyongyang carried out its sixth nuclear test, prompting a new round of United Nations sanctions.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim also hurled insults and accusations of madness at each other earlier this week.

Trump warned that the US will "totally destroy" North Korea, and Kim threatened to "tame the mentally-deranged dotard with fire".

If China truly wants to denuclearize the peninsula, he said it should work "to put the kind of pressure on North Korea that can change its strategic calculation before it's too late".

A senior US diplomat says a North Korean hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific would be an "unprecedented act of aggression" by the communist nation.

The fresh sanctions allow the government to cut access to the American financial system of any foreign financial company that conducts business with North Korea.

Trump on Tuesday told the United Nations the USA could "totally destroy" North Korea, provoking a fierce response from Pyongyang. As is now the case with North Korea, the United States continually downplayed Chinese technical capabilities.

One project that has been discussed in the past involves building gas pipelines from Russian Federation to South Korea through North Korea.

The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, told banks to "strictly implement United Nations sanctions against North Korea", four sources told Reuters.

Other reports by GizPress

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