Chinese, South Korean monitors say North Korea quake was natural, not nuclear

Ivan Schwartz
September 26, 2017

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also said it would be pointless to start another round of dialogue after North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test and test-fired missiles over Japan.

China time with a magnitude of 3.4 and a depth of zero kilometers, the China Earthquake Networks Center said in a statement.

The quake was detected in an area around Kilju, in northeastern North Korea, just 6 kilometers northwest of where the North conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3, according to an official from Seoul's Korea Meteorological Administration.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday (Sept 21) that negotiation remained the only solution on North Korea and warned its neighbours not to pursue their own nuclear weapons. "We can not conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event".

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

Kim said Trump's "mentally deranged behaviour" and his threat to destroy North Korea "convinced me ... that the path I chose is correct and that is the one I have to follow to the last, " Kim said in a statement.

"I strongly suspect they have the capability to do this", said James Acton, a nuclear expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The secretary of state defended Trump's blunt rhetoric in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly in NY on Tuesday, in which the president threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if the United States is "forced to defend itself or its allies", prompting astonished gasps from some in the audience.

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

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Kim vowed to take "a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history", in response to Trump's threat. Later, the China Earthquake Administration revised its estimation, saying the quake was not a nuclear detonation.

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He said he was watching the banks closely to make sure they didn't hike fees elsewhere to compensate for dropping ATM fees. RateCity, a financial comparison website, said the decision was a "historic win for consumers".

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Ri did not explain the details of the possible provocation and said Kim Jong-un was the decision-maker of such plans. The same restriction would apply to any vessel involvement in ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean vessels.

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un spent the past week trading insults and ratcheting up the already-high tension between the countries.

Trump called Kim a "madman" on Friday, a day after Kim dubbed him a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard".

Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho spoke to reporters in NY during the UN General Assembly shortly after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an unprecedented televised statement, accusing Trump of being "mentally deranged".

It does, however, raise many questions, including: How would the North undertake such a nuclear test, what risks might it pose to Japan and how would the US respond?

He said sanctions would have no effect on Pyongyang's resolve to develop its nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal being "balance of power with the US".

Mr Trump delivered a combative speech on Tuesday at the UN General Assembly, where he mocked Kim as a "Rocket Man" on a "suicide mission". The country also has tested more than a dozen missiles this year, some of which have flown over Japan - a strong US ally.

China's Ministry of Commerce said Saturday it would limit refined petroleum exports starting October 1 and ban the import of North Korean textiles immediately.

Textile trade contracts signed before September 11 would be respected if import formalities are completed before midnight on December 10, the statement said.

Other reports by GizPress

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