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Tremor of 3.4 Detected Near NKorea Nuclear Test Site

Image: Tremor of 3.4 Detected Near NKorea Nuclear Test Site
(AP)

Saturday, 23 Sep 2017 07:08 AM

A magnitude 3.4 tremor was detected in North Korea, China’s earthquake agency said, while a South Korean weather agency said it was not triggered artificially.

The tremor occurred at 4.29 p.m. China time and had a depth of zero meters, the China Earthquake Networks Center said in a statement, adding it was a suspected blast. South Korea’s weather agency said in a statement on its website that the tremor was a natural occurrence, though it hit close to the area where North Korea conducts nuclear tests.

North Korea detonated its sixth and most powerful nuclear weapon earlier this month at its underground Punggye-ri site northeast of Pyongyang, causing a quake with a magnitude of around 6.3. The move escalated tensions with the U.S. and North Korea’s neighbors, and this week its foreign minister said the regime’s options included testing a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.

There have been concerns about the stability of the nuclear test site since the Sept. 3 test. Website 38 North said satellite imagery taken after that test appeared to show landslides atop the site that were more numerous and widespread than after the previous five tests.

The site, run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, added the bomb’s 250-kiloton yield was close to what it previously determined was the maximum that could be contained by the test site.

Missile Launches

The Sept. 3 detonation followed two intercontinental ballistic missile launches in July that brought Kim Jong Un’s isolated regime a step closer to achieving its aim of being able to deploy a nuclear warhead over the continental U.S.

On Thursday, North Korea struck back at U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats to destroy it, with Kim warning of the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” and his foreign minister suggesting that could include testing a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.

Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho spoke to reporters in New York, where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly. He said in remarks broadcast on South Korean TV that the countermeasures flagged by Kim might refer to a “strongest-ever” ground-level test of a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific.

His comments came after Trump ordered new sanctions on individuals, companies and banks doing business with North Korea as he sought to further isolate the regime and increase economic pressure for it to curb its weapons programs.

Earlier this month, Pyongyang fired its second missile in as many months over northern Japan into the Pacific Ocean. Since Kim came to power after the death of his father Kim Jong Il in 2011, he has ramped up nuclear and missile weapon tests.

U.S. analysts now estimate that North Korea may have as many as 60 nuclear weapons, according to a Washington Post report. That’s in addition to cyberwarfare capabilities, a biological weapons research program and a chemical weapons stockpile. It also has a vast array of conventional artillery aimed at Seoul. 

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A magnitude 3.4 tremor was detected in North Korea, China's earthquake agency said, while a South Korean weather agency said it was not triggered artificially.
nkorea, nuclear, test, site
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2017-08-23
Saturday, 23 Sep 2017 07:08 AM
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