Earthquake Detected in North Korea

Aaron Brown
September 24, 2017

A magnitude 3.4 natural disaster, at a depth of 0 kilometers, has been recorded near the Kilju area in the North Hamgyeong Province of North Korea, according to the China quake Networks Center.

Chinese earthquake officials earlier said the tremor was a "suspected explosion", while South Korean officials and CTBTO, the nuclear proliferation watchdog, both said they believed it was a natural quake. The locations are around 50 kilometers away (more than 30 miles) from the site of previous nuclear tests, the group said.

North Korea has fired two ballistic missiles over Japan's north Hokkaido region in the past month as part of a series of tests that experts say have illustrated unexpectedly rapid advances.

U.S. President Donald Trump called the North Korean leader a "madman" on Friday, a day after Kim dubbed him a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard" who would face the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history". 23, 2017, North Korean state media KCNA announced leader Kim Jong Un had visited the country's Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Sciences. "So as of now, we are categorising this as a natural quake".

North Korea's weakest nuclear test, its first one, conducted in 2006, generated a magnitude 4.3 quake.

The United States Geological Survey was neutral in its assessment on the cause of the tremor, which it recorded as a 3.5 magnitude quake, saying in a statement that it could not "conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event". President Trump said in a tweet. But given Kim Jong-un's bellicose and bombastic speech at the United Nations, it is just as likely that Kim took the opportunity to spit in the eye of President Trump to test another weapon.

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He said such a test could pose a danger to shipping and aircraft, even if the North declared a "keep out" zone, and would pose a risk to people if something went wrong.

An attack on North Korea now would undercut the recent decision by China to suspend financial transactions with the North and ban oil exports and textile imports. On Thursday, the US unveiled its own set of economic sanctions targeting North Korea.

In a statement on Friday, Kim responded by calling the USA head of state "mentally deranged" and a "dotard" who would "pay dearly" for his comments - triggering Trump to describe him as a "madman".

Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun says North Korea should stop provocations that would "lead to its own isolation and demise".

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho suggested leader Kim Jong Un was considering testing "an unprecedented scale hydrogen bomb" over the Pacific in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's threat at the United Nations to "totally destroy" the country.

The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies. He said he wanted North Korea, which never reached a formal peace treaty with the South after the 1950-53 Korean War - to attend next year's Winter Olympics to be hosted by South Korea.

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