North Korea Quake Not A Nuclear Test, Say China Experts

Indian Army officers stand near a Prithvi missile carried on display during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi India in this Jan. 26 2005 file

"This event occurred in the area of the previous North Korean Nuclear tests". It withdrew from the treaty in 2003 and carried out its first underground nuclear test in 2006. But they're also not ruling it out given the North's increasing number of nuclear and missile tests. "The depth is poorly constrained and has been held to 5 kilometers by the seismologist". "We can not conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event". The larger one had a 3.4 magnitude, the group's initial assessment found, which is much smaller than anything declared as a nuclear test in previous years.

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".

Lewis finds similarities between the current situation surrounding North Korea and the events that led to China's 1966 test, which was driven by US doubts of Chinese capabilities to place nuclear weapons on ballistic missiles. "While we don't expect a serious selloff, the geopolitical rhetoric could heat up". "However, we are carrying out a further analysis because there are concerns that it might have been a man-made natural disaster".

It said it believed the quake was natural because the specific soundwaves generated by artificial earthquakes were not detected, Reuters news agency reports.

South Korea's presidential office said in a statement that a handful of its government agencies "still maintain [the quake] was natural and not from an explosion".

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has promised new sanctions against North Korea that will allow the United States to target businesses, individuals and financial institutions that aid North Korea's regime, and the Chinese central bank has begun to implement strict UN sanctions against Pyongyang. Those living near Bikini Atoll, where the USA tested many of its nuclear weapons in the mid to late 20th century, are still dealing with a range of health-related issues.

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Hours later, North Korea's foreign minister reportedly said his country may test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean. "Rocket Man" - his new nickname for North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un - "is on a suicide mission".

Kim, in an unusual direct statement to the world, pledged hours earlier to take "highest-level" action against the United States over President Donald Trump's threat to "totally destroy" the North if provoked.

"I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue", Kim said.

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.

Trump responded to Kim's threats on Twitter on Friday morning, calling him a "madman" who "will be tested like never before".

The president assured those in attendance, without details, that he would defend the USA against any offensives launched by North Korea: "I can tell you one thing, you are protected, OK? We will not seek unification by absorption or artificial means, if North Korea makes a decision even now to stand on the right side of history, we are ready to assist North Korea together with the global community", he said.


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