Fresh nuclear test suspected for N. Korea's natural disaster

Fresh nuclear test suspected for N. Korea's natural disaster

Fresh nuclear test suspected for N. Korea's natural disaster

The US Geological Survey said on Saturday it could not conclusively confirm whether a magnitude 3.5 quake detected in North Korea was manmade or natural.

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".

According to media reports, the quake is believed to have been caused by a suspected explosion at same location where previous tests have been conducted in Bu North Korea.

Later, the China Earthquake Administration revised its estimation, saying the quake was not a nuclear detonation.

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.

South Korea says Kim Jong Un's rebuke against U.S. President Donald Trump marked the first time a North Korean leader directly issued a statement to the global community under his name.

This week marked a new level of acrimony in a blistering war of words between Kim and Trump, with the North Korean leader calling the American president "mentally deranged" and a "dotard".

Park said analysts could not rule out the possibility that a natural quake occurred because of a nuclear test.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, through its executive secretary, tweeted Saturday that the activity was "unlikely man-made".

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Until now, the North has not tested its missiles and nuclear weapons together, opting instead to fire them separately - the missiles above ground and the nuclear weapons below.

"This mission is a demonstration of US resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat", said Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White, calling North Korea's weapons program "a grave threat".

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

But on the fringes of the United Nations meeting this week, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho upped the tensions further, telling reporters Pyongyang might now consider detonating a hydrogen bomb outside its territory. It will also ban imports of textiles from North Korea.

Japanese broadcaster NHK said Friday that three European airlines partially changed their routes linking Japan and Europe in the wake of North Korea's repeated missile launches. Trump said Thursday the USA will impose additional sanctions over the communist country's nuclear weapons buildup.

Lufthansa said the latest decision was part of risk management efforts in preparation for the North's possible missile launches.

The forceful rhetoric from Pyongyang came after Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea in a speech Tuesday to the General Assembly.

North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency published articles Saturday with comments slamming Trump.

President Trump had recently ordered fresh sanctions over Pyongyang's weapons programmes and even praised China for taking an action to limit financial transactions with North Korea.

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