Tremor Detected Near North Korean Nuclear Test Site – Bloomberg

A tremor struck Saturday close to North Korea’s nuclear test site, though South Korea’s weather agency said it was a natural earthquake.

The tremor occurred at 4:29 p.m. China time with a magnitude of 3.4 and a depth of zero kilometers, the China Earthquake Networks Center said in a statement. South Korea’s weather agency said in a statement on its website that it was not artificially triggered.

People watch TV news reporting North Korea’s earthquake in Seoul on Sept. 23.

The United States Geological Survey put the quake’s magnitude at 3.5 and its depth at 5 kilometers.

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 detonation. 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 website, 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.

North Korea’s state media issued a statement Saturday from the National Peace Committee of Korea describing Trump as “wicked” and “a rabid dog.”

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