Quake near North Korea nuclear test site 'occurred naturally'

Posted September 24, 2017

Copenhagen, Sep 21 The global number of nuclear warheads dropped past year, but it seems China, India, North Korea and Pakistan are expanding the size of their atomic arsenals, a Swedish arms watchdog said today.

Tensions between the United States and North Korea have ratcheted up after Pyongyang conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test September 3, prompting the United Nations to impose even tougher sanctions last week.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reports that Ri told reporters in NY that a response "could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific".

Reporters asked Thornton why the U.S. does not respond North Korea's missile launches, which violate the airspace and allies - Japan and South Korea. Previous quakes were caused by weapon tests. 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.

The latest quake was recorded at a depth of 0km in North Hamgyong province, home to the Punggye-ri nuclear site, South Korea's meteorological agency says.

The agency said it is analyzing the nature of the quake.

The United Nations Security Council, including permanent member Beijing, approved tough sanctions against Pyongyang last week in response to its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

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It has pushed a tit-for-tat proposal in which North Korea suspends its arms programmes in return for a halt to U.S. military drills in the region, which has been ignored.

While the cause remains unknown, alternative explanations suggested by North Korea analysts include tunnel collapses at the testing site.

The sources said banks were told to stop providing financial services to new North Korean customers and to wind down loans with existing customers, following tighter sanctions against Pyongyang by the United Nations.

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. Its leaders say nuclear capabilities are its only deterrent against an outside world seeking to destroy it.

The pair had swapped insults, with Mr Trump calling the North Korean a suicidal "rocket man" and being labelled "mentally deranged" and "a dotard" in return.

The announcement follows days of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un's regime, which has raised global alarm.