Monitoring sites in countries around North Korea reported seismic activity in that country Saturday, but differed on whether the quake was likely to be natural or man-made, such as a nuclear test.
South Korea’s weather agency reports a magnitude 3.0 earthquake in an area of North Korea where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, but assessed the seismic activity as natural.
“The quake is presumed to have occurred naturally,” an agency official said, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. “A sound wave, which is usually generated in the event of an artificial earthquake, was not detected.”
The Korea Meteorological Administration said the activity occurred in Kilju in North Hamgyeong Province.
The site is near where North Korea on Sept. 3 conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in what it said was the detonation of a thermonuclear weapon.
Japan’s Kyodo News earlier reported, however, that a 3.4 magnitude earthquake was detected at a depth of zero kilometers near the North’s nuclear test site, citing China’s quake agency.
It said that it was thought to be an artificial quake caused by a “suspected explosion,” Yonhap reports.
The seismic activity was reported against a backdrop of growing tension over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile intentions.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has vowed to take the “highest-level” action in response to President Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” the North over its nuclear and missile programs.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said in New York on Thursday hat Pyongyang may consider its most powerful test of a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.
“This could probably mean the strongest hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean,” he told reporters in response to a question about what action the North Korea regime might take against the U.S.
“Regarding which measures to take, I don’t really know since it is what Kim Jong-un does,” Ri said.
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