3.4 magnitude earthquake probably caused by explosion hits North Korea

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Vladimir Putin G-20 summit Hamburg July 7

A magnitude 3.4 tremor was detected in North Korea, China's natural disaster agency said, while a South Korean weather agency said it was not triggered artificially.

The epicenter is roughly the same as that of a previous shallow natural disaster on September 3, which turned out to be caused by a North Korean nuclear test, the official Xinhua news agency said.

He said that if the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un fell, most likely as a result of a U.S. military strike, either China or the United States should be ready to manage North Korea's nuclear facilities to prevent the spread of the weapons.

China was first to announce the seismic events and said the larger 3.4 magnitude quake was a "suspected explosion".

"The quake is presumed to have occurred naturally", an agency official said, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

Two seismic events recorded in North Korea were probably aftershocks from the state's missile test on 3 September, experts say. "We can not conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human made) of the event". "So as of now, we are categorising this as a natural quake".

US bombers accompanied by fighter jets flew off the east coast of North Korea on Saturday in a show of force created to project American military power in the face of Pyongyang's weapons programs, the Pentagon said.

"Sanctions, in my view, will not reverse North Korea's resolute determination", said Shen Dingli, deputy dean of Fudan University's Institute of International Studies in Shanghai.

There are signs that some preparations are under way, with Xinhua reporting that Central Military Commission vice-chairman General Xu Qiliang inspected troops from the Northern Theatre Command, which covers China's border with North Korea.




President Donald Trump has put China at the forefront of US efforts to rein in North Korea's nuclear program.

Nuclear tests have earlier caused earthquakes in the Communist-dominant country.

"There is no possibility that this could be an artificial quake", Yonhap news agency quoted a KMA official as saying. He said North Korea might conduct an H-bomb test with a medium-range or intercontinental ballistic missile, given its recent advances in missile and nuclear weapons development.

Earlier on Saturday, China said it will limit exports of refined petroleum products from October 1 and ban exports of condensates and liquefied natural gas immediately to comply with the latest United Nations sanctions.

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.

The main reason for North Korea to take that risk would be to contradict outside doubts about whether it really has a thermonuclear weapon small enough to fit on a missile, said Jeffrey Lewis, a U.S. arms control expert at the Middlebury Centre of International Studies at Monterey.

"The objective is for them to stop their missile tests and give up their nuclear weapons", said Mnuchin.

Yesterday, Iranian state media reported that Iran has successfully tested a 2,000km-range ballistic missile, which it had displayed at a military parade last Friday.

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