Quake in North Korea raises suspicions of weapons test

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping

South Korea's spy agency said recently the North was readying possibly two more tunnels following its latest test, according to ruling Democratic Party lawmakers who had been briefed on the issue.

The US Geological Survey said that the tremor hit at 1.41am (12.41am, Singapore time) with a depth of around 5km. In September, it detonated a hydrogen bomb which caused a 6.3 magnitude quake in the northeast of the country where the Punggye-ri test site is located.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the quake at 2.9 magnitude with a depth of 5 km and added it could not conclusively confirm its nature.

North Korea's last nuclear test on September 3 caused a 6.3 magnitude natural disaster, according to the USGS. But South Korea's Meteorological Administration says the quake was natural.

And now the latest quake to hit the region suggesting the detonations have dramatically destabilised the area. On September 3, Pyongyang announced a successful test of a hydrogen bomb. These disturbances are more numerous and widespread than seen after any of the North's previous tests, 38 North said.

The China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC) said the event may have been caused by an artificial explosion, but the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Lassina Zerbo said the quake was unlikely to be manmade.

Due to the recent nuclear tests by Pyongyang, tensions have soared up and the US President Trump has been engaged in an escalating war of words with the North's leader Kim Jong-un.

In response to Trump's speech, Kim rebuked him, calling Trump "mentally deranged" and threatened the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history".

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