Suspicious Earthquake Hits Near North Korea's Nuclear Test Site

For reference, the USA agency recorded a 6.3 magnitude quake after North Korea's hydrogen bomb test on September 3, its sixth of a nuclear weapon.

"What we're really doing is playing a game of whack-a-mole with North Korea", Snyder said.

Regional experts differed on their analysis of the tremor, with the China Earthquake Network Centre (CENC) service calling it a "suspected explosion" while Seoul's Korea Meteorological Agency (KMA) judged it a "natural quake".

North Korea's weakest nuclear test, the first one conducted in 2006, generated a magnitude 4.3 quake.

The tougher stance follows North Korea's largest nuclear test earlier this month.

The site of the tremor is close to where the regime on 3 September claimed to have detonated a thermonuclear weapon, in its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date.

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The U.S. Geological Survey said it could not conclusively confirm whether the quake, which it measured at magnitude 3.5, was manmade or natural.

Trump's latest steps to punish foreign companies that deal with the North was the latest salvo in a USA -led campaign to isolate and impoverish the government of Kim Jong Un until it halts the missile and nuclear tests.

During the council meeting, speaker after speaker including USA allies in Europe and Japan spoke out in support of the 2015 nuclear deal that capped Iran's nuclear program, which President Donald Trump is threatening to scrap.

In the almost three weeks since, as leaders of North Korea and the United States have exchanged insults, the world has braced itself for another show of force by the North.

North Korea on Friday had said it might test a hydrogen bomb on the Pacific Ocean after US President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the country, with leader Kim Jong-un promising to make a "mentally deranged" Trump pay dearly for his threats.

The North Koreans might take such an action because many in the United States senior leadership continue to doubt that Pyongyang has such a weapon available for operational use-and that Washington will never accept North Korea as a nuclear state.

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North Korea's major diplomatic ally and trading partner announced curtailing the exports of refined petroleum to two million barrels per year.

Hours before, Trump had announced issuance of a new Executive Order that expands sanctions of US against maritime transport, banking, ports and manufacturing of North Korea.

In a series of meetings this week at the United Nations, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has reiterated to various foreign counterparts that apart from sanctions, the resolutions also call for dialogue to resume and that this needs to happen.

Petrol prices are being pumped higher in Pyongyang in the wake of United Nations sanctions restricting exports of oil products to nuclear-armed North Korea. There is also no guarantee that even extreme levels of hardship brought about by effective sanctions will produce a popular North Korean revolution.

"The United States is still taking an attitude of skepticism toward North Korea's nuclear capabilities", Lewis said.

The DMZ is a strip of land that has divided South Korea and North Korea since 1953.

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  • Ryan Wade