A North Korea nuclear test over the Pacific? Logical, terrifying
00:10, Sep 24, 2017
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The US Geological Survey said on Saturday it could not conclusively confirm whether a magnitude 3.5 quake detected in North Korea was manmade or natural.
The epicenter is roughly the same as that of a previous shallow quake on September 3, which turned out to be caused by a North Korean nuclear test, the official Xinhua news agency said. The locations are around 50 kilometers away (more than 30 miles) from the site of previous nuclear tests, the group said.
China time and had a depth of zero meters, the China Earthquake Networks Center said in a statement, adding it was a suspected blast.
An natural disaster located near a North Korea nuclear test site may be an indication of another nuclear detonation.
South Korea calls North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's direct rebuke of President Donald Trump a "reckless provocation" that would deepen his country's global isolation and lead to its demise. "So as of now, we are categorising this as a natural quake".
Tensions have continued to rise since North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test, prompting a new round of United Nations sanctions.
North Korea has been maintaining a torrid pace in nuclear and weapons tests as it accelerates its pursuit of nuclear weapons that could viably target the United States and its allies in Asia.
All of North Korea's six nuclear tests registered as earthquakes of magnitude 4.3 or above.
A South Korean expert said the quake could have been caused by geological stress created from the recent nuclear explosion.
North Korea's nuclear tests to date have all been underground, and experts say an atmospheric test, which would be the first since one by China in 1980, would be proof of the success of its weapons program.
U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers escorted by fighter jets flew in global airspace over waters east of North Korea on Saturday, in a show of force the Pentagon said demonstrated the range of military options available to President Donald Trump.
SIPRI listed North Korea as not having any deployed warheads but with 10 to 20 "other warheads" which include "operational warheads held in storage and retired warheads awaiting dismantlement".
A day earlier, Kim reacted to Trump's provocative speech at the U.N.by equating the USA president to "a frightened dog" and a "mentally deranged US dotard", employing an obscure insult for someone declining into senility.
"This mission is a demonstration of USA resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat", said Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White, calling North Korea's weapons program "a grave threat".
The move escalated tensions with the USA and North Korea's neighbors, and this week its foreign minister said the regime's options included testing a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.
"Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!"
Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun says North Korea should stop provocations that would "lead to its own isolation and demise".
Kim on Friday threatened the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history" in a tirade against Trump's warning that Washington would "totally destroy" the North if the USA or its allies were threatened.
Yet it is still South Korea, and its capital Seoul close to the heavily militarized frontier with the North, that faces the greatest immediate risk in a military conflict.
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He noted that the situation could not be fully assessed because Myanmar had refused access to human rights investigators. Some have called for the Nobel Peace Prize Suu Kyi won in 1991 as a champion of democracy to be revoked.
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The dollar retraced some of last week's decline against major peers as worries surrounding North Korea and hurricane Irma eased. It's caused severe flooding and knocked out power to millions, but the storm weakened shortly before it came ashore.
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