Friday, 16 November, 2018

Quake measuring 5.2 strikes North Korea, suggesting nuclear test

Quake measuring 5.2 strikes North Korea, suggesting nuclear test Quake measuring 5.2 strikes North Korea, suggesting nuclear test
Ellis Copeland | 03 September, 2017, 14:16

Experts and officials have said North Korea could conduct its sixth nuclear test at any time, and that the reclusive country has maintained a readiness at its nuclear test site to conduct another detonation test at any time.

The secretive communist state said its sixth nuclear test was a "perfect success", hours after seismologists had detected an earth tremor.

The "artificial quake" was 9.8 times more powerful than the tremor from the North's fifth test, the state weather agency said. The top officials from Japan, China and South Korea confirmed that an natural disaster this time was around 10 times more powerful than the tremor picked up after its last test a year ago with a 5.3 magnitude.

The most recent detonation, in September a year ago, was its "most powerful to date" according to Seoul, with a 10-kiloton yield - still less than the 15-kiloton USA device which destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

South Korea's national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, briefed reporters saying he had twice spoken to his USA counterpart H.R. McMaster and that South Korea will seek the "most powerful sanctions" against North Korea at the United Nations.

The test came just hours before Chinese President Xi Jinping was scheduled to open a summit of BRICs nations in southern China. South Korea's presidential office said it will hold a National Security Council meeting chaired by President Moon Jae-in.

Japan confirmed that North Korea conducted a nuclear test, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said.

The first of its two atomic tests previous year involved what Pyongyang claimed was a sophisticated hydrogen bomb; the second it said was its most powerful atomic detonation ever.

The fuse for Sunday's detonation was lit with the test in July of two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) that appeared to bring much of the United States within range.

The USGS and China's natural disaster administration detected a second tremor in North Korea minutes after the first, describing it as a cave-in or collapse.

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On Tuesday, the North fired a mid-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan, a test considered one of the most provocative ever from the reclusive state.

Experts say it is almost impossible to verify with certainty Pyongyang's claim that it detonated a hydrogen bomb, which is also known as a thermonuclear weapon.

If confirmed, the latest test would be Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test since it declared itself a nuclear power in 2005.

The White House says President Donald Trump spoke with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss "ongoing efforts to maximize pressure on North Korea". It has defied United Nations sanctions and global pressure to develop nuclear weapons and to test missiles which could potentially reach the mainland US.

Previous earthquakes near North Korea have been the result of nuclear tests. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared during his March visit to Seoul that the policy of "strategic patience" with North Korea was over.

However, U.S. officials remain skeptical of the claims, with many left questioning whether Pyongyang has actually managed to successfully miniaturise its weapons, or whether it even has a working H-bomb.

Thursday, the United States military sent its most-advanced fighter jets, Marine Corps F-35Bs, in a flyover of the Korean Peninsula along with US B-1 bombers and South Korean fighter jets.

A long line of USA presidents has failed to check North Korea's persistent pursuit of missiles and nuclear weapons.

South Korea's Yonhap News agency says a magnitude 5.6 quake has occurred in North Korea.

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