North Korea tests another nuclear weapon

The tremor was detected near where North Korea recently conducted a nuclear test

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.

"There is no confirmed evidence provided at this time, whether there was an actual test explosion out of North Korea or a natural quake", Guam Homeland Security officials said in a statement".

Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho comments Thursday on the sidelines of a United Nations gathering followed an extraordinary direct statement by Kim in response to President Donald Trump's threat to "totally destroy" North Korea.

Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on September 3 and has launched dozens of missiles this year as it accelerates a program aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.

Tests of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles are rarer still.

"This event occurred in the area of the previous North Korean nuclear tests", the USGS said.

If it is confirmed as a nuclear test, it would be the North Korean regime's seventh.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says developments in North Korea's nuclear program "contributed to international political instability with potentially serious knock-on effects".

Park said analysts could not rule out the possibility that a natural quake occurred because of a nuclear test.

He said such a test could pose a danger to shipping and aircraft, even if the North declared a "keep out" zone, and would pose a risk to people if something went wrong.

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But the official from the South Korean agency said the analysis of seismic waves and the lack of sound waves clearly showed that the quake was not caused by an artificial explosion.

Saturday's quake follows an escalation of the combative rhetoric between the North Korean and USA leaders this week.

"It could be a natural quake that really was man-made as the nuclear test would have transferred a lot of stress", he said.

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.

A secondary tremor detected after that test could have been caused by the collapse of a tunnel at the mountainous site, experts said at the time.

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 programme.

There was no immediate reaction from China's Foreign Ministry.

While China has been angered by North Korea's repeated nuclear and missile tests and has signed up for the increasingly tough United Nations sanctions, it has also stressed the need to resume dialogue and for all sides to take steps to reduce tensions. North Korea's recent missile launches over Japan especially drew stern rebukes from Tokyo and the global community.

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.

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