South Korea says quake in North Korea was not result of blast
South Korea’s weather service has rejected a claim that a recent earthquake in North Korea was caused by an explosion, saying it was a natural tremor.
An official from the Korea Meteorological Administration said on Saturday that the magnitude-3.0 quake was detected earlier in the day in northeastern North Korea in an area around Kilju, near the Chinese border.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the quake failed to generate sound waves while the analysis of seismic waves proved that the quake could not have been caused by an artificial explosion.
The US Geological Survey said it was unable to confirm whether the event was natural. It measured the quake at 3.5 magnitudes on the Richter scale.
China’s official Xinhua News Agency had earlier designated the magnitude-3.4 quake in North Korea as a possible result of an explosion.
The site affected by the quake is close to where North Korea conducted its last and most powerful nuclear test earlier this month. The test, which Pyongyang said was a detonation of a thermonuclear weapon built for its developmental intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), generated a magnitude-6.3 quake. It was far more powerful than North Korea’s previous nuclear tests, including its first in 2006, after which a magnitude-4.3 quake happened.
Tensions have been high between North Korea and the United States since July, when the North test-fired two ICBMs purportedly capable of targeting the mainland US. Washington has increased pressure on Pyongyang through international sanctions. Joint military drills by the United States and South Korea last month also prompted more anger in the North. Pyongyang has warned that Washington’s provocations in the region could finally lead to a full-fledged nuclear confrontation.