Published: Sun, September 24, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

3.5-magnitude quake rattles N. Korea near nuclear test site

3.5-magnitude quake rattles N. Korea near nuclear test site

The U.S. has seen no need to shoot down North Korean missiles test-fired in Japan's direction, but a future missile launch that threatens U.S. or Japanese territory will "elicit a different response from us", Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday.

Petroleum exports for use in the North's ballistic missile program or other activities are banned by United Nations sanctions, the Commerce Ministry said.

"The increased moves of the USA and its vassal forces to impose sanctions and pressure on the DPRK will only increase our pace towards the ultimate completion of the state nuclear force", North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement released by the state's official Korean Central News Agency.

The comments come after the underground test of a nuclear bomb earlier this month and days after North Korea launched its second missile in less than a month that flew over northern Japan.

North Korea is the only country that has detonated nuclear weapons since 1998, when both India and Pakistan tested their nuclear technology in an arms race. The White House stated he also has a meeting scheduled with the South Korean president, which will focus on how to maximize economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea. "So as of now, we are categorising this as a natural quake". US nuclear weapons were withdrawn from the Korean peninsula in the early 1990s at the close of the Cold War.

"The depth is poorly constrained and has been held to 5 km by the seismologist", USGS said.

The CTBTO, or Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organization, which monitors nuclear tests, and officials of the South Korean meteorological agency also said they believed it was a natural quake.

North Korea has conducted 15 missile tests in 2017 and more than 60 since Kim Jong Un took power in 2011.

President Donald Trump, speaking at the UN, threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if forced to defend the United States or its allies.

But on the fringes of the United Nations meeting this week, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho upped the tensions further, telling reporters Pyongyang might now consider detonating a hydrogen bomb outside its territory. "In truth, nuclear weapons are clearly only leading to greater isolation, ignominy and deprivation", Tillerson said on Thursday at the UN Security Council.

Earlier on Saturday, China said it will limit exports of refined petroleum products from October 1 and ban exports of condensates and liquefied natural gas immediately to comply with the latest United Nations sanctions.

He stated that China's assistance is vital to roll back Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

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