Suspicious Earthquake Hits Near North Korea's Nuclear Test Site

Mattis Says Diplomacy Best Course Against North Korea

If North Korea attempts an atmospheric nuclear test at sea, it would likely involve its most powerful ballistic missiles, such as the intermediate-range Hwasong-12 or the intercontinental-range Hwasong-14, experts say.

"The quake is presumed to have occurred naturally, a sound wave, which is usually generated in the event of an artificial natural disaster, was not detected, " said an agency official. "This mission is a demonstration of USA resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options".

Stanford News Service interviewed two Stanford experts about the escalating situation between the two countries and what options leaders have on the table when it comes to North Korea.

In the past earthquakes in North Korea have indicated nuclear tests by the nation, which is now sparring with the United States over weapons capabilities.

The U.S. Geological Survey said it could not conclusively confirm whether the quake, which it measured at magnitude 3.5, was manmade or natural.

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.

Yesterday, minister of chinese Foreign ministry, Wang Yi used his speech to General Council of United Nations to ask for calm and restraint to parties involved and opted for a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

There have been concerns about the stability of the nuclear test site since the September 3 detonation.

North Korea's major diplomatic ally and trading partner announced curtailing the exports of refined petroleum to two million barrels per year.

The main reason for North Korea to take that risk would be to quiet outside doubts about whether it really has a thermonuclear weapon small enough to fit on a missile, said Jeffrey Lewis, a US arms control expert at the Middlebury Center of International Studies at Monterey.

After the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, said President Donald Trump would "pay dearly" for threatening to "totally destroy" North Korea if the us were forced to defend itself or its allies against a North Korean attack, Kim's foreign minister told reporters his country's response to Trump "could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific".

Wang made the remarks at the General Debate of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in NY.

In a statement posted on its website, Ministry of Commerce chinese reiterated terms of sanctions agreed to in NY last day, September 12, set a limit for export to North Korea of 500,000 barrels of oil products for last three months of 2017 and two million for following years.

The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies.

"There is no possibility that this could be an artificial quake", Yonhap news agency quoted a KMA official as saying.

Earlier this month, Pyongyang fired its second missile in as many months over northern Japan into the Pacific Ocean.

"We have no idea about what actions could be taken as it will be ordered by leader Kim Jong-un".

The strength of the quake was much lower than the tremors registered during any of North Korea's nuclear tests, including its first detonation in 2006, which triggered a 4.1-magnitude quake. That's in addition to cyberwarfare capabilities, a biological weapons research program and a chemical weapons stockpile. It also has a vast array of conventional artillery aimed at Seoul.

With assistance from Kanga Kong, Stanley James, Gearoid Reidy, Shinhye Kang and Andy Sharp.

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