South Korea's weather agency reported a magnitude 3.0 quake in an area of North Korea where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, but assessed the seismic activity as natural.
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 groundwork laid in 2016 has been built on in 2017, with 122 states approving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the U.N.in July 2017".
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.
China's Earthquake Administration said the quake was not a nuclear explosion and had the characteristics of a natural tremor.
All of North Korea's six nuclear tests registered as earthquakes of magnitude 4.3 or above.
South Korea's weather agency, however, said it was examining the quake and took the view that it was a naturally occurring phenomenon.
The worldwide community has been increasing pressure on North Korea over a series of recent missile and nuclear tests, and the issue has been a major point of discussion at the UN General Assembly. "So as of now, we are categorising this as a natural quake". "The waves we have detected from the latest quake have a similar pattern to that of natural earthquakes". The last test on Sept.3 registered as a 6.3 magnitude quake.
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.
The United States Geological Survey, the peak body on earthquakes, has yet to determine if the quake was natural or artificially caused.
Tensions have continued to rise around the Korean Peninsula since Pyongyang carried out its sixth nuclear test, prompting a new round of United Nations sanctions.
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 U.S. or its allies were threatened.
An import ban on clothing produced in North Korea is also planned.
Monitoring groups estimate that the nuclear test conducted in North Korea earlier this month had a yield of 250 kilotons, which is 16 times the size of the United States bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.