Published: Sun, September 24, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Earthquake detected in North Korea may be a missile test

Earthquake detected in North Korea may be a missile test

Mr Kim had said the United Nations speech - which was boycotted by North Korean diplomats - was "the most ferocious declaration of war in history".

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, now in NY for a United Nations meeting, warned on Thursday that Mr Kim could consider a hydrogen bomb test of an unprecedented scale over the Pacific. 3, 2017: a hydrogen bomb estimated to be 17 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima in 1945. "We have no idea about what actions could be taken as it will be ordered by leader Kim Jong Un". His comments were believed to be the first direct message ever issued by a North Korean leader.

Freelance journalist Jihye Lee said the original statement in Korean used a term better translated as "old beast lunatic", but it became "dotard" in the English version released by North Korea.

A USA government intelligence analyst said the events could have been a "mine-type" collapse of tunnels damaged by North Korea's previous nuclear test, but was more likely a small natural disaster. In a one-and-only such test in 1962, the US launched a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile from a submerged submarine. North Korea has conducted six nuclear test explosions since 2006, all at its northeastern underground test site.

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.

"This mission is a demonstration of United States resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat", Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement.

"And if the test doesn't go according to plan, you could have population at risk, too", he said.

"There are good reasons why nuclear weapons and nuclear missiles are usually tested separately".

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday that countries need to unite to enforce sanctions and apply pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

Speculation has been swirling around the test, though it appears to be purely based on an off-hand comment by North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho to reporters suggesting such a test "could" happen.

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In the course of the speech, Trump said if the United States is "forced to defend itself and its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea".

He said Trump's remarks "have convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last".

At a Security Council meeting later Thursday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was to push for strict enforcement of a new raft of global sanctions targeting North Korea's exports and its energy supplies.

Tightening an economic noose around the Pyongyang regime, Trump said he had signed an executive order allowing sanctions against "individuals and companies that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea".

In an executive order issued Thursday, the Treasury Department has been granted expanded latitude to target anyone trading with North Korea, barring them from using the US banking system.

Accounting for about 90% of North Korea's imports, Beijing is seen by many as the key to any North Korea strategy.

'Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation, ' Kim said.

He added, "The president obviously takes the responsibility of the security of the American people very seriously".

Saturday's seismic activity came on the same day China announced it would limit trade with the North, reducing its fuel exports to its neighbor and banning all textile imports.

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