Seismic activity detected near North Korean nuclear test site - USGS

REUTERS    
     HISTORY Founder Kim Il-sung and former leader Kim Jong-il

REUTERS HISTORY Founder Kim Il-sung and former leader Kim Jong-il

Suspicions are high that North Korea may have carried out another weapons test today after a magnitude-2.9 natural disaster was detected very close to one of their test sites.

The USGS noted, "The event has quake like characteristics, however, we can not conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event".

Maps showing the epicentre of a 2.9 quake in North Korea, left, along with the location of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, right.

Speculation that North Korea has carried a nuclear test has followed a seismic event in an area where previous tests had taken place. But South Korea's Meteorological Administration says the quake was natural.

"It is believed to have caused no damage", it added.

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The China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC) said the event may have been caused by an artificial explosion, but the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Lassina Zerbo said the quake was unlikely to be manmade.

However, experts warned that the detection of a quake does not always indicate a nuclear test.

Tensions have soared in recent weeks following Pyongyang's nuclear test as US President Trump engages in an escalating war of words with the North's leader Kim Jong-un.

Kim responded with a rare personal rebuke, calling Trump "mentally deranged" and threatening the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history".

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