UPDATE: North Korea said it had successfully conducted a test of a miniaturised hydrogen nuclear device on Wednesday morning. The announcement on North Korean state TV followed detection of a 5.1 magnitude earthquake near its known nuclear test site earlier on Wednesday.
The nuclear test is the fourth by the isolated country, which is under U.S. and UN sanctions for its nuclear and missile programmes. (Reuters)
Reports are coming in that North Korea has “likely” conducted a nuclear test that triggered an “artificial earthquake” near a previous testing site. This according to South Korea as well as neighboring countries.
The United States Geological Survey has confirmed that there was a reported a 5.1 magnitude quake 49 km (30 miles) from the North Korean nuclear test site Punggye-ri site at 10 a.m. Wednesday Seoul time
“We suspect a man-made earthquake and are analyzing the scale and epicenter of the quake,” a Korea Meteorological Administration official told Reuters.
While the USGS put the depth of the earthquake at 10 km, the South Korean agency said it was closer to the the surface.
The China Earthquake Networks Center in Beijing has described the event as a “suspected explosion” in Chinese media.
Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, also confirmed that seismic waves had been observed by Japan’s meteorological agency indicated that it was “not a natural earthquake.”
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry has called an emergency meeting immediately following reports of the potential nuclear test.
If a nuclear test it would be the third staged by North Korea with the latest in 2013. Analysts say that satellite imagery has shown tunneling activity at the North Korean nuclear test site of Pyunggye-ri in recent months.