Quake in North Korea prompts nuclear test fears

The US and South Korean military officials suspect the North might be preparing to launch missiles capable of reaching the US territory the newspaper said. Reuters file

Friday's quake was a magnitude 2.7 with a depth of 3km in North Hamgyong Province in North Korea, the Korea Meteorological Administration said, near the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site.

The 2.9 magnitude quake was recorded yesterday near a site where dictator Kim Jong-un has conducted previous nuclear tests, according to an Evening Standard report.

The quake took place at 16.41 (UTC) at an estimated depth of 5km, and while the USGS said the quake appeared natural, it did not rule out the possibility of a nuclear test.

According to 38 North, a Washington-based project which monitors North Korea, numerous landslides throughout the nuclear test site have been detected via satellite images after the sixth test.

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

An quake detected in North Korea has sparked fears of a new underground nuclear test.

The magnitude of the test was much lower than the North's most recent nuclear test on September 2, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale.

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

Fox News reported that the absence of two key officials in North Korea's nuclear programme during public events this week, which may suggest that another test was imminent.

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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