USGS says can not confirm if N.Korea quake natural or manmade

Erika Holt
September 24, 2017

In a fiery speech before world leaders at the United Nations on Saturday, North Korea's foreign minister vowed the country will take "merciless pre-emptive action" if it detects USA or allied military action against it. This means taking into account all factors that affect security - "first and foremost" the US deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense System, also known as THAAD, and "NATO's joint nuclear mission".

The country's new liberal President Moon Jae-in, who took office in May, has maintained that the issue of providing humanitarian aid to North Korea should be handled independently from political circumstances.

The forceful rhetoric from Pyongyang came after Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea in a speech Tuesday to the General Assembly.

Son Kum-ju, a lawmaker and spokesman of the opposition People's Party, said the decision to resume aid was badly timed because it risks sending mixed signals to the global community that's trying to tighten the screws on Pyongyang.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump praised China for increasing financial restrictions, and has been pushing Beijing to apply more pressure to North Korea over it nuclear programme.

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The main opposition Liberty Korea Party also chimed in, warning that its provocations will only cause "a complete destruction of the North Korean communist regime".

The sticking point with the worldwide community has been China's unwillingness to take stringent actions against North Korea. One thing North Korea is extremely good at is absorbing pain. "The latest executive order is expected to add to joint efforts by South Korea and the United States and the worldwide community to bring North Korea to the path of denuclearization through strong sanctions and pressure", it noted. In 2014, a Mongolian oil company, HBOil, signed a joint venture with North Korea's state oil company to develop the country's unexplored onshore oil resources.

Exports of refined petroleum to the North will be limited to 2 million barrels per year and sales of liquefied natural gas banned completely effective 1 January, China's commerce ministry said. According to The Heritage Foundation, in 2014 and 2015, China reported zero oil exports to North Korea, recharacterizing oil deliveries as aid instead of trade. The meeting was attended by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his counterparts from other countries. As for China, he said Beijing's cooperation is essential to prevent "a catastrophe" and conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

China warned yesterday that the situation on the Korean Peninsula was "complicated and sensitive" and called for restraint on all sides after North Korea hinted that it might explode a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.

There seemed to be some initial difference of opinion, however, with Seoul's Korea Meteorological Agency (KMA) saying that it had registered a tremor of a similar size, but judged it a "natural quake".

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