Quake detected near NK nuke test site likely natural

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However, the South Korean experts have said that the tremor did not appear to be man-made.

The quake took place at 16.41 UTC (5.41am NZT) at a depth of 5km, the US Geological Survey reported.

"The event has earthquake-like characteristics, however, we can not conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event", said a statement released by the US Geological Survey.

It was centred very close to North Korea's Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, which previous weapons tests have been detected at through the earthquakes they generate.

Experts from South Korea's Meteorological Administration told CBS News the September 3 test possibly weakened the tectonic plate structures in the area, most likely causing the subsequent quakes. The authorities added that the epicentre of the quake was located north of the Punggye-Ri testing site.

This latest tremor came three weeks after a 3.5-magnitude natural disaster struck near the same area.

The watchdog group 38 North reported the quake was likely due to a major landslide caused by the September 3 nuclear test.

China says it has implemented successive rounds of sanctions agreed by the UN Security Council meant to pressure Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile programme.

Experts studying Friday's natural disaster in North Korea say the rogue nation may have unintentionally destabilized its nuclear test site due to the toll of repeated atomic trials.

Due to the recent nuclear tests by Pyongyang, tensions have soared up and the US President Trump has been engaged in an escalating war of words with the North's leader Kim Jong-un.

China's total trade with North Korea between January and September rose 3.7% to US$4.03 billion, with the growth rate declining from 7.5% over the first eight months of the year.

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