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North Korea suspected of nuclear test after 5.3 magnitude quake

North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile tests. (Representative image) Photograph: (AFP)

Seoul, South Korea Sep 09, 2016, 01.56 AM (IST)
North Korea is suspected to have conducted fifth nuclear test after seismic tremor was recorded around a known nuclear site in the country, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said today. 

Reacting to the 'seismic event', authorities in Japan and South Korea said the tremor, measured at 5.3 by the US Geological Survey, had the "hallmarks a nuclear test carried out on January 6 at Punggye-ri", AFP reported. 

The quake was detected near North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site as the country celebrates Foundation Day, which marks the anniversary of the founding of the nation in 1948.

The tremor was recorded at 0030 GMT at surface level, according to US European and Chinese seismological agencies.

"The artificial... earthquake in the North... is likely a nuclear test," a South Korean meteorological agency official said, according to the Yonhap.
 
The quake was detected near North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site as the country celebrates Foundation Day, which marks the anniversary of the founding of the nation in 1948.

"There is a high possibility that it was a nuclear test, given the location and the magnitude of the quake," another unidentified government official told Yonhap. 

North Korea has been hit by five sets of United Nations sanctions since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006. It conducted its fourth nuclear test in January, recorded with a magnitude of 5.1, according to the US Geological Survey.

Meanwhile, the China Earthquake Networks Center said the tremor was a suspected explosion.

Earlier this week, North Korea test-fired three missiles on Monday as world leaders gathered at G20 summit in China's Hangzhou city. While leader Kim Jong-Un hailed the tests as "perfect", US President Barack Obama warning it would only up the pressure. 

(WION with inputs from agencies) 
 
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