The United States Geological Survey (USGS) detected a 6.3-magnitude tremor in the northwestern part of North Korea, not far from the area in which they’ve performed previous nuclear tests.
South Korea’s military believes that the tremor was artificial, which, together with its location, suggests that North Korea has performed its sixth nuclear test. South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, has called a meeting of his National Security Council.
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, told reporters that it “appeared likely” that North Korea had conducted a nuclear test and said that he would call a meeting of Japan’s National Security Council. If the tremor is indeed a nuclear test, it would be the latest instance of North Korean saber-rattling and a ratcheting-up of the tension between the nation and the United States.
North Korea conducted its fourth and fifth nuclear tests in January and September of last year. Last week, it flew a missile over Japan, prompting international condemnation and a “show of force” in the Korean Peninsula by the United States and its allies.
The United States announced new sanctions on Russian and Chinese entities with ties to North Korea’s nuclear program last week, and President Trump warned that the United States would respond to further threats from North Korea with “fire and fury.”
The tremor came just hours after North Korea claimed they had the capability to load a hydrogen bomb onto an intercontinental missile, providing no proof for the claim except for a picture of Kim Jong Un inspecting what they said was the bomb.