South Korea says quake in North Korea was natural, contradicting China

South Korea says quake in North Korea was natural, contradicting China

The U.S. has seen no need to shoot down North Korean missiles test-fired in Japan's direction, but a future missile launch that threatens U.S. or Japanese territory will "elicit a different response from us", Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday.

In remarks to reporters at the Pentagon, Mattis said US and Japanese missile defenses have been ready to respond, but were not needed.

North Korea's recent showcase of ballistic missiles and nuclear tests has heightened tensions in the worldwide community, with UN Security Council imposing new sanctions on Pyongyang and the United States vowing to "totally destroy North Korea" if needed.

North Korea is the only country that has detonated nuclear weapons since 1998, when both India and Pakistan tested their nuclear technology in an arms race.

On Thursday Trump announced new USA sanctions that he said allows the targeting of companies and institutions that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea.

The patrols came after officials and experts said a small quake near North Korea's nuclear test site on Saturday was probably not man-made, easing fears Pyongyang had exploded another nuclear bomb just weeks after its last one.

"This event occurred in the area of the previous North Korean Nuclear tests".

A US Pacific Command official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was "nothing to indicate this was anything other than natural". We can not conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event.

China to limit oil exports to North Korea
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho responded fiercely Saturday to President Donald Trump's warnings earlier this week. In addition to the nuclear test , North Korea has launched dozens of missiles since Kim came to power in 2011.

North Korea's weakest nuclear test, its first one, conducted in 2006, generated a magnitude 4.3 quake.

Despite disarmament efforts, more than 2,000 nuclear tests have been conducted since 1945.

The CTBTO, or Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organization, which monitors nuclear tests, and officials of the South Korean meteorological agency also said they believed it was a natural quake.

"The depth is poorly constrained and has been held to 5 km by the seismologist", USGS said.

The test prompted global condemnation, leading the United Nations Security Council to unanimously adopt new sanctions that include restrictions on oil shipments.

In a speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, President Donald Trump warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that the United States, if threatened, would "totally destroy" his country of 26 million people.

North Korea has launched dozens of missiles this year, several of them flying over Japan, as it accelerates a weapons programme aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.

Trump appeared to be referencing the United Nations sanctions against North Korea banning all natural gas liquids and condensates imports and capped crude oil imports at the level of the last 12 months.

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