Quake due to "suspected explosion" detected in N. Korea

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According to South Korea's meteorological agency, the natural disaster was detected near the Punggyeri nuclear site in North Korea's Hamgyong Province.

The tremor occurred at 5.29 p.m., some 20 km southeast of the country's Punggye-ri nuclear site, where the regime conducted its sixth nuclear test on September 3, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

"I'm not a fan of Vladimir Putin", McCallum said, "but I think he got it right when he said that North Korea would rather eat grass than lose its nuclear weapons".

The latest development came a day after North Korea's official media reported a statement issued by leader Kim Jong Un in which he pledged to have U.S. President Donald Trump "pay dearly" for his recent United Nations speech.

Chinese seismologists suspect it was an explosion but South Korea say it could be a natural quake.

The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) said that it detected two seismic events in North Korea, but they were "unlikely (to have been) man-made". The document framed business with North Korea as a national security threat and warned that banks could risk their reputation and economic consequences. "So as of now, we are categorizing this as a natural quake", the official said.

China's move to halt North Korean coal imports in February and its decision to stop selling fuel have crimped Pyongyang's ability to raise hard currency through exports. It purports to do this by banning vessels and aircraft that have delivered cargo to North Korea from accessing the United States for 180 days. Such a rogue state rigged up the sanctions resolution while holding confabs with its followers by using its hegemonic position in the global arena.

Exports of refined petroleum to the North will be limited to 2 million barrels per year, effective January 1, the Commerce Ministry said.

If China truly wants to denuclearize the peninsula, he said it should work "to put the kind of pressure on North Korea that can change its strategic calculation before it's too late".

"This doesn't in any way, of course, justify the DPRK's missile and nuclear program, but to ignore the reasons for them is to be very short-sighted", Nebenzia said, using the initials of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

In August, China's imports from North Korea were $288.3 million, up 84.4 percent from July and down 1 percent from a year ago, based on data on the customs website.

Australia is now seeking a seat on the UN's Human Rights Council next year, which would be the country's first time on the peak human rights body.

Trump said tougher measures were being taken and it "is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime".