An “unnatural” earthquake may indicate more nuclear testing in North Korea.
Although there has not been any conformation from Pyongyang, the Associated Press reports that North Korea may have “conducted a widely anticipated nuclear test.” After what has been called an “explosion-like” earthquake, which global monitoring agencies claim was not a natural occurrence, the South Korean Defense Ministry has raised its military alert level. They said they are “trying to determine whether it was a test.” As the AP points out,
A nuclear test would also be a challenge to the U.N. Security Council, which recently punished Pyongyang for launching a long-range rocket seen as a covert test of ballistic missile technology. In condemning that December rocket launch and imposing more sanctions on Pyongyang, the council had demanded a stop to future launches and ordered North Korea to respect a ban on nuclear activity — or face “significant action” by the U.N.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, which monitors nuclear tests on a global scale, said it detected an “unusual seismic event” in North Korea. Their executive secretary, Tibor Tóth said, “The event shows clear explosion-like characteristics and its location is roughly congruent with the 2006 and 2009 DPRK nuclear tests. If confirmed as a nuclear test, this act would constitute a clear threat to international peace and security, and challenges efforts made to strengthen global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, in particular by ending nuclear testing.”
The magnitude of the earthquake in question was between 4.9 and 5.2 according to US, Japanese, and South Korean seismic monitoring agencies, and a government spokesman for Japan, Yoshihide Suga said, “We think it is possible it [the quake] came about as a result of a nuclear test by North Korea from looking at past cases.”
Several global agencies are still looking into the possible cause of the earthquake.