January 03, 2019 09:45
A magnitude 2.8 earthquake occurred near North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site on Wednesday. It is believed to have been an aftershock of its last nuclear test in September 2017.
The quake occurred about 40 km north-northwest of Kilju, North Hamgyong Province around 7:20 a.m., according to the Korea Meteorological Administration in Seoul. The epicenter was presumably located at a depth of 12 km about 11 km east from the nuclear test site.
"The quake seems to have occurred naturally as a result of past nuclear tests given the seismic waves and depth," a government official here said.
A total of 11 tremors have occurred in the area since a magnitude 5.7 to 6.3 artificial quake caused by the nuclear test back then.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un promised to close down the Punggye-ri test site during an inter-Korean summit in April last year and invited foreign reporters to watch an underground tunnel being blown up there a month later.
But international experts pointed out that the site was already unusable due to the weakened ground and radiation leaks as a result of six nuclear tests there.
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