A 2.9 MAGNITUDE earthquake has been recorded near Kim Jong-un’s nuclear test site.
It comes after a 6.1 magnitude quake last month, which Pyongyang claims was the result of a hydrogen bomb test.
Today’s quake was 23km north east of Sungjibaegam, towards the border with China, which has been used by the secret state to carry out nuclear drills.
A statement on the US Geological Survey website reads: “This event occurred in the area of the previous North Korean nuclear tests.
“The event has earthquake-like characteristics, however, we cannot conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event.”
A 3.4 magnitude quake last month near the same location sparked fears there could have been another nuclear test.
This comes after two key officials involved in North Korea’s nuclear and missile program were reportedly nowhere to be seen during public events this week, fuelling speculation that another missile launch or nuke test could be imminent, Fox News reports.
Ri Man-gon, supervisor of the nuclear and missile development department, and Kim Rak-gyom, the head of the strategic rocket forces, were noticeably missing at a Saturday mass rally in Pyongyang and a Tuesday celebration for the anniversary of the Worker’s Party of Korea, according to South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo.
A government-funded organisation staff member told the publication there was “little chance” the top officials were removed from their positions because they were “praised for [recent] major achievements.”
“It’s highly likely that they were absent because they’d been given an important assignment,” the employee said.
The discovery was based on recently released photos of celebrations and rallies on Saturday and Tuesday. Ri and Kim Rak-gyom have been present at previous public events.
Officials have warned that North Korea could use special holidays to launch a new missile. Monday marked the anniversary of the country’s first nuclear bomb test carried out 11 years ago. North Korean citizens also continued to celebrate the Worker’s Party anniversary throughout the week.
The hermit kingdom has carried out its previous nuclear tests during Memorial Day Weekend, Lunar New Year celebrations in China and Kim Jong-un’s birthday.
Pyongyang carried out its last missile launch in September. That missile flew over Japan before splashing into the Pacific Ocean. The missile reached a height of 480 miles and flew 2300 miles out, putting Guam in range for a possible strike that Kim Jong-un has threatened in recent months.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho continued his scathing attack on Wednesday after President Trump’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly, saying the US president “lit the wick of war” with his words.
“We need to settle the final score, only with a hail of fire, not words,” he told Russia’s state-run TASS news agency.