|The marked location is the presumed epicenter of the two powerful tremors -- with magnitudes of 5.7 and 4.6 -- that occurred on Sunday afternoon. / Captured from the U.S. Geological Survey|
- A 5.7-magnitude tremor was detected near the nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, Kilju, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey.
- China's earthquake administration called it a "suspected explosion," according to Reuters.
- The tremor occurred around 12:29:58, at a depth of zero kilometers, according to China's Earthquake Administration.
- The second tremor with a magnitude of 4.6 occurred at the same site, eight minutes after the first tremor, according to the Chinese administration.
- It is not immediately clear whether North Korea has conducted its sixth nuclear test. Pyongyang conducted its fifth test last September.
- Data shows the suspected test was the most powerful to date.
- The suspected test came hours after North Korea claimed that its leader has inspected a hydrogen bomb meant for a new intercontinental ballistic missile.
- South Korean President Moon Jae-in is convening an emergency security meeting, and the
- South Korean military has raised its alert level.
- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned North Korea, saying, "If North Korea has indeed gone ahead with a nuclear test, it is completely unacceptable and we must lodge a strong protest."
North Korea seems to have carried out a nuclear test Sunday, South Korea's military said, citing a seismic activity detected in the vicinity of the North's nuclear test site.
The 5.7 magnitude "artificial earthquake" that occurred in the Punggye-ri area at around 12:29 p.m. is "presumed" to be from the North's sixth nuclear test, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) announced.
Pyongyang said it will make an "important announcement" at 3:30 p.m. (Seoul time). The secretive communist nation has often used such a method to make public its successful nuclear test or long-range missile launch.
The JCS said all South Korean troops have been put on high alert, with the North scheduled to commemorate its founding anniversary later this week.
"(We) are closely monitoring the North Korean military's move under South Korea-U.S. coordination," the JCS said.
South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae immediately convened a National Security Council meeting on the issue.
The Japanese government has concluded that the seismic waves stemmed from the North's six nuclear test, Japans' Foreign Minister Taro Kono was quoted as saying by the Kyodo news service.
The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) initially put the scale of the earthquake at magnitude 5.6 but revised it to 5.7.
China's Earthquake Administration said there was another quake in the North of magnitude 4.6 some eight minutes after the previous one, according to news reports.
Hours earlier, North Korea claimed that it has developed a hydrogen bomb that can be loaded into a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
The North conducted its first underground nuclear test in 2006 and carried out four others, including two last year, at the Punggye-ri site in the northeastern province.
The previous explosion a year ago, presumably with a yield of 10 kilotons, triggered a 5.04 magnitude earthquake.
"If an artificial quake is due to a nuclear test, a 0.2 increase in its magnitude is usually assessed as having a twofold increase in yield," a KMA official said. "The artificial quake this time (in the North) is presumed to have a yield of more than 9.8 times than that a year ago."
It means it was more powerful than any other nuclear experiments by North Korea, he added. (Yonhap)