Quake hits North Korea near nuclear test site, possibly man-made

, 9:30 AM IST

Tokyo: An earthquake that appears to have been man-made near a known nuclear testing site in North Korea was detected by several monitoring agencies on Wednesday.

The United States Geological Service reported a 5.1 magnitude quake that South Korea said was 49 kms (30 miles) from the Punggye-ri site where the North has conducted nuclear tests in the past.

“We suspect a man-made earthquake and are analyzing the scale and epicenter of the quake with the geoscience and mineral resource institute of South Korea,” a Korea Meteorological Administration official told Reuters by phone.

The Japanese government said today that an earthquake recorded in North Korea might have been caused by a nuclear test.

“Considering past cases, there is the possibility that this might be a nuclear test by North Korea,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the government’s top spokesman, said at a regular briefing, adding that Tokyo was analysing the situation.