3.1-quake shakes North Korea, Seoul allays nuke test fears

  • Agence France-Presse, Seoul
  • Updated: Mar 14, 2016 11:08 IST
A television screen at the Seoul Railway Station shows file footage of a missile launch conducted by North Korea. Two short-range ballistic missiles were fired into the sea by the Pyongyang administration on March 10, escalating tensions in the Korean peninsula. (File photo/ AP)

A minor 3.1 magnitude earthquake shook North Korea early on Monday, South Korea’s state weather agency reported, but said there was no indication that it was related to a nuclear test.

According to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), the quake struck at 5:17 am (2017 GMT Sunday) near the southwestern North Korean city of Songlim.

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It was not believed to be the result of a nuclear test because the affected area was far from North Korea’s Punggye-ri underground test site in its northeast region. “It was a natural earthquake. We don’t think it is another nuclear test. Nothing special has been detected,” a KMA official told AFP.

There were no immediate reports of any damage.

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The Korean peninsula is not an area of strong seismic activity, although minor earthquakes do occur from time to time. However, even moderate seismic shocks set off alarm bells because experts regard it as the first signal of a nuclear test.

North Korea’s last nuclear test on January 6 was followed by a 5.1 magnitude tremor at Punggye-ri, which was detected by international seismic monitors.

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