The USGS earthquake information center reported that at 0030 GMT. Friday, earthquake type seismic tremors at about ground level shook an area close to Sungjibaegam in North Korea. The town of Sungjibaegam is the home of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site. There are suspicions that this type of seismic event may be related to nuclear testing, although USGS was unable to specify that, stating on their Website that they "cannot determine what type of explosion it may be, whether nuclear or any other possible type."

Fifth and largest nuclear test bomb possibilty

If the seismic event was the result of a nuclear test bomb, Reuters reports that it could be "its [N.

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Korea] fifth and largest nuclear test." Chinese, European and the US agencies picked up the tremor. South Korea called a sitting of the National Security Council and the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement that said, "we are analyzing whether it is a nuclear test."

Meanwhile, both China and Japan have taken measures to monitor radiation levels, with Japan vocally angry, saying it is "intolerable," and it was reported that they lodged an official protest.

The most interesting comments seem to have emerged via the Middlebury Institute of International Studies which is based in California. With the most detailed assessment reported yet, Reuters heard from Jeffrey Lewis, who indicated that the seismic magnitude of the blast pointed to the largest nuclear test done by North Korea. He went on to tell Reuters that scientific indicators are that it could have been a "blast with a 20- to 30-kilotonne yield." This makes it bigger than the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima towards the end of the second World War.

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UN Security Council sanctions on N. Korea

North Korea has been under United Nations Security Council sanctions since 2006 and they ignore international treaties over nuclear missile development and testing. They are a relatively isolated and hostile nation and are clearly working their way towards a bigger nuclear capability. 

In 2009 North Korea announced that it had developed a nuclear weapon which is of huge concern.

CNN reported in 2003 that the country was no longer a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. By 2009, The Times (Tokyo) reported that North Korea is a "fully fledged nuclear power." More alarming is that in January 2016, North Korea detonated another explosion, the largest before Friday's event. While they denied it was of nuclear origin and stated it was a hydrogen bomb, experts in the USA believe it may have been a 6-9 kiloton yield nuclear device with a small amount of hydrogen in it.

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