Reports of North Korean tremor could be nuclear test

In this image distributed Sept. 3 2017 by the North Korean government shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at an undisclosed location

However, the agency has said it has not detected any man-made sound waves and the initial view was that it was a natural tremor.

China was first to announce the seismic events and said the larger 3.4 magnitude quake was a "suspected explosion".

The US Geological Survey measured a magnitude 3.5 quake struck at 4:29 a.m. ET Saturday 22 kilometers (more than 13 miles) east-northeast of Sungjibaegam, North Korea. He said in remarks broadcast on South Korean TV that the countermeasures flagged by Kim might refer to a "strongest-ever" ground-level test of a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific.

"This mission is a demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat", Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement.

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Last Friday, North Korea threatened to detonate the "most powerful" hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean - a response to US President Donald Trump's warning to "totally destroy" the regime in his speech at the United Nations on Tuesday.

Tensions have continued to rise around the Korean peninsula since Pyongyang carried out its sixth nuclear test, prompting a new round of United Nations sanctions.

North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency published articles Saturday with comments slamming Trump.

Thursday, President Trump issued a new Executive Order imposing increased sanctions on North Korea to target various trade networks and financial institutions.

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In recent months, the North has launched a pair of still-developmental ICBMs it said were capable of striking the continental United States and a pair of intermediate-range missiles that soared over Japanese territory.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in an extraordinary and direct rebuke, called President Donald Trump "deranged" and said he will "pay dearly" for his threats, a possible indication of more powerful weapons tests on the horizon. "The Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) is the sole organization in the USA federal government whose mission is to detect and report technical data from foreign nuclear explosions", the USGS said.

Trump's executive order expanded the Treasury Department's ability to target anyone conducting significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea, and to ban them from interacting with the USA financial system. The Missile landed in the Pacific Ocean, about 1,370 miles east of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island.

Under Kim Jong Un's leadership, Pyongyang carried out several intercontinental ballistic missile tests, including 20 missile tests in 2016. The last test registered as a 6.3 magnitude quake.

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Lawmakers authorized almost $32 billion in spending on June 30 and have grappled ever since with how to fully fund it. Call your state senators and tell them to approve the state House's no-tax-increase plan.

China has taken various steps in recent months to signal its impatience with its neighbour, the latest being an immediate ban on imports of North Korean textiles and a tighter cap on oil supplies from next year.

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