Economy

North Korea threat: Guam again in Kim Jong-un's sights

North Korea threat: Guam again in Kim Jong-un's sights”

US B-1B "Lancer" bombers earlier this week conducted live-fire exercises off both coasts of the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea, the United States nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan has been undertaking manoeuvres nearby, and a nuclear-powered attack submarine made a high-profile visit to a South Korean port.

But South Korea's Meteorological Administration says the quake was natural.

The North Korea issue is expected to dominate the trip as tensions run high over the country's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. A small quake on September 23 was thought to be an aftershock of the nuclear test earlier in the month.

Speculation that North Korea has carried a nuclear test has followed a seismic event in an area where previous tests had taken place.

Jung Pak, former portfolio manager at the CIA's East Asia and Pacific Mission Center, said the president has given the impression of a rift in the alliance by threatening to end the countries' free trade agreement and accusing South Korea of appeasing the North.

"The explosion from the September 3 test had such power that the existing tunnels within the underground testing site might have caved in", said Kim So-gu, head researcher at the Korea Seismological Institute. Commercial satellite images have also found evidence of landslides near the North Korean site, raising fears of radioactive fallout if the North conducts another nuclear test there.

The North has vowed to bolster its nuclear and missile programs despite increasing US -led pressure on the country.

William R. Graham, chairman of the former EMP commission and its former chief of staff, Peter Vincent Pry, said that the US has ignored the warning signs for years and that North Korea's military moves this year must be seen as a wake-up call.

North Korea has hinted its next test could be above the ground. There is also a chance the nuclear tests could trigger a volcanic eruption at Mt. Paektu, which is a mountain about 60 miles away from the Punggye-ri region, CBS reported.



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