3.5-magnitude quake rattles N Korea near nuclear test site

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Asian stocks fell and the Japanese yen and Swiss franc gained on the mooted possibility of North Korea conducting another hydrogen bomb test, this time in the Pacific Ocean.

The tremor occurred at 5:29 p.m., some 20 kilometers southeast of the country's Punggye-ri nuclear test in the northeastern province where the North conducted its sixth nuclear test on September 3, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said that it detected a magnitude 3.5 quake in the area of previous North Korean nuclear tests, but that it was unable to confirm whether the event was natural.

Washington announced tougher restrictions Friday aimed at curbing North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programme, building on tough new United Nations sanctions aimed at choking Pyongyang of cash.

North Korea has little energy production of its own, but does refine some petroleum products from crude oil it imports - which is not included in the new ban.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says North Korea's Kim Jong Un is "being tested" by the strongest sanctions ever put in place by the USA and the worldwide community. He said in a telephone interview that the North likely would do a couple of trial runs with unarmed missiles in coming months before performing the test with an actual H-bomb aboard.

Kyodo said that it is thought to be an artificial quake in a "suspected explosion". The news agency issued a fresh report later, saying the seismic service after further study concluded the quake was natural and not the result of a nuclear test.

Seismic activity was detected Saturday near the site of North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear site, but it is not known whether a nuclear test caused the development.

South Korea's weather agency said that a magnitude 3 tremor was detected in Kilju in North Hamgyeong Province.

Russian Federation urged calm on Friday after US President Donald Trump called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a "madman".

Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho spoke to reporters in NY during the UN General Assembly shortly after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an unprecedented televised statement, accusing Trump of being "mentally deranged".

The Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website that China would limit exports of refined petroleum products from 1 October. Another U.S. ally, Japan, said Wednesday that pressure, not dialogue, was needed.

The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.

It added that China has issued a "comprehensive ban on imported textiles" from North Korea.

Then at Saturday's mass gathering, Kim Su-gil, alternate member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, read out Kim Jong-un's statement.

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