China's natural disaster administration said on Saturday it had detected a magnitude 3.4 quake in North Korea that was a "suspected explosion", raising fears the isolated state had conducted another nuclear bomb test weeks after its last one.
China's Earthquake Administration said that quake was not a nuclear explosion and had a characteristic of a natural tremor.
The natural disaster came after days of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's regime over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions raised global alarm.
In a rare direct statement, Kim said that Trump would "pay dearly" for the threats, and that North Korea "will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history".
For reference, the US agency recorded a 6.3 magnitude quake after North Korea's hydrogen bomb test on September 3, its sixth of a nuclear weapon.
In comments to reporters in New York, North Korea's foreign minister said his country's leader is considering whether to demonstrate his ability to detonate a nuclear warhead aboard a missile sent above the Pacific Ocean.
"This mission is a demonstration of USA resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat", said Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White, calling North Korea's weapons program "a grave threat". Satellite photos of the area after the Sept 3 quake showed numerous landslides apparently caused by the massive blast, which North Korea said was a hydrogen bomb.
North Korean has launched two medium range ballistic missiles over Japan in recent weeks, and has threatened an attack on Guam.
Spectators listen to a television news broadcast of a statement by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on a public television screen outside the central railway station in Pyongyang on September 22, 2017.
"We can never stand by idly about it", it said.
If it is confirmed as a nuclear test, it would be the North Korean regime's seventh.
In a speech last week at the United Nations, Trump had issued the warning of potential obliteration and mocked the North's young autocrat as a "Rocket Man" on a "suicide mission".
Park said analysts could not rule out the possibility that a natural quake occurred because of a nuclear test. "S. dotard with fire". Ri, who said Pyongyang's ultimate goal was to establish a "balance of power with the US", retorted that Trump himself was on a "suicide mission" after the U.S. president said Kim was on such a mission.
North Korea has been working on developing missiles that can reach the United States and its allies and pair them with a miniaturized nuclear warheads.
"The new sanctions set a cap on crude and refined oil exports to North Korea at 8.5 million barrels per year, which represents a 30 percent reduction, according to US officials".