Kim Jong Un
North Korea is suspected of carrying out its fifth test of a nuclear bomb, after a magnitude 5.3 earthquake was detected close to its test site. South Korea's Yonhap news agency said it was an "artificial quake". It quoted an unnamed South Korean government source as saying the tremor was highly likely to have been a nuclear test.There has been no confirmation from the North as yet that a nuclear test has been carried out.
Recent satellite imagery and intelligence has indicated increased activity at the Punggye-ri site, where North Korea carried out its previous nuclear tests, indicating a fifth was imminent.
The US Geological Survey, which monitors global seismic activity, said Friday morning's tremor had been detected in that area and was caused by "an explosion".
It said it could "cannot determine what type of explosion it may be, whether nuclear or any other possible type". North Korea is banned by UN sanctions from any tests of nuclear or missile technology. Something it has consistently ignored.
In recent months it has conducted a series of ballistic missile launches and has threatened to carry out nuclear attacks on its enemies.
Friday is North Korea's National Day, which celebrates the start of the country's leadership regime. North Korea often uses such events as an opportunity for a show of military strength.
Its most recent nuclear test, in January, was purported to be of a hydrogen bomb, but that claim has not been confirmed. Another mad man with unlimited power at his command. He has not the capacity to blow up the planet at present. But left to his own devices, that day might come.