China appears to be signaling to the US that it will strictly enforce punishments on North Korea, to preempt potential USA sanctions on Chinese banks and businesses that were threatened by the Trump administration.
US President Donald Trump told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran was an "embarrassment" and the "worst ever".
Hours later, Kim's foreign minister told reporters in NY that Pyongyang could launch a nuclear missile test in response.
"Seismic waves from a natural quake have a distinct pattern", the official said.
The administration said in a statement on its website that the natural disaster occurred around 08:30 GMT.
Earlier this month, North Korea conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date, drawing stiffer United Nations sanctions. "However, we are carrying out a further analysis because there are concerns that it might have been a man-made quake".
The 2018 Games are to be staged in Pyeongchang, just 80km from the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea, the world's most heavily armed border.
Another Korea Meteorological Administration official, who also didn't want to be named, said the agency saw the possibility of the natural disaster being caused by a tunnel collapse as low. "In case innocent lives of the United States are harmed because of this suicide attack, Trump will be held totally responsible". May described efforts by North Korea to amass nuclear weapons as, "outrageous proliferation". The USGS measured this month's nuclear test at magnitude 6.3.
A secondary tremor detected after that test could have been caused by the collapse of a tunnel at the mountainous site, experts said at the time.
Speaking at a lecture in Tokyo, Onodera said that the threat from North Korea "cannot be downplayed".
Earlier on Saturday, China's quake administration said it had detected a magnitude 3.4 natural disaster in North Korea, calling it a "suspected explosion".
"Two #Seismic Events! 0829UTC & much smaller @ 0443UTC unlikely Man-made!" The U.S. got Moammar Gadhafi to give up his desire to be a nuclear state and look what happened to him. The depth of the quake was 5 kilometers (3.1 miles).
There was no immediate reaction from China's Foreign Ministry.
The first sign Pyongyang has conducted a nuclear test is usually seismic activity.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Thursday warned of the "highest level" action after Trump told the UN General Assembly the USA will have no choice but to "totally destroy" the North if forced to defend itself or its allies.
He said Mr Trump had insulted his country in the eyes of the world, and threatened to "surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged USA dotard with fire".
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is expected to brief reporters later Thursday. The Security Council resolution also bans all North Korea textile exports, worth an average of $760 million over the past three years.
Four sources earlier told Reuters that China's central bank has told banks to strictly implement United Nations sanctions against North Korea.
- Chinese-Russian naval drills begin off North Korea
- Most active Western Conference teams this offseason
- As Trump Expresses Hope for Peace, PA Considers Unity Agreement with Hamas
- Trump rescinds invitation for Golden State Warriors to visit White House
- Russian Federation wants Trump and Kim Jong Un to calm down
- Defoe strengthens Euros case
- Trump calls North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un a 'mad man'
- Gaga: Five Foot Two is entertaining but manipulative
- Merkel, Schulz at home base on final campaign push
- 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' Spoilers: Is There an End Credits Scene?