Is North Korea Peddling Dope to Get Around Sanctions?

Russia could be America's greatest ally against North Korea

"We have determined that this was caused by a natural quake, not a big one at that, and had nothing to do with any explosion", said Kim Seon-mi, an official at the Korea Meteorological Administration in Seoul, the South Korean capital.

A few hours after China announced the enforcement of the new UN Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang, Beijing reported that an natural disaster, most likely caused by an explosion, was detected in North Korea.

Numerous scientific agencies on both sides of the Pacific detected an quake Saturday near the site where North Korea set off a hydrogen bomb earlier this month, at first prompting speculation of another weapons test, before a consensus appeared to emerge that the tremor was a natural occurrence.

A US Pacific Command official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was "nothing to indicate this was anything other than natural".

Chinese seismologists said it was a "suspected explosion" but South Korea says that it could be a natural quake not caused by a nuclear test.

USA analysts now estimate that North Korea may have as many as 60 nuclear weapons, according to a Washington Post report.

After the last test, which North Korea said was a hydrogen bomb, initial reports from the USGS put the tremor at magnitude 5.6 with a depth of 10km but this was later upgraded to magnitude 6.3 at 0km. It measured the quake at 3.5 magnitudes on the Richter scale.

Wang told Japan foreign minister Taro Kono on the sidelines of a United Nations meeting in NY that the situation on the Korean peninsula was getting increasingly serious and all sides needed to remain calm.




During the council meeting, speaker after speaker including US allies in Europe and Japan spoke out in support of the 2015 nuclear deal that capped Iran's nuclear program, which President Donald Trump is threatening to scrap. Criminalizing the drug trade means there are huge profits waiting for those willing to scoff at the drug laws, as North Korea has done for decades.

The U.S. B-1B Lancer bombers, based in Guam, and F-15C Eagle fighter escorts from Okinawa, Japan, flew the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea's coast in the 21st century, Dana White, the chief Pentagon spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement.

"We are about to run the most significant experiment in the use of secondary sanctions on North Korea to date, and perhaps the most significant such experiment with respect to any country ever", wrote Stephan Haggard, a North Korea expert at the University of California, San Diego.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Thursday that his country was considering the "highest level of hardline countermeasure in history" in response to President Donald Trump's recent threat to "totally destroy" the North if it attacks.

News comes as United States ordered new sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear program.

In a series of meetings this week at the United Nations, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has reiterated to various foreign counterparts that apart from sanctions, the resolutions also call for dialogue to resume and that this needs to happen.

But the ban on textiles - Pyongyang's second-biggest export - is expected to cost the country more than $700m (£530m) a year.

The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, told banks to "strictly implement United Nations sanctions against North Korea", four sources told Reuters.

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