Looks like North Korea may have conducted a nuclear test (again)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Picture: Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)

A 5.3-magnitude seismic event believed to be a nuclear test was measured by the US Geological Survey near a known North Korean nuclear test site.

The purported test comes four days after the rogue regime fired ballistic missiles in violation of UN Security Council resolutions (again).

On Monday just after noon local time, the Hermit Kingdom launched three medium-range Rodong-class ballistic missiles from a region called Hwangju, according to South Korea’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The North’s most recent launch comes hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Park Geun-hye met on the sidelines of the G20 Summit meeting.

During the meeting, Xi, Pyongyang’s closest ally, reaffirmed China’s commitment to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

Xi added that Beijing still opposes the future deployment of America’s most advanced missile-defence system to the region.

China argues that since the bilateral decision between Seoul and Washington to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) battery, North Korean missile tests have expanded and are poised to rise.

Monday’s launch comes two weeks after the rogue regime fired a submarine-based missile off the country’s eastern coast near the city of Sinpo.

Pyongyang first attempted a submarine-based missile launch last year and again at the end of April this year.

Earlier this month the rogue regime simultaneously launched two “No Dong” intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

According to US Strategic Command (STRATCOM), one of the missiles exploded immediately after launch, while the other was tracked over North Korea before ultimately landing in the Sea of Japan. Notably, this was the first time that the rogue nation had targeted Japan.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described the launch as a “grave threat” to Japan and said that Tokyo “strongly protested.” Japan also said that its self-defence force would remain on alert in case of further defiant launches from the North.

So far this year, North Korea has conducted a little more than 13 rounds of ballistic-missile tests and has fired 29 various rockets.

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