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24 September 2017, 12:24 | Tara Lloyd
In a speech earlier in the week before the United Nations General Assembly, Trump warned that North Korea'sKim Jong Un had put himself on a "suicide mission" by pursuing his nuclear ambitions and that the USA would "totally destroy" North Korea should it need to defend itself or its allies.
South Korea and China disagree on whether the quake was natural.
President Trump tweeted early Friday morning that Kim Jong Un is "a madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people", further escalating the tensions between the USA and North Korea.
Another official at the the Korea Meteorological Administration's command center said it is believed to have been a natural quake.
Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on September 3 and has launched dozens of missiles this year as it accelerates a program aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile. His foreign minister, asked while in NY for the U.N. General Assembly what the countermeasure would be, said his country may test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.
Until now, the North has not tested its missiles and nuclear weapons together, opting instead to fire them separately - the missiles above ground and the nuclear weapons below.
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The latest round of rhetoric began on Tuesday when Trump, in his first address to the United Nations, made the threat to destroy North Korea, a country of 26 million people.
"There is no way North Korea is going to give up its weapons right now".
"Trump labeled Kim a "madman" and taunted him as 'rocket man", while in a rare personal statement this week Kim lashed out, and referred to Trump as "mentally deranged" and a "dotard". "There's a certain amount of bluster that's taken for granted when you're dealing with North Korea", the official told Reuters.
In a statement on Friday, Kim responded by calling the U.S. head of state "mentally deranged" and a "dotard" who would "pay dearly" for his comments - triggering Trump to describe him as a "madman".
The president expanded sanctions this week, seeking to force global banks to cease all significant interaction with North Korea.
Trump repeatedly has called for China to use its position to increase pressure on North Korea.
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He said the action "was a somewhat unexpected move and we appreciate it".
Trump's Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has said that the US will try to exhaust all diplomatic means, but has military options if needed. "In this case we saw none". House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea Week ahead in finance: Clock ticking for GOP on tax reformMore former classmates of Mnuchin call on him to resignMORE told reporters in New York Thursday that the administration would also freeze the USA assets of "anyone conducting significant trade in goods, services, or technology with North Korea". Its initial view was that it was a natural quake.
They were unnerved by Trump's speech to the United Nations this week, in which he derided North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as "Rocket Man" and said Kim was "on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime". The last test on Sept 3 registered as a 6.3 magnitude quake.
In his statement, Kim seemed surprised by Trump's threat of destroying North Korea completely, saying that it went beyond the usual threat of regime change.
Tensions have continued to rise since North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test, prompting a new round of United Nations sanctions.
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