At noon on September 3, North Korea claims that it successfully conducted a sixth nuclear test. The powerful tremors the test caused were felt strongly in China.
According to Yonhap News Agency in South Korea, North Korea said Sunday that it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that can be loaded into an intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea’s state-run TV broadcasted the special announcement hours after Pyongyang carried out a sixth nuclear test. “An artificial earthquake with a 5.7 magnitude was detected at 12:29 p.m. near North Korea’s nuclear site in the northeastern area,” said Yonhap.
The hydrogen bomb seemed to cause a powerful tremor in China’s northern area.
China’s national news agency, Xinhua, reported in an immediate tweet: “Tremor felt in Yanji city on China’s border, as a 6.3-magnitude shallow earthquake struck North Korea.” Xinhua also posted a short video of a shaking glass chandelier.
At 12:15 p.m., China Earthquake Administration released a statement, saying that the administration detected a suspected explosion equal to a 6.3 earthquake in North Korea at 11:30 a.m., with the focal depth of about 0 km. “The epicenter is about 70 kilometers from the capital of the northwest district of Hamgyong, about 390 kilometers from Pyongyang,” the statement noted.
Meanwhile, multiple Chinese netizens reported on Chinese social media that they felt a strong tremor.
A Chinese netizen, Qiaotianye, said at 11:55 a.m. on Weibo: “I am nearly frightened to cry. North Korea just had an earthquake. My home is very close to North Korea. I can feel the tremor clearly. It’s really frightening.” Some netizens commented underneath: “We here in Yanbian [ an autonomous prefecture in northeastern Jilin Province boarded close to North Korea] all feel it…Hopefully the nuclear radiation won’t affect you.”
Another Chinese netizen said on Weibo: “I found my bed shaking and I thought It was an earthquake. I didn’t know North Korea made it until I read the news.”
North Korea’s latest nuclear test triggered a wave of criticism from the Chinese netizens. Many angry netizens demand that the Chinese government break off diplomatic relations with North Korea immediately. And some netizens even suggested that China should deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system — the system which has led to diplomatic tension between South Korea and China –in China’s own territory.
Despite severe censorship in China, Weibo is still one of the very few platforms for semi-free speech. It’s uncertain how long these netizens’ criticisms and comments will last on Weibo, but it seems that many Chinese have grown tired of North Korea’s provocations.