China Fears North Korea Nuclear Tests Could Trigger Volcano

Watching reports on N. Korea's alleged H-bomb test
Watching reports on N. Korea's alleged H-bomb test

BEIJING â€" News of North Korea's most recent atomic test, which Pyongyang is claiming was its first detonation of a hydrogen bomb, has sparked new fears about the future. But there is a more immediate concern: Neighboring South Korea and China are increasingly worried that the underground nuclear tests could set off the dormant volcano Changbai Mountain (also known as Paektu).

According to Caixin media, China’s National Earthquake Center monitored a seismic shock of magnitude 4.9 at 9.30 A.M. on Wednesday, some 80 kilometers southwest of Chongjin city, the known location of North Korea’s nuclear test site. The epicenter of the earthquake was confirmed by monitoring centers in several other countries, and North Korea’s official television station announced some two hours later, at noon, that the country had just “safely and perfectly” undertaken a successful first hydrogen bomb test. Several sources have shed doubt on whether the explosion was actually an H-bomb.

But Sina News reports that the severity of the earthquake following each North Korean nuclear test is escalating. South Korean experts say the test's impact range can stretch as far as 300 kilometers, and the test site is only 110 kilometers away from Changbai Mountain, which is called Baegdu-san in Korean.

Lake atop Changbai Mountain â€" Photo: Bdpmax/GFDL

Some two-thirds of the dormant volcano lies in North Korean territory, with the rest on the Chinese side. It has erupted ten times over the past 1,000 years, with the last eruption occurring in 1903. South Korean experts believe that if the seismic shock created by a bomb test goes over magnitude 6.0, it could cause the volcano to explode.

Research quoted by Sina News suggests that, once the Changbai Mountain erupts, 60% of its destructive energy will rain down on Chinese territory. In 2014, President Xi Jinping signed an agreement with South Korea to carry out research on this very issue during his visit to the country.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!