North Koreans spotted playing volleyball at nuclear test site

Looking at satellite images of North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear facility, the US monitoring group 38 North thought they might spot signs of a 6th nuclear test. Instead they found volleyball – in fact, three games were going on at the same time.

"An expert from 38 North said it either suggested the site is going into "standby mode" or that it's a deliberate ploy to confuse the U.S. and others monitoring the regime. The group, along with the South Korean and the U.S. governments, has said the recent activity around the site suggests Pyongyang is primed for a nuclear test and that it could happen at any time," says South Korea's Arirang News (video above).

According to CNN:

US military and intelligence analysis has remained the same for the last several weeks, and concludes that North Korea is ready and capable of conducting an underground nuclear test at any time. It's unlikely to give any warning.

And Reuters:

"We see that at three locations in the facility – in the main administrative area, at the support area, at the command center and at the guard barracks near the command center - they have volleyball games going on," said Joe Bermudez, an expert with 38 North, an independent North Korea monitoring project based in Washington.

Bermudez offered two possible explanations - that the test site could be going into "a standby mode" or that the games were intended to confuse observers, given North Korea knows that Punggye-ri is under constant observation.

North Korea has conducted a series of ballistic missile launches in recent months in defiance of U.N. sanctions and concerns have been growing that it could soon conduct a sixth nuclear test after carrying out two last year.

Start the discussion at bbs.boingboing.net