North Korean workers were observed playing a volleyball game at the North’s main nuclear test site, raising speculation that the regime has entered a readiness mode.
Joseph Bermudez, an analyst for the U.S.-based North Korea-monitoring Web site 38 North, told AFP that satellite imagery from last Sunday captured a volleyball game being played by the personnel at the guard barracks and two other areas at the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site.
Bermudez said the scene suggests that the site may be going into standby mode. However, he was cautious adding “they are either sending us a message that they have put the facility on standby, or they are trying to deceive us.”
Last Thursday, two days before the birthday of the North’s late founder Kim Il-sung, 38 North said the North’s nuclear test site was “primed and ready” to conduct a nuclear test.
The North, however, did not conduct the test on the day, instead launching a missile test which failed the following day.