Recent satellite images from a North Korea watch group showed bizarre activity taking place around the country’s nuclear test site that no one was looking for at a time of international confrontation with the United States.
The 38 North monitoring organization said satellite imagery captured on Sunday showed personnel at the guard barracks and two other areas at the Punggye-ri test site actually playing volleyball, according to Agence France-Presse.
The images came amid heightened tensions between Pyongyang and Washington, as experts believed a North Korean nuclear test was imminent. Needless to say, scenes of volleyball games at the test site were not exactly what observers had been expecting.
“It suggests that the facility might be going into a standby mode,” Joseph Bermudez, a North Korea specialist and an analyst for 38 North, told Reuters.
However, Bermudez noted that the North Koreans likely knew that the U.S. would be looking into their nuclear facilities and could have been conducting the volleyball games as a way to fool unfriendly eyes.
Punggye-ri is a complex of tunnels and testing infrastructure in the mountains in northeast North Korea. According to 38 North, the site is “primed and ready” to conduct a nuclear test.
Check out this report from the Seoul, South Korea-based Arirang News:
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attempted to launch a missile on Sunday, but to the relief of millions around the world — and as a testament to the true capabilities of the communist, reclusive country — the missile was an epic fail, as it blew up almost immediately after its launch.
Many experts predicted a nuclear test would take place on April 15, the 105th anniversary of the birth of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung. Reports from April 12 suggested that North Korea had placed a nuclear device in the tunnels at the test site, according to The Daily Caller.
That test never happened, however, which caused monitors to observe the site again, finding only personnel playing volleyball.
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