Volleyball Activity Reported Near North Korean Nuclear Site

It seems workers at the nuclear test site have a lot of downtime ... or is it a set up?

Volleyball is happening — DigitalGlobe/Getty Images
Apr 20, 2017 at 5:15 PM ET

As North Korea threatens a “super-might preemptive strike” on America that would “reduce [it] to ashes” and America threatens North Korea with Vice President Pence’s disapproving glare, satellite images of what appear to be multiple volleyball games at a North Korean nuclear test site emerged, causing rampant speculation about why North Koreans are so chill in the face of the weekly missile tests promised by their leader.

38 North, a Johns Hopkins project that monitors the Hermit Kingdom via satellite, reported on Wednesday that it captured several images of sporting activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site taking place in not one, but three different locations (and there was a “possible volleyball net” set up in yet a fourth location). The images show little dots that are presumably people gathered in volleyball-game-formation clusters with a very thin line that is supposed to be a net between them.

Other than that, 38 North didn’t see much activity, suggesting that testing at this particular site is on hold, giving workers time to play multiple games of volleyball. Or North Korea may be staging the volleyball games to make it look like the site is not currently active when it’s actually about to conduct a new test. 38 North doesn’t know, and, as is often the case when it comes to things that happen in North Korea, nor do any of the other outlets breathlessly reporting the news that volleyball had occurred.

“We really don’t know,” North Korean military expert Joseph Bermudez told the New York Times.

Volleyball has happened at the test site since at least 2006, but this is the first time 38 North has observed multiple concurrent games, making the presence of such notable, sort of.