US ‘Surprised’ by Volleyball Game at North Korea Nuclear Site

Speculation That Game Could Be Intended to Confuse Americans

Intense US surveillance of North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site, from which US officials have speculated that a nuclear weapons test could be imminent, have revealed a series of intramural volleyball games underway among troops stationed on the site.

US officials admitted to being “surprised” by the volleyball matches, of which they’d apparently had no advanced warning, saying three different locations, including the guard barracks, the  main administrative area and the command center, were all hosting volleyball matches.

Independent DC-based North Korea monitor 38 North did not appear to completely abandon the nuclear test speculation, with expert Joe Bermudez saying that while the tests might indicate the site was in “standby mode,” it might also be that the volleyball games were deliberately organized to confuse the United States, knowing the site is being so intensely surveilled.

North Korea’s state media offered no insight into the volleyball matches, either to the question of why they were taking place or who ultimately emerged victorious. North Korean officials have previously insisted that any nuclear tests would take place at a time of their choosing.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of