SEOUL: Satellite images indicate activity has resumed at North Korea 's nuclear test site, US-based analysts said Tuesday, as tensions remain high over fears of an sixth atomic test by the reclusive state.
Images of the Punggye-ri site captured on April 25 appear to show workers pumping out water at a tunnel believed to have been prepared for an upcoming nuclear test, monitoring group 38 North said.
It also noted that a large number of personnel were seen throughout the facility, with some groups possibly playing volleyball, in what is very likely a propaganda scene.
"It is unclear if this activity indicates that a nuclear test has been cancelled, the facility is in stand-by mode or that a test is imminent," said the researchers from the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
Workers were also observed playing volleyball at the guard barracks and two other areas at the site in satellite pictures taken on April 19 and 21.
38 North said the latest images were "unusual and almost assuredly a component of an overall North Korean deception and propaganda effort" and the result of media reporting on the earlier volleyball sightings.
North Korea is on a mission to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the US mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five nuclear tests, two of them last year. (APP)