China's leadership are bracing for a nuclear test by Pyongyang next week.
That's according to Chinese news site Boxun, whose sources say the government considers the most likely time for a test to be around April 25th, the 85th anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People's Army.
There had been speculation that a nuclear test was going to take place last week, to coincide with another important anniversary, the 105th birthday of the regime's late founder, Kim Il-Sung.
But that date came and went, although a failed missile launch did take place a day after.
A sixth nuclear test by Pyongyang has been expected for a while now.
U.S. based monitoring group, 38 North, has been detecting increased activity around the Punggye-ri test site for the last month.
But the latest satellite imagery shows a somewhat unusual sight -- groups of workers playing volleyball.
The images picked up three different locations around the facility where games were being played, and according to an expert from 38 North, that either suggests the site is going into "standby mode" or that it's a deliberate ploy to confuse the U.S. and others.
But despite this, the South Korean government reiterated that the world always needs to be ready.
"We believe that North Korea can carry out a nuclear test at any time. Therefore whether they were playing volleyball or whatever they were doing -- I don't think it's an important factor as to whether they will test a nuke or not."
Meanwhile, the Chinese foreign ministry spoke out against the recent aggressive rhetoric coming from Pyongyang.
Earlier this week, a senior North Korean official said in an interview that the regime will test nuclear weapons on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis if necessary.
Beijing's foreign ministry urged all parties to tone down their provocative language and work towards de-escalating tensions.
Kwon Jang-ho, Arirang News.