North Korea has designated Nov. 29 as a holiday to commemorate the country's launch in 2017 of an intercontinental ballistic missile, according to its calendar for this year, obtained by Kyodo News on Wednesday.
The designation indicates that North Korea has been aiming to bolster its nuclear and missile capabilities, as its negotiations with the United States on denuclearization and sanctions relief have shown little sign of moving forward, regional experts said.
On Nov. 29, 2017, North Korea fired what it said was its "most powerful" ICBM capable of delivering a nuclear warhead anywhere in the continental United States. Afterward, leader Kim Jong Un declared the completion of "the state nuclear force."
At the first congress of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea in nearly five years in January, Kim was quoted by state-run media as displaying his "important will" to protect national security by "placing the state defense capabilities on a much higher level."
Kim also said at the meeting that the launch of the Hwasong-15 ICBM allowed North Korea to declare "with pride to the world the accomplishment of the historic cause of building a state nuclear force and the cause of building a rocket power."
Since early last year, North Korea has cut off traffic to and from China and Russia, with fears lingering that the novel coronavirus, first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, could intrude into the nation.
The calendar was created by a North Korean company but printed in China.