North Korea will hold its annual Liberation Day celebrations in Pyongyang on Tuesday, August 15. The day commemorates the withdrawal of Japanese forces from the Korean peninsula in 1945. Traditionally, celebrations include massive coordinated marches throughout the city in addition to military parades. Pyongyang rejected Seoul’s offer to hold joint celebrations due to its continued military cooperation with the United States.
The region has been on alert after the recent deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antimissile system in South Korea as well as North Korea’s continued testing of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Inflammatory statements by both Pyongyang and Washington have led to concerns that the conflict may escalate.
As a reminder, travel within North Korea is severely restricted. Whether visiting on business or as a tourist, foreign nationals will almost always be accompanied by a guide, and tours will be restricted to sanctioned areas. Various Western diplomatic authorities warn their nationals against travel to North Korea altogether due to escalating regional tensions as well as the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention.