Will North Korea time its third nuclear test to coincide with Kim Jong-il's birthday?
Dates and numbers have great symbolic importance to North Korea, so Pyongyang often schedules what Washington calls 'provocative acts' around holidays and important political events.
Seoul, South Korea
So when will it be?
North Korea vowed last month to carry out its third nuclear test but has said nothing about timing. As a result, the building suspense in Seoul has prompted many to look at the dates Pyongyang has chosen for past atomic tests, as well as rocket and missile launches.
Dates and numbers have great symbolic importance to North Korea's government. So Pyongyang often schedules what Washington calls "provocative acts" around US holidays and important South Korean political events, an effort to send none-too-subtle messages to its main enemies — Washington and Seoul. Pyongyang also uses the tests to give a nationalistic boost to its citizens, often favoring significant milestones of the state, party and ruling Kim family.
Here's a look at the "meaningful dates" North Korea has selected for past tests and launches, as well as future key dates on which Pyongyang might choose to stage its third nuclear test: