North Korea: A Chronology of Events in 2005

April 24, 2006 (RL33389)




This report provides a chronology of events relevant to U.S. relations with North Korea in 2005 and is a continuation of CRS Report RL32743, North Korea: A Chronology of Events, October 2002-December 2004, by [author name scrubbed], [author name scrubbed], and [author name scrubbed]. The chronology includes significant meetings, events, and statements that shed light on the issues surrounding North Korea's nuclear weapons program. An introductory analysis highlights the key developments and notes other significant regional dynamics. Particular attention is paid to the Six-Party Talks, inter-Korean relations, key U.S. officials in charge of North Korean policy, China's leadership in the negotiations, Japan's relationship with its neighbors, and contact with North Korea outside of the executive branch, including a Congressional delegation. Information for this report came from a variety of news articles, scholarly publications, government materials, and other sources, the accuracy of which CRS has not verified. This report will not be updated.

North Korea: A Chronology of Events in 2005

This report provides a chronology of events relevant to U.S. relations with North Korea in 2005 and is a continuation of CRS Report RL32743, North Korea: A Chronology of Events, October 2002-December 2004, by [author name scrubbed], [author name scrubbed], and [author name scrubbed]. The chronology includes significant meetings, events, and statements that shed light on the issues surrounding North Korea's nuclear weapons program. An introductory analysis highlights the key developments and notes other significant regional dynamics. Particular attention is paid to the Six-Party Talks, inter-Korean relations, key U.S. officials in charge of North Korean policy, Chinas leadership in the negotiations, Japans relationship with its neighbors, and contact with North Korea outside of the executive branch, including a Congressional delegation. In the chronology, key events are marked by bold text.

Overview of Events in 2005

Mostly, More of the Same in 2005

The year 2005 saw little progress in resolving the North Korea nuclear issue. Although adjustments were made, such as changes to senior U.S. officials in charge of policy in East Asia and the addition of human rights and criminal activities to the agenda of items to cover with North Korea, overall relationships and regional trends saw no major reversals or breakthroughs.

North Korea Escalates Tension in Early 2005

In the first half of 2005, North Korea escalated the security situation on the Korean peninsula through words and actions. On February 10, Pyongyang officials announced that North Korea had nuclear weapons and would indefinitely suspend its participation in the Six-Party Talks, the multilateral negotiation forum dedicated to the peaceful denuclearization of North Korea made up of the United States, China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and Russia. North Korean officials followed up in April with the assertion that the focus of the negotiations should adjust to regional disarmament talks given its status as a nuclear weapons state. Reports of preparations for a possible nuclear test in April further escalated the sense of urgency. In May, North Korea announced that it had removed 8,000 fuel rods from the Yongbyon reactor for reprocessing; experts estimate that the reprocessed plutonium could provide enough material for an additional six to eight nuclear bombs. Later that month, North Korea launched a short-range missile into the East Sea.

A Return to the Six-Party Talks

After nearly a year without meeting, negotiators from the six nations re-convened in Beijing in late July 2005 for a fourth round of talks. The outcome, a joint statement of principles agreed to in September by all parties, was hailed as a major breakthrough. The key statement committed North Korea to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning at any early date to the treaty on the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. In exchange, North Korea was provided with security assurances; South Korea committed to provide 2 million kilowatts of electricity; and the U.S. and Japan pledged to take steps toward normalization of relations with Pyongyang. A crucial disagreement during the talks involved North Korea's right to develop peaceful nuclear energy programs; as a compromise, the United States and North Korea agreed to discuss Pyongyangs right to such a program and its demand for light-water reactors (LWRs) at an appropriate time. The accomplishment proved to be short-lived, however, as, just a day after the statement was issued, a North Korean spokesman asserted that North Korea would return to the IAEAs Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) only after it received an LWR from the United States. Secretary Rice dismissed the claim, but the sense of significant progress diminished, and additional talks were not held in 2005.

After the Six-Party Talks stalled again, hostile rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang intensified. Incoming U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Alexander Vershbow labeled North Korea a criminal regime and likened the state to Nazi Germany for its criminal activities. The same week, Jay Lefkowitz, the Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea appointed under the North Korean Human Rights Act, visited North Korea and called it a deeply oppressive nation while attending a human rights conference in Seoul. The escalated attacks were met with a torrent of hostile responses from North Korean sources. At a brief reconvening of the Six-Party Talks in November, the counterfeiting issue became the main focus: the North Koreans insisted that the imposition of sanctions on a Macau bank for its alleged role in helping North Korea launder counterfeit U.S. dollars constituted a hostile action that made implementation of the Beijing joint statement impossible.

Human Rights on Agenda

Criticism of North Korea's human rights record became more prominent on the U.S. agenda in 2005. Jay Lefkowitz was appointed as the Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea, a position created by the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004. His public statements on the situation facing refugees and North Korean citizens, paired with a high-profile meeting in the White House between President Bush and a prominent North Korean defector and author, amplified the Administrations concern about North Korea's human rights record. Emphasizing this record drew attention to the gap between the United States and South Korea in dealing with the Norths human rights abuses: in order to avoid provoking Pyongyang, Seoul abstained from voting on resolutions condemning North Korea at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights conference and the United Nations General Assembly meeting in 2005.

Counterfeiting Issue Takes Center Stage

In addition to human rights, North Korea's criminal activities began receiving heightened attention in late 2005. In September, American officials imposed penalties on Banco Delta Asia, a Macau bank that allegedly allowed the laundering of U.S. dollars counterfeited by North Korea. Noting the chilling effect on the Six-Party Talks, some analysts question the timing of the announcement, but Treasury officials insist that the issue is a law-enforcement activity and in no way related to the multilateral negotiations. South Korea has distanced itself from the U.S. accusations and reiterated its stance that raising such matters causes unnecessary friction with Pyongyang and jeopardizes the resolution of the nuclear issue. China, warned by the United States to crack down on illegal North Korean transaction in its banks, has taken some steps to curb such activity, but U.S. officials say it is unclear how aggressively Chinese authorities are moving. Beijing has also urged Pyongyang not to use the issue as a reason to boycott the Six-Party Talks. In December, the U.S. Treasury Department also put out an advisory warning U.S. financial institutions to be wary of financial relationships with North Korea that could be exploited for the purposes of illicit activities.

North Korea Increases Restrictions on Foreign Aid

In August 2005, the North Korean government announced it would no longer need humanitarian assistance from the United Nations, including from the World Food Program (WFP), the primary channel for U.S. food aid. In response, the WFP shut down its operations in December 2005 and the United States suspended its shipments of food aid. North Korea also asked all resident foreigners from the dozen or so aid NGOs operating in Pyongyang to leave the country. In November 2005, Pyongyang decided to reject aid from the European Union (EU) after the EU proposed a U.N. resolution on human rights in North Korea. Part of Pyongyangs motivation appears to be have been a desire to negotiate a less intrusive foreign presence, particularly the WFPs fairly extensive monitoring system. Officially, the North Korean government has attributed its decisions to an improved harvest, the decline in WFP food shipments, a desire to end dependence on food assistance, and its unhappiness with the United States and EUs raising the human rights issue.

Apparently, North Korea will continue to accept direct food shipments from South Korea and China, and many have accused these countries with undermining the WFPs negotiating leverage with Pyongyang. China, which provides all of its assistance directly to North Korea, is widely believed to have provided even more food than the United States. Since 2001, South Korea has emerged as a major provider of food assistance, perhaps surpassing China in importance in some years. Almost 90% of Seouls food shipments from 2001-2005 have been provided bilaterally to Pyongyang. Notably, China apparently does not monitor its food assistance, and South Korea has a small monitoring system.

Changes to U.S. Team in Charge of North Korea Policy

Several key officials in charge of U.S. policy toward North Korea were reshuffled in 2005. Critics of earlier U.S. policy were optimistic that Condoleezza Rices confirmation as Secretary of State in January would bring a greater degree of coherence to U.S. policy because of her reputation as one of President Bushs most trusted confidantes. U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Christopher Hill, a career foreign service officer with a reputation as a strong negotiator, was selected to be Assistant Secretary for East Asia and the Pacific, as well as the chief envoy for the Six-Party Talks. As Rice began her post at the State Department, policy analysts studied her language for clues about the U.S. approach to North Korea. During her confirmation hearing, Rice included North Korea among the list of outposts of tyranny, thereby appearing to signal a tough approach to the North. However, her declaration during a March swing through Asia that North Korea was a sovereign state was interpreted as a willingness to negotiate with Pyongyang. Apparently operating with more authority than his predecessor, Hill engaged the North Koreans in bilateral meetings and, eventually, in the Six-Party Talks. Two figures that appeared later in the year, however, were seen by many in the policy community as delivering a more hardline message to the North Koreans: Alexander Vershbow, the incoming U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, and Jay Lefkowitz, Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea. (See statements above.)

North-South Cooperation Intensifies

Pyongyang-Seoul relations, though typically moving in fits and starts, overall definitively advanced toward stronger cooperation. Major progress was achieved in developing the Kaesong Industrial Zone, an inter-Korean project of 15 South Korean firms employing about 6,000 North Korean workers. South Korea started electricity flows to firms operating in the zone, located in North Korea territory north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Tourism numbers ballooned (although all from South Korea to North Korea, and only in controlled areas), and inter-Korean trade topped $1 billion in 2005. Ministerial talks, the first in over a year, were held in June, a military hotline was established, and a variety of negotiations, if not concrete results, on joint river surveys, fishing, farming, and transportation went forward. Significantly, the South Korean Defense White Paper decided not to label North Korea as its main enemy, and instead designated it as substantial military threat. North Korea demanded 500,000 tons of fertilizer from the South, but Seoul officials only provided 200,000 tons because of Pyongyangs refusal to return to the Six-Party Talks.

Tension in U.S.-South Korea Relations Continues

Ties between Washington and Seoul were often strained by the capitals different approaches to North Korea, despite official declarations that they shared the same goal of eliminating North Korea's nuclear weapons program through a diplomatic process. The Roh Administrations public embrace of a framework aimed at balancing the nuclear issue with North-South reconciliation contributed to the impression in many corners that South Korea was asserting a distinctly independent foreign policy stance, sometimes at odds with stated U.S. goals. A disagreement between the U.S. military command in Korea and the South Korean Defense Ministry on the contingency plan, known as OPLAN 5029, to respond to an internal crisis in North Korea, was diffused, if not fully resolved. Despite these tensions, Presidents Bush and Roh held a summits in June and November in which they reiterated their shared strategic goal but declined to work out tactical differences. Indicating a need to strengthen the bilateral relationship, the two leaders announced a new strategic dialogue and the intention to move forward with possible Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations at their meeting preceding the November Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Busan, Korea.

Chinas Leadership Asserted

Though the North Korea nuclear issue remains unresolved, China has burnished its leadership credentials as host of the process. Beijing was praised as an effective broker and drafter of the breakthrough joint statement issued at the fourth round of Six-Party Talks. As the party viewed with having the most leverage over Pyongyang, China was called upon to re-engage North Korea after the February 10 announcement that it possessed nuclear weapons. Beijing officials have carefully timed their high-level visits to the Koreas, with an eye on balancing their interests with both. Chinese President Hu Jintaos visit to Pyongyang in October highlighted the consolidation of strong political and economic relations between the nations, and provided a significant counterweight to his visit to Seoul for the APEC summit the following month. Many analysts view Chinas strategy as largely successful in serving its national interests: avoiding major diplomatic crises, preventing the collapse of North Korea, strengthening its economic relations with South Korea, deflecting potential U.S. criticism on other issues such as human rights because of its leverage over North Korea, and enhancing its own reputation as a major diplomatic power.

History Issue Hurts Japans Relations with Neighbors

Apart from the dynamics surrounding the on-again, off-again Six-Party Talks, historical issues continued to simmer in Northeast Asia, generally at Japans expense. Early in the year, a dispute over the historical claims to the Tokdo/Takeshima islands, a set of small uninhabited rocks now controlled by South Korea, erupted between Seoul and Tokyo. Most observers saw the controversy as inflamed by domestic politics on both sides; as a result, a relatively minor issue derailed major diplomatic initiatives. Japanese Prime Minister Koizumis fifth visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in October prompted outraged responses from both Beijing and Seoul, and both canceled upcoming summits with Tokyo in protest. Japans attempts at moving the normalization process forward with North Korea also faltered. The appointment of Taro Aso as foreign minister and Shinzo Abe as chief cabinet secretary, both known as conservative figures who support the Yasukuni visits, was viewed by many in the region as an indication of Japans drift toward the right. Regional leaders voiced opposition to Japans bid for a permanent place on the United Nations Security Council. On the whole, Japans relations with the region declined as long-standing historical resentments and ascendant suspicions of Japans intentions hurt bilateral relationships with its neighbors. U.S.-Japan relations, meanwhile, continued to advance as leaders announced a major revamping of the military alliance that calls for Japan to take a more active role in contributing to regional stability.

Contact Outside of the Administration

North Korea continued to allow periodic visits by non-Administration officials and specialists; some observers viewed the receptions as part of Pyongyangs strategy of creating divisions and distractions within the U.S. policy community. In January, Representative Curt Weldon led a congressional delegation to Pyongyang. After trying to assure senior North Korean officials that the United States was sincere about wanting to peacefully resolve the nuclear weapons issue, Weldon reported back that North Korea was ready to rejoin the Six-Party Talks. He also revealed that the North Koreans claimed to have nuclear weapons, a claim that later was announced publicly and which contributed to an increase in tension and delayed return to the Talks. High-level North Korean officials also received Selig Harrison, a North Korea specialist known for his pro-engagement views, and impressed upon him that Pyongyang was unwilling to dismantle its nuclear weapons program until the United States moved to normalize relations. This message from the North Koreans reinforced their repeated demand that they receive assurances and assistance at the front end of any exchange, while the United States maintained that any deal was predicated on first the elimination of all nuclear programs in North Korea. Stanford University professor John Lewis and former Los Alamos National Lab Director Sig Hecker also visited Pyongyang and delivered messages about the status of North Korea's nuclear program back to the Administration. Finally, former Clinton Administration official and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson met with officials in Pyongyang in October in between sessions of the Six-Party Talks.

Other CRS Products on North Korea

CRS Report RL32743, North Korea: A Chronology of Events, October 2002-December 2004, by [author name scrubbed], [author name scrubbed], and [author name scrubbed].

CRS Issue Brief IB98045, Korea: U.S.-Korean Relations Issues for Congress, by [author name scrubbed].

CRS Issue Brief IB91141, North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Program, by [author name scrubbed].

CRS Report RL31696, North Korea: Economic Sanctions Prior to Removal from Terrorism Designation, by [author name scrubbed].

CRS Report RS21834, U.S. Assistance to North Korea: Fact Sheet, by [author name scrubbed].

CRS Report RL31785, Foreign Assistance to North Korea, by [author name scrubbed].

CRS Report RL32493, North Korea: Economic Leverage and Policy Analysis, by [author name scrubbed] and [author name scrubbed].

CRS Report RS21391, North Korea's Nuclear Weapons: LatestĀ Developments, by [author name scrubbed].

CRS Report RS21473, North Korean Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, by [author name scrubbed].

CRS Report RL32167, Drug Trafficking and North Korea: Issues for U.S. Policy, by [author name scrubbed].

List of Acronyms

DMZ - demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea

DPRK - Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea

EU - European Union

GNP - gross national product

HEU - highly enriched uranium

IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency

KCNA - Korea Central News Agency (North Korea's official news agency)

KEDO - Korea Peninsula Energy Development Organization

NGO - non-governmental organization

NLL - Northern Limit Line

NPT - Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

PRC - Peoples Republic of China

PSI - Proliferation Security Initiative

ROK - Republic of Korea

TCOG - Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (United States, Japan, and South Korea)

Table 1. 2005 North Korea Timeline


State-run Korea Container Terminal Authority says it concluded a memorandum of understanding with North Korea to form a joint venture to upgrade the Norths naval port at Nampo.


Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi declines to set a deadline for normalizing relations with North Korea, seemingly breaking from a past declaration that he would normalize relations with the DPRK during his tenure.


Congressman Tom Lantos travels to North Korea for talks with senior leaders, including Yang Hyong-sop, a vice president of North Korea's parliament, the Supreme Peoples Assembly, the Norths parliament, as well as Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun. Officials he met with expressed their desire for a significantly improved set of relations with the United States, but they argued repeatedly that the U.S. still harbored hostile intent.


North Korea blocks a planned on-site dedication ceremony of a South Korean-built hospital at Kaesong by not issuing invitations to South Koreans. The North also asked South Korea to delay its planned provision of 20,000 tons of briquettes to Kaesong residents and put off follow-up talks on building communications networks for South Korean companies operating at the complex.


North Korea's Red Cross requests 500,000 metric tons (MT) of fertilizer from South Korea, nearly doubling the 300,000 MT of fertilizer that Seoul has shipped to the North every year since the historic 2000 inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang, with the exception of 2001. South Korea hesitates, and ROK unification Minister Chung says Seoul will actively consider supplying fertilizer only if North Korea returns to joint economic talks.

1/11/05 -1/14/05

Representative Curt Weldon travels to North Korea with five other U.S. lawmakers. The group meets with Paek Nam Sun, North Korean foreign minister, and Kim Yong Nam, President of North Korea, and engages in ten hours of intensive dialogue with Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan, chief negotiator to the Six-Party Talks. Radio Free Asia reports Weldon as saying that North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-Gwan said the country was a nuclear-weapons state, but its nuclear arsenal was defensive in nature. Weldon says that senior North Korean leaders had told him they were ready to return to the talks but would be listening closely to statements from top administration officials. Upon their return to the U.S. the delegation writes a letter to President Bush to urge him not to make provocative statements about North Korea in his State of the Union address.


During her confirmation hearing in the Senate, Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice labels North Korea as one of the worlds six outposts of tyranny and said there probably is no more desperate population than the population of North Korea in terms of starvation, in terms of repression. She continues, our goal now has to be to make the Six-Party mechanism work for dealing with the North Korean nuclear program and then hopefully for dealing with the broader problem of managing this dangerous regime.


A high-level delegation from Russian energy firm Gazprom completes a visit to North Korea, where the group met with Premier Pak Pong Ju, Vice Premier for Industry Ro Tu Chol and Petroleum Minister Ko Deng Sik to discuss cooperation in the oil and gas sector.


In an interview with the New York Times, President Bush says that while the power of a U.S. President to overthrow tyrannies is limited, what he can do is ... be mindful that certain activities can prop up tyrants and cause tyrants to have legitimacy that they dont deserve.

1/27/05 -1/28/05

The two Koreas hold talks about the details of running Kaesong. They make arrangements for telephone service to be up in March 2005, and for electricity to be provided in February 2005.


Speaking in Berlin, ROK Unification Minister Chung Dong-young outlines some of the large-scale economic development assistance Seoul would provide to North Korea ... once North Korea starts to give up its nuclear program. For North Korea, securing the regime may be its utmost priority. But it must realize that the nuclear development program would threaten the regime and not secure it. For its part, Minister Chung says that the Bush Administration needs to adopt a comprehensive approach such as Nixon adopted when he traveled to China. Chung also calls on Pyongyang to resume inter-Korean dialogue.

1/31/05 -2/2/05

National Security Council Senior Director for Asia Michael Green travels to Tokyo, Seoul, and Beijing. Reportedly, he briefs Asian officials, including Chinese President Hu Jintao, on recently uncovered evidence that North Korea exported processed uranium to Libya in the past. China reportedly promised to send a delegation to Pyongyang later this month, but also advised Mr. Bush against making public pronouncements about the North Korean situation.


The New York Times reports that scientific tests have led American intelligence agencies and government scientists to conclude with near certainty that North Korea sold uranium hexaflouride, the material that can be fed into nuclear centrifuges and enriched into bomb fuel, to Libya.


In his State of the Union address, President Bush mentions North Korea only once, Were working closely with the governments in Asia to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions. He adds that ... There are still regimes seeking weapons of mass destruction but no longer without attention and without consequence. Our country is still the target of terrorists who want to kill many, and intimidate us all and we will stay on the offensive against them, until the fight is won.


The 2004 Defense White Paper for the Republic of Korea drops the DPRKs designation as the main enemy for the first time in a decade. Pyongyang nonetheless takes umbrage at being labeled a substantial military threat. Later, U.S. Representative Henry Hyde criticized the ROK Defense Ministry for ending the main enemy designation.


Presidents Bush and Roh speak for ten minutes by telephone about the North Korea nuclear situation and about the South Korean mission in Iraq.


South Korea continues to mull the DPRKs request for 500,000 MT of fertilizer. The increase in the size of the request fuels fears in the international press of a North Korean famine.


Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi voices caution over any imposition of sanctions against the DPRK for failing to resolve a dispute over the abductions of Japanese citizens. I think we should keep the window for dialogue open, Koizumi told reporters.


A rare statement by the North Korean Foreign Ministry says that it has manufactured nuclear weapons for self-defense and will suspend participation in the Six-Party Talks for an indefinite period. The statement asserts that the emphasis on ending tyranny in President Bushs State of the Union address, combined with naming North Korea as an outpost of tyranny in Condoleezza Rices confirmation testimony, indicates that the Bush Administration has intensified its hostile policy toward the North.


South Korea's Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon leaves for Washington for consultations with senior U.S. officials. Vice President Cheney reportedly asks Ban that South Korea curtail its economic engagement with North Korea. Secretary of State Rice reportedly lays down three principles for coping with North Korea's nuclear program: that a collapse of Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear program is unacceptable, that the Korean peninsula must remain denuclearized, and that other countries must guard against the proliferation of North Korean nuclear materials. Rice and Ban do not have the customary joint press conference after their meeting. Ban meets with the press alone.


The South Korean Ministry of Defense reportedly offers to hold military talks with North Korea over North Korea's announcement that it has nuclear weapons.


Speaking to ROK journalists in Washington, ROK Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon says The pilot program for the Gaesong (Kaesong) project will go on unless the situation is deteriorated further....We have a settled policy of seeking solutions to the nuclear issue and developing inter-Korean relations at the same time.


The official New China News Agency reports Sunday morning that Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing of China had spoken by phone on Saturday night with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Mr. Li called for the regional negotiations to resume as soon as possible and for the denuclearization of the peninsula, the agency said.


In remarks before the National Assembly, Chung Dong Young, South Korea's Minister of Unification, notes that the North had made similar claims at least 10 times since 2003. We see it as a claim to own nuclear weapons, not an official statement of being a nuclear weapons state. Mr. Chung dismissed the Norths claims as nothing more than a bargaining ploy intended to compel the United States to change its stance.


The New York Times reports that in recent months, the Bush administration has been developing new strategies to choke off North Korea's illicit sources of income. Chinas Peoples Daily English language website runs the article verbatim.


State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, questioned on ROK and Chinese aid to North Korea, says, we, and the others, agree that ... the North Koreans shouldnt be rewarded for causing difficulties in the reconvening of talks.


During his Senate confirmation hearing, Undersecretary of State nominee Robert Zoellick says, I would be careful about reading too much into the North Koreans most recent statement.


ROK Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon tells reporters that we have no plan to push for large-scale economic cooperation with North Korea in a situation where the North Korean nuclear issue remains unresolved. We will only push for economic cooperation on humanitarian grounds.


CIA Director Porter Goss testified before the Senates Select Committee on Intelligence that the U.S. believes that the DPRKs Daepodong-2 can load nuclear warheads and deliver itself to U.S. soil. He added that North Korea could resume missile experiments at any time. Goss did not clarify specifically whether the DPRK can launch nuclear warhead-laden missiles with its technology or what region in the U.S. that DPRK missiles could reach.


The U.S. and ROKs chief delegates to the Six-Party Talks, Ambassador to the ROK Christopher Hill and ROK Deputy Foreign Minister Song Min-Soon, leave for China for separate consultations with Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and their Chinese counterpart, Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei.


JoongAng Daily reports that Han Song-Ryol, North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations, said in a phone interview Thursday that Pyongyang is willing to attend talks in any form over its nuclear arms program. However, he stipulated the conditions that such talks would only occur if the United States promised coexistence with the DPRK and noninterference in its internal affairs, and if Pyongyang can expect the talks to have substantial outcomes in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and renouncing hostile U.S. policy.


In an interview published by JoonAng Ilbo, DPRK Ambassador to the U.N. Han Sung Ryol says, We have no other option but to have nuclear weapons as long as the Americans try to topple our system. If the United States withdraws its hostile policy, we will drop our anti-Americanism and befriend it. Then why would we need nuclear weapons?


Kim Jong-il meets visiting senior Chinese official, Wang Jiarui, head of the Chinese Communist Partys International Liaison Department, who brought a personal message from President Hu Jintao emphasizing the two countries stated goal of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and a need to resume the Six-Party Talks that among other things could clear the Korean side of its reasonable concerns. As reported by KCNA, Kim told Wang that the DPRK will resume talks if there are mature conditions, and if the United States would show trustworthy sincerity ...


Japans Ambassador to South Korea Takano Toshiyuki states to foreign correspondents in Seoul that the islets Takashima (Tokdo) are part of Japanese territory historically and under international law.


The head negotiators from the ROK, Japan and the U.S. on the DPRK nuclear issue meet in Seoul and again urge Pyongyang to return to the Six-Party Talks without preconditions. Kenichiro Sasae, director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministrys Asia-Oceania bureau, Christopher Hill, the U.S. ambassador to Seoul who has been named Washingtons chief delegate to the talks, and ROK Deputy Foreign Minister Song Min-soon attend the meeting.


The revised Marine Oil Pollution Compensation Guarantee Law comes into effect in Japan, requiring foreign vessels to hold insurance in order to pay compensation for all damage caused if they run aground in waters near Japan. The law has been called a defacto sanction against North Korea.


The U.S. Department of State releases its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report indicating that it is likely that the North Korea government sponsors drug trafficking.


Yonhop News Agency reports that the DPRK will close its trade offices in Beijing and Dandong. These offices have played an important role in facilitating business between North and South Korea. However, some have pointed out that the DPRK now has other means of communicating with ROK companies besides the trade offices, including a new industrial complex and the Internet.


Richard Ragan, Country Director for the UNs World Bank Program in Korea, says in an interview with Radio Free Asia that Chagang Provence, a North Korean province that shares a border with China, will be reopened to international assistance. Chagang Provence has been blocked off to all world organizations since October 2004.


The ROK Unification ministry eases regulations on South Korean organizations that provide humanitarian assistance in the DPRK. Local organizations that have had consistent dealings with North Korea will be designated as North Korean Support Groups and will be allowed to offer aid.


In an interview with the Washington Times, United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice refuses to back down from her statement made during her Senate confirmation hearings accusing North Korea of being an outpost of tyranny.

3/14/05 -3/21/05

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice travels through Asia, making stops in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Japan, South Korea and China. Along the tour, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice continued to stress the Six-Party Talks as the best way to address North Korea's nuclear ambitions. However, she also stated there are other options in the international system to address the DPRKs nuclear armament.


Announcement that, starting on March 15, 2005, South Korea will provide electricity to a pilot industrial park in the DPRK border town of Kaesong. This represents the ROKs first power transmission across the border.


Former Unification Minister Park Jae-Kyu say that conflict with Japan over the Tokdo islets could upset the Six-Party Talks. Park warned that the most urgent task is not the dispute over the islands but the conflict over the DPRKs nuclear ambitions.


In remarks made at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, Condoleezza Rice calls North Korea a sovereign state.

3/22/05 -3/28/05

U.S. and ROK forces participate in Foal Eagle, the joint military exercises designed to test the ability of South Korea to defend itself with the assistance of U.S. forces. In response, a North Korean radio commentary claims that provoking a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula and launching a pre-emptive strike against our Republic are part of the United States military strategy.


The Washington Post reports that, according to two anonymous intelligence officials, the U.S. misled its allies in its claim that North Korea had sold nuclear material to Libya. Instead, according to the Post, North Korea sold the material to Pakistan, which then passed it on to Libya. The Posts sources claimed that the U.S. had no evidence indicating that North Korea knew of the second transaction. On March 25, 2005 Scott McClellan, the White House Press Secretary, wrote a letter to the Washington Post calling the claim that the U.S. had misled its allies flat wrong. He continued, The fact that nuclear material found its way out of North Korea to any destination is a source of serious concern for the United States.


South Korea issues new regulations for inter-Korean trade which go into effect on the week of March 28, 2005. As a result of these regulations, travelers and products will face reduced inspections as they cross the border going to and from the new Kaesong industrial park in North Korea.


A visit by the DPRKs premier, Pak Pong-ju, to China yields no date for a return to the negotiating table according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao. However, Jianchao urged patience and flexibility, saying that the DPRK was still committed to the process, but that deep distrust between the DPRK and the U.S. remained the key stumbling block. We hope the two sides have patience, exercise restraint and do something constructive to reopen the process, Liu said of the U.S. and DPRK.


North Korean officials confirm an outbreak of avian flu. According to the Korean Central News Agency, hundreds of thousands of chickens were burned before burial to prevent spread of the disease, which can spread to humans.


The South Korean Inter-Korean Investment Entrepreneurs Council announces that it entered into an agreement on 15 March with the Beijing Office of North Korea's National Economic Cooperation Federation [NECF] to establish a joint venture industrial zone in Rangnang District, Pyongyang. The Council said it planned to break ground for the project some time in the first half of 2005, aiming at full-fledged production from first-stage facilities in the second half of 2005.


Joongang Ilbo reports that a senior-level ROK delegation will visit Kaesong today in a bid to restart talks between the DPRK and ROK outside of economic relations. Since August, relations other than those dealing with the two countries joint economic projects have been suspended. The delegation is part of Juamhoe, an informal organization of Seoul officials who accompanied then-President Kim Dae-jung to the 2000 summit meeting in Pyongyang.


The final report of the Presidential Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction is released. The chapters on North Korea and Iran are classified, and only one quotation from those chapters is widely distributed: The intelligence community knows disturbingly little about the nuclear programs of many of the worlds most dangerous actors, and in some cases it knows less now than it did five or 10 years ago.


A spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry releases a statement on the allegation that the U.S. keeps nuclear arms on the Korean peninsula. He writes, Now that the DPRK has become a full-fledged nuclear weapons state, the Six-Party Talks should be disarmament talks where the participating countries negotiate the issue on an equal footing ... if the Six-Party Talks are to creditably fulfill their mission, it is necessary to convert them into a place where ways are sought to completely remove the U.S. nuclear threat from the peninsula and its vicinity.


In order for the Six-Party Talks to restart, there should be the right justifications and conditions, Han Song Ryol, North Korea's United Nations envoy, said Friday to the South Korean news agency Yonhap. The conditions included an explicit apology from the United States for the outpost of tyranny remark and the exclusion of Japan from the talks.

4/2/05 -4/5/05

North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju [Kang Sok-chu] arrived in Beijing to discuss with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei and Wus deputy Ning Fukui possibilities for reopening the stalled Six-Party Talks. According to anonymous sources cited by the Japan Economic Newswire, Kang took a tough attitude throughout, and did not show any readiness to resume the negotiations. The source also said that due to the lack of progress during the talks, it has become difficult to set a schedule for PRC President Hu Jintaos first visit to the DPRK.


In an interview with the Associated Press, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says about the lack of intelligence on North Korea's and Irans WMD programs, while we may never know the exact nature of any of these programs, we also have to be very careful not to under-react to the fact that you have closed societies that are ambitious in their policies, that are trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction.


Kyodo reported that the first bird flu outbreaks in the DPRK were unlikely to have been caused by the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus, a top infectious disease expert at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said Monday.


Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung tells reporters that military exchanges between the ROK and PRC will intensify to a level similar to those between the ROK and Japan, the defense ministry said Monday. China, more than any nation, wishes for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, so we plan to strengthen our military exchanges with China, including making defense minister meetings a regular occurrence, said Yoon.


In order to extinguish a fire, North Korea allowed South Korean helicopters to fly over the DMZ for the first time since the peninsulas division.


The DPRK formally asks the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for assistance in its fight against avian flu.


In an interview with the New York Times, Selig S. Harrison of the Center for International Policy says that in his recent meetings with senior North Korean leaders, he was told that North Korea is no longer willing to negotiate a step-by-step agreement that would lead to the eventual dismantling of their nuclear program, but instead may freeze the production of nuclear bombs under strict conditions. He also states that the North Korean officials told him they planned to unload plutonium fuel rods from their nuclear reactor at Yongbyon in coming weeks. Harrison met with Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's second-highest official and the nominal head of state; Kang Sok Ju and Kim Gye Gwan, senior Foreign Ministry officials who oversee talks on the nuclear program. Harrison also said that North Korean hard-liners had assumed more influence. Kyodo News reports that The United States should consider the danger that we could transfer nuclear weapons to terrorists, that we have the ability to do so, Mr. Harrison quoted Kim Gye-Gwan as saying. A later article, published on April 18 by the Times further quoted Harrison as saying that he was told by a very senior North Korean that there were plans to unload the reactor to create a situation to force President Bush to negotiate on terms more favorable to North Korea.


President Roh Moo-hyun signaled a tougher line with the DPRK over its reluctance to return to nuclear disarmament talks, saying there are times when Seoul needs to get red in the face with anger in its relationship with the DPRK. In the inter-Korean relationship as well, we must express criticism and get red in the face when its time to get red in the face, Roh said, quoting his own remarks during a trip to Washington last year, then directed at the United States.


North Korea proposes talks with the ROK to discuss Seouls offer of aid in combating a bird flu outbreak in the DPRK. In a message sent through a border hotline, the DPRKs quarantine authorities called for talks with their southern counterparts in Kaesong.


In remarks made through his spokesperson to a meeting of German political leaders, President Ron Moo-hyun expressed his opposition to a change in regime in North Korea. The reason we help North Korea is because of the need to ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. In addition, North Koreans are our brethren. However, in a separate meeting with former East German Prime Minister Lothar de Maiziere and other figures from the former East and West German administrations, Roh himself said that his government will be able to provide full-fledged assistance to North Korea only if the North Korean nuclear issue is resolved.


Glyn Ford, a member of the European Parliament, and Kwon So-young, a Stanford University expert, claim in a research paper that Europe is fed-up and concerned with the failure to resolve the ongoing crisis in North Korea. The European Parliament has broken ranks with the U.S. negotiating line, presenting its own resolution for dealing with Pyongyangs nuclear programs, they state. The resolution called for the resumption of shipments of heavy fuel oil to the DPRK in exchange for a verifiable freeze of its Yongbyon nuclear reactor, recommending the European Commission offer to pay for the oil supply.


In an interview with AP, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohammed ElBaradei called North Korea a more immediate problem for nuclear arms control officials than Iran ... For us, North Korea is a black hole.


South Korea's National Security Council issues a statement confirming press reports that South Korea in January 2005 rejected Op-Plan 5029, a classified contingency plan for joint U.S.-ROK military responses in the event that Kim Jong-il suddenly lost power and the DPRK started to come apart. Aspects of the plan could be a serious obstacle to exercising South Korea's sovereignty, the statement read, an apparent reference to fears that U.S. forces, rather than ROK forces, would assume the lead role.


In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Condoleezza Rice admits that the United States has greater levers with the Iranians than the North Koreans because of North Korea's isolation. However, she added that she did have good discussions with the Chinese while I was there about the fact that the North Koreans can not be allowed just to continue to string the world along and that they cant be allowed to continue to make statements about their nuclear capability, just essentially denying their responsibility to be in the Six-Party Talks and to work for a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula. I think the Chinese took that on board and I suspect that theyll be involved in a series of diplomatic engagements with the North Koreans to see if they can move them.


In an interview with USA Today, North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Nations Han Songryol says North Korea has shut down its nuclear reactor and plans to remove the fuel to make bombs and increase our deterrent against a possible U.S. attack. The CIA has estimated that North Korea possesses from two to eight nuclear bombs; reprocessing this reactor fuel could give it an additional six. Anonymous U.S. and South Korean officials reportedly confirm that the Yongbyon reactor was shut down earlier in April.


Speaking on a Fox News program, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice continues to urge a return to the Six-Party framework but adds that we reserve the right and the possibility of going to the Security Council should it be necessary, of putting other measures in place should it be necessary. I think the North Koreans are not confused about the fact that the United States maintains a significant deterrent against North Korean nuclear weapons if, indeed, they have gotten to that state. I think they are not confused about the fact that we have a very strong military alliance on the Korean Peninsula that is actively deterring North Korean aggression.

4/21/05 -4/22/05

On the sidelines of an Asia-Africa summit in Jakarta, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan and the head of North Korea's legislature, Kim Yong Nam, meet and reportedly agree to resume bilateral meetings on May 16, 2005, in Kaesong.

4/21/05 -4/22/05

Washington sent an emergency demarche, or diplomatic communication, to China sometime late this week, saying recent North Korean words and actions indicate it could be trying to expand its nuclear arsenal and moving toward a test, according to a U.S. official. The demarche asked China to urge North Korea to desist.

4/22/05 -Amid signs that North Korea may conduct a nuclear test, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher R. Hill flies to Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo. Reportedly, Hill warned that there is mounting intelligence evidence that the North is preparing to test a nuclear bomb. He also asked China to cut off oil shipments to push Pyongyang to return to the Six-Party Talks. Beijing reportedly refused.


South Korea's news service, Dong-A Ilbo, reports on April 29 that Inter-Korean working-level talks held on April 22 to assist North Korea's bird flu quarantine failed to produce an agreement because the DPRK asked for a strategic material that can be used to make biological and chemical weapons. According to a separate report, on April 23, South Korea shipped equipment and supplies to North Korea.


In remarks carried by KCNA marking the 73rd anniversary of North Korea's army, Vice Marshal Kim Yong Chun, a member of the North Korean National Defense Commission, says North Korea ... will steadily bolster its nuclear deterrent for self-defense to cope with the enemies reckless moves for military aggression.

4/26/05 -4/28/05

Sports officials from North and South Korea meet at Mount Kumgang, North Korea's mountain resort, to discuss the Souths proposal to rebuild gymnasiums in the North and for both sides to create joint cheering sections for international sport events. Also on the table is the possible exchange of sports medicine experts between the two countries, as well as a railway line to take South Koreans through North Korea on their way to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


In response to Condoleezza Rices comments in her interview with Fox News, a spokesperson for North Korea stated, The stand of the DPRK is that the U.S. may bring the nuclear issue to the [U.N. Security Council], if it wants that so much, the spokesman said, according to the Norths official Korean Central News Agency. But, we make one thing clear: The DPRK will regard the sanctions as a declaration of war. PRC ambassador to the UN Wang Guangya also rejected the idea of a council resolution.


Christopher Hill, U.S. Assistant of State, calls the future of the Six-Party Talks very much uncertain at this point. Hill echoed an earlier statement of Rices, stating, I dont want to get into artificial deadlines, and I want to emphasize that we continue to believe this [the Six-Party Talks] is the best way to solve this but its also not the only way.


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. reports that the bird flu outbreak in North Korea has been contained. However, the FAO urged North Korea to continue bird flu surveillance throughout the country.


Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency tells the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea has been judged to have the capability to arm its missiles with nuclear warheads, though it is unclear what the range of these missiles are. Lowell also says that North Korea has the theoretical capability to reach the United States with a two-stage or three-stage intercontinental missile. Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita stressed that there had been no new assessment on the North Korean nuclear threat and that Jacoby was describing theoretical capabilities. Jacoby also says that DIAs assessment is that its unlikely that they [the North Koreans] would negotiate away completely its nuclear capability or appearance thereof.


In a prime time press conference, President Bush responds briefly to a question about Jacobys testimony and then asks the reporter, Let me talk about North Korea, if you dont mind. His elaboration mentions Kim Jong-Il by name twelve times, including, there is concern about his capacity to deliver a nuclear weapon. We dont know if he can or not, but I think its best when youre dealing with a tyrant like Kim Jong-il to assume he can. Bush calls DPRK leader Kim Jong-il a tyrant and a dangerous person with huge concentration camps who starves his people and threatens and brags.


The Japanese press is the first to report the United States warnings to its allies of a possible nuclear test by the DPRK. The U.S. claims that North Korea has been preparing for an underground nuclear test since March and may go ahead with the plan as early as June. The IAEA comments that, if North Korea were to try such a test, they would be likely to succeed. On May 2, Deputy Foreign Minister Song Min-Soon told AP reporters that, despite close scrutiny, Seoul had yet to find any sign of Pyongyang planning to conduct underground nuclear tests.


An unnamed DPRK foreign Ministry Spokesman asserts that the DPRK nuclear impasse will never be resolved while Bush remains in office. He then called Bush a half-baked man in terms of morality and a philistine whom we can never deal with.


The BBC reports that North Korea has test-fired a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan. The missile was believed to have traveled about 100 kilometers, or 60 miles, into the sea between the two countries.


White House spokesman Scott McClellan calls North Korea's missile launch the latest in a series of provocative acts, and urged Pyongyang to return to the Six-Party Talks.


Speaking to reporters, Secretary Rice says that missiles would at some point have to be a part of the discussion to scrap North Korea's nuclear program. However. she did not specify whether North Korea's missiles should be included in multilateral talks.


The ROK National Assembly revises the Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Law, aimed at freer exchanges between the two Koreas. Starting in November, ROK citizens who gain contact with North Koreans only have to notify the Unification Ministry. Previously, South Koreans had to wait for ministry approval before engaging in contact.


Yasuhiko Yoshida, a North Korea specialist at Osaka University of Economics and Law, says he held two discussions on May 3 with officials at the North Korean Foreign Ministrys Institute for Disarmament and Peace. According to Yoshida, the Institutes director said that a North Korean nuclear test was indispensable, adding, youll find ... out soon whether a test will be conducted.


President Bush speaks by phone about North Korea with President Hu Jintao of China. Simultaneously, reports surface that White House and Pentagon officials are closely monitoring satellite photographs of North Korea that appear to show rapid, extensive preparations for a nuclear weapons test.


The New York Times states that, although the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization had announced that the bird flu outbreak in North Korea had been contained, South Korea is planning to ship to the North about $700,000 worth of testing kits, disinfectant sprayers and quarantine vehicles.


White House spokesman Scott McLellan says that North Korea conducting a nuclear test would be a provocative act.


Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura of Japan noted that negotiations had gone nowhere for the past 11 months, and he added, If there is no progress we have to think of other options, such as taking this matter to the United Nations Security Council.


The New York Times reports that Bush administration officials, when asked about the burst of activity at a suspected test site in the northeastern part of the country, cautioned that satellites could not divine the intentions of Kim Jong Il, and said it was possible that he was putting on a show for American spy satellites. They said the North Koreans might be trying to put pressure on President Bush to offer a improved package of economic and diplomatic incentives.


On the sidelines of a U.N.-sponsored conference on nuclear disarmament, the head of the U.N.s International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, told reporters: There will be disastrous political repercussions in Asia and the rest of the world [if North Korea tests a nuclear bomb]. I think there could be major environmental fallout, which could lead [to] dissemination of radioactivity in the region.


A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry tells KCNA that North Korea wants to meet with U.S. officials to confirm reports that Washington was ready to recognize the North as a sovereign state. If the U.S. truly wishes to settle the nuclear issue through the Six-Party Talks, it should refrain from doing such folly as ignoring and insulting its dialogue partner. It should know that doing so is helpful to creating an atmosphere favorable for the resumption of the six-way talks.


In an interview on CNN, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reiterates that the U.S. recognizes the DPRK as a sovereign state, adding that the U.S. has no intention of attacking or invading North Korea.


At a press briefing, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Liu Jianchao says, we oppose settling the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through pressure and sanctions. Adhering to the goal of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula is the important consensus reached by the parties at the Six-Party Talks. The Chinese side opposes any move that runs counter to this objective.


The DPRK has successfully finished the unloading of 8,000 spent fuel rods from the 5 MW pilot nuclear plant in the shortest period, North Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to the Korean Central News Agency.


The Japanese transport ministry issues a port entry permit for the North Korean passenger ferry Mangyongbong-92, which has been denied access to Japanese ports because of a lack of insurance coverage for possible oil spills. The ship is the only direct passenger transportation link between Japan and North Korea, which have no diplomatic ties. It last visited Japan in December and still requires permission from the local authorities to enter a port.


A senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official and Chinas top official on the North Korean nuclear problem, Yang Xiyu, told the New York Times that we do not yet have tangible achievements in ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program. But a basic reason for the unsuccessful effort lies in the lack of cooperation from the U.S. side. Mr. Yang said China would be very concerned about a nuclear test but that he doubted North Korea would take that step now, adding that China had made it very, very clear to North Korea that a test or any other provocative display of its nuclear capability would have serious consequences.


Joseph DeTrani, the U.S. special envoy to the Six-Party Talks, and Jim Foster, the head of the State Departments Office of Korean Affairs, met with North Korea's representatives to the United Nations, the first known direct talks since December 2004. The New York Times quoted an official with the U.S. embassy in Tokyo as saying, This channel is used to convey messages about U.S. policy, not to negotiate.


ROK Unification Ministry officials say that in a telephone call between Kwon Ho-ung, the Norths senior counselor of the cabinet and top delegate to high-level inter-Korean talks, and ROK Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, North Korea proposed a North-South Korean meeting to discuss ways to get back on track stalled inter-Korean relations and convey our position on the North Korean nuclear issue.


U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley, says on CNN that action would have to be taken if North Korea conducts a nuclear test, though he declined to say what kind of punitive measures would result. Acting Secretary General of the Japanese ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Shinzo Abe, is more specific in the actions they might take, telling Asahi TV, If [North Korea's] possession of nuclear weapons is fully confirmed and they conduct a nuclear test, we must bring the issue to the UN Security Council and call for economic sanctions.


According to the Los Angeles Times, North Korea proposes an emergency meeting with South Korea next week in an apparent effort to enlist the nations support in the international standoff over its nuclear weapons program, officials in Seoul said today. The New York Times reports that the delegations will meet in Kaesong, North Korea, for two days and will be led by vice ministers. North Korea is expected to renew its appeal for 500,000 tons of fertilizer, almost double the annual level of recent years. In turn, South Korea is expected to ask the North to return to Six-Party Talks over its nuclear program and for a resumption of Red Cross-supervised visits between family members separated since the Korean War ended in 1953.

5/16/05 -5/19/05

The North-South vice-ministerial talks are held in Kaesong with chief negotiators Kim Man-gil for North Korea and Vice Unification Minister Rhee Bong-jo for the ROK. The talks produce a 3-point joint statement that notably did not mention the nuclear issue but say instead that the two Koreas will cooperate for the peace on the Korean Peninsula. The two sides also agree to hold the 15th round of the North-South ministerial-level talks in June in Seoul and South Korea agrees to provide the North with 200,000 MT of fertilizer, down from 300,000 MT in previous years and from the 500,000 MT the North reportedly had requested earlier in the year. South Korea also proposes holding joint ceremonies to mark the opening of two recently completed cross-border roadways, as well as a trial run on two border rail lines that were completed a year ago. North Korea does not immediately respond to those proposals but does accept an offer by South Korea to send a government delegation to ceremonies in Pyongyang to mark the fifth anniversary of a historic Korean summit in June 2000.


The Boston Globe reports that two senior State Department officials met last Friday with North Korean diplomats in New York in what was termed working level contact with North Korean officials. During these talks, the U.S. directly assured North Korea that it considers the country to be a sovereign state and has no intention of invading it.


A Japanese newspaper, the Sankei Shimbun, reports that North Korea set a precondition of bilateral talks with the U.S. before they would agree to return to the Six-Party Talks. Economic aid and Beijings support during the denuclearization talks were also given by Pyongyang as preconditions, according to the newspaper.


Three North Korean cargo ships load fertilizer in the first North Korean port calls in South Korea in two decades.


Amid signs that it may be willing to return to the Six-Party Talks, North Korea nonetheless refused to rule out a preemptive strike. The United States should be aware that the choice of a pre-emptive attack is not only theirs, the Norths official news agency quoted the state-run newspaper Minju Joson as saying. To stand against force with force is our unswerving method of response.


The U.S. Department of Defense announced it was temporarily suspending joint recovery operations of U.S. soldier remains from the Korean War, ostensibly due to force protection concerns over the safety of U.S. search teams, which operate without any means of communicating outside North Korea. A Defense Department statement said the operations would continue after North Korea has created an appropriate environment. In May 26 congressional testimony, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Lawless indicated that the Pentagon had asked the North Koreans to alter the terms of the search agreement to allow U.S. military personnel a way to communicate in emergencies.


The Pentagon says it is sending 15 F-117 stealth fighters to South Korea as part of preparation for a bilateral training exercise. On June 1, the spokesperson for the North Korean Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Fatherland releases a statement criticizing the move, stating, It is clear that the deployment of the F-117 stealth fighter-bombers in South Korea this time as well is not a routine rotational deployment for topographical acclimatization training, but a dangerous prelude to igniting a war of northward invasion.


The Washington Times reports that , according to a World Food Program official, North Korea is sliding toward a starvation crisis rivaling its famine in the mid-1990s as the harsh impacts of its market reforms have benefitted only a small number of its citizens. The official said that the U.S., which provided 100,000 tons of food in 2003 and 50,000 tons in 2004, has not donated this year.


In an interview on CNN, Vice President Dick Cheney says Kim Jong Il is one of the worlds most irresponsible leaders. On June 2, KCNA quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying Cheney is hated as the most cruel monster and bloodthirsty beast, as he has drenched various parts of the world in blood.


In a press conference, President Bush fields three questions about North Korea, saying and so for those who say that we ought to be using our military to solve the problem, I would say that while all options are on the table, weve got a ways to go to solve this diplomatically.


The South Korean Bank of Korea estimates that North Korea's economy has grown for the sixth straight year. According to the Bank, North Korea's economy probably expanded an annual 2.2% in 2004 thanks to strong agricultural and mining performances. However, North Korea's per capital Gross National Income (GNI) of US $914 still stood at one-sixteenth of South Korea's. In addition, if consumer prices are taken into account, the Bank estimates that North Korea's economy has contracted by nearly 20 percent since 1990.


In a daily press briefing, Department of State spokesman Richard Boucher claimed that, using the Proliferation Security Initiative, the U.S. and its allies have intercepted two DPRK deliveries of materials useful in making nuclear and chemical weapons.

5/31/05 -6/3/05

South Korean National Security Advisor Kwon Jin-ho and chief nuclear negotiator Song Min-soon fly to Washington to work on resuming the stalled Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear crisis. Kwon is set to meet Stephen Hadley, his U.S. counterpart, and Secretary Rice to have an in-depth discussion of bilateral relations ahead of a summit between South Korea's President Roh Moo-hyun and President Bush on June 10, Seouls presidential Blue House said.


Foreign buyers will visit ROK companies operating in the Kaesong Industrial Complex, Vice Unification Minister Rhee Bong-jo said. German buyers are to visit a kitchenware plant at the industrial complex on June 1, Rhee told a regularly scheduled briefing.


A North Korean Army representative told KNCA that North Korea had decided to totally dismantle its sides investigation and recovery unit ... In consequence, the U.S. remains buried in North Korea can never be recovered but are bound to be reduced to earth with the flow of time.


In a call to the New York Times, a World Food Program spokesman says that due to food shortages, North Korea appears to be sending millions of city dwellers to work on farms each weekend, largely to transplant rice.


North Koreans pointedly praise President Bushs relatively mild comments in his May 31 press conference, including his relatively respectful reference to the North Korean leader as Mr. Kim Jong Il.


Dr. Byeon Jae-jeong of the ROK Defense Ministrys Agency for Defense Development (ADD) warns during the 2005 Defense Information Protection Conference that North Korea's trained cyberwarriors have a capacity on par with the CIA. Byeon says Pyongyang employs 500-600 hackers who are tasked with hacking into computer networks and disabling enemy command and communication systems. Simulations on North Korea's information warfare capabilities reveal that Pyongyang could damage the command and control center of U.S. Pacific Command and the power grid of the U.S. mainland.


Secretary of State Rice says, The idea that within weeks we are going to decide one way or another is a little forward-leaning. She was reacting to reports quoting a senior defense official who is a Rumsfeld aide as saying that a decision on referring the matter of North Korean nuclear weapons production to the United Nations would be made within weeks. On June 6, Rumsfeld countered his aides statement, calling it incorrect and mischievous.


The San Jose Mercury News reports that Stanford University Professor John Lewis, returning from his 11th trip to North Korea, says that senior North Korean officials told him that the United States is trying to goad them into a nuclear test to sour their ties with China and South Korea, that they have restarted construction of the 50-megawatt and 200-megawatt reactors that had been suspended under the 1994 Agreed Framework. The North Koreans also reportedly told Lewis that North Korea had been on the verge of agreeing in mid-May to resume the Six-Party Talks until this move was dashed by comments by senior U.S. officials threatening to take North Korea to the UN Security Council. The officials also reportedly reiterated North Korea's March 31 demand that the talks be expanded in scope to take up peninsular disarmament.


Joe DeTrani, and Korea Desk Director Jim Foster travel to NYC at North Korea's request to meet with North Korea's U.N. Ambassador Pak Gil Yon and Deputy U.N. Ambassador Han Song Ryol. Reportedly, the North Koreans agreed to return to the Six-Party Talks, but did not give a time frame. They also reportedly insisted that the talks be enlarged in scope to take up the topic of disarmament of the entire peninsula. Speaking to reporters after testifying before the Senate Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs on June 7, Assistant Secretary of State for Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill told reporters that the North Koreans had said in New York that they were committed to the negotiations but they had not fixed a date. Also during the talks, the U.S. diplomats withdrew a threat to try to punish North Korea soon with U.N. sanctions.


Wang Guangya, the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, reportedly says about the prospect of new talks that I think it will be pretty soon, in the next few weeks. Asked about suggestions that the matter be brought to the Security Council, he says, For China, to bring this issue to the Security Council at this stage would be premature. During testimony the same day before the Senate Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Assistant Secretary of State for Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill says, we have asked China to do more to persuade North Korea to return to the talks, he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. China needs to use its leverage....


North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-Gwan told ABC News that We have enough nuclear bombs to defend against a U.S. attack, adding that the North was building more nuclear bombs.


At the Bush-Roh summit in Washington, the two leaders and White House spokesman Scott McClellan emphasize the common goals of the two countries in addressing the nuclear issue through the Six-Party Talks. Roh says, ... were in full and perfect agreement on the basic principles. And whatever problem arises in the course of our negotiations and talks, we will be able to work them out under close consultations....[after our discussions today] we were able to bring closure to disagreements, apart from one or two minor issues.


Bush meets in the White House with Kang Chol Hwan, a journalist and director of the Democracy Network Against North Korean Gulag and author of Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in a North Korean Gulag, which Bush recently read.


Joseph Detrani, special envoy to the Six-Party Talks, tells a Senate Foreign Relations hearing that the U.S. would look at a road map that leads to normalized relations down the road after completion of an agreement on nuclear development.

6/15/05 -6/17/05

A delegation from South Korea travels to Pyongyang to celebrate the fifth year anniversary of the North-South Korean summit in which a joint declaration was signed. To commemorate this event, the two Koreas again sign a joint declaration, this time called the Declaration for National Reunification. The Declaration states, We will step up the grand march of the nation for independence, peace and reunification this year in which falls the fifth anniversary of the 15 June joint declaration and thus usher in a turning phase of national reunification and display the dignity and honor of the Korean nation over the length and breadth of the world. During the celebration, Kim Jong Il reportedly told ROK delegation leader, Minister of Unification Chung Dong-young, that his nation was ready to resume negotiations over its nuclear arms program as early as next month, provided the United States treated it with respect. Mr. Chung was the first South Korean official to meet with Mr. Kim in three years.

6/21/05 -6/22/05

North Korea and South Korea hold inter-ministerial talks. The Washington Times reports that South Korea urged North Korea to end its year-long boycott of nuclear disarmament, and the North repeated that it would not need nuclear weapons if Washington dropped its hostile policies. The two Koreas failed to set a date for resuming Six-Party Talks on the Norths nuclear weapons program. However, the two Koreas also agreed to a number of other cooperative efforts. These included: holding economic co-operation talks and fisheries talks next month; holding Red Cross talks in August; holding another round of cabinet-level talks and military talks in September at North Korea's Mount Paekdu; holding a new round of family reunions from August 26; starting the construction of a permanent family reunion facility at Mount Geumgang [Kumgang] (in North Korea); establishing an agricultural cooperation committee under the ministerial talks and have its first meeting held in mid-July in Kaesong [Kaesong]. In addition, it was agreed that South Korea would allow North Korean vessels to pass through the Cheju Strait (in the South Sea) and would provide food aid, with the amount to be discussed at 10th economic cooperation meeting in July. North Korea reportedly asked for 500,000 MT of aid.


In an opinion piece in the Washington Post urging the Bush Administration to take advantage of Kims remarks to Unification Minister Chung, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea Donald Gregg and journalist Donald Oberdorfer say that during a trip to North Korea in November 2002, the month after the nuclear crisis erupted, they were given a letter from Kim Jong Il to Bush declaring: If the United States recognizes our sovereignty and assures non-aggression, it is our view that we should be able to find a way to resolve the nuclear issue in compliance with the demands of a new century.... If the United States makes a bold decision, we will respond according. Gregg and Oberdorfer say they gave the message to Stephen Hadley, then-Deputy National Security Advisor, who reacted negatively but promised to raise the issue with President Bush and then-NSA Condoleezza Rice, whom he later succeeded. The following week, the United States pressed KEDO to cut off oil shipments to North Korea.


The State Department says the U.S. will provide 50,000 tons of food to North Korea.


The Wall Street Journal reports that the White House is preparing an executive order that would bring new pressure on North Korea, Iran and Syria by cracking down on companies believed to be helping their weapons or nuclear programs. The order will give the Treasury Department new power to pursue the assets of companies believed to be helping the three nations acquire equipment and technology useful for making weapons of mass destruction, U.S. officials said.


According to the Korea Herald, an in-house report by the Unification Ministry offered a seven-point economic assistance package encompassing energy cooperation to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. South Korea has also suggested that North Korea will receive an even more generous offer if it returns to the Six-Party Talks.


During an interview with YTN Cable TV in Korea, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon says, Fundamentally speaking, our government can never tolerate the use of the Six-Party Talks as the venue for handling the disarmament issue, or for regarding North Korea at a status which is equivalent to a nuclear state just because it has declared its possession of nuclear [weapons]....

6/30/05 -7/3/05

Unification Minister Chung Dong-young travels to Washington, DC, where he meets with Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Rice, and others. Upon returning to Seoul, Chung says the two sides agreed that if another round of Six-Party Talks are held, they would gain momentum from integrating South Korea's new proposed incentive package and the United States June 2004 proposal.

6/30/05 -7/1/05

National Committee on American Foreign Policy Conference on Korea in NY is attended by North Korea's director general of North American affairs, Li Gun, to whom the Bush Administration had given permission to attend the conference. Joseph DeTrani, the top U.S. official in the Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear program, and James Foster, Director of the Office of Korean affairs, both attended and had contact with Li. Hong Seok-hyun, South Korean ambassador to the U.S., also flew up to New York to meet with Park Gil-yon, the Norths top diplomat to the United Nations, the first meeting between the two Koreas resident ambassadors in the United States.


The Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that North Korea has resumed construction of a 50,000-kilowatt reactor in Yongbyon and a 200,000-kilowatt one in Thaechon, violating a 1994 agreement with the United States to halt construction on these facilities. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told a press conference that he was unsure whether Pyongyang is considering using the facilities reportedly under construction for power generation or production of nuclear weapons.


In a meeting with South Korean journalists, ROK President Roh Moo-hyun says under no circumstances should North Korea go nuclear and under no circumstances should the United States choose to use [military] forces [against North Korea]. He says that the core of Seouls strategy toward North Korea is building mutual confidence. On human rights issues, Roh says it is necessary to first build confidence through ... a dialogue strategy that is, in which we recognize the level of the North to a certain extent, try to accommodate it, make a little detour even if it takes time, but a strategy that can fulfill our objectives in the end. Only in this way can we pave the way for ultimately solving human rights issues.

7/8/05 -7/13/05

Secretary Rice travels to China, South Korea, Japan and Thailand. On the way to China, Rice tells reporters that We have not been talking about enhancement of the current proposal, in discussing another round of Six-Party Talks.

7/9/05 -7/12/05

At the 10th Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Promotion Committee meeting in Seoul, the two Koreas agree to pursue economic cooperation projects in a new manner by combining their economic elements such as resources, capital, [and] technology.... To that end, South Korea agreed to provide North Korea with raw materials needed for the production of goods such as garments, foot wears, soaps, etc that the North urgently needs. South Korea also agreed to provide 500,000 MT of rice. North Korea agreed to allow South Korean investment in North Korean mining operations. The two Koreas also agreed to accelerate the development of the Kaesong Industrial Zone pilot project so that the first 15 factories would be ready within the year, and to accelerate the completion of railway connections, including trial train runs to begin in October. They also agreed to begin discussing fisheries cooperation, including establishing common fish farms and avoiding clashes in the Yellow Sea region.


In Beijing, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State to East Asia Christopher Hill and North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan hold an unannounced meeting and then, on July 11, North Korea agrees to hold another round of Six-Party Talks, which will begin on July 25. Asked about the talks on Fox News, Secretary Rice says ... we dont intend to engage in talks for talks sake....I do believe that North Korea has a bar to pass to show that its really interested in and determined to give up its nuclear weapons. According to KCNA, a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman commented, the U.S. side at the contact made between the heads of both delegations in Beijing Saturday clarified that it would recognize the DPRK as a sovereign state, not to invade it and hold bilateral talks within the framework of the Six-Party Talks and the DPRK side interpreted it as a retraction of its remark designating the former as an outpost of tyranny and decided to return to the Six-Party Talks.


At dinner with DPRK officials, Hill was told that it was the dying wish of Kim Il Sung the father of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il that North Korea give up its nuclear programs.


Working-level North-South talks are held in Kaesong on a pilot plan to let separated families see each other by video link. To this end, a cross border fiber optic cable linking Kaesong to Munsan in the South is laid on July 18.


We do not intend to possess nuclear weapons forever. If the U.S. nuclear threat to [North Korea] is removed not a single nuclear weapon will be needed, said the Norths leading newspaper, Rodong Sinmun.


Appearing on a Japanese Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) news program yesterday, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura says Japan would ask North Korea to hold bilateral talks on the abduction issue on the sidelines of the Six-Party Talks.


At a news conference, ROK Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, announces that If North Korea agrees to abolish the nuclear [program] at the Six-Party Talks, the ROK will independently and directly provide two million kilowatts of electricity to North Korea. The two million kilowatts are roughly equivalent to the electricity that would have been provided by the two light-water nuclear reactors to be built but currently suspended under the Agreed Framework. Chung says the infrastructure needed to begin transmitting the electricity could be completed by 2008. He presented the proposal to Kim Jong-Il during their meeting in June. Chung says Kim said he would seriously study the proposal, and that the North has given no additional response.


In a news conference in Seoul the morning after Chungs announcement, Secretary of State Rice says the South Korean proposal is very creative idea because it would resolve North Korea's energy problems without giving the government access to nuclear power. She says the proposal is quite similar to the United Statess June 2004 proposal. Responding to a question, Rice says that the denuclearization of North Korea must include its presumed uranium enrichment program.


A European Parliament delegation that visited Pyongyang earlier in the week reported that North Korea plans to apply to the World Trade Organization for observer status.


Hyundai Group Chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun announces that during a meeting with Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader approved two new Hyundai-led tourism projects in North Korea, one in Kaesong and the other in Mt. Paekdu, in the northeastern part of the country. The Hyundai Group said it will soon open a liaison office in Pyongyang to coordinate its business in the North.


A fiber optic cable will connect Munsan in South Korea to Kaesong in North Korea to allow video conferencing links for separated families, South Korean officials said Sunday. The cable is connected in a ceremony held at the southern side of the border.


A joint statement between the South Korean Unification Ministry and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy announced that South Korea will bear the cost of peace by providing 2 million kilowatts of electricity each year from 2008 on to North Korea for free. This offer would depend on an agreement from the North that it would dismantle its nuclear weapons program and terminate the moribund project to build two light-water nuclear reactors.


In a speech marking the one-year anniversary of her assuming the leadership of the Grand National Party, GNP chairwoman Park Geun-hye says she opposes major government-led economic exchanges with North Korea until the nuclear issue is resolved. Park supported private sector initiatives in the North, such as Hyundais Mt. Paekdu and Kaesong initiatives.


The Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Promotion Committee confirms that the South will send the North 500,000 tons of rice costing $155 million, among other items.


At a meeting held in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the peninsula, military officers from North and South Korea agree to resume taking down propaganda along the military demarcation line next week. The decision to remove posters and end propaganda broadcasts was agreed last year but was stopped midway as talks between the two counties faltered. The officers also agree to open a military hotline on August 10.


A spokesperson from the Norths Foreign Ministry and quoted by the Norths official Korean Central News Agency said that establishing a peace agreement on the divided Korean Peninsula to replace the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War would be a way to resolve its nuclear standoff with the United States and the international community.


South Korea opens the first direct private phone line between North and South Korea in 60 years. The establishment of the phone line is in line with a recent inter-Korean agreement to allow families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War to hold reunions by video on August 15, the 60th anniversary of the peninsulas liberation from Japanese colonial rule.


The envoys to the Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear program hold several one-on-one meetings. North Korea meets bilaterally with every country except Japan, though the Japanese and North Korean delegates meet briefly and perfunctorily before opening banquet.

7/25/05 -7/27/05

At their first joint fishery talks, held in Kaesong, South and North Korea sign a six-point joint agreement that includes the designation of a joint fishery zone in the Yellow Sea.


A commentary in the North Korean newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, stated, Our country will no longer deal with Japan anywhere. Even if we sit face to face, nothing will be solved.


Gerald Bourke, a Beijing-based spokesman for the World Food Program, states that North Koreans are scavenging for food, including acorns and seaweed. The United States has promised to send 50,000 metric tons of cereals to help feed millions of malnourished North Koreas, but that aid is not expected to arrive for three months. South Korea began delivery on a promised 500,000 tonnes of rice with an initial delivery of 2,500 tonnes.

7/26/05 -8/7/05

The fourth round of Six-Party Talks takes place in Beijing. North Korea continues to insist that Washington normalize relations with Pyongyang and remove all atomic threats from South Korea before it would give up nuclear weapons. The U.S. stands by its offer of aid, but only if North Korea allows the U.S. to help dismantle its nuclear program. The U.S. insists that it has no nuclear arms on the South Korean peninsula. The New York Times reports that, according to two senior administration officials, the Bush administration has for the first time presented [North Korea] with specific evidence behind American allegations that North Korea secretly obtained uranium enrichment technology from a founder of Pakistans nuclear program. Top envoys declared a recess after 13 days of negotiations. Differences between the parties seem to center on North Korea's insistence on having a peaceful nuclear program and in particular its insistence on developing a light-water reactor. Christopher Hill, the chief U.S. negotiator, commented, The issue of light-water reactors is simply not on the table.

7/28/05 -7/30/05

The 5th working-level consultative meeting for the connection of the inter-Korean railways and roads reaches 6-point agreement in Kaesong. After inspections in August and security checks, opening ceremonies for two relinked railways to be held around late October.


At the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Foreign Ministerial meeting in Laos, North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun reportedly tells South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon that his country is studying South Korea's electricity proposal, but expressed concern that the South Korean offer is conditional on the Norths agreement to dismantle its nuclear program in a verifiable way, the officials said.


An Myong Jin, a former North Korean spy who defected to South Korea in 1993, testifies before the Lower House of the Japanese Diet that I have firsthand information including my own witnessing that 15 Japanese are alive in North Korea, including the five who were returned to Japan. The Japanese government claims that 16 Japanese citizens were kidnapped by North Korea.


Nine inter-Korean economic agreements (road, rail and marine transport, customs, quarantine, entry, and dispute arbitrations) are formally put into effect by an exchange of documents at Panmunjom.

8/8/05 -8/15/05

The fifth round of working-level contact for maritime cooperation in Munsan (ROK) establishes procedures (including a hotline) for DPRK merchant ships to use the Cheju Strait between the South Korean province of Cheju and the mainland. The hotline opens on August 12 and the first Northern ships transit the strait.


North and South Korea set up the first cross-border military hotline in an effort to avoid accidental clashes between the two sides. It is the first direct communications linkage between the military authorities of the two Koreas, a South Korean defense ministry official said.


South Korean Unification Minister Chung Dong-young stated, in contrast to U.S. policy, that their policy is that North Korea's demand for the right to maintain a peaceful nuclear program should be allowed as its natural right. South Korean officials stressed Chung had been talking about what Pyongyang might have if the communist state rejoins a global non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and meets other international obligations.


South and North Korea completed the connection of a telephone and fax lines between naval authorities as agreed in the 5th working-level contact on maritime cooperation.


In an interview on CNN, Kim Kye Gwan, chief nuclear negotiator for North Korea and the nations vice foreign minister stated, We dont have a uranium-based nuclear weapons program, but in the future time if there is any kind of evidence that needs to be clarified by our side we will be fully prepared to do so.

8/14/05 -8/18/05

182 delegates from North Korea arrive in Seoul as part of the joint celebration of Liberation day. As part of the celebration, on August 15th, videoconferencing was set up to link relatives in North and South Korea who had been separated from each other during the Korean War. Leaders of the Communist Party of North Korea visited South Korea's National Assembly for the first time, and visited South Korea's National Cemetery, which contains the remains of South Koreans killed in the Korean War.


Three weeks after North and South Korea agreed to remove all slogan boards, posters, electronic signboards and loudspeakers along the 250-kilometer (150-mile) border, defense officials announced that all propaganda had been removed.


The animated Empress Chung becomes the first film to be released at the same time in North and South Korean movie theaters. The film was animated by South and North Koreans.

8/15/05 -8/24/05

The United States and North Korea have 4 diplomatic exchanges through the New York working level channel.


South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon reportedly tells reporters in Seoul yesterday that the North could only pursue the civilian nuclear energy program if it dismantles its other nuclear programs and rejoins the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, from which it withdrew in protest in 2002. If Pyongyang meets all those conditions, he said, the door to its peaceful [nuclear] use may be open.


Hyundai Asan reaches an agreement to take three Southern tour groups of 500 people to Kaesong city on August 26, September 2, and September 7.

8/18/05 -8/19/05

In Kaesong, at the first Inter-Korean Agricultural Economic Cooperation meeting, the two sides agree to pursue stable and consistent agricultural cooperation in a variety of farm and forestry sectors. They agree to select a few collective farms in North Korea for cooperation on agricultural management in 2006, with South Korea providing fertilizer and other assistance.

8/18/05 -8/25/05

The South Korean Ministry of Unification reports that inspections of the two new trans-DMZ railways reveal that the western Kyonggi line is almost ready, but the eastern Donghae line needs more work.


Jay Lefkowitz is appointed as Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea.


Hyundai Asan fires CEO Kim Yoon-kyu for allegedly embezzling billions of won in company funds, including state subsidies. North Korea halves the firms daily quota of tourists to Mt. Kumgang from 1,200 to 600 from August 29, and searches its chairperson, Ms Hyun Jeong-eun, on a visit. In October, this scandal raises questions about the transparency of the governments management of funds for inter-Korean economic cooperation.


South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon arrives in Washington. Upon his arrival, he reportedly says, The scope of nuclear dismantlement is the most fundamental, most important issue of the Six-Party Talks....After we determine exactly what North Korea will give up, then we can talk about peaceful nuclear energy as a corresponding measure....There is a different perspective [between Seoul and Washington], but I dont see this as a conflict. Ban also says South Korea and the U.S. are prepared to accommodate North Korea's request for discussions on a peace treaty to replace the Korean War armistice, but only once the nuclear dispute reaches the stage of resolution. The foreign affairs chief indicated a forum separate from the Six-Party Talks would be established to work out the peace treaty.

8/22/05 -9/2/05

A 12-day annual joint military exercise between the U.S. and South Korea (dubbed Ulji Focus Lens) draws ire from North Korea. The exercise features computer-simulated drills involving an unspecified number of South Korean soldiers and about 10,000 U.S. troops. North Korea announced its dismay at the continuation of these war exercises during the break between the Six-Party Talks. On August 24th, KCNA quotes a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying that the exercise shows the U.S. undisguised military hostility towards us, and that if the United States persistently incites confrontation and pursues dialogue as a smokescreen to cover it up, this will also compel us to change its stand toward dialogue.


South Korean singer Cho Yong-pil gives a concert in Pyongyang marking the 60th anniversary of Korea's liberation. The concert is broadcast live in both Koreas.


Christopher Hill reportedly tells reporters that the disagreement over whether North Korea would be permitted to have a civilian nuclear program would not be a showstopper because that would be purely theoretical and downstream -that is, a practical impossibility for many years. Among the other points of disagreement, Mr. Hill said, were the sequence of steps that North Korea would have to take to get to an elimination of its nuclear programs and the parallel sequence of steps providing North Korea economic aid. Another potentially difficult subject, he said, was the role that the American nuclear umbrella protecting its allies, Japan and South Korea, would play in a final accord. North Korea argues that a peninsula free of nuclear weapons needs to take into account American willingness to use such weapons to protect its allies.

8/23/05 -8/25/05

A three-day inter-Korean Red Cross series of talks concludes without reaching an agreement on the issues of South Korean prisoners of war (POWs) in the Korean War (1950-1953) and abducted civilians held in North Korea.

8/23/05 -8/27/05

A delegation from the ROK Democratic Labor Party leaves for Pyongyang on Monday. The DLP said it will discuss inter-Korean cooperation projects such as regular exchanges with the DPRKs Social Democratic Party.


Two South Korean ships carrying sand enter the DPRK port of Haeju, the first South Korean-flagged vessels to dock in North Korea for commercial purposes.

8/24/05 -8/27/05

The first inter-Korean working-level consultative meeting on light industries and natural resources cooperation, held in Pyongyang, ends without agreement.

8/25/05 -8/29/05

More than 580 South Koreans meet with North Korean family members in Mt. Kumgang. The weeks reunions are the 11th since the divided Koreas agreed to promote peace and reconciliation at an unprecedented summit between their leaders in 2000.


A pilot tourism project for the city of Kaesong begins with five hundred South Korean tourists in a tour operated by Hyundai Asan. This is the first time South Korean citizens who are not business or government officials have been able to visit the city since the end of Korean War in 1953.


China and North Korea have signed a treaty of cooperation in civil and criminal affairs to deal with the growing legal issues between the two countries. The Chinese government did not disclose the contents of the agreement.


North Korea announces that it will delay the return to the Six-Party Talks for two weeks. As reasons for the delay, it blamed U.S. joint military exercises with South Korea and the appointment of Jay Lefkowitz, a former adviser to President Bush, to shine a human rights spotlight in international settings on what the administration has called the long-suffering North Korean people.


South and North Korea begin construction of a reunion center for separated families at the Norths Mt. Kumgang. The building, part hotel and part condominium, will have a huge convention center, an observatory and 278 rooms to provide accommodation for 1,000 people at a time. Seoul will foot the bill for construction and operation of the center in accordance with an agreement that emerged from a meeting of the two Koreas Red Cross organizations in 2003. The start of its construction had been delayed due to the unstable inter-Korean ties.


Zhang Yan, the director-general of arms control in the Chinese foreign ministry, says that Pyongyang would be entitled to a civilian nuclear power program once it fulfilled its obligations under the non-proliferation treaty. According to relevant rules of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, a country could enjoy certain rights if it assumes due obligations, Mr Zhang told a press conference when asked if North Korea should be allowed to maintain a light water reactor to produce electricity. In this sense, if a country joins the treaty and accepts the supervision of safety guarantee by the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear power peacefully, Reuters quoted him as saying.

9/1/05 -9/4/05

20 North Korean athletes and 124 teenage cheerleaders visit Inchon for the 16th Asian athletics championships.


A sudden surge of water down the Imjin river damages Southern fishing nets and other facilities. When Seoul protests, Pyongyang claims this was caused by overflows rather than discharging from its dams, of which it has agreed to give notice to the South.

9/4/05 -9/6/05

A second inter-Korean broadcasting discussion meeting at Mt. Kumgang gathers 74 participants from the South and 30 from the North, with parallel sessions on programming and technical issues. The participants agree to continue exchanges and cooperation.


China announces that the Six-Party Talks will reconvene in Beijing on September 13. North Korea issues a new public demand: that the United States, which has cut its troops in South Korea by a third, withdraw all its troops from the peninsula.


Secretary of State Rice meets with Stanford University John Lewis and former Los Alamos National Lab Director Sig Hecker to discuss their previously unpublicized trip to North Korea in August. Later, on November 9th, Hecker says that while in the DPRK, he met with Yongbyon director Ri Hong Sop, who says construction will start soon on the 50 MW reactor that had been shut down under the Agreed Framework.


The heads of both Koreas Olympic committees, in Guangzhou for an OCA (Olympic Council of Asia) meeting, agree in principle to field a unified team for the 2006 Asian Games to be held in Doha, Qatar.


South Korea publishes revisions to the ROKs law on inter-Korean exchange and cooperation, effective December 1 in order to facilitate contacts with the North.

9/13/05 -9/16/05

The participants in the 16th round of Inter-Korean Ministerial talks held in Pyongyang agree on a six-point press release that contains few new compromises. Much time is spent trying to mediate North Korea's row with Hyundai Asan.


The U.S. Treasury Department designated Banco Delta Asia, a Macao-based bank, as a primary money laundering concern, charging it with being a willing pawn of North Korean counterfeiting and drug trafficking activities.

9/13/05 -9/19/05

The fourth round of Six-Party Talks, on hiatus since August 7th, resume in Beijing. The six nations issue a joint statement, the first of its kind at the talks, and agree to hold the fifth round in early November. In the statement, North Korea agrees to dismantle its nuclear program, return to the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and allow monitoring by the IAEA. The five other countries agreed to provide a security guarantee and energy to the North and promote trade and economic exchanges. The U.S. and Japan agree to normalize relations with the North. The participating countries also agree to discuss the provision of light-water reactors at an appropriate time.


A day after the joint statement from all six nations closing the fourth round of talks, North Korea demanded that a light water reactor be fully constructed before they begin dismantling their nuclear program. Washington reiterated its rejection of the reactor demand and joined China in urging North Korea to stick to the agreement announced Monday in which it pledged to abandon all its nuclear programs in exchange for economic aid and security assurances.


The official DPRK Korean Central News Agency claims that the U.S. is planning to disarm the communist nation and crush us to death with nuclear weapons.


North Korean deputy foreign minister Choe Su Hun, in an address to the U.N. General Assembly, asks the Bush administration to supply Pyongyang with light-water nuclear reactors to generate power as soon as possible, but stopped short of saying delivery of a reactor was a precondition for dismantling North Korea's atomic weapons program.


In an interview with the Financial Times, Christopher Hill says the U.S. wants more clarity from Pyongyang on its uranium enrichment when the six parties reconvene in November to discuss how to verify the dismantling of all its nuclear weapons and programs. We need a system that works. We dont want to play hide and seek. We dont want to be running around the North Korean countryside, Mr Hill said. The U.S. expects North Korea to expose all its facilities and that U.S. inspectors will be among those given access.


Unification Minister Chung tells the South Korean National Assembly that energy aid to the North, to compensate the North if it dismantles nuclear programs, may cost $15 billion over 13 years, including $9.4 billion for direct electricity provision by Seoul.


In Washington D.C., South Korean Finance Minister Han Duck-soo reportedly says North Korea should be encouraged to join IMF & World Bank.


The 5,000-strong Seoul Bar Association criticizes human rights abuses in North Korea at its first ever symposium on the topic.

9/26/05 -10/5/05

Over 4,000 South Korean tourists travel to North Korea's Arirang mass games, which previously were off limits, many by daily charter flights from Seoul to Pyongyang.


Korea Resources Corp (KORES), says it aims to open an office in Pyongyang this year to form a partnership for mineral resources development projects.


A South Korean presidential panel, chaired by President Roh, says Seoul should take the lead in resolving the Norths nuclear issue and developing the Six-Party Talks into a regional northeast Asian community and a multilateral security-economy entity.

9/29/05 -9/30/05

Inter-Korean maritime talks are held in Kaesong.


South Korean Vice Unification Minister Rhee Bong-jo says that a new joint office to handle inter-Korean business projects will open in the Korean Industrial Complex on October 25. As many as 16 South Korean staff, including seven government officials, will work with 12 North Korean government officials and civilian employees at the office.


The first jointly-run inter-Korean company is inaugurated in Pyongyang by South Korea's Andong Hemp and North Korea's Saebyol Pyongyang Hemp Textile Company.


South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon clarifies that any future provision of a light-water reactor (LWR) to North Korea would not be an extension of the project by KEDO to build two LWRs in the North.


The Unification Ministry announces plans to allow former DPRK spies imprisoned in South Korea, or so-called long-term prisoners, to return to North Korea. This move draws the ire of family members of South Korean prisoners of war and abductees who are still being held in North Korea.


Hyundai Group dismissed former Hyundai Asan chief executive Kim Yoon-kyu as its vice chairman yesterday over charges of misappropriation of company and state funds. The Korea Herald reports that the scandal involving a former Hyundai Group point man to North Korea has raised questions about the transparency of the governments management of funds for inter-Korean economic cooperation.

10/5/05 -10/7/05

A meeting in Kaesong ends in an agreement for procedures for family reunions via video-link.


Andrew Vershbow is confirmed as Ambassador to the Republic of Korea.


Adam Ereli, a Deputy Spokesman at the U.S. Department of State, told reporters that the U.S. was seeking the extradition of Northern Irelands Workers Party chief Sean Garland, who has been indicted on suspicion of circulating counterfeit U.S. banknotes of DPRK origin.


Jaques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says the two Koreas hope to field a unified team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


The Ministry of Unification reveals that Seoul has formally proposed building more inter-Korean industrial zones like Kaesong, but that Pyongyang has yet to offer any response.


Interfax quotes Konstantin Pulikovsky, Russian Presidential Envoy to Russias Far Eastern Federal District, on his return from celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the ruling Workers Party of Korea in Pyongyang as saying, I met Kim Jong-il and the North Korean leader clearly confirmed his countrys renunciation of the development of nuclear weapons.


New ROK Ambassador to the United States Lee Tae-shik arrives in Washington.

10/17/05 -10/19/05

New Mexico governor Bill Richardson arrives in North Korea for unofficial talks on an Air Force plane provided by the Bush Administration. At North Korea's request, his office said, he is to be accompanied by experts from New Mexico in the field of energy, heart disease, public health, law and agriculture.


Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visits Seoul for the 37th Security Consultative Meeting.


The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated eight North Korean entities pursuant to Executive Order 13382, an authority aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles. The action prohibits all transactions between the designated entities and any U.S. person and freezes any assets the entities may have under U.S. jurisdiction.


In an interview with Yonhap, Han Song-ryol, Deputy Chief of the DPRKs mission to the United Nations, says that Pyongyang was not interested in Seouls offer of electricity if it was meant as an alternative to the reactor. He said that North Korea would not disclose its nuclear programs until a light water reactor was fully constructed.


The 11th meeting of the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Promotion Committee (ECPC) is held at the new Office of Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation in the Kaesong industrial complex. Despite three prior working-level consultations, no concrete progress is made and no date is set to meet again.

10/28/05 -10/30/05

PRC President Hu Jintao visits North Korea and meets Kim Jong-il, the first visit by a Chinese leader since 2001. Kim tells Hu that he is committed to ending the Norths nuclear weapons program and that he will push forward with multinational negotiations on the matter soon, according to Chinese officials. Mr. Hu promised during the visit to provide aid to neighboring North Korea's struggling economy within Chinas means. He reportedly committed $2 billion.


A GNP lawmaker reveals a Ministry of Unification blueprint to invest 5.25 trillion won in restoring the Norths economy through 2010 if the nuclear issue is resolved.

11/3/05 -11/4/05

Japan and North Korea hold bilateral talks in Beijing. No substantive progress is announced, though the heads of the two delegations describe the meetings as beneficial and agree to meet at a later date. North Korea reportedly insists that the abduction issue has been already resolved, and does not respond to Japans proposal to convene working groups to discuss three topics separately the abduction issue, security issues, and normalization.


Responding to a question at a roundtable of young leaders in Brazil, President Bush describes the transformation of the U.S.-Japan relationship since World War II, from an antagonistic one to one where now, Japan is an ally with the United States in dealing with a tyrant in North Korea ... Two days later, KCNA quoted a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying that Bushs remarks were a blatant violation of the September Six-Party agreement and they deprive us of any trust in the negotiators of the U.S. side to the Six-Party Talks.

11/9/05 -11/11/05

The fifth round of Six-Party Talks are held in Beijing. At their conclusion, Christopher Hill calls the talks a very businesslike three days,adding, we were not expecting to make any major breakthroughs. The participants concluded the talks without setting a date for the next round.


Chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun of South Korean conglomerate Hyundai Group, North Korea's biggest business partner, visits North Korea and meets with Lee Jong-hyeok, vice chairman of the Norths Asia-Pacific Peace Committee at the North Korean border city of Kaesong. We and North Korea reconfirmed our confidence in each other, Hyun says on her return.


South Korea's tourism promotion agency, KNTO, said Monday it plans to launch a pilot tourism project next year for South Koreans to visit Mount Paektu on the Norths border with China.

11/15/05 -11/16/05

The 17th APEC ministerial meetings are held in Busan, South Korea.


After a summit meeting in Gyeongju, President Roh and President Bush issued a joint declaration in which they agreed to launch a strategic dialogue called Strategic Consultation for Allied Partnership (SCAP) at the ministerial-level to consult on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. President Bush also expressed support for South-North reconciliation and pledged to continue close cooperation and coordination as it develops. Pursuant to the September 19th Six-Party Joint Statement, the two leaders agreed that discussions on a peace regime should take place amongst directly-related parties in a forum separate from the Six-Party Talks following progress in those talks, and expected that the discussions on a peace regime and the Six-Party Talks will be mutually reinforcing.


After issuing the joint declaration, President Roh and President Bush speak in a press opportunity. When asked about the timing of assistance to North Korea, Bush responds: The issue really is the light-water reactor. Our position is, is that well consider the light-water reactor at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is after they have verifiably given up their nuclear weapons and/or programs.


The ROK Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Promotion Committee approves a supply of 60,000 tons of coal to Kaesong city.

11/18/05 -11/19/05

APEC Leaders Meeting in Busan.


The Korea Times reports that the ROK will start installing telecommunications equipment in the Kaesong Industrial Complex in the DPRK with the aim of opening direct telephone link-ups between the two Koreas this year. The long-delayed move was given a go-ahead as the U.S. Department of Commerce Wednesday approved the ROKs shipment to the DPRK of seven product materials needed for the installation of the equipment.


The Ministry of Unification says that some 1,139 North Koreans reached the South this year so far, bringing the total of defectors to 7,430.


The South Korean National Assembly passes the Ministry of Unifications amendments to the 1990 Act on Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation, easing regulations for visiting North Korea.


South Korea announces its intention to extend its troop deployment in Iraq by one more year but reduce the level of troops to around 2,600. According to Yonhap, Washington officials reacted sensitively to the South Korean plan, saying they were not informed of it in advance.


KEDO announced plans to terminate a moth-balled project to build a light-water reactor in North Korea. The program had been frozen since 2002. A day later, Japan demands its money back for the outlay of cash it spent on the light-water reactor. North Korea responded through a foreign ministry spokesman by blaming the U.S. for having overturned a 1994 bilateral agreement that included the project, and demanding that Washington compensate [North Korea] for the political and economic losses it has caused.


North Korea hosts a seminar with UN legal experts on refugee issues with a great deal of enthusiasm and asks for further talks next year. It is the first time that legal experts from the global organization were invited to North Korea.


North Korea accuses South Korea of servile attitudes towards the U.S. and threatens to sever all military ties with South Korea. U.S. troops flaunt their presence in the two border areas used for inter-Korean exchanges and tourism, says North Korea.


North Korea refuses to meet in New York later this month over the issue of U.S. sanctions against a Macao-based bank suspected of laundering money for North Korea. The rejection stemmed from a dispute over the nature of the planned meeting, as the U.S. side regarded it as a session to explain and not negotiate while the North Korea expected it to be a bilateral negotiation to resolve the sanctions issue.


North Korea further announces that they would not continue with the Six-Party Talks unless Christopher Hill meets with Kim Gye-Gwan, North Korea's vice foreign minister who is the Norths chief negotiator at the Six-Party Talks, in Washington on the possible lifting of financial sanctions the U.S. imposed on North Korea.


Unification Minister Chung Dong-young urges the United States on Monday to hold direct talks with the North to resolve concerns over its missile development, human rights abuses and other non-nuclear issues.


U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Alexander Vershbow labels North Korea's leadership as a criminal regime and compares North Korea's counterfeiting of U. S. bills with that of actions by the late German dictator Adolf Hitler.

12/8/05 -12/11/05

Freedom House, a U.S. NGO, sponsors a major conference in Seoul on North Korean human rights. Attendees include U.S. Special Envoy for Human Rights Jay Lefkowitz, who calls North Korea a deeply oppressive nation. The ROK government keeps its distance, but is accused by delegates of perpetuating DPRK abuses by its silence.


A spokesman from the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, the Norths party organization, criticized Vershbows December 7 remarks, saying, We regard his remarks as the declaration of war against us... It is time for the South to expel the U. S. envoy. The spokesman also said the remarks by Vershbow were serious enough to fundamentally nullify the agreement reached in September.


South Korean Unification Minister Chung Dong-young announces a bill passed by a National Assembly panel will pave the way for providing a legal basis for South Korean government aid to the North.


Pyongyang tells the KEDO Office in Kumho, North Korea, to withdraw all its workers at the nuclear power reactor construction site in the North by early January. After construction work at the site was suspended, the North had blocked KEDO from removing about 20 million dollars worth of cars, trucks, cranes and other construction equipment, much of it owned by South Korean contractors.

12/13/05 -12/16/05

The 17th Round of Inter-Korean Ministerial talks in Cheju produces few substantive results. The two sides agree that the joint statement of the fourth round of Six-Party Talks should be implemented at an early date They also agree to hold military talks, to hold Red Cross talks, to have additional family reunions, and to hold the 18th North-South ministerial talks in Pyongyang.


A South Korean livestock panel determines it safe to import American beef and lifts the beef import ban due to mad cow disease.


South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Won-ki condemns Vershbows December 7 remarks.


The U.N. General Assembly adopts a draft resolution on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea expressing its serious concern at the governments refusal to cooperate with or recognize the mandate of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights. It also expresses serious concern over continuing reports of widespread human rights violations. South Korea abstains from the vote.


Pyongyang suspends indefinitely the Six-Party Talks until U.S. sanctions against North Korean companies are lifted.

12/18/05 -12/20/05

ROK Unification Minister Chung Dong-young travels to Washington, gives a speech at the National Press Club on Korea Peace Economics, and briefs Secretary Rice on the Recently held inter-Korea talks.


In a statement carried by KCNA, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said that North Korea will increase (its) self-reliant national defense capacity, including nuclear deterrent, pursuant to the Songun (military-first) policy, to cope with the U.S. escalated policy to isolate and stifle it with the nuclear issue and the human rights issue as pretexts.


Japan and North Korea hold bilateral talks. According to a report carried by KCNA, both sides agreed to open talks in January 2006, to resume ambassador-level talks for the normalization of the bilateral relations, and to discuss pending issues of mutual concern including the abduction issue.

12/24/05 -12/27/05

PRC Premier Wen Jiabao affirms Chinas policy of developing friendly and cooperative relations with the DPRK during a meeting with a DPRK delegation led by Cabinet Vice Premier Ro Tu-chol in Beijing. During his visit, Ro and Chinese counterpart Zeng Paiyan sign an agreement on the joint development of offshore oil wells.


The two Koreas establish limited commercial telephone links for the first time in their 60 years of division. The cross-border phone service is exclusively for South Korean businesses operating in Kaesong.


Unification Minister Chung resigns.


State Department spokesman Adam Ereli says the U.S. has suspended its food aid shipments to North Korea because of Pyongyangs decision to end the World Food Programs distribution system.