North Korea: A Chronology of Events in 2005
CRS Report for Congress
A Chronology of Events in 2005
April 24, 2006
Analyst in Asian Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Mark E. Manyin
Specialist in Asian Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Information Research Specialist
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
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. 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.
Overview of Events in 2005.........................................1
Mostly, More of the Same in 2005................................1
North Korea Escalates Tension in Early 2005........................1
A Return to the Six-Party Talks...................................2
Human Rights on Agenda.......................................2
Counterfeiting Issue Takes Center Stage............................3
North Korea Increases Restrictions on Foreign Aid...................3
Changes to U.S. Team in Charge of North Korea Policy...............3
North-South Cooperation Intensifies...............................4
Tension in U.S.-South Korea Relations Continues....................4
China’s Leadership Asserted.....................................5
History Issue Hurts Japan’s Relations with Neighbors.................5
Contact Outside of the Administration.............................6
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. 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. In the chronology, key events are marked by
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 Pyongyang’s 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 IAEA’s
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
Administration’s 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 North’s 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 Pyongyang’s
motivation appears to be have been a desire to negotiate a less intrusive foreign
presence, particularly the WFP’s 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 EU’s 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 WFP’s 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 Seoul’s 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
Rice’s 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 Bush’s 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 Pyongyang’s refusal to return to the Six-Party
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 Administration’s 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.
China’s 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 Jintao’s 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 China’s 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 Japan’s 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 Japan’s 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 Koizumi’s 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. Japan’s 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 Japan’s drift toward the right. Regional leaders voiced
opposition to Japan’s bid for a permanent place on the United Nations Security
Council. On the whole, Japan’s relations with the region declined as long-standing
historical resentments and ascendant suspicions of Japan’s 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 Pyongyang’s 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 Mark E. Manyin, Emma Chanlett-Avery, and Helene
CRS Issue Brief IB98045, Korea: U.S.-Korean Relations — Issues for Congress, by
Larry A. Niksch.
CRS Issue Brief IB91141, North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program, by Larry A.
CRS Report RL31696, North Korea: Economic Sanctions, by Dianne E. Rennack.
CRS Report RS21834, U.S. Assistance to North Korea: Fact Sheet, by Mark E.
CRS Report RL31785, U.S. Assistance to North Korea: Issues and Options for U.S.
Policy, by Mark E. Manyin.
CRS Report RL32493, The North Korean Economy: Background and Policy
Analysis, by Dick K. Nanto and Emma Chanlett-Avery.
CRS Report RS21391, North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons: How Soon an Arsenal?, by
Sharon A. Squassoni.
CRS Report RS21473, North Korean Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States,
by Andrew Feickert.
CRS Report RL32167, Drug Trafficking and North Korea: Issues for U.S. Policy, by
Raphael F. Perl.
List of Acronyms
DMZ - demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea
DPRK - Democratic People’s 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 - People’s Republic of China
PSI - Proliferation Security Initiative
ROK - Republic of Korea
TCOG - Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (United States, Japan, and
2005 North Korea Timeline
1/3/05State-run Korea Container Terminal Authority says it concluded a
memorandum of understanding with North Korea to form a joint
venture to upgrade the North’s naval port at Nampo.
1/4/05Japanese 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.
1/9/05-Congressman Tom Lantos travels to North Korea for talks with senior
1/11/05leaders, including Yang Hyong-sop, a vice president of North Korea’s
parliament, the Supreme People’s Assembly, the North’s 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.”
1/11/05North 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.
1/13/05North 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.
1/14/05lawmakers. 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.
designate Condoleezza Rice labels North Korea as one of the
world’s 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
1/21/05A 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.
1/27/05In 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 don’t deserve.”
1/27/05 -The two Koreas hold talks about the details of running Kaesong. They
1/28/05make arrangements for telephone service to be up in March 2005, and
for electricity to be provided in February 2005.
1/28/05Speaking 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
1/31/05 - National Security Council Senior Director for Asia Michael Green
2/2/05travels 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.
2/2/05The 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
2/2/05In his State of the Union address, President Bush mentions North Korea
only once, “We’re 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
2/4/05The 2004 Defense White Paper for the Republic of Korea drops the
DPRK’s 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.
2/4/05Presidents Bush and Roh speak for ten minutes by telephone about the
North Korea nuclear situation and about the South Korean mission in
2/7/05South Korea continues to mull the DPRK’s 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.
2/9/05Prime 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.
2/10/05A 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 Bush’s State of the Union address, combined with naming
North Korea as an “outpost of tyranny” in Condoleezza Rice’s
confirmation testimony, indicates that the Bush Administration has
intensified its “hostile policy” toward the North.
2/10/05South 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
2/11/05The South Korean Ministry of Defense reportedly offers to hold
military talks with North Korea over North Korea’s announcement that
it has nuclear weapons.
2/12/05Speaking 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.”
2/13/05The 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.
2/14/05In 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 North’s claims as nothing more than
a bargaining ploy intended to “compel the United States to change its
2/14/05The 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. China’s People’s Daily English
language website runs the article verbatim.
2/14/05State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, questioned on ROK and
Chinese aid to North Korea, says, “we, and the others, agree that...the
North Koreans shouldn’t be rewarded for causing difficulties in the
reconvening of talks.”
2/15/05During 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.”
2/16/05ROK 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.”
2/16/05CIA Director Porter Goss testified before the Senate’s Select
Committee on Intelligence that the U.S. believes that the DPRK’s
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.
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.
2/18/05JoongAng 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.”
2/19/05In 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
2/21/05Kim Jong-il meets visiting senior Chinese official, Wang Jiarui, head
of the Chinese Communist Party’s 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
2/23/05Japan’s 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.
2/26/05The 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 Ministry’s Asia-Oceania
bureau, Christopher Hill, the U.S. ambassador to Seoul who has been
named Washington’s chief delegate to the talks, and ROK Deputy
Foreign Minister Song Min-soon attend the meeting.
3/1/05The 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
3/7/05The 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.
3/8/05Yonhop 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.
3/8/05Richard Ragan, Country Director for the UN’s 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.
3/10/05The 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.
3/14/05In 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 -Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice travels through Asia, making stops
3/21/05in 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 DPRK’s nuclear armament.
3/14/05Announcement 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 ROK’s first power transmission across
3/16/05Former 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 DPRK’s nuclear ambitions.
Condoleezza Rice calls North Korea a “sovereign state.”
3/22/05 -U.S. and ROK forces participate in Foal Eagle, the joint military
3/28/05exercises 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.”
3/22/05The 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 Post’s 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.”
3/23/05South 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
3/24/05A visit by the DPRK’s 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.
3/27/05North 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.
3/29/05The 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
3/30/05Joongang 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.
3/31/05The 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 world’s most dangerous
actors, and in some cases it knows less now than it did five or 10 years
3/31/05A 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.”
4/1/05“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
4/2/05 -North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju [Kang
4/5/05So’k-chu] arrived in Beijing to discuss with Chinese Vice Foreign
Minister Wu Dawei and Wu’s 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 Jintao’s
first visit to the DPRK.
4/4/05In an interview with the Associated Press, Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice says about the lack of intelligence on North Korea’s
and Iran’s 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
4/4/05Kyodo 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.
4/4/05Defense 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.
4/8/05In order to extinguish a fire, North Korea allowed South Korean
helicopters to fly over the DMZ for the first time since the peninsula’s
4/8/05The 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.
4/11/05In 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.
4/11/05President 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 it’s 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.
4/11/05North Korea proposes talks with the ROK to discuss Seoul’s offer of
aid in combating a bird flu outbreak in the DPRK. In a message sent
through a border hotline, the DPRK’s quarantine authorities called for
talks with their southern counterparts in Kaesong.
4/11/05In 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.”
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
Pyongyang’s 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.
4/13/05In 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.”
4/15/05South 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.
4/14/05In 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 can’t 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 they’ll be involved in a series of
diplomatic engagements with the North Koreans to see if they can move
4/18/05In 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.
4/21/05Speaking 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
4/21/05 -On the sidelines of an Asia-Africa summit in Jakarta, South Korean
Kim Yong Nam, meet and reportedly agree to resume bilateral meetings
on May 16, 2005, in Kaesong.
4/21/05 -Washington sent an “emergency” demarche, or diplomatic
4/22/05communication, 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.
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.
4/22/05South 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
4/24/05In 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.”
4/28/05North Korea’s mountain resort, to discuss the South’s 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.
4/26/05In response to Condoleezza Rice’s 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 North’s 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.
Party Talks “very much uncertain at this point.” Hill echoed an earlier
statement of Rice’s, stating, “I don’t 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 it’s also not the only
4/26/05The 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
4/28/05Vice 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 DIA’s
assessment is that “it’s unlikely that they [the North Koreans] would
negotiate away completely” its nuclear capability or appearance thereof.
4/28/05In a prime time press conference, President Bush responds briefly to a
question about Jacoby’s testimony and then asks the reporter, “Let me
talk about North Korea, if you don’t mind.” His elaboration mentions
Kim Jong-Il by name twelve times, including, “there is concern about
his capacity to deliver a nuclear weapon. We don’t know if he can or
not, but I think it’s best when you’re 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.”
4/30/05The 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.
5/1/05An 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.”
5/1/05The 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
5/2/05White 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.
5/2/05Speaking 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.
5/3/05The 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.
5/3/05Yasuhiko 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 Ministry’s Institute for
Disarmament and Peace. According to Yoshida, the Institute’s director
said that a North Korean nuclear test was “indispensable,” adding,
“you’ll find ... out soon” whether a test will be conducted.
5/5/05President 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
5/5/05The 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
5/6/05White House spokesman Scott McLellan says that North Korea
conducting a nuclear test would be “a provocative act.”
5/6/05Foreign 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.”
5/6/05The 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.
5/6/05On 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
5/9/05A 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.”
5/9/05In 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.
5/10/05At 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.”
5/11/05“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.
5/11/05The 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.
5/12/05A senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official and China’s 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
5/13/05Joseph DeTrani, the U.S. special envoy to the Six-Party Talks, and Jim
Foster, the head of the State Department’s 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.”
5/14/05ROK Unification Ministry officials say that in a telephone call between
Kwon Ho-ung, the North’s 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
5/15/05U.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.”
5/16/05According to the Los Angeles Times, North Korea proposes an
emergency meeting with South Korea next week in an apparent effort
to enlist the nation’s 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 -The North-South vice-ministerial talks are held in Kaesong with
5/19/05chief 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.
5/19/05The 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.
5/22/05A 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 Beijing’s
support during the denuclearization talks were also given by Pyongyang
as preconditions, according to the newspaper.
5/23/05Three North Korean cargo ships load fertilizer in the first North Korean
port calls in South Korea in two decades.
5/24/05Amid 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 North’s official news agency quoted the state-run
newspaper Minju Joson as saying. “To stand against force with force is
our unswerving method of response.”
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
5/26/05The 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.”
5/29/05The 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
5/30/05In an interview on CNN, Vice President Dick Cheney says Kim Jong
Il is “one of the world’s 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.”
5/31/05In 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, we’ve got a ways to go to solve this diplomatically.”
5/31/05The 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.
5/31/05In 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 -South Korean National Security Advisor Kwon Jin-ho and chief nuclear
6/3/05negotiator 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, Seoul’s presidential Blue House said.
6/1/05Foreign 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.
6/1/05A North Korean Army representative told KNCA that North Korea had
decided to “totally dismantle its side’s 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.”
6/1/05In 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
6/2/05North Koreans pointedly praise President Bush’s relatively mild
comments in his May 31 press conference, including his relatively
respectful reference to the North Korean leader as “Mr. Kim Jong Il.”
6/2/05Dr. Byeon Jae-jeong of the ROK Defense Ministry’s 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.
6/5/05Secretary 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 aide’s
statement, calling it “incorrect and mischievous.”
John Lewis, returning from his 11 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.
6/6/05Joe 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.
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....”
6/8/05North 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.
6/10/05At 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, “...we’re 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
6/13/05Bush 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.
6/14/05Joseph 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 -A delegation from South Korea travels to Pyongyang to celebrate the
6/17/05fifth 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 -North Korea and South Korea hold inter-ministerial talks. The
6/22/05Washington 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 North’s 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 [Ku’mgang] (in North Korea); establishing an
agricultural cooperation committee under the ministerial talks and have
its first meeting held in mid-July in Kaesong [Kaeso’ng]. 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 provideth
food aid, with the amount to be discussed at 10 economic cooperation
meeting in July. North Korea reportedly asked for 500,000 MT of aid.
6/22/05In an opinion piece in the Washington Post urging the Bush
Administration to take advantage of Kim’s 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.
6/22/05The State Department says the U.S. will provide 50,000 tons of food to
6/23/05The 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.
6/28/05According 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.
6/29/05During 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]....”
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 -National Committee on American Foreign Policy Conference on Korea
7/1/05in 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 North’s
top diplomat to the United Nations, the first meeting between the two
Koreas’ resident ambassadors in the United States.
6/30/05The 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.”
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
Seoul’s 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 -Secretary Rice travels to China, South Korea, Japan and Thailand. On
7/13/05the 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 -At the 10th Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Promotion
7/12/05Committee 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.
7/9/05In 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 don’t
intend to engage in talks for talk’s sake....I do believe that North Korea
has a bar to pass to show that it’s 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
7/9/05At 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.
7/10/05Working-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.
nuclear threat to [North Korea] is removed … not a single nuclear
weapon will be needed,” said the North’s leading newspaper, Rodong
7/11/05Appearing 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.
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.
7/13/05In a news conference in Seoul the morning after Chung’s
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 States’s June 2004
proposal. Responding to a question, Rice says that the denuclearization
of North Korea must include its presumed uranium enrichment
7/15/05A 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.
7/17/05Hyundai 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.
7/18/05A 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.
7/18/05A 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.
7/18/05In 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 Hyundai’s Mt. Paekdu
and Kaesong initiatives.
7/19/05The 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.
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
7/21/05A spokesperson from the North’s Foreign Ministry and quoted by the
North’s 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
7/22/05South 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 peninsula’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule.
7/25/05The 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 -At their first joint fishery talks, held in Kaesong, South and North
7/27/05Korea sign a six-point joint agreement that includes the designation of
a joint fishery zone in the Yellow Sea.
stated, “Our country will no longer deal with Japan anywhere. Even if
we sit face to face, nothing will be solved.”
7/26/05Gerald 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 -The fourth round of Six-Party Talks takes place in Beijing. North
8/7/05Korea 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 Pakistan’s 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 -The 5th working-level consultative meeting for the connection of the
After inspections in August and security checks, opening ceremonies
for two relinked railways to be held “around late October.”
7/28/05At 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 North’s agreement to
dismantle its nuclear program in a verifiable way, the officials said.
7/28/05An 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.
8/5/05Nine 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 -The fifth round of working-level contact for maritime cooperation in
8/15/05Munsan (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.
8/10/05North 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.
8/11/05South 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
8/12/05South 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.
8/14/05In an interview on CNN, Kim Kye Gwan, chief nuclear negotiator for
North Korea and the nation’s vice foreign minister stated, “We don’t
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.”
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.
8/15/05Three 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.
8/15/05The 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 -The United States and North Korea have 4 diplomatic exchanges
8/16/05South 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.”
8/18/05Hyundai Asan reaches an agreement to take three Southern tour groups
of 500 people to Kaesong city on August 26, September 2, and
8/18/05 -In Kaesong, at the first Inter-Korean Agricultural Economic
8/19/05Cooperation 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 -The South Korean Ministry of Unification reports that inspections of
8/25/05the two new trans-DMZ railways reveal that the western Kyonggi line
is almost ready, but the eastern Donghae line needs more work.
8/19/05Jay Lefkowitz is appointed as Special Envoy on Human Rights in North
8/19/05Hyundai Asan fires CEO Kim Yoon-kyu for allegedly embezzling
billions of won in company funds, including state subsidies. North
Korea halves the firm’s 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 government’s management of funds for
inter-Korean economic cooperation.
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 don’t 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 -A 12-day annual joint military exercise between the U.S. and South
9/2/05Korea (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 exercisesth
during the break between the Six-Party Talks. On August 24, 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.”
8/23/05South 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.
8/23/05Christopher 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 -A three-day inter-Korean Red Cross series of talks concludes without
8/25/05reaching an agreement on the issues of South Korean prisoners of war
(POWs) in the Korean War (1950-1953) and abducted civilians held in
8/23/05 -A delegation from the ROK Democratic Labor Party leaves for
8/27/05Pyongyang on Monday. The DLP said it will discuss inter-Korean
cooperation projects such as regular exchanges with the DPRK’s Social
the first South Korean-flagged vessels to dock in North Korea for
8/24/05 -The first inter-Korean working-level consultative meeting on light
8/27/05industries and natural resources cooperation, held in Pyongyang, ends
8/25/05 -More than 580 South Koreans meet with North Korean family members
8/29/05in Mt. Kumgang. The week’s reunions are the 11th since the divided
Koreas agreed to promote peace and reconciliation at an unprecedented
summit between their leaders in 2000.
8/26/05A 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
8/28/05China 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
8/29/05North 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.”
8/31/05South and North Korea begin construction of a reunion center for
separated families at the North’s 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.
9/1/05Zhang 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 -20 North Korean athletes and 124 teenage cheerleaders visit Inchon for
9/2/05A 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.
9/6/05Kumgang 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.
9/8/05China 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.
9/8/05Secretary 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
9/8/05The 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.
9/9/05South Korea publishes revisions to the ROK’s law on inter-Korean
exchange and cooperation, effective December 1 in order to facilitate
contacts with the North.
9/13/05 -The participants in the 16th round of Inter-Korean Ministerial talks held
9/16/05in 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.
9/15/05The 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.
9/19/05resume 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
9/20/05A 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
is planning to disarm the communist nation and “crush us to death with
9/22/05North 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.
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 don’t want to play hide and seek. We don’t 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.
9/22/05Unification 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.
9/23/05In Washington D.C., South Korean Finance Minister Han Duck-soo
reportedly says North Korea should be encouraged to join IMF &
9/23/05The 5,000-strong Seoul Bar Association criticizes human rights abuses
in North Korea at its first ever symposium on the topic.
9/26/05 -Over 4,000 South Korean tourists travel to North Korea’s Arirang mass
10/5/05games, which previously were off limits, many by daily charter flights
from Seoul to Pyongyang.
9/26/05Korea Resources Corp (KORES), says it aims to open an office in
Pyongyang this year to form a partnership for mineral resources
9/28/05A South Korean presidential panel, chaired by President Roh, says
Seoul should take the lead in resolving the North’s nuclear issue and
developing the Six-Party Talks into a regional northeast Asian
community and a “multilateral security-economy entity.”
9/29/05South 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.
10/1/05The 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.
10/1/05South 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.
10/4/05The 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.
10/4/05Hyundai 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
government’s management of funds for inter-Korean economic
10/5/05 -A meeting in Kaesong ends in an agreement for procedures for family
10/7/07Andrew Vershbow is confirmed as Ambassador to the Republic of
10/13/05Adam Ereli, a Deputy Spokesman at the U.S. Department of State, told
reporters that the U.S. was seeking the extradition of Northern Ireland’s
Worker’s Party chief Sean Garland, who has been indicted on suspicion
of circulating counterfeit U.S. banknotes of DPRK origin.
says the two Koreas hope to field a unified team at the 2008 Beijing
10/13/05The 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.
10/13/05Interfax quotes Konstantin Pulikovsky, Russian Presidential Envoy to
Russia’s 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 country’s renunciation of the development of
10/13/05New ROK Ambassador to the United States Lee Tae-shik arrives in
10/17/05 -New Mexico governor Bill Richardson arrives in North Korea for
10/19/05unofficial 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.
10/21/05Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visits Seoul for the 37th Security
10/21/05The 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.
10/28/05In an interview with Yonhap, Han Song-ryol, Deputy Chief of the
DPRK’s mission to the United Nations, says that Pyongyang was not
interested in Seoul’s 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.
10/28/05The 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 -PRC President Hu Jintao visits North Korea and meets Kim Jong-il, the
10/30/05first visit by a Chinese leader since 2001. Kim tells Hu that he is
committed to ending the North’s 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
China’s means.” He reportedly committed $2 billion.
11/1/05A GNP lawmaker reveals a Ministry of Unification blueprint to invest
5.25 trillion won in restoring the North’s economy through 2010 if the
nuclear issue is resolved.
11/3/05 -Japan and North Korea hold bilateral talks in Beijing. No substantive
11/4/05progress 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 Japan’s proposal to convene working
groups to discuss three topics separately — the abduction issue, security
issues, and normalization.
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 Bush’s 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 -The fifth round of Six-Party Talks are held in Beijing. At their
11/11/05conclusion, 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.
11/10/05Chairwoman 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 North’s 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
11/14/05South 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 North’s border with China.
11/17/05After 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.
11/17/05After 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 we’ll 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.”
11/17/05The ROK Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Promotion
Committee approves a supply of 60,000 tons of coal to Kaesong city.
11/18/05The 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 ROK’s
shipment to the DPRK of seven product materials needed for the
installation of the equipment.
11/18/05The Ministry of Unification says that some 1,139 North Koreans
reached the South this year so far, bringing the total of defectors to
11/21/05The South Korean National Assembly passes the Ministry of
Unification’s amendments to the 1990 Act on Inter-Korean Exchange
and Cooperation, easing regulations for visiting North Korea.
11/23/05South 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.
11/23/05KEDO 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.”
11/23/05North 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.
11/30/05North 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.
12/1/05North 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
12/4/05North 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 North’s chief negotiator
at the Six-Party Talks, in Washington on the possible lifting of financial
sanctions the U.S. imposed on North Korea.
12/5/05Unification 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.
12/7/05U.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 -Freedom House, a U.S. NGO, sponsors a major conference in Seoul on
12/11/05North 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.
12/9/05A spokesman from the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the
Fatherland, the North’s party organization, criticized Vershbow’s
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.
12/9/05South 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.
12/12/05Pyongyang 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 -The 17th Round of Inter-Korean Ministerial talks in Cheju produces few
12/16/05substantive 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.
12/14/05A South Korean livestock panel determines it safe to import American
beef and lifts the beef import ban due to mad cow disease.
12/15/05South Korean National Assembly Speaker Kim Won-ki condemns
Vershbow’s December 7 remarks.
12/16/05The U.N. General Assembly adopts a draft resolution on the situation
of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
expressing its serious concern at the government’s 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.
sanctions against North Korean companies are lifted.
and briefs Secretary Rice on the Recently held inter-Korea talks.
12/19/05In 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.”
12/24/05-Japan and North Korea hold bilateral talks. According to a report
12/25/05carried 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
12/24/05 -PRC Premier Wen Jiabao affirms China’s policy of developing friendly
12/27/05and 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.
12/28/05The 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.
12/30/05State Department spokesman Adam Ereli says the U.S. has suspended
its food aid shipments to North Korea because of Pyongyang’s decision
to end the World Food Program’s distribution system.