Chronologies

North Korea - South Korea

Chronology from Apr 2007 to Jul 2007


: South Korea completes the shipment of 50,000 tons of HFO to the North.

: A Southern team begins a fortnight’s inspection tour of three Northern mines: Komdok, East Asia’s largest zinc mine, and Taehung and Ryongyang, which have the world’s third largest deposits of magnesite.

: ROK Korea International Trade Association (KITA), a private sector group, says that inter-Korean trade in the first half of 2007 rose 28.6 percent year on year to $720 million. In a sign that commercial trade is replacing aid, Northern exports, up 63 percent at $390 million, exceeded those from the South, which fell 9 percent to $330 million.

: Civic leaders from North and South meet at Mt. Kumgang resort to discuss holding joint events celebrating Liberation Day – from Japan, in 1945: a holiday in both Koreas – on Aug. 15.

: South Korea ships a first batch of 500 tons of polyester fiber to the North.

: A sixth round of general-level military talks at Panmunjom ends in rancor when the North walks out over the South’s refusal to countenance redrawing the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto western sea border between the Koreas.

: AP reports that the FBI has charged a U.S.-Korean businessman, Steve Park, with regularly reporting to the ROK government on his frequent business trips to North Korea without registering in the U.S. as an agent of a foreign power.

: South Korea’s Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung makes a three-day visit (his first) to Mt. Kumgang. Besides tourist facilities, his itinerary includes a Southern-aided hospital and village – but no formal talks with Northern counterparts.

: MOU says it has contracted with SK Energy, the ROK’s largest refiner, to supply 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil costing $22 million. The first shipment will be sent to North Korea on July 12.

: MOU says it has contracted with SK Energy, the ROK’s largest refiner, to supply 50,000 tons of HFO costing $22 million. The first shipment will be sent to North Korea on July 12.

: Yonhap quotes MOU as saying that 50,000 tons of its 400,000 tons of rice aid will be sent by rail over five weeks, beginning July 20: 30,000 tons on the western Kyongui line, and 20,000 tons on the east coast Donghae line. Next day Yonhap amends this, substituting road for rail (there are parallel road and rail tracks in each corridor).

: Yonhap quotes MOU as saying that 50,000 tons of its 400,000 tons of rice aid will be sent by rail over five weeks, beginning July 20: 30,000 tons on the western Kyongui line, and 20,000 tons on the east coast Donghae line. Next day Yonhap amends this, substituting road for rail (there are parallel road and rail tracks in each corridor).

: Yonhap reports that the two Koreas will hold working-level military talks at the truce village of Panmunjom on July 10, to pave the way for a resumption of higher level dialogue between each side’s generals.

: Yonhap reports that the two Koreas will hold working-level military talks at the truce village of Panmunjom on July 10, to pave the way for a resumption of higher-level dialogue between each side’s generals.

: After an all-night final session, talks at Gaesong agree on payments for the South to supply light industrial raw materials in exchange for mining rights. Prices of 62 items are agreed, with 32 more still to be settled. North Korea will pay for transport, cargo working, and demurrage costs, while the South will cover shipping and insurance.

: A GNP task force unveils a radical new policy on North Korea, shifting the party’s stance away from containment towards engagement with Pyongyang.

: MOU says South Korea will begin shipping 6,200 tons of heavy fuel oil to the North next week, and that it expects Pyongyang to start shutting down the Yongbyon nuclear reactor once the shipment arrives.

: A GNP task force unveils a radical new policy on North Korea, shifting the party away from containment toward engagement with Pyongyang.

: MOU says South Korea will begin shipping 6,200 tons of heavy fuel oil to the North next week, and that it expects Pyongyang to start shutting down the Yongbyon nuclear reactor once the shipment arrives.

: A North Korean meeting to mark the 35th anniversary of the first inter-Korean joint statement on July 4, 1972, issued by the late presidents Kim Il-sung (DPRK) and Park Chung-hee (ROK), praises this for establishing the “three principles of national reunification: independence, peaceful reunification and great national unity.”

: A North Korean meeting to mark the 35th anniversary of the first inter-Korean joint statement on July 4, 1972, issued by the late Presidents Kim Il-sung (DPRK) and Park Chung-hee (ROK), praises this for establishing the “three principles of national reunification: independence, peaceful reunification and great national unity.”

: Meeting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-il reportedly says that tensions are easing on the peninsula.

: South Korea says it will provide emergency food aid worth $20 million to North Korea through the WFP, separate from its own bilateral aid. This includes 2,000 tons of corn, 12,000 tons of bean, 5,000 tons of wheat, 2,000 tons of flour, and 1,000 tons of powdered milk. This is the ROK’s first aid to the DPRK via WFP since 2004.

: Following severe flooding, South Korea says it will provide emergency food aid worth $20 million to North Korea through the UN World Food Program (WFP), separate from its own bilateral rice aid. This includes 2,000 tons of corn, 12,000 tons of beans, 5,000 tons of wheat, 2,000 tons of flour and 1,000 tons of powdered milk. This is the ROK’s first aid to the DPRK via WFP since 2004.

: South Korea sends 3,000 tons of rice to the North, as a first installment of this year’s 400,000 tons of aid: promised earlier, but withheld until Pyongyang began to implement the Feb. 13 six-party agreement.

: KCNA accuses U.S. and ROK warplanes of 170 cases of “madcap aerial espionage” in June, and 1,100 so far this year. Such charges have long been routine.

: On the fifth anniversary of a West Sea clash where five ROK sailors died, the ROK Navy launches a patrol boat named after one of them.

: Jang Jae-on, president of the DPRK Red Cross, faxes Han Wan-sang, his ROK counterpart, in thanks for this year’s 300,000 tons of fertilizer aid and promising to account for its distribution. Shipment began on March 27 and was completed on June 21.

: At a meeting in Kaesong, South Korea agrees to send 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil (HFO) to the North within a month, implementing the Feb. 13 six-party accord.

: Korea Software Financial Cooperative – a private group of major ROK software developers, including Samsung, LG, SK, and PosData – says it is working out details with a DPRK counterpart, Samcholli General Corporation, to open software centers in Kaesong and Pyongyang.

: ROK unification minister Lee Jae-joung announces that South Korea will grant rice aid (technically a loan) as requested by the North, beginning June 30.

: Some 100 former DPRK musicians and others form the General Association of North Korean Defector Artists in Seoul, to make Northern art forms better known and help change ROK fine arts from “indescribable corruption” to “healthy commercialism.”

: Hyundai Asan says it will double its tours to Mt. Kumgang starting July 1 from thrice weekly to daily, due to increased demand since North Korea allowed access to Inner Kumgang, a mountain hiking trail some distance from the main resort.

: North Korea criticizes the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto inter-Korean west sea border since the 1953 Armistice, as an “illegal ghost line”.

: ROK Vice Unification Minister Shin Eon-sang reports the completion of fertilizer aid to the North, and of last year’s emergency rice for flood aid. He adds that a family reunion center at Mt. Kumgang is one-third built, and due for completion this year.

: The ROK begins feeding 100,000 kilowatts (kW) of electricity to a newly built transformer substation in Kaesong, DPRK. About 15,000 kW has been being transmitted to the Kaesong industrial complex from South Korea since March 2005, but now a new $37.7 million substation can supply ample electricity for the entire zone.

: For the fifth time since mid-May, the KPA Navy threatens fierce reprisals against alleged marine incursions by ROK warships. The South denies any intrusions.

: UK-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide releases North Korea: A Case to Answer – A Call to Act, which looks at the humanitarian crisis in the DPRK.

: South Korea said it has sent a 10-person team to Pyongyang led by Kim Chang-seob, chief veterinary officer at the Agriculture Ministry, to assist the North with an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. Seoul already sent related aid worth $3 million.

: KCNA announces that Ri In-mo, a captured KPA correspondent who spent 34 years including torture in ROK jails but did not recant and was repatriated in 1993, died the previous day. Kim Jong-il sends a wreath to his funeral on June 18, where SPA Presidium President Kim Yong-nam delivers the eulogy.

: The North bars a GNP lawmaker from one of the Pyongyang meetings. Southern delegates protest, and most planned events are cancelled for two days. A token communiqué of national unity is issued on June 17. The North also objects to a call for a new summit by former ROK Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun at the welcoming dinner.

: Korea International Trade Association (KITA) reports inter-Korean trade is up threefold since 2000, with an average annual rise of 24.3 percent. Trade from January to May this year totaled $563 million; KITA forecasts that this year’s total will rise 27 percent to $1.7 billion.

: A 284-strong Southern civil delegation flies to Pyongyang for the seventh anniversary of the June 2000 North-South summit. The ROK government is not invited.

: The ROK says it will send 50,000 tons of corn and 10,500 tons of rice to the DPRK via the UN World Food Program (WFP). As emergency flood aid promised in 2006, this is separate from the bilateral 400,000 tons of rice aid still being withheld pending full fulfilment of the February 13 6-party nuclear accord.

: A meeting at the Central Workers’ Hall in Pyongyang commemorates the 20th anniversary of the democratic movement in June 1987 in South Korea.

: South Korea’s unification ministry (MOU) says that 24 percent of goods made in the Kaesong industrial zone during January-April, worth $11.3 million, were exported: mainly to the EU, China, Russia, and Australia.

: Several hundred Southern pilgrims visit Yontong temple near Kaesong, restored with aid from Cheontae, the ROK’s second largest Buddhist order. Cheontae plans to organize regular pilgrimages, despite criticisms that the DPRK’s charge of $100 per visitor – three times the rate at Mt. Kumgang – is exorbitant.

: Working-level military talks at the truce village of Panmunjom agree on nothing, not even when next to meet, because of disputes over the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto inter-Korean west sea border since the 1953 Armistice, which the DPRK wants to redraw. The ROK does not take issue with the North’s missile test.

: As it did on May 25, and will again on June 27, North Korea test-fires a short-range missile at sea, possibly of a new solid-fuel design.

: Talks at Kaesong on a deal for Seoul to send light industry raw materials in exchange for Northern mining rights, first mooted in 2005, fail to agree on pricing. Earlier talks on May 22-23 failed similarly.

: The DPRK’s National Reunification Institute (NRI) brands the ROK main opposition party, the GNP, as the “treacherous” successor to past “fascist cliques”, which it “far surpasses … in corruption and irregularities and frauds”; adding that the party’s “impudent” bid to seek power is “a mockery of history.”

: The inter-Korean ministerial talks in Seoul close with a perfunctory joint statement and no date fixed to meet again. The North was miffed at the South’s delaying rice aid until its Yongbyon reactor is closed as per the Feb. 13 Six-Party Talks accord.

: The 21st North-South cabinet-level talks since the 2000 summit open in Seoul. The DPRK delegation flies in, led as usual by Cabinet Chief Councilor Kwon Ho-ung, despite fears that they might stage a boycott.

: Local ginseng growers in Geumsan in the ROK’s South Chungcheong province say they have agreed a joint venture with Kwangmyongsong, a DPRK firm, to operate a 500 hectare ginseng farm near the Pyongyang-Kaesong highway and produce ginseng in Pyongyang. The ROK partner will provide seeds, materials, and processing.

: The ROK approves budgets of $170 million for rice aid and $80 million to supply raw materials for the DPRK to make soap, footwear, and clothing.

: The U.S.-based Freedom House in Seoul releases its report Concentrations of Inhumanity, which accuses DPRK authorities of crimes against humanity..

: A DPRK merchant ship docks in Busan, the ROK’s main port and second city, for the first time since the Korean War. The 1,853 ton Kangsong will make three round trips monthly to Rajin in the DPRK’s northeast, chartered by a South Korean firm.

: For the first time, a five-strong DPRK delegation comes to Seoul to take part in an international conference of Japanese war time sex slavery (“comfort women”). On May 21 participants call on Tokyo to apologize and take legal responsibility.

: Two trains, one each from the North and the South, cross the DMZ on relinked tracks near the west and east coasts for the first time in half a century for short test runs. Both carry preselected passengers from both Koreas, and return the same day.

: Kim Yong-nam meets a Southern delegation headed by Sohn Hak-kyu: former governor of Gyeonggi Province (greater Seoul) for the conservative main opposition Grand National Party (GNP), which he quit in March, but now the likeliest center-left candidate in December’s ROK presidential election.

: The 15th reunion of separated family members, the first such meeting for 11 months, is held at the Mt. Kumgang resort in southeastern North Korea.

: The 5th inter-Korean general-level military talks are held at the North’s Tongil Pavilion at the truce village of Panmunjom. After extending the meeting by a day, they issue their first joint statement since 2000, agreeing on the need for marine security and a joint fishing zone in the West Sea. They also agree on security guarantees for test runs on the two reconnected cross-border railways on May 17.

: ROK army sources observe their DPRK counterparts inspecting railway tracks within the DMZ, raising hopes of a security guarantee for cross-border test runs.

: A delegation from the Peace Council of Religionists of South Korea, led by its Chairman Choi Gun-duk visits Pyongyang; overlapping with a group from the ROK’s “Movement for a Reunified Korean Nation” which visits on May 4-7.

: At a meeting in Kaesong, South Korea agrees to send 500 tons of polyester fabric to the North on June 27, followed by 10 light industry experts in July.

: Presidium President of the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) Kim Yong-nam, who as the North Korea’s titular head of state, meets a delegation from the South’s ruling Uri Party led by Kim Hyuk-kyu, a presidential aide (and himself a presidential hopeful). The delegation leaves Pyongyang on May 5.

: North Korea agrees to the first general-level military talks in almost a year, to be held at Panmunjom on May 8-10. South Korea had proposed meeting on May 3.

: Some 60 North Korean trade unionists and workers fly direct to Gimhae airport, near Busan in the south of the ROK, for three days of May Day celebrations with their Southern counterparts in the industrial city of Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province.

: Working-level talks at Kaesong agree on most details of proposed test cross-border train runs on May 17. A military guarantee is still required.

: The 13th meeting of the Economic Cooperation Promotion Committee (ECPC) is held in Pyongyang, after a gap of nearly a year. Despite Northern histrionics, this reaches a 10-point agreement covering a range of issues including rice aid, business projects, and cross-border train test runs.

: ROK MOU confirms that Pyongyang has demanded pay increases of 30 and 10 percent respectively for the Kaesong workforce who are four-year and two-year college graduates.

: The 8th round of Red Cross talks since the June 2000 summit agrees to hold extra family reunions this year. The North continues to deny having any Southern prisoners of war or abductees, though the South tallies over 1,000 such.

: A 49-strong Northern delegation arrives in Seoul for talks on merging two rival international taekwondo federations backed respectively by each Korea. It includes Jang Ung, the sole North Korean on the IOC, who heads the DPRK-backed International Taekwondo Federation (ITF). The ITF was founded in Seoul in 1966 by a northern-born ROK General Choi Hong-hi, who later moved to Canada and died in Pyongyang in 2002. The visitors include a demonstration team which puts on displays in South Korea.

: ROK Vice Unification Minister Shin Eon-sang says the South will “give rice to the North as scheduled” after bilateral economic talks set for April 18-21 in Pyongyang, even if the DPRK fails to shut its Yongbyon reactor as scheduled; on the grounds that “the momentum for inter-Korean development should not be lost.”

: Dissent emerges on whether the U.S.-ROK free trade agreement (FTA) concluded on April 1 covers goods made in the DPRK’s Kaesong economic zone. While ROK Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong says the FTA “opens a road” for Kaesong-made exports, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Karan Bhatia retorts: “That’s just a discussion we will undertake. Under this [free-trade agreement], goods from Kaesong will not be entering the United States.”

: A South Korean youth Red Cross delegation arrives at North Korea’s Mt. Kumgang resort, to plant trees jointly with their Northern counterparts.

: Yonhap reports that in the past week Thai police arrested 50 North Koreans who illegally entered from China. Thailand does not recognize these as refugees, but normally lets them proceed to Seoul; 400 did so last year, and 150 are currently waiting.

: Meeting at Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the two Koreas’ Red Cross bodies exchange lists of separated family members. They agree to finalize by April 27 the list of 100 persons from each side to participate in the 15th round of family reunions, set for May 9-14 at North Korea’s Mt. Kumgang resort.

: South Korea’s under 17 soccer squad beats its Northern counterpart 2-1 in a friendly match at the Suwon world cup stadium near Seoul. The DPRK team came to Jeju on March 20 for a month’s training. South Korea will host the world championships from Aug. 18 to Sept. 9.

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