North Korea - South Korea
Chronology from Jul 2006 to Oct 2006
: The first products are shipped from the main Kaesong complex: 40,000 pieces of underwear, worth 200 million won, made by Kaeseong Cotton Club whose factory was completed on Aug. 20. Quality is said to be better than Chinese products.
: U.S. Ambassador to Korea Alexander Vershbow tells Yonhap News that Assistant Secretary Hill could visit Pyongyang if the DPRK returns to the table.
: Unification Minister Lee announces that Seoul is suspending applications from local SMEs to set up in the Kaesong Industrial Zone.
: Robert Carlin, former chief U.S. diplomat, writes article emulating DPRK First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok Ju to a meeting of North Korean diplomats.
: Presidents Bush and Roh hold a summit meeting in Washington.
: KCNA reports that Kim Jong-il provided field guidance at Mt. Kumgang, en route to inspecting front-line military positions.
: ROK Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok says that if Kim Jong-il were to visit China that it would be a “highly positive” move.
: Unification Minister Lee says that despite a “lull” in inter-Korean talks, the Kaesong Industrial Complex, Mt. Kumgang tour, economic cooperation, social-cultural exchanges, and inter-military communications are operating normally.
: Seoul dailies print claim by Kang Seok-ju, North Korea’s senior vice foreign minister and long-time chief nuclear negotiator, that Pyongyang has at least five nuclear weapons.
: President Roh announces that new approach was put to North Korea prior to the Bush-Roh summit.
: China’s top delegate to the Six-Party Talks, Wu Dawei, says in Seoul that Beijing supports President Roh’s new approach.
: Ban Ki-moon tells reporters that Seoul is reviewing an action plan in the case of a possible North Korean nuclear test.
: Media reports that Jang Keum-Song, Kim Jong-Il’s niece, committed suicide in Paris in August.
: The Kaesong Industrial Complex Management Committee (KICMC) agrees simplified entry and exit procedures with the North’s immigration office.
: Japan’s Kyodo News reports that Kim Jong-il has called China and Russia “unreliable” and that North Korea should overcome the international standoff over its nuclear and missile programs on its own.
: Eighteen North Korean refugees arrested in Thailand are flown to Seoul.
: North Korea threatens to quit armistice that ended the Korean War over the Ulchi Focus Lens exercise and considers the exercise an “act of war.”
: Police raid in Bangkok nets 175 North Korean refugees.
: ROK Foreign Ministry says it “has serious concerns about North Korea’s illicit activities, including counterfeiting,” and urging Pyongyang to “take steps to quell such worries in order to become a member of the international society.”
: U.S. and South Korea hold Ulchi Focus Lens exercises across the Korean Peninsula.
: Seoul announces larger-scale official support, to be channeled via the Red Cross: some 100,000 tons of rice and the same weight of cement, along with iron rods, excavators, and trucks, plus blankets and medical kits.
: Rim Tong-ok, North Korea’s point man on the South, dies at 70.
: After the North accepts a Southern proposal on Aug. 14 to meet, the two Koreas hold working-level Red Cross talks on flood aid at Mt. Kumgang. The North had originally rebuffed Southern and other offers of help.
: ROK FM Ban Ki-moon says it is deplorable that the DPRK is more than ever opting for isolation, and that “it is hard to say the prospects are bright.”
: ROK allocates $10.5 million for local NGOs assisting in the North.
: South Korea’s ruling Uri party proposes all-party meeting on flood aid to the North. Despite July’s missile tests, pressure for aid grows, with even the conservative opposition Grand National Party (GNP) calling on Seoul to assist Pyongyang.
: Choson Sinbo, a pro-DPRK daily published in Tokyo, reports official tally of July’s flood toll: 549 dead, 295 missing and 3,043 injured. An ROK Buddhist NGO, Good Friends, claims casualties and damage were far worse: 54,700 dead (many due to landslides); 2.5 million – over 10 percent of the population – rendered homeless; and wide destruction of crops in major rice-growing areas.
: North and South Korean soldiers exchange limited rifle fire at the DMZ.
: The North cancels joint Liberation Day celebrations in Pyongyang planned for Aug. 15, citing flood damage as the reason. Seoul says it believes this.
: South Korea, China, Japan, Russia, the U.S., Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, and New Zealand hold 5+5 Talks in Kuala Lumpur to discuss North Korea as well as other broader regional security concerns.
: At a regular meeting of the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Promotion Committee in Kaesong, the North’s chief delegate, Ju Dong-chan, calls for projects like the KIZ to continue “regardless of international conditions.”
: President Roh objects to U.S. hardline policy of “strangling” North Korea.
: North Korea notifies the South that it is withdrawing personnel from the Office of Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation (OIKEC) in Kaesong, meaning it can no longer operate as a venue for working-level consultations. Staff from the North’s National Economic Cooperation Federation will remain to facilitate joint ventures.
: ROK President Roh Moo-hyun calls Pyongyang’s missile tests “wrong behavior” that increased regional tensions, but warns against over-reacting to them.
: North Korea notifies South Korea that it would stop inter-Korean family reunions in response to the ROK halt of humanitarian aid.
: ROK government reaffirms plan, first decided in January, to enact a law to assist post-1953 abductees to North Korea; not only from a humanitarian viewpoint, but also in terms of the state’s duty to protect its citizens. It will not cover the much larger numbers taken North during the 1950-53 Korean War, nor earlier victims.
: DPRK Foreign Ministry calls UNSCR 1695 “brigandish.”
: ROK military source says an Army missile defense command will be formed later this year to counter threats from missiles and long-range artillery.
: UN Security Council adopts resolution 1695. The PRC signs on to a compromise resolution that condemns North Korea’s missile tests, but does not include Chapter 7 language originally endorsed by Tokyo.
: Typhoon Ewiniar batters North Korea, causing severe damage.
: Opinion poll shows the number of South Koreans who say the ROK should support U.S. policy toward North Korea has risen from 20 percent in 2002 to 37 percent, while support for increased Southern aid to the North has narrowed from 59 percent to 54 percent.
: South Korea lodges a strong complaint against North Korea for firing Scud missiles that could reach any area of South Korea and urges it to return to the Six-Party Talks.
: The 19th Inter-Korean Ministerial talks held in Busan, South Korea.
: ROK President Roh reportedly calls North Korea’s missile tests “a political act demanding American concessions,” and likens U.S. financial sanctions against Pyongyang to the premodern practice of beheading a criminal before sending his case to the king. He also says that Japan “ended up helping North Korea” fire its missiles, blaming Tokyo for “making noise” on the issue instead of “stay[ing] composed.”
: Seoul’s comments on the Japanese draft of UNSC resolution condemning North Korea’s missile tests criticize Tokyo for “making a fuss” rather than condemn Pyongyang for its provocation.
: The South cancels a planned inter-Korean military liaison contact in protest at the North’s missile tests. Pyongyang had proposed the meeting on July 3.
: After the missiles tests, South Korean Unification Minister Lee says humanitarian aid to the North will be suspended indefinitely.
: Facing criticism that Seoul had been too sanguine about the prospect of a North Korean missile test, a Blue House spokesman admitted “some differences regarding the degree of caution in making a judgement” compared to Washington and Tokyo.
: North Korea launches seven missiles into the Sea of Japan, provoking a firestorm of international condemnation.