US - Korea

Chronology from Apr 2008 to Jul 2008

: On a tour through Asia, Secretary Rice meets ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan in Seoul.

: North Korea demolishes a cooling tower at its Yongbyon reactor.

:   Secretary Rice authors opinion article in the Wall Street Journal supporting the negotiation process with North Korea and confirming the intent to remove the DPRK from the terrorism list and TWEA with submission of its nuclear declaration to China.

: North Korea submits long-awaited nuclear declaration to China as the Chair of the Six-Party Talks.   In exchange the U.S. agrees to lift key Trading with the Enemy Act sanctions and remove North Korea from its terrorism list.

: President Bush signs a National Emergency Declaration, which reinstates many of the TWEA restrictions due to continuing proliferation threat from North Korea.

: U.S. resumes beef exports to South Korea despite intensified protests.  South Korean quarantine inspections restart as well.

: President Bush telephones Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda ahead of an anticipated nuclear declaration from North Korea to indicate support for Japan’s ongoing claims against North Korea over the abduction issue.

:   Secretary Hill meets Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei to discuss North Korea’s denuclearization declaration.

: After a week of negotiations in Washington, DC, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and South Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon reach a revised agreement on U.S. beef exports to Korea.

: Trilateral talks among Six-Party Talks negotiators from U.S. South Korea, and Japan. Japan expresses concern over U.S. plans to remove the DPRK from its state sponsors of terrorism list.

:   Secretary Rice speech at Heritage Foundation expresses support for the six party process and previews the U.S. steps in conjunction with North Korea’s declaration.

: In a televised statement South Korean Justice Minister Kim Kyung-han vows to take action against protestors against U.S. beef in order restore order.

: Gen. Walter Sharp assumes command of United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/U.S. Forces Korea.

: Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates meet in Seoul to discuss mutual military interests.  During the meeting, Gates endorses extended tours for US troops in South Korea. They also agree to maintain current U.S. troop strength at 28,500.

: The Unification Ministry states that if the DPRK completely denuclearizes the ROK has agreed to send 1,000 tons of copper as economic aid.

: Papers report that the DPRK attempted to export a GPS jamming device to Iran and Syria. The device can interfere with the signal needed by GPS guided bombs and missiles.

: Secretary Hill meets Minister Kim Gye-Gwan in Beijing to discuss the aid that the DPRK will receive if it fully denuclearizes and the possibility of removing the DPRK off the US list of state sponsors of terror.

: An unidentified South Korean official confirms to Yonhap News Agency that the ROK plans to buy DPRK fuel rods in an attempt to speed up the denuclearization process.

: South Korea delays U.S. beef importation for up to 10 days due to public unrest. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez says the event is “unfortunate.”
May 18-19, 2008: Secretary Hill meets counterparts Kim Sook of South Korea and Akitaka Saiki of Japan in Washington, DC.

: South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reports that the ROK government will send $9.6 million in humanitarian aid to the DPRK to mitigate the effects of famine.

: U.S. team headed by Sung Kim returns from the DPRK with 18,000 pages of documents on DPRK nuclear activities at Yongbyon.

:  ROK Agriculture Ministry official confirms to Agence France-Presse plans to resume imports of beef from U.S. in late May.

: Presidential Spokesperson Lee Dong-kwan states that the Lee administration is trying to alleviate the public panic surrounding mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

: House Foreign Affairs Committee passes legislation to allow the DPRK denuclearization process to be funded by Department of Energy. The U.S. plans to give $50 million in the fiscal year 2008 and up to $360 million in fiscal year 2009. Committee also approves a bill that requires a “complete and correct declaration” of all nuclear programs before North Korea can be removed from the state sponsors of terror list.

: The ROK Defense Ministry reports that they were not notified when the U.S. relocated a Korea-based AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter squadron to Afghanistan.

: Agreement is reached between the DPRK and the U.S. that the DPRK will give thousands of pages of documentation on nuclear activity at Yongbyon.

: U.S. intelligence officials show U.S. lawmakers a videotape of a remote nuclear reactor site in Syria that links the activity to North Korea.

: U.S. Department of Defense announces a plan to extend the assignment period from one year to three years for U.S. military stationed in South Korea.

: CIA and White House officials brief key lawmakers on evidence of a DPRK-Syria nuclear technology transfer. The CIA describes the capabilities of a plutonium-based nuclear reactor to create nuclear weapons.

: Team of U.S. officials and nuclear experts led by Sung Kim, director of Korean Affairs at the Department of State meet Kim Gye-Gwan and others in Pyongyang to discuss the details of the North Korean nuclear declaration.

: President Lee holds summit with Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo in Japan.  The leaders reach an agreement to strengthen U.S., ROK, and Japan relations, which includes a three-way dialogue to discuss the DPRK’s nuclear program.

: President Lee arrives at Camp David for his summit with President Bush.

: Presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan confirms that Cheong Wa Dae has decided to send at least ten police officers to train Afghan police cadets.

: A coalition of 500 U.S. businesses and state and local chambers of commerce present a joint statement calling for speedy ratification of the ROK-U.S. FTA to President Lee at the end of a meeting organized by the Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC.

: ROK Foreign Ministry names Kim Sook, former North American Bureau director, to be the top ROK negotiator to the Six-Party Talks replacing Chun Young-woo.

: President Lee Myung-bak’s Grand National Party wins a majority in the parliamentary elections by securing 153 of the 299 seats.  The results are a blow to the United Democratic Party headed by minority leader Park Geun-hye.

: Top negotiators of North Korea, China, U.S., South Korea, and Japan meet separately in Beijing.  Secretary Hill states that he has good discussions with all his counterparts but much work remains.  Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and lead Chinese negotiator Wu Dawei states that he expects a resolution in the fall.

:  In confirmation hearings, U.S. Ambassador-designate to South Korea Kathleen Stephens expresses hope that the ROK will deploy troops to Afghanistan and that the issue will be discussed at upcoming talks between Presidents Bush and Lee at Camp David.

April 14, 2008: South Korea’s Yonhap News reports that after gaining a majority in the National Assembly, the GNP is pushing to open a parliamentary session next month to resolve several issues including the KORUS FTA. Spokesperson for the GNP Cho Yoon-sun, states, “We must open a May assembly session and vote on the ROK-US free trade agreement and other bills.”

: Assistant Secretary Hill and DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-Gwan meet in Singapore.  Press reports indicate that an agreement is reached in which the DPRK would acknowledge U.S. concerns regarding DPRK proliferation activities and concerns on uranium enrichment. Both negotiators express satisfaction in the main outcome of the meeting.

: The Rodong Shinmun attacks the U.S. for transferring nuclear technology to other countries including the ROK. It said “The United States is not entitled to say anything about the “nuclear issue” of others.”

: The DPRK’s Tongil Shinmun denounces the ROK’s possible membership in the U.S.-led ballistic missile defense system, condemning it as a preemptive strike on the DPRK.

: Lt. General Walter J. Sharp, nominated to be the commander of U.S. and UN forces in Korea, informed the Senate Armed Service Committee that the ROK should upgrade its anti-missile defense system to the PAC-3 Patriot missile defense system.

: Pyongyang announces that it will take unspecified “military countermeasures” if the ROK does not apologize for Gen. Kim Tae-young’s comment regarding a preemptive strike.

: The DPRK’s Worker’s Party Newspaper, Rodong Shinmun, criticizes President Lee Myung-Bak, calling him a “sycophant” a “confrontational maniac” and a “traitor”.

: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Kim Tae-young, states to the National Assembly that the ROK would consider a preemptive military strike on nuclear facilities in North Korea if it believed the DPRK was about to launch a nuclear assault.

Date Range