North Korea - South Korea

Chronology from Jan 2005 to Mar 2005

: ROK delegation visits Kaesong in bid to restart talks between the DPRK and ROK. Since August 2004, relations other than those dealing with the two countries’ joint economic projects have been suspended.

: ROK bars secret video of DPRK’s public execution of prisoners.

: Donga Ilbo reports that U.S. handed secret information to ROK on DPRK’s export of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) to Libya in early March but Seoul denies DPRK-Libya nuclear deal.

: Conservative daily Chosun Ilbo reports a study by the U.S. Congressional Research Service claims that payments by Hyundai to the DPRK – $600 million for Mt. Kumgang tourism, plus a secret $500 million, during 1999-2003 – probably helped fund North Korea’s highly enriched uranium program.

: GNP urges relaxation of bars to contact with the DPRK, and that this should be delinked from the nuclear issue.

: ROK Minister Chung says DPRK should have no expectation of receiving fertilizer aid from Seoul unless Pyongyang resumes bilateral talks.

: MOU says ROK will ease regulations on inter-Korean trade.

: North Korea again claims to have boosted its nuclear arsenal. It protests U.S.-ROK military exercises.

: The first inter-Korean copyright agreement is signed at Mt. Kumgang.

: ROK supplies electricity to Kaesong, the ROK’s first power transmission across the border.

: In Washington, Park Geun-hye, leader of the ROK’s conservative main opposition Grand National Party (GNP), calls on the U.S. to “initiate more concrete and realistic proposals” to persuade North Korea back to the six-party process.

: Reports in Seoul claim thousands of hens were slaughtered after a suspected outbreak of bird flu at a chicken plant in Pyongyang. Porky Trading, an ROK firm, puts on hold plans to import 2,000 tons of DPRK chicken.

: DPRK says U.S.-ROK military exercises are “acts of aggression.” The U.S. is planning RSOI and Foal Eagle joint military exercises in the ROK March 19-25.

: Unification Minister Chung says that while the U.S. is South Korea’s ally, North Korea is its brother. The comment was a response to criticism by Rep. Henry Hyde about the ROK Defense Ministry decision to stop designating the DPRK as a “main enemy.”

: Shinwon, an ROK apparel maker, ships some 1,000 shirts made at its plant in Kaesong, becoming the second Southern firm to send goods across the DMZ.

: Yo Won-gu, chairperson of the DPRK’s National Unification Democratic Front rejects an ROK presidential medal and stipend recently bestowed on her late father Yo Un-hyong.

: Korea Customs Service says products manufactured at Kaesong in DPRK will be labeled “Made in Korea.”

: UN WFP releases fourth nutrition survey of North Korean children, again showing high rates of wasting and stunting; ROK study reports that one in 10 school students in Seoul is overweight.

: South Korea’s Koguryo Research Foundation says it has agreed with the North’s Academy of Social Science to jointly investigate a tomb near Pyongyang, as well as to cooperate on “actively correcting Korean history.”

: South Korean watchmaker Romanson holds a groundbreaking ceremony for it $15 million factory in Kaesong that will employ 570 North Korean workers.

: ROK President Roh Moo-hyun will not send special envoy to DPRK while Pyongyang refuses to participate in Six-Party Talks.

: Seoul newspapers report that Pyongyang brand and other North Korean cigarettes are catching on: they typically sell for 50 percent less than Southern brands.

: Rodong Sinmun attacks as “an intolerable insult” proposals in Seoul to update its Chungmu plan on how to respond to any sudden change in North Korea.

: ROK will increase its donation to the Inter-Korean Economic Fund by 300 percent $496 million to support, facilitate, and complete businesses with DPRK.

: FM Ban says DPRK will be granted direct talks with U.S. if it returns to the Six-Party Talks on its nuclear program.

: President Roh stresses no change in ROK position on DPRK nuclear issue, saying “we will solve the problem through dialogue and will not tolerate DPRK’s possession of nuclear weapons.”

: Minister Chung says Seoul will do its best to finish connecting the east coast cross-border railroad by the end of this year.

: Kim Jong-il tells senior Chinese visitor that the DPRK will return to the Six-Party Talks “if there are mature conditions.”

: Some 40 scholars, poets and politicians from both Koreas, meeting at Mt. Kumgang, agree to compile the first unified Korean dictionary in half a century.

: ROK FM Ban says ROK will not start any more “large-scale” economic projects with DPRK until the nuclear crisis is resolved.”

: DM Yoon claims 542 ROK prisoners of war are still alive in DPRK.

: DPRK calls for U.S. troop withdrawal from the Korean Peninsula as a precursor to restarting Six-Party Talks; Minister Chung claims it is too early to classify North Korea as a nuclear state without an actual nuclear detonation.

: DPRK Foreign Ministry announces that its participation in the Six-Party Talks is suspended indefinitely in response to Secretary Rice’s reference to the DPRK as the “outpost of tyranny.” Also says it has “manufactured nukes for self-defense.”

: ROK Unification Minister Chung says Seoul will actively consider supplying fertilizer – if North Korea returns to joint economic talks.

: South Korea sends 180 tons of coal briquettes and 400 heaters to Kaesong, making a total of 20,000 tons of briquettes and 10,000 heaters.

: ROK defense White Paper drops designation of DPRK as “main enemy” for the first time in a decade. Pyongyang takes umbrage at being labelled a “substantial military threat.”

: ROK and DPRK navies accuse each other of crossing the NLL.

: DPRK’s 1,095-page legal codebook goes on sale in the ROK.

: ROK expresses “regret” at China’s repatriation to the DPRK of Han Man-tack, 72, a Southern POW illegally held in the North for half a century.

: Construction begins on electricity lines at Kaesong Industrial Park.

: ROK seizes two North Korean crewmen as their barge drifted into South Korean waters.

: Seoul receives permission from Pyongyang for search and rescue mission of a South Korean cargo ship, Pioneernaya, which sank off the DPRK coast.

: Executives of the Korean Broadcasting Service (KBS) visit Kaesong to negotiate co-production of “Sayukshin,” a historical drama, with North Korea. A day later, KBS’s rival MBC sends a team to Beijing to discuss similar cooperation.

: North Korea’s Red Cross requests 500,000 tons of fertilizer from the South.

: MOU tallied South Korean humanitarian assistance to the North in 2004 at $256 million, up 63 percent from 2003. Most ($141 million) was nongovernmental: much of it for April’s explosion in Ryongchon.

: The North refuses to let Southern doctors and officials enter Kaesong for the opening ceremony of an ROK-built hospital. A day later, Pyongyang puts off delivery of 5.4 million Southern coal briquettes for Kaesong, which it had earlier requested.

: Four ROK legislators travel to China on a four-day fact finding mission to investigate the kidnapping of ROK pastor, Kim Dong-shik five years ago.

: A Seoul court orders the state to pay 1 million won ($1,000) damages to a German-Korean professor, Song Du-yul, convicted last year of being a North Korean agent, for unreasonably handcuffing and binding him during his detention.

: South’s Unification Ministry (MOU) admits that progress on the 486 South Koreans abducted by North Korea since 1953 has been “insufficient,” but denies conniving with the North to cover up this issue.

: A Southern NGO claims, but the government denies, that Kim Dong-shik, a South Korean pastor believed abducted from China to North Korea in 2000, is dead.

: Rodong Sinmun comments the DPRK will never give up its nuclear activities unless U.S. gives up policy of war against the DPRK.

: Rodong Sinmun, daily paper of North Korea’s ruling Korean Workers’ Party (KWP), demands the abolition of the ROK’s National Security Law (NSL) and condemns the Southern opposition Grand National Party (GNP) for opposing this step.

: ROK Unification Minister Chung Dong-young reveals the South will tighten procedures in accepting “DPRK defectors” to weed out ethnic Koreans in China, spies, and criminals. A survey shows that 11 percent of defectors have criminal records.

: Chosun Ilbo reports Chairman Kim Jong-il’s favorite bottled water, Mount Myohyang Mineral Water, will be available for consumption in the ROK.  The first shipments have arrived at Incheon Port and are being inspected.

: ROK’s Korea Container Terminal Authority says it has plans to develop North Korean Nampo port in a joint venture with Kookyang Shipping Co. and Dongnam Shipping Co.

: Yonhap News reports ROK will help subsidize private company investments in North Korean infrastructure. The Ministry of Unification expects to revise rules for Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund and implement them later this month.

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