North Korea - South Korea

Chronology from Oct 2005 to Dec 2005

: Minister Chung tenders resignation to President Roh Moo-hyun.

: ROK Information and Communications Minister Chin Dae-je is one of 340 guests attending KT’s opening ceremony to launch telecom services in KIZ.

: ROK driver hits three Korean People’s Army (KPA) soldiers at Mt. Kumgang, killing one. The DPRK hands him over to ROK authorities for prosecution.

: ROK buys land and signs a contract to build a $19 million training center in the Kaesong industrial zone (KIZ). When completed a year hence, this will train up to 30,000 DPRK workers annually in 30 lecture rooms and 57 “exercise rooms.”

: Some 50 officials from each side attend the opening of the Kaesong office of the DPRK’s General Guidance Bureau for central special economic zone development (GGB). The office’s 30-odd staff will deal with labor provision, tax and other issues.

: A survey on Dec. 6-7 shows 47 percent of South Koreans approve the current level of aid to the North. 18 percent want this increased, 26 percent want it cut, and 7 percent want it to stop.

: The ROK Construction Ministry says it will increase imports of Northern sand from 3.5 million cu. m in 2005 to 6 million cu. m in 2006, and extend the source of supplies from rivers near Kaesong to include the east coast.

: In the first ever such case, the ROK allows a 2,000-ton DPRK oil tanker to shelter from heavy seas at an islet port north of Jeju.

: ROK Vice Unification Minister Lee Jong-bo attends ceremony in Jeju to mark the province’s shipping 10,000 tons of tangerines and carrots to the DPRK.

: MOU and Hyundai Asan announce a $4.8 million subsidy, which will allow up to 16,000 schoolteachers and pupils to visit Mt. Kumgang over the holidays.

: The 17th North-South ministerial talks are held in the ROK’s island province of Jeju. An eight-point joint press statement breaks little new ground.

: Minister Chung visits the Kaesong industrial zone, with four of his predecessors and a 57-strong business delegation.

: Freedom House, a U.S. NGO given U.S. government funds for that purpose, sponsors a major conference in Seoul on North Korean human rights. Attendees include U.S. special envoy Jay Lefkowitz. The ROK government keeps its distance, but is accused by delegates of perpetuating DPRK abuses by its silence.

: A third video reunion briefly links 151 South Koreans from 40 families with 104 Northern relatives, while 133 Northerners see 173 of their Southern kin.

: Talks at Kaesong on forming a unified Korean team for the 2006 Doha Asian Games and the 2008 Beijing Olympics fail. They will meet again in February.

: New U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow characterizes North Korea as “a criminal regime.” ROK Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon urges linguistic sensitivity.

: MOU says that some 1,130 North Koreans reached the South this year so far, bringing the total of defectors to 7,430. Supporting them costs $50 million annually.

: Ten ROK inspectors go North to monitor distribution of the South’s rice aid. Five leave for Heungnam on Nov. 26, and another five for Nampo on Nov. 28.

: A second round of video-link reunions is held, briefly connecting 40 families from each side.

: ROK National Assembly passes MOU’s amendments to the 1990 Act on Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation, easing regulations for visiting the DPRK.

: ROK is one of 62 member states to abstain when the UN General Assembly passes by 84-22 an EU-sponsored resolution critical of DPRK human rights.

: ROK Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Promotion Committee approves supply of 60,000 tons of coal to Kaesong city from now until February.

: The U.S. Department of Commerce grants KT (Korea Telecom) an export license for materials it needs to launch a telecom service in the Kaesong industrial zone.

: The 12th separated family reunions since 2000 are held at Mt. Kumgang. A total of 589 South Koreans and 323 Northerners participate.

: A GNP lawmaker reveals an MOU blueprint to invest 5.25 trillion won in restoring the North’s economy through 2010, if the nuclear issue is resolved.

: In Macau for the fourth East Asian Games, North and South Korean sports delegations agree to field a unified team for the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Details will be thrashed out at a meeting in Kaesong Dec. 7.

: The 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 prior working-level consultations Oct. 17, 20-21 and 25-26, no concrete progress is made and no date is set to meet again.

: ROK inspectors monitor distribution of the South’s rice aid at two sites in Wonsan on Oct. 23, and two places in Nampo on Oct. 31.

: The Forum for Inter-Korean Relations, a coalition of ROK NGOs, says that most of the 1,000-odd Southern firms to have done business with the North have given up or gone bankrupt. FIKR calls on Seoul to take the initiative in future over business dealings with Pyongyang, and to insist that Hyundai’s rights be restored.

: The North’s Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee calls for Kim Yoon-kyu’s reinstatement, accuses Hyundai of “improper behavior,” blames the GNP for interfering, says it will seek other partners for tourism to Kaesong, and threatens to review and “readjust” all undertakings with Hyundai.

: ROK forms a nine-member civilian team – four accountants, three from NGOs, and two academics – to monitor transparency in spending inter-Korean funds.

: After 18 years, South Korea completes its $380 million Peace Dam on the upper Han River. This is now seen as guarding against the collapse of the North’s Imnam dam upstream, rather than any deliberate bid to flood Seoul as originally conceived.

: ROK Prosecutor General Kim Jong-bin resigns in protest after Chun Jung-bae, the justice minister, in an unprecedented intervention, forbids the prosecution to detain sociologist Kang Jeong-koo while investigating him for alleged pro-North views.

: The GNP proposes an inter-Korean special economic zone, to include Haeju and Kaesong in the North and with Paju in the South as its hub. It criticizes the ROK government for not raising human rights and other sensitive topics with the DPRK.

: MOU reveals that Seoul has formally proposed building more inter-Korean industrial zones like Kaesong, but that Pyongyang has yet to offer any response.

: Vice Minister Rhee says the North has for the first time agreed to discuss an agenda in advance for the next inter-Korean economic meeting. Working-level talks will be held in Kaesong next week. Rhee also says the ROK has formed a task force to draw up a roadmap for comprehensive economic cooperation with the DPRK.

: ROK Vice Unification Minister Rhee Bong-jo says a contract signed in 2000 by Hyundai, granting it exclusive rights to seven business fields in the North, remains valid.

: Hwang Seon, a Southern unification activist visiting for the Arirang show, gives birth to a baby girl in Pyongyang: the first South Korean to be born in the North.

: Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), says the two Koreas hope to field a unified team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

: Park Geun-hye, leader of the ROK’s opposition GNP, says she opposes repatriating some 28 former DPRK spies unless the North also releases about 540 Southern POWs and 480 civilian abductees whom it is believed to be holding.

: MOU denies media reports that state funds for inter-Korean cooperation, totaling $500,000, were among monies allegedly embezzled by Kim Yoon-kyu. But it confirms a claim by Lee Hahn-koo, a lawmaker of the GNP, that Hyundai received a total of 140 billion won ($130 million, then) since 2003.

: Kim Yoon-kyu, dismissed in August as chief executive officer of Hyundai Asan, is sacked as vice chairman of Hyundai.

: A meeting in Kaesong agrees procedures for family reunions via video-link.

: ROK FM Ban Ki-moon clarifies that any future provision of a light-water reactor (LWR) to the DPRK would not be an extension of the project by Korea Peninsula Energy Development Orgnization (KEDO) to build two LWRs in the North.

: ROK Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon clarifies that any future provision of a light water reactor (LWR) to the DPRK would not be an extension of the project by KEDO (Korea Peninsula Energy Development Organization).

Date Range