North Korea - South Korea

Chronology from Apr 2006 to Jul 2006

: ROK Army says it has recently removed 2,350 land mines from around military bases and border areas, including access routes to the GIZ.

: Meeting in Gaeseong, the two Koreas fail to agree on fielding united teams at international athletic events, including the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Further talks are expected in mid-July.

: Seoul announces that President Roh’s chief security advisor Song Min-soon will visit the U.S. next week to discuss how to resolve the crisis over the DPRK’s missile launch preparations and kick-start the six-way talks.

: ROK Vice Finance Minister Bahk Byong-won tells a forum in Seoul that the South will intensify technical assistance and training, especially in market economics and management, so as to expedite sustainable economic growth in the North.

: Kim Young-nam tells a disbelieving ROK press that he was not kidnapped but accidentally drifted to the North, where he stayed to get a free education.

: ROKs Korea International Trade Association (KITA) says inter-Korean trade rose by 34 percent in the first five months of 2006 to $428.63 million. Southern exports grew 35.4 percent to $264.97 million, while Northern exports rose 32.9 percent to $163.66 million.

: Kim Young-nam, believed to have been abducted by the North as a teenager off a Southern island beach, meets his mother for the first time since 1978 at Mt. Geumgang.

: South’s Red Cross says it will give its Northern counterpart $400,000, plus 10 buses and six cars, to expand the scale of family reunions by videolink.

: Jeong Se-hyun, former ROK unification minister who has led negotiations for Kim Dae-jung to revisit Pyongyang, says the trip will be postponed since the timing is not appropriate (a reference to reports that the North may test-fire a Taepodong missile).

: A 14th round of family reunions is held at Mt. Geumgang. Twice the usual scale, this allows two groups of 100 elderly persons each from both North and South to spend three days meeting long-lost relatives.

: An exhibition of 90 old Korean cultural treasures lent by the North opens at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul.

: Seoul press reports say the South is sharing TV coverage of the soccer World Cup in Germany with the North.

: Events to mark the sixth anniversary of the June 15 Joint Declaration are held in Gwangju, ROK as arranged, with a 147-strong Northern delegation attending. The South reportedly presses concern that the DPRK may test a long-range missile.

: U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow is among 76 Seoul-based envoys who visit the Gaeseong Industrial Zone, with ROK Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon.

: Sohn Hak-kyu, retiring governor of the South’s Gyeonggi Province (greater Seoul) and a moderate presidential contender for the opposition Grand National Party (GNP), leads a 100-strong team to inspect Northern farms aided by his province.

: The 12th Economic Cooperation Promotion Committee is held in Cheju. A nine-point agreement, effective “when necessary conditions improve” (meaning rail tests), includes Southern agreement to send the North raw materials worth $80 million for its light industries.

: The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO)’s board formally terminates its project to build two light-water reactors at Geumho on the DPRK’s northeast coast. This in effect renders the KEDO consortium itself moribund.

: Further talks on Kim Dae-jung’s Northern visit fix the dates as June 27-30, but fail to agree on his mode of transport and the size of his entourage (the South wants 90).

: The North sends a telegram cancelling crossborder train test runs the day before they are due, pleading the lack of a military guarantee and “unstable conditions” in the South. An angry ROK dismisses this excuse as “preposterous.”

: Meeting in Gaeseong, the two Koreas agree on most details at their June 15 concelebrations. Two chartered DPRK aircraft will fly 150 Northerners to Gwangju June 14, with various sports and cultural events before they return home June 17.

: Economic talks in Gaeseong reportedly narrow differences on proposed inter-Korean cooperation in developing the North’s light industry and natural resources. They also finalize crossborder test train runs, set for May 25.

: Meeting at Gaeseong, the two Koreas agree that ROK former President Kim Dae-jung will visit Pyongyang for four days in late June. Precise dates and mode of transport are still to be agreed, with the North resisting Kim’s wish to travel by rail.

: Ground is broken in the Gaeseong Industrial Zone for a factory apartment complex, costing $22 million, to house 40 small ROK firms and be ready in June 2007. The 200 guests include the South’s commerce, industry and energy minister, Chung Se-kyun. His ministry, MOCIE, brokers 16 deals for Gaeseong-based SOEs to supply major chaebol like Samsung Electronics and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis.

: A fourth round of meetings between generals, held at Panmunjeon in the DMZ, makes no progress on crossborder security issues. The North wants to redraw the maritime border in the West (Yellow) Sea, which the South will not entertain.

: Han Wan-sang, head of the ROK Red Cross, leads 40-strong delegation from hospitals and pharmaceutical firms to Pyongyang to discuss medical aid and cooperation. He delivers medical supplies and equipment worth $3.9 million.

: After two days of talks in Gaeseong, North and South agree to hold long-delayed test runs on two reconnected crossborder railways on May 25.

: ROK Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok visits the Gaeseong Industrial Zone for the first time, with a 160-strong delegation from business and government.

: Working talks on economic cooperation, held in Gaeseong, fail to reach agreement.

: Meeting in Gaeseong, North and South agree to jointly celebrate the June 15 Joint Declaration’s sixth anniversary in the ROK’s southwestern city of Gwangju, with 150 delegates from each side. The 61st anniversary of liberation from Japanese rule in 1945 will be concelebrated in the DPRK around Aug. 15.

: ROK Unification Ministry (MOU) tells National Assembly it will send 200,000 tons of fertilizer to the DPRK between mid-May and mid-July, at a cost of ROK 77 billion won ($81 million); and will consider giving a further 100,000 tons.

: Both Koreas’ Red Cross bodies agree to mark the sixth anniversary of the June 15 Joint Declaration with a 14th round of family reunions, twice as large as usual, involving 200 families from each side. Two more video reunions will be held in August.

: The delayed 18th inter-Korean ministerial talks are held in Pyongyang. After overrunning by several hours, they produce an eight-point joint statement containing little either concrete or new.

: An ROK NGO, Korean Foundation for World Aid, says it will send about 10 Southern farmers with rice seeds up to twice a month for joint rice farming on some 800 hectares in the DPRK village of Sukchon (population 6,000) in South Pyeongan province.

: A telegram from the DPRK Red Cross reiterates a request for 300,000 tons of fertilizer. The North had asked for 450,000 tons; the South agreed to send 150,000 tons, and finished shipping this April 10. Last year it sent 350,000 tons (having been asked for 500,000 tons), as well as 500,000 tons of rice.

: The ROK says postponed 18th round of North-South ministerial talks will be held in Pyongyang from April 21-24.

: Farmers’ organizations from both Koreas discuss how to implement the June 15 joint declaration in the DPRK city of Gaeseong.

: Inter-Korean talks on fielding unified teams for upcoming sporting events, such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics, fail to agree. These are held on the sidelines of the 15th general assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) in Seoul, which a four-member DPRK delegation is attending.

: ROK’s Cultural Heritage Administration says 20 Southern specialists will survey tombs of the Goguryeo Kingdom (37BCE-668CE) in the DPRK, registered last year as world heritage sites with UNESCO, with Northern colleagues April19-May 2.

Date Range