North Korea - South Korea

Chronology from Jul 2002 to Oct 2002

: The 14th Asian Games open in Pusan, with North and South Korean athletes marching together behind a unity flag (although the two will compete separately). The DPRK wins its first match, beating Hong Kong 2-1 at soccer. The games continue until Oct. 14.

: A second group of 152 DPRK athletes flies into Pusan. A 355-strong support group of musicians and dancers arrives by boat the next day.

: South Korean popular singers and artistes hold a concert in Pyongyang. Some meet DPRK President Kim Yong-nam, who is in the audience.

: A Southern opposition Parliament member claims that North Korea was secretly paid $400 million for the June 2000 North-South summit. This escalates into a major political row in Seoul.

: A North-South military hotline is opened for the cross-border road and rail projects.

: Lee Hoi-chang, ROK opposition leader and current favorite to be elected as the next president on December, says North Korea must apologize for past terrorism against the South and promise to release any abductees it is still holding, as it has done with Japan.

: The first group of 159 North Korean athletes arrive in Pusan for the 14th Asian Games by a direct Air Koryo flight, the first time an east coast route has been used.

: Northern and Southern orchestras give a joint concert in Pyongyang.

: Four ceremonies are held to mark the start of reconnecting two rail and road links across the DMZ. Mine-clearing in the DMZ begins the next day.

: The two Koreas exchange signed copies of a defense accord to prevent accidental clashes during work to reconnect cross-border rail and road links. This is the first ever official agreement directly between the two sides’ military authorities.

: Talks on suspected safety problems at the Kumgangsan Dam fail; North Korea demands a Southern apology for casting aspersions. But they agree to meet again in October.

: Six ROK lawmakers spend a week in North Korea, traveling with the KBS symphony orchestra. They meet with Kim Yong-nam, the DPRK’s titular head of state.

: The ROK’s state-owned Export and Import Bank announces an agreement with the DPRK’s Foreign Trade Bank to lend $110 million to pay for 400,000 tons of rice. After a 10-year grace period, repayment will be over 10 years at 1 percent annual interest.

: Railway logistics talks at Mt. Kumgang are delayed by disagreement over whether equipment provided by the South should be loaned or leased (and so returned).

: A South Korean taekwondo demonstration team visits North Korea. A return visit by a Northern team is expected in October.

: A South Korean MP claims that an electricity relay station has been secretly built close to the DMZ to supply power to North Korea.

: South Korea sends a first shipment of 10,000 tons of fertilizer to the North. The remaining 90,000 tons are due to be shipped by mid-October.

: Working talks on road and rail links are held at Mt. Kumgang.

: A fifth round of family reunions is held at Mt. Kumgang. One hundred elderly South Koreans meet long-lost kin for three days, followed by 100 North Koreans.

: Talks on reviving tourism to Mt. Kumgang end without agreement.

: The KPA and UNC sign an agreement at Panmunjom to allow work on a second road and rail corridor across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), near the east coast.

: Thirty-six DPRK defectors, who had sought refuge in foreign missions in Beijing, arrive in Seoul. This record for a single day brings the year’s total to 771.

: DPRK and ROK soccer teams play a friendly in Seoul. There is no score.

: Meeting at Mt. Kumgang, the heads of the ROK and DPRK Red Cross agree to create a permanent meeting place for family reunions at the resort.

: The economic talks end with a range of agreements, including a timetable to begin work almost at once on relinking two road and rail routes across the DMZ.

: A 30-strong DPRK team arrives in Seoul for economic talks, via Beijing.

: The second North-South economic talks, the first since December 2000, are held in Seoul. Several formal sessions are delayed, including the final plenary.

: Two ROK professors give a press conference in Seoul after returning from two months teaching computer science in Pyongyang. They rate their students as awesome.

: A nine-strong ROK team visits Pyongyang to discuss broadcasting exchanges.

: Twenty-one defectors arrive in Inchon by boat, the largest ever group of North Korean “boat people.” The ship’s engineer, whom they tied up, is later returned via Panmunjom.

: Talks at Mt. Kumgang agree that North Korea will send 315 athletes, to compete in 16 sports, and 350 supporters to the Asian Games in Pusan, starting Sept. 29.

: Joint Liberation Day festivities open in Seoul, after a delay due to arguments over wording and content. Thereafter they proceed smoothly, concluding on Aug. 16.

: Ministerial talks end with a 10-point joint press statement, presaging further meetings and cooperation. But to Seoul’s disappointment, no date is set for military talks.

: A 116-strong Northern delegation of officials and performing artists arrives in Seoul, again by direct Air Koryo flight, for joint Liberation Day celebrations.

: North Korea’s 29-member delegation arrives in Seoul by a direct Air Koryo flight from Pyongyang for the seventh round of ministerial talks, the first in nine months.

: South Korea says it will allow limited flying at the Asian Games of North Korea’s national flag, whose display is illegal under the ROK’s National Security Law.

: The DPRK officially announces its participation in the Pusan Asiad.

: Seoul says it will give Pyongyang financial aid to take part in the Pusan Asiad.

: Talks at Mt. Kumgang agree on a range of inter-Korean events, including ministerial talks, Red Cross meetings on further family reunions, a unification festival, a soccer game, and the North’s participation in the Asian Games in Pusan later this year.

: South Korea says the North has agreed to back its international diplomatic campaign to have the name “Sea of Japan” officially changed to “East Sea/Sea of Japan.”

: North Korea sends a message of “regret” for the “accidental” naval clash, and proposes working talks to discuss a resumption of intergovernmental North-South dialogue. After a delay of some days, Seoul accepts.

: At talks in Pyongyang, it is agreed that North Korea will send a (nominally) nongovernmental delegation by a direct flight to celebrate Liberation Day in Seoul.

: South Korea says that satellite photos show that the North’s Kumgangsan Dam, which was feared to be leaking, is being not only repaired but expanded.

:   North Korea faxes acceptance of a proposal by Southern civic groups for working talks in Pyongyang on July 20-24 to discuss holding joint events for Aug. 15.

: Because of the June 29 clash, South Korea postpones the start of a direct east coast air route for KEDO use from Yangyang in the South to Sondok in the North. A DPRK Air Koryo plane eventually inaugurates the route with a test flight on July 20.

: North Korea invites Southern civic organizations to discuss joint celebration of Liberation Day (from Japan in 1945) on Aug. 15.

: Despite the inter-Korean naval clash three days earlier, 25 Northern engineers arrive in Seoul as scheduled under Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) auspices for a month’s nuclear safety training.

: South Korea suspends rice aid to the North. Kim Dae-jung again demands an apology from Pyongyang for the June 29 naval clash.

Date Range