North Korea - South Korea
Chronology from Sep 2014 to Dec 2014
: Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae announces that South Korea has sent a faxed message to the North proposing minister-level talks in January, without preconditions.
: Two ROK delegations, from Hyundai Group and the Kim Dae Jung Peace Center (KDJPC) visit Kaesong, invited by Kim Yang Gon to thank them for a wreath in memory of Kim Jong Il delivered a week earlier (Kim’s deputy Won Dong Yon had thanked them at the time).
: MOFA says it expects the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)’s new field office, dedicated to monitoring human rights abuses in North Korea, to open in Seoul in the first quarter of 2015.
: In an unprecedented ruling, the ROK Constitutional Court orders (by 8-1) the dissolution of the small far-left Unified Progressive Party (UPP).
: The ROK MOFA welcomes the plenary UNGA’s adoption Dec. 18 of a strongly worded resolution on DPRK human rights, including encouraging the Security Council to consider referring the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
: MOU says North Korea has refused to accept a faxed letter protesting its scrapping a 5 percent annual wage rise cap and other unilateral revisions of working conditions for around 53,000 employees at the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC).
: (North) Korean Council of Religionists (KCR) says a plan by the Christian Council of Korea (CCK) to erect a Christmas-tree shaped tower on top of Aegibong, a front-line hill in Gimpo, west of Seoul, aims to use religion to fuel confrontation. A previous tower which stood for 43 years was taken down as unsafe by the ROK military, but on Dec. 2 Seoul gave permission for another. In the event the CCK decides not to go ahead.
: Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-Jae urges the ROK National Assembly to pass a bill on North Korea’s human rights abuses to create a legal basis for “systemic” efforts to address the problem, and give a ray of hope to North Korean people.
: MOU says the South returned 10 Northern fishermen and their boat found drifting with engine trouble near Dokdo on Nov. 23.
: Hyun Jeong-eun, chairwoman of Hyundai Group, returns from Mt. Kumgang after visiting to mark the 16th anniversary of Hyundai’s tours there, suspended since 2008.
: CPRF attacks the South’s Hoguk war games – the largest ever with 330,000 troops, running Nov. 10-22 – as a prelude to war and proof that Seoul does not want dialogue.
: The New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), South Korea’s liberal main opposition party, moves a bill that would require cross-border leafleteers to obtain prior government permission.
: MOU says North Korea has asked for Ebola detection devices at the joint venture Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC). Other foreign visitors to the DPRK must serve a 21-day quarantine, even diplomats. South agrees to lend three thermal image scanners for the purpose.
: North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland (CPRF) says that Park Geun-hye’s plan to unveil a new charter for reunification in 2015 “demonstrates the South’s pursuit of unification by absorption.”
: Ignoring warnings from North Korea and objections by local residents in the Paju area, who initially block their passage with tractors, anti-DPRK activists again send balloons carrying critical leaflets across the DMZ into North Korea
: South Korea’s Foreign Ministry (MOFA) says it has invited North Korea to an upcoming (Oct. 28-30) forum in Seoul to discuss and advance President Park’s Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative (NAPCI). Pyongyang does not respond, much less attend.
: Two ROK business organizations involved in inter-Korean commerce call on the South to lift its sanctions. One says that 2,000 Southern firms used to do business with the North, “but now it is even impossible to exactly determine who is still afloat.”
: Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-Jae tells the [South] Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation: “If the South and the North hold talks, almost all issues can be resolved.” Pyongyang has not responded to Seoul’s proposal to meet on Oct. 30.
: MND says Pyongyang sent a telephone message claiming its DMZ patrols are routine and legitimate, and threatening reaction if Seoul fires at them again.
: On consecutive days, near Cheolwon and then Paju in the central and western zones respectively, groups of KPA soldiers approach the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) which bisects the DMZ. They retreat when the South fires warning shots; on Oct. 19 the North returns fire.
: MOU says it will pay 550 million won ($520,000) or some 70 percent of North Korea’s costs for participating in the Incheon Asiad. The North already paid $191,682.
: KCNA releases an “open report” on “the whole story of how the north-south emergency contact in Panmunjom on Wednesday ended without any fruit.”
: KCNA reports visits by Kim Jong Un to the newly built Wisong Scientists Residential District and the Natural Energy Institute of the State Academy of Sciences. This is the DPRK leader’s first public appearance for six weeks, since Sept. 3.
: The South proposes Oct. 30 as the date for high-level inter-Korean talks.
: The two Koreas exchange machine-gun fire after the North apparently tries to shoot down propaganda balloons. Spent rounds are found near Yeoncheon in the South, which fires back after issuing warnings. No casualties are reported, or intended.
: Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun of the ruling conservative Saenuri Party says the total area of the five main concentration camps in North Korea’s gulag is 1,248 sq km, more than twice the size of Seoul (605 sq km). The notorious Yodok alone covers 552 sq km.
: ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) report that patrol boats of the two Koreas’ navies exchanged fire for 10 minutes at 0950 near Yeonpyeong Island. The South fired back, and the Northern boat retreated. Neither side sustained casualties or damage.
: ROK Defense Ministry tells a parliamentary audit that “after declaring 2015 the year of completing unification, North Korea has been prepared for full-scale wars” (sic).
: MOU says that the North’s delegation paid part of the charges for its stay in the Incheon athletes’ village before returning home, and that the South will cover the rest from its official Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund (IKCF).
: ROK foreign minister queries claims by the US-based Institute for Science and International Security that North Korea has temporarily shut down its plutonium-producing nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.
: MOU says that despite North Korea’s sudden conciliatory gesture in sending a high-level delegation, it has no plan to lift economic sanctions imposed in May 2010 after the Cheonan sinking: “Our government’s basic position is that the May 24th Measures can be lifted only after North Korea takes a responsible step that the South Korean people accept.”
: The Asian Games conclude in Incheon. The closing ceremony is unexpectedly attended by three of North Korea’s most senior leaders: Vice-Marshal Han Pyong So, Choe Ryong Hae, and Kim Yang Gon. Meeting South Korean ministers (but not President Park), it is agreed to hold high-level talks within a month. The visitors fly home the same day.
: The Policy Department of the DPRK National Defence Commission (NDC) strongly attacks President Park for various comments during her recent US trip.
: KCNA reports that the DPRK athletics team at Incheon held an “evening longing for respected Marshal Kim Jong Un,” with songs and speeches pining for the Leader.
: ROK Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se is among the speakers at the first-ever ministerial forum held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), organized by the US. The topic of the brief half-hour meeting is North Korean human rights abuses, which Yun, US Secretary of State John Kerry, and others criticize.
: President Park Geun-hye makes a keynote speech at the UN Climate Summit in New York. She criticizes North Korea for its record on nuclear weapons and human rights.
: The 17th Asian Games (XVII Asiad) open in Incheon. A full team of athletes from the DPRK is among the 45 states participating.
: North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reports (full text): “The delegation of the DPRK Olympic Committee led by Chairman Kim Yong Hun, minister of Physical Culture and Sports, and the DPRK players group led by Kim Pyong Sik, vice-minister of Physical Culture and Sports, left here Tuesday to take part in the 17th Asian Games.” It does not mention that their destination is Incheon in South Korea.
: MOU confirms a decision by the Asiad organizers to remove flags of all 45 competing nations from public streets, after rightwing groups threaten violence against the DPRK flag – whose display is illegal under the ROK’s National Security Law. A day later it adds that Southern spectators will not be allowed to fly the Northern flag in stadiums, either.
: The first group of North Korean participants in the Asian Games flies directly from Pyongyang aboard the DPRK national airline Air Koryo, landing at Incheon International Airport (IIA). This 94-strong group includes Vice Sports Minister Jang Su Myong and 38 soccer players (20 male, 18 female); the soccer tournament begins ahead of the Asiad’s official opening on Sept. 19. The rest of the North’s 273-strong contingent will come in four further batches, including Sports Minister Kim Yong Hun: scheduled to arrive Sept. 14, he will be the most senior Northern official to visit the South since 2009.
: MOU confirms that North Korea sent back via Panmunjom a South Korean man aged 52 who had illegally entered the DPRK via a third country, despite his plea to stay in the North and have his family join him.
: MOU confirms a decision by the Asiad organizers to remove flags of all 45 competing nations from public streets, after right-wing groups threaten violence against the DPRK flag – whose display is illegal under the ROK’s National Security Law. A day later it adds that Southern spectators will not be allowed to fly the Northern flag in stadiums, either.
: The first batch of DPRK participants in the Asian Games flies directly from Pyongyang on their national airline Air Koryo to Incheon International Airport (IIA). This 94-strong group includes Vice Sports Minister Jang Su Myong. The rest of the North’s 273-strong contingent arrives over the next few days, including Sports Minister Kim Yong Hun on Sept. 16.
: The leading Seoul daily JoongAng Ilbo calls on the North to allow more reunions of separated families, adding also that “Our government needs to be more flexible.”
: In a speech on the 66th anniversary of the DPRK’s founding, Premier Pak Pong Ju declares: “We will do our best to improve North-South relations.” He does not elaborate.
: MOU and two other ROK Ministries, Justice (MOJ) and Security and Public Administration (MOSPA), jointly launch an integrated database on legal issues likely to arise during and after Korea’s reunification. It can be found at www.unilaw.go.kr. (Korean only)
: MOU and two other ROK ministries, Justice (MOJ) and Security and Public Administration (MOSPA), jointly launch an integrated database on legal issues likely to arise during and after Korea’s reunification. It can be found at www.unilaw.go.kr. (Korean only)
: An MOU spokesman says the South will share the cost of the North’s taking part in the 17th Asian Games (Asiad) soon to be held in Incheon, ROK, and that the gap between the two sides on who should pay for what is “not wide.” No figures are given. He reiterates that the North is welcome to bring cheerleaders.
: An MOU spokesman says the South will share the cost of the North’s taking part in the Asian Games, and that the gap between the two sides on who pays what is “not wide.” No figures are given. He reiterates that the North is welcome to bring cheerleaders.