US - Korea

Chronology from Jan 2011 to May 2011

: ROK government withdraws the KORUS FTA bill from the National Assembly to deal with translation errors, which could delay its ratification for months.

: Former US President Jimmy Carter, former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Brundtland, and former Irish President Mary Robinson visit China, North Korea, and South Korea in an effort to “ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.”

: The Obama administration dismisses calls from some senators to get wider access to South Korean beef markets in the pending KORUS FTA.

: Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan meets US House representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Karen Bass (D-CA) in Seoul to discuss the KORUS FTA.

: President Obama reinforces trade sanctions against North Korea that have been in place since 2006.

: Secretary Clinton meets President Lee in Seoul and affirms her certainty that the US will approve the pending KORUS FTA in relatively short order.

: ROK Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology announces that the ROK and the US have agreed to carry out a joint study on safe ways to store spent fuel.

: Secretary of State Clinton meets Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan in Seoul to discuss bilateral relations and coordinate North Korea policy.

: North Korea announces that it is preparing to indict a Korean-American who has been in captivity for “unauthorized religious activities.”

: US announces that it has signed a missile defense agreement with the ROK.

: State Department urges North Korea to release a US citizen who is currently being held in the North.

: Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Wi Sung-lac visits Washington and meets Special Representative for North Korea Policy Steven Bosworth and Special Envoy for Six-Party Talks Sung Kim to discuss North Korea issues.

: South Korea and the US open their first session of the Extended Deterrence Policy Committee in Hawaii.

: State Department affirms that former President Carter’s planned upcoming trip to Pyongyang will be a private, non-official matter.

: 12 North Korean economic officials depart on a 16-day tour of the US and its industry, dubbed by JoongAng as a “crash course in American-style capitalism.”

: Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Wallace Gregson meets Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin in Seoul to discuss bilateral security issues.

: The US reaffirms that it will consult closely with South Korea before agreeing to resume food aid to North Korea.

: South Korea and the US begin their second round of talks regarding the renewal of their civil nuclear deal which is set to expire in 2014.

: ROK government announces that it has no plans to seek a return of US nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula, citing their 1991 joint denuclearization declaration with the North as the primary reason.

: US National Security Council (NSC) restates that it has no plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea.

: South Korea and US conduct the annual Foal Eagle/Key Resolve military exercises. Key Resolve is a computer-based simulation and runs through March 10. Foal Eagle is the field training portion of the exercise, and will continue through April 30.

: US Pacific Command Commander Adm. Robert Willard meets ROK Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Han Min-koo and other ROK military leaders in Seoul to discuss plans for the joint military exercise that will begin the following week.

: State Department dismisses North Korea’s proposal for bilateral engagement.

: State Department says it has no immediate plans to give food aid to North Korea.

: JoongAng Ilbo reports that China is opposing an effort by a United Nations sanctions committee to adopt a report on North Korea’s uranium enrichment program.

: South Korea and the US sign the supplementary KORUS FTA, paving the way for its ratification in both countries’ legislatures.

: North and South Korea hold colonel-level military talks in Panmunjom but fail to reach agreement on an agenda for higher level talks or a date for further preliminary talks.

: US Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Robert King visits Seoul to discuss human rights issues.

: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell says “the essential first step in any process of reengagement with North Korea requires a true and significant North-South dialogue.”

: Deputy Secretary Steinberg travels to Beijing to meet Chinese State Counselor Dai Bingguo and discuss North Korea’s nuclear program.

: US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg meets President Lee and Foreign Minister Kim in Seoul to brief them on the US-China summit and to discuss North Korea and the resumption of the Six-Party talks.

: During his State of the Union Address, President Obama urges North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons. He also holds up South Korea as a model when discussing education and infrastructure.

: Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao release a Joint Statement and agree that North Korea must avoid further provocations and abide by its denuclearization commitments.

: Commander of US Forces in Korea (USFK) Gen. Walter Sharp warns of North Korea’s long-range missiles and says they must be destroyed if they pose a threat.

: South Korean National Security Advisor Chun Young-woo says on a PBS News Hour interview that North Korea must apologize for the Cheonan sinking and the Yeonpyeong shelling before engagement is possible between the two Koreas.

: Japanese Foreign Minister Maehara Seiji and President Lee meet in Seoul and call for the UN Security Council (UNSC) to deal with North Korea’s recently unveiled uranium enrichment program.

: Secretary Gates meets President Lee, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, and Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan in Seoul.

: South Korea and the US agree on a 10-year joint study to determine if Seoul should be allowed to reprocess spent nuclear fuel with a new, proliferation-resistant technology.

: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen states that North Korean nuclear and missile technology pose a serious threat to the US.

: Secretary Gates calls on North Korea to impose a moratorium on its missile and nuclear testing to help revive the Six-Party Talks.

: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates meets Chinese Minister of Defense Liang Guangjie in Beijing and discusses North Korean provocations and its nuclear program.

: Grand National Party (GNP) lawmaker Nam Kyung-pil calls on the Congress to ratify the KORUS FTA, and the South Korean National Assembly will then follow suit.

: US Special Envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth visits Seoul, Beijing, and Tokyo and meets “senior government officials to discuss next steps on the Korean Peninsula.”

: In his first major address of the year, President Lee Myung-bak gives a message to North Korea that the “The path toward peace is yet open. The door for dialogue is still open.”

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