US - Korea

Chronology from Apr 2010 to Jul 2010

:  In response to the statement made by China’s Foreign Ministry on June 29, State Department spokesman Crowley, says, “We [the US] continue our discussions with China and other countries in New York, but we think at this point there’s little ambiguity, and we believe the international community needs to send a direct and clear message to North Korea.”

: Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Adam Smith (D-WA), and four other congressmen launch a working group for early ratification of the KORUS FTA.

: Trade Minister Kim announces that South Korea will not renegotiate to make changes to the original KORUS FTA.

: North Korea refutes criticism made by G8 over the sinking of Cheonan.

: North Korea announces that any accidental clash during an upcoming US-ROK naval exercise could spark a war.

:  Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang says China is more cautious in handling North Korea than the US since it has “direct and serious concerns” related to North Korea.

: State Department spokesman Philip Crowley says the US considers the sinking of Cheonan to be “provocative,” but not an act of terrorism.

: KCNA reports that North Korea will strengthen its nuclear capability in a new way, in response to US policy and military threats.

: President Obama says, the “main focus” of the US is “making sure” that there is “a crystal clear acknowledgement [in the UN Security Council] that North Korea engaged in belligerent behavior that is unacceptable to the international community.”

: In their summit statement, the G8 leaders state: “We deplore the attack on March 26 that caused the sinking of the Republic of Korea’s naval vessel, the Cheonan, resulting in tragic loss of 46 lives.”

: Presidents Lee and Obama hold a bilateral meeting before the G20 Summit in Toronto. At the meeting, they decide to delay Seoul’s scheduled takeover of wartime operation control of its troops (OPCON) to Dec. 1, 2015.

: President Obama says he will push for ratification of the KORUS FTA before the next G20 Summit in Seoul in November.

: Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) calls on China to join the US and other members of the Security Council in “condemning North Korea’s recent aggression against South Korea.” Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) says that “Beijing is apparently strengthening its assistance to North Korea, even after the sinking of South Korea’s ship and loss of 46 sailors.”

: Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi says Congress may not be able to ratify the pending KORUS FTA deal between the US and South Korea until next year.

: The State Department renews its demand from North Korea to release Aijalon Gomes, a US citizen imprisoned in North Korea since January, 2010.

: Foreign Minister Yu says that South Korea will consult related countries on resuming Six-Party Talks after completing its response to the Choenon incident.

: Secretary Clinton and Japan’s Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya pledge to pursue a “strong response” at the UN over North Korea’s involvement in the Cheonan incident.

: President Obama announces that the US will extend its current sanctions regime on North Korea by one more year, arguing that the “existence and the risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula continued to posed an unusual and extraordinary threat” to the US.

: South Korean Army troops arrive in Afghanistan for the first time since withdrawing after a spate of kidnappings in 2007.

: South Korea and North Korea both speak before the UN Security Council. The Joint Investigation Group presents its findings and conclusion that North Korea deliberately attacked and sank Cheonan; North Korea rebuts the accusation by citing “major doubts” and “loopholes” in the credibility of the report.

: South Korea’s military undergoes major personnel changes following the release of a state auditor report about its “poor” handling of immediate aftermath of Cheonan.

: North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reports “the attempt to resume the psychological warfare” is equal to a “full-out war declaration,” that will induce “military attacks on all battle fronts.” It says that the North’s attack will not be “a proportional one-on-one response but a merciless attack that can involve turning Seoul into a sea of fire.”

: Defense Minister Kim announces that South Korea will resume its psychological warfare after the UN Security Council carries out its action over the sinking of Cheonan. In a national assembly hearing in Seoul, Kim says “[the broadcasters] are on hold because South Korea and the US both think it is better that they start after UN Security Council measures.”

: North Korea writes to the UN Security Council, claiming that the “investigation findings’ by the United States and South Korea, which had been from their announcement subject to doubts and criticism, is nothing more than a conspiracy aimed at achieving US political and military goals.” North Korea requests an opportunity to present a rebuttal against the findings of the multinational investigative committee regarding the Cheonan incident.

: In a forum on inter-Korean relations hosted by the National Unification Advisory Council, Vice Unification Minister, Eom Jong-sk, asserts that South Korea will not return to the Six-Party Talks until North Korea pays its price for the Cheonan Incident.

: Secretary Gates asserts that, “the international community can and must hold North Korea accountable. The United States will continue to work with the Republic of Korea, Japan and our other partners to figure out the best way to do that.”

: President Lee Myung-bak writes the UN Security Council regarding the Cheonan incident, asking the body to “take action” against North Korea.

: South Korea’s ruling Grand National Party suffers unexpected setbacks in nationwide local and provincial (i.e., midterm) elections.

: Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, warns South Korea that North Korea may engage in “follow-up activities” to the Cheonan incident.

: Premier Wen “expresses his condolences to the South Korean people and the family members of the victims for the unfortunate incident.” Premier Wen also urges haste in establishing a free trade agreement between China and South Korea.

: China’s Premier Wen Jiabao pledges that China “will not patronize anyone” responsible for the sinking of Cheonan.  The State Department calls on China to “support international efforts and South Korea as we consider appropriate action in the Security Council in the coming days.”

: President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio reaffirm their support for South Korea’s proposal to bring the Cheonan incident to the UN Security Council.

: Secretary Clinton says that “international independent investigation [on the Choenan Incident] was objective, the evidence overwhelming, the conclusion inescapable.” She further states, “We call on North Korea to halt its provocation and its policy of threats and belligerence toward its neighbors, and take steps now to fulfill its denuclearization commitments, and comply with international law.”

: South Korea conducts antisubmarine warfare (ASW) drills in the Yellow Sea.

: Defense Minister Kim Tae-young announces that South Korea will conduct “anti-proliferation exercises” in the Korean peninsula on its own as well as in coordination with the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).

: President Obama pledges his support for South Korea’s proposal to bring the matter of the Cheonan sinking to the UN Security Council.

: The Pentagon announces that the US Navy and the ROK Navy will conduct joint anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercises in the “near future.”

: President Lee Myung-bak delivers a televised address demanding an apology from North Korea and outlining his government’s proposed response.

: MND formally accuses North Korea of attacking and sinking Cheonan.

: North Korea’s National Defense Commission announces that it intends to send a verification team to South to disprove the evidence of the Cheonan investigation.

: The US House of Representatives passes Resolution 1382, “expressing sympathy to the families of those killed by North Korea in the sinking of the Republic of Korea Ship Cheonan, and solidarity with the Republic of Korea in the aftermath of this tragic incident.”

: Secretary Clinton says during a visit to Tokyo that “overwhelming evidence” indicates that North Korea deliberately attacked and sank Cheonan.

: Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon, announces the US will “likely move to ratify the pending free trade deal with South Korea [only] after … elections in November.”

: South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reports that two North Korean patrol boats crossed into South Korea territorial waters in the Yellow Sea in two separate incidents and retreated after being fired upon by the Republic of Korea Navy.

: Lee Sang-woo, chairman of South Korea’s Presidential Commission on National Security, argues that the transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON) from the US to South Korea, originally scheduled for 2012, should be delayed.

: Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, send a letter to President Obama calling for ratification of the pending South Korea-US (KORUS) FTA.

: The US Senate passes Resolution 525 expressing “sympathy and condolences to the families … of the sailors of the Cheonan killed in action” and “solidarity with the people and government of the Republic of Korea.”

: South Korea holds a state funeral for the 46 dead and missing sailors from Cheonan at Pyeongtaek Naval Base.

: Recovery operators raise the remaining half of Cheonan.

: North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency reports that the country’s Foreign Ministry has offered to “join international efforts for nuclear nonproliferation and on nuclear material security on an equal footing with other nuclear weapons states.” The US Department of State declares that Washington “will not accept” such an accord.

: South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan, states that evidence of North Korea’s involvement in Cheonan incident would further hinder progress on the already stalemated Six-Party Talks, should any such evidence be found.

: President Lee declares that he will “resolutely and unwaveringly cope with the results” of the investigation of the sinking of Cheonan in a televised address to the country.

: North Korea denies involvement in its first official statement regarding the Cheonan incident.

: Yoon Duk-yong, the co-leader of the official state investigation team, affirms that an “external explosion” sank the Cheonan after surveying the recovered wreck of the vessel.

: Salvage workers raise the stern of Cheonan and recover 36 bodies from the wreck. Eight sailors remain missing.

: President Lee arrives in Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit.

: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announces that the US will leave “all options … on the table” vis-à-vis North Korea, including the use of nuclear weapons, because of their “failure to comply with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.”

: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that North Korea may have up to six nuclear weapons.

: South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) announces that in addition to the US, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Sweden have also agreed to participate in the investigation into the Cheonan incident.

: North Korea sentences Aijalon Mahli Gomes, a US citizen and formerly an English teacher in South, to eight years of “hard labor” for “illegally entering the country.”

: South Korea requests US participation in the official investigation into the Cheonan incident.

: US Trade Representative Robert Kirk announces that President Obama wants Congress to approve “at least one of three pending free trade deals with [South] Korea, Colombia, and Panama” in 2010.

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