US - Korea

Chronology from May 2011 to Aug 2011

: President Lee Myung-bak replaces Unification Minister Hyun In-taek with Yu Woo-ik, a former chief-of-staff to Lee and former ambassador to China.

: US announces it will provide emergency aid valued at $900,000 to North Korea.

: ROK and the US conduct the annual joint military exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian in South Korea.

: State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland urges the DPRK to “exercise restraint” and says the US wants to see North Korea take steps along the lines they discussed in New York for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks.

: Three North Korean artillery shells fall in waters near Yeonpyeong Island. South Korean military returns fire.

: ROK National Security Adviser Chun Yung-woo meets US National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon and holds “very productive discussions on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues,” including a request to reconsider use of “Sea of Japan.” Chun also meets Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, with a brief attendance by Secretary Clinton.

: US State Department confirms the policy of calling the waters between Korea and Japan the Sea of Japan; South Korea protests the decision.

: The US Department of Defense proposes a meeting with the DPRK to discuss recovering the remains of US soldiers from North Korea.

: GNP members welcome Washington’s joint statement supporting passage of the KORUS FTA; lawmakers Nam Kyung-pil and Hwang Woo-yea state that the National Assembly should ratify the bill around the same time.

: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell issue a joint statement supporting passage of the trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama after the August recess with the condition of assured passage of the TAA being separated from the FTA.

: Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan meets Special Envoy for DPRK Policy Stephen Bosworth in New York. Newly named Special Envoy for Six-Party Talks Clifford Hart and DPRK Human Rights Envoy Robert King also attend the meetings.

: Secretary Clinton says the US has invited Kim Kye Gwan, North Korean vice foreign minister, to New York for exploratory talks.

: Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, Secretary Clinton, and Japanese Foreign Minister Matsumoto Takeaki meet at the ARF to coordinate strategy toward North Korea.

: Secretary Clinton says at the ARF that the US will not support a resumption of Six-Party Talks unless the DPRK proves it is serious about the effort, adding that a private meeting between the North and South is not enough and the DPRK should cease its provocative actions, improve relations with the South, and begin dismantling its nuclear program.

: North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Pak Ui Chun meets South Korean counterpart Kim Sung-hwan at the ASEAN Regional Forum.

: South Korean chief nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac and his newly-appointed North Korean counterpart Ri Yong Ho meet in a two-hour meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Bali.

: The main opposition Democratic Party announces a list of 10 + 2 points to renegotiate, blocking the National Assembly’s ratification of the KORUS FTA.

: Park Ro-byug, South Korea’s envoy for the civil nuclear accord talks, meets Robert Einhorn, the US State Department’s special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, for a third round of Korea-US talks on revising a bilateral nuclear cooperation pact.

: US Army Gen. James Thurman is inaugurated as the new commander of US Forces Korea, vowing to strengthen the alliance between Seoul and Washington.

: Secretary of State Clinton calls for an end to partisan strife over free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama in a speech at the US Global Leadership Coalition Conference in Washington.

: Lee Myung-bak administration and the new leadership of the ruling GNP party agree to ratify the KORUS FTA during the August legislative session.

: House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee hold simultaneous “mock mark-up” sessions on preliminary draft implementing bills for the three pending free trade agreements including KORUS.

: State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says that the US “understands” and talked to the EU regarding its decision to provide North Korea with food aid but stresses that it will make its own decision on aid.

: Unification Ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo says South Korea will not send any government food aid to North Korea.

: European Union Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva says the EU will send 10 million euro ($14.5 million) in food aid to North Korea to save the lives of at least 650,000 people.

: US Forces Korea says only small amounts of cancer-causing dioxin were detected last year near one of its bases in the country, citing its draft report on the inspection.

: In South Korea, 15,000 protestors rally against the KORUS FTA and rising college tuition costs, taking over Kwanghwamun Street for the first time since 2009.

: Joongang Ilbo reports that the US pressured South Korea during several meetings between officials to actively engage with North Korea to resume inter-Korean dialogue.

: Special Envoy for Six-Party Talks Sung Kim is officially nominated as US ambassador to the Republic of Korea.

: Secretary of State Clinton and ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung-hwan meet and sign an agreement in Washington to better coordinate international development aid. They also agree to not ease pressure on North Korea’s government unless it changes its ways before resumption of stalled nuclear talks.

: Joongang Ilbo reports that Seoul has told Washington that it does not mind it sending food aid to North Korea, but only after North Korea agrees to talk with the South.

: South Korea’s Six-Party Talks Envoy Wi Sung-lac meets Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg.

: State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the US is still looking for a new page in inter-Korean relations to come before all else in issues related to the two Koreas.

: Clifford Hart is named US Special Envoy to the Six-Party Talks.

:   Wi Sung-lac meets with Special Envoy Stephen Bosworth and Assistant Secretary Campbell in Washington to discuss security issues and resumption of Six-Party Talks.

: US. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton says, following a meeting of the Japan-US Security Consultative Committee, that the US is “committed to deterring further provocative behaviors by North Korea, supporting a North-South dialogue, and promoting the complete and peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

: Gen. Walter Sharp, outgoing commander of US Forces in Korea, says the US will not deploy tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea.

: Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell meets Wi Sung-lac in Seoul and says the US supports South Korea’s position that inter-Korean talks must occur before talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

: US Secretary of Defense-designate Leon Panetta says he will work closely with Congress in pressing ahead with the realignment of troops stationed in South Korea.

: Eighth US Army Commander Lt. Gen. John Johnson tells Environment Minister Yoo Young-sook that drums of chemicals were removed from Korea in 1982-1983.

: South Korea’s Defense Ministry begins a large-scale investigation of former US military bases due to claims by retired US soldiers who say that they helped dump large amounts of the toxic chemical Agent Orange inside a US army camp in 1978.

: North Korea frees Jun Young Su, a US citizen held since November 2010.

: The US Navy halts a North Korea ship suspected of carrying arms to Myanmar, but the vessel denies permission to board. The ship turns around and heads back on May 29.

: Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues Robert King and USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator Jon Brause visit Pyongyang and meet First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, Vice Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, and Director General for North American Affairs Ri Gun to assess food shortages in North Korea and discuss the status of a US citizen who is being held in a North Korean jail.

: South Korean and US air forces launch a joint exercise, Max Thunder.

: ROK government and the Grand National Party agree to try to pass South Korea’s free trade agreement with the US through a parliamentary committee beginning in June.

: US Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth, Special Envoy for Six-Party Talks Sung Kim, and Sydney Seiler, the new Korea policy chief at the National Security Council, visit Seoul and meet Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan, Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Wi Sung-Lac, and Presidential Security Adviser Chun Young-Woo.

: Yonhap News reports that US Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk wants Congress to approve the KORUS FTA “this spring.”

: US House Speaker John Boehner says he wants the pending free-trade deals with Korea, Colombia and Panama to pass Congress before August.

: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus says he reached a deal with the Obama administration addressing his concerns with South Korea’s remaining beef import restrictions, clearing another roadblock on the Korea-US free trade agreement (KORUS FTA).

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