US - Korea

Chronology from May 2012 to Aug 2012

: State Department spokesperson says that disputes between Korea and Japan make the US uncomfortable.

: South Korea admits to importing Iranian crude oil during July despite claims that it would not do so.

: US and South Korea launch Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) joint military exercise. In response, Kim Jong Un travels to the disputed ROK-DPRK sea border and calls the drill a threat to peace and stability in the region.

: Jang Song Taek meets President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing.

: Richard Armitage and Joseph Nye release the U.S.-Japan Alliance Anchoring Stability report, which states “it is essential for Japan to confront the historical issues” with South Korea, and declares the US has no place to judge on the situation.

: State Department spokesperson urges South Korea and Japan to repair ties emphasizing that the US would not take sides in the matter.

: President Lee visits Dokdo, heightening tensions between Japan and Korea.

: Joongang Ilbo reports that US and ROK are in talks to create a new joint military organization to replace Combined Forces Command (CFC) after the transfer of wartime operational control to South Korea in 2015.

: Ministry of Unification rejects North Korea’s allegations of South Korea’s plot of terrorism to sabotage statues in North Korea.

: DPRK Foreign Ministry says DPRK will build its nuclear arsenal against the US.

: US Ambassador to South Korea Sung Kim states that North Korea should follow Myanmar’s recent steps in making political and economic reforms and that nuclear ambitions will only further isolate North Korea.

: Gary Samore, special assistant to the president and White House coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction, proliferation, and terrorism, says South Korea can import enriched uranium from US or France, expressing an unyielding stance to the ROK’s demands in renegotiating 1-2-3 Agreement.

: North Korea deploys 20 attack helicopters near South Korea’s Baeknyeong Island in the West Sea.

: Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan states that he will urge the US to lift restrictions on the reprocessing of nuclear fuel.

: State Department spokesperson states that US has no hostile intentions toward North Korea.

: North Korea says that the country has no choice but to “totally reexamine the nuclear issue” after strongly condemning South Korea and the US for attempting to destroy statues of its founding leader Kim Il Sung.

: North Korea accuses South Korea and the US of inciting a defector to damage statues of the country’s founding leader Kim Il Sung.

: Kim Jong Un is awarded the title of marshal and supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army.

: ROK DAPA announces that it has approved bid proposals by three foreign defense companies for a multi-million dollar fighter jet project.

: North Korean Central News Agency announces that Gen. Hyon Yong Chol has been awarded the title of vice marshal of the Korean People’s Army.

: North Korean Central News Agency announces that the country’s military chief Gen. Ri Yong Ho has been relieved of all his posts due to illness.

: Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Japanese Foreign Minister Gemba Koichiro meet on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Phnom Penh and agree to form a trilateral consultative body.

: ROK deputy envoy to the Six-Party Talks Cho Hyun-dong and US counterpart Clifford Hart hold talks ahead of the ASEAN Regional Forum where they reaffirm that the two countries will not ease pressure on North Korea until it gives up a policy of confrontation.

: USFK Commander Gen. James Thurman apologizes for an illegal arrest of three civilians by US military personnel.

: In its response to a North Korean performance featuring Disney characters without authorization, the US stresses the importance of protecting intellectual property rights.

: Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, deputy commander of United States Forces Korea (USFK), apologizes for the recent handcuffing of three South Korean civilians by US troops during a dispute over parking outside a US Air Base.

: Kim Jong Un attends a concert in Pyongyang, a debut performance for the newly formed Moranbong troupe featuring classic Disney characters.

: Kim Jong Un loosens government restrictions on outlawed food and strict standards on women attire.

: Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan apologizes to the nation for pursuing a military pact with Japan without making enough efforts to win public support for the agreement.

: Oil imports to South Korea from Tehran halt due to the European Union’s ban on insuring Iranian oil shipments.

: South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says that Tehran made an offer to deliver crude oil to South Korea using its own ships.

: South Korea postpones the signing of the ROK-Japan military pact which would incorporate extensive intelligence sharing with Tokyo.

:   Nominee for US ambassador to Myanmar Derek Mitchell says that Myanmar should end all ties with North Korea if it wants to to normalize relations with the US.

: Russia Deputy Chief nuclear envoy Ambassador Grigory Logvinov arrives in Seoul for a three-day visit to meet South Korea nuclear envoy Lim Sung-nam and Director General of DPRK Nuclear Affairs Cho Hyun-dong to discuss the resumption of Six-Party Talks.

: South Korea announces that it will halt oil imports from Iran starting in July due to a European Union ban on insuring shipments of Iranian crude oil.

: South Korea’s Ministry of Strategy and Finance says its reliance on Iranian oil imports decreased in the first quarter of 2012.

:  South Korea and the US military conduct the largest, single-day joint military drill to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the Korean War in Pocheon, South Korea.

: South Korea, Japan, and the US conduct their first official trilateral joint naval exercise joined by US aircraft carrier USS George Washington in the Yellow Sea.

: US Senate passes a bill to ban food aid to North Korea unless a presidential waiver is used.

: White House announces that it will extend North Korean sanctions another year as it poses an “unusual and extraordinary threat.”

: South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announces three bidders – Boeing’s F-15 Silent Eagle, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II, and the Eurofighter Typhoon – for a $6.9 billion contract in acquiring 60 fighter jets.

: US deploys Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles and Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) artillery to USFK to increase firepower in South Korea.

:   Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell expresses US hope for a stable relationship between South Korea and Japan.

:   US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta host a “2+2 meeting” with South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and Defense Minister Kim Kwan-Jin at the State Department in Washington.

: State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland says the US is concerned about allegations that China assisted North Korea’s missile program.

: Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. Carl Levin says he has no problem with allowing South Korea to develop longer-range missiles if they are deployed in a “non-threatening way.”

: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces that South Korea and India will be exempt from Washington’s sanctions on Iranian oil.

: US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces that it will sell $325 million worth of advanced weapons to South Korea.

: Rep. Donald Manzullo (R-IL) says in a House hearing that deepening ties with South Korea by extending the current civilian nuclear pact will help US manufacturers.

: Pentagon replaces Brig. Gen. Tolley, commander of US Special Forces in Korea.

: South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan warns North Korea of a “firm response” if it engages in further provocations.

: South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson Cho Byung-jae states that North Korea cannot have a status as a nuclear-weapon state.

: DPRK’s Constitution is revised to state that North Korea is a “nuclear-armed state.” Spokesperson for the US Department of State comments that the US “will never accept North Korea as a nuclear power.”

: George Little, spokesperson for the US Department of Defense, tells reporters that “[i]t was misreported that there are U.S. boots on the ground in North Korea.”

: The Diplomat quotes Brig. Gen. Neil Tolley, commander of US Special Forces in South Korea, saying that “we send [Republic of Koread soldiers and U.S. soldiers to the North to do special reconnaissance” on North Korea’s tunnel infrastructure.

: US Special Representative for North Korean Policy Glyn Davies and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Yamaguchi Tsuyoshi state that US and Japan would engage in dialogue with North Korea if Pyongyang refrains from provocations. Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, comments that the US will consider food aid if Pyongyang is “serious about moving in a different direction.” South Korea warns Pyongyang that it would face greater sanctions and grave consequences if it conducts a third nuclear test.

: North Korea announces that it will not conduct a nuclear test but will continue to bolster its nuclear development and satellite capabilities.

: Nuclear envoys from Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo warn that North Korea will face tighter sanctions and greater isolation if it conducts a third nuclear test.

: US House of Representatives passes a bill to extend the North Korean Human Rights Act until 2017.

: White House National Security Council deputy spokesman Robert Jenson states that tactical nuclear weapons will not be redeployed to Korea.

:  US exempts South Korea from Iranian oil sanctions after Seoul decreases dependence on Iranian oil by 30 percent.

: US House Armed Services Committee passes an amendment to reintroduce tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.

: Assistant US Trade Representative for Japan, Korea, and APEC Affairs Wendy Cutler states that the KORUS FTA will not be renegotiated.

: North Korea announces that it will continue to develop nuclear and missile capabilities, against the urging of the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

: A massive candle light rally takes place in Seoul to halt US beef imports and renegotiate the KORUS Free Trade Agreement (FTA) after a reported case of mad cow disease.

: The UN expands North Korean sanctions after the failed rocket launch in April.

: President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko agree not to tolerate North Korea’s nuclear threat during Noda’s visit to the White House.

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