US - Korea

Chronology from May 2015 to Aug 2015

: ROK and DPRK reach a six-point agreement after an intense several days of negotiation. Washington describes the situation as a “very tense several days.”

: The ROK and DPRK begin negotiations to resolve tensions in the DMZ at 6PM, past the DPRK threatened deadline.

: DPRK and ROK exchange live-fire, with the KPA firing rockets in the direction of ROK loudspeakers, and the ROK responding with 155mm shells. The DPRK sets a 4PM Aug. 22 deadline for the ROK to silence the speakers.

: US and ROK engage in annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises.

: South Korea marks 70th Anniversary of Korean Liberation Day following the end of World War II.

: US and ROK begin large-scale joint exercises at the ROK Army training camp at Pocheon, Gyeongii Province. The live-fire exercises display combat readiness against DPRK provocations and last the month.

: The ROK resumes loudspeaker broadcasts along the DMZ after an 11-year hiatus following the Aug. 4 maiming of two soldiers by DPRK landmines.

: North Korea announces it will set its clocks back one half hour beginning Aug. 15 as a marker of Liberation Day.

: Kim Dae Jung’s widow, Lee Hee-ho, visits a DPRK hospital, orphanage and maternity clinic, but does not meet neither Kim Jong Un or senior DPRK officials.

: Two ROK soldiers maimed by DPRK landmines in the southern part of the DMZ.

: ROK Defense Agency for Technology and Quality announces deployment of the Chunmoo multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) near the DMZ, doubling the range of the Kooryong MLRS antecedents.

: US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) introduce House Joint Resolution 63 in support of the US-ROK Agreement for Civil Nuclear Cooperation.

: US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) introduces Senate Joint Resolution 20 in support of the US-ROK Agreement for Civil Nuclear Cooperation.

: US Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks Sydney Seiler meets in Seoul with ROK counterparts on North Korean denuclearization, as well as Director General for North Korean Nuclear Affairs Kim Gunn and Japanese Deputy Director General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Takizaki Shigeki in a US-Korea-Japan trilateral session.

: ROK media reports DPRK completion of its Sohae Satellite Launch Facility, designed as a long-range ballistic missile and space booster test facility, near the Chinese border.

: US Congressional Research Service (CRS) releases its report on North Korea: US Relations, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Internal Situation.

: US Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift visits the ROK for meetings with ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Choi Yoon-hee, ROK Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Jung Ho-sup, and US Ambassador Mark Lippert.

: ROK Foreign Ministry’s Director General of the North American Affairs Division Shin Jae-hyun and USFK Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. O’Shaughnessy address the delivery of live anthrax spores to a USFK base in April in a SOFA Joint Committee session. The Seoul-Washington Joint Working Group also discusses the joint investigation into the incident.

: Seoul hosts a two-day meeting for officials and experts from the US, ROK, and Asia Pacific engaged in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), which aims to curtail the illicit transfer of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and related materials.

: Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduce Senate Resolution 1747 to increase sanctions enforcement on and humanitarian organization efforts toward the DPRK.

: US Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Frank Rose meets the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs North American Affairs head Shin Jae-hyun and International Organizations Department head Yoo Dae-jong for discussion on arms reduction, nonproliferation, and space.

: US Special Envoy for North Korean Policy Sung Kim visits Korea, meeting Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Hong-kyun and Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Hwang Joon-kook.

: Citing an increasing DPRK threat and budgetary constraints, the ROK Defense Ministry announces a delay in the reduction of active-duty personnel, reducing troop levels from 630,000 to 526,200 by 2030, rather than 2022.

: ROK signs Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank articles, becoming the fifth largest shareholder with a 3.81 percent stake and 3.5 percent voting bloc. Media reports US opposition to Korea’s opting for the AIIB, but US officials voice support suggesting Korea will promote good governance and best practices.

: ROK Foreign Ministry announces sanctions against half a dozen Taiwanese and Syrian individuals and entities engaged in the DPRK weapons trade.

: US and ROK mark the 65th anniversary of the start of the Korean War.

: President Obama sends a letter to Capitol Hill extending executive orders imposing sanctions on the DPRK.

: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, alongside Foreign Minister Yun, formally opens Seoul office to monitor and document North Korean human rights abuses.

: US Strategic Command Commander Adm. Cecil Haney visits Seoul and meets ROK Defense Minister Han Min-koo and Joint Chiefs of Staff Choi Yun-hee.

: South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) announces investigation of Citi, JP Morgan, Bank of America and three UK lenders on possible collusion to manipulate foreign exchange rates. US and UK fined six banks $5.6 billion in May for exchange rate manipulation.

: President Obama sends the new US-ROK Agreement for Civil Nuclear Cooperation to Congress for review for 90 days of the Hill session.

: North Korea test fires anti-ship rockets, with leader Kim Jong Un in attendance.

: Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz formally sign the revision of the 1974 Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation Agreement, agreed to April 22

: DPRK launches three KN-01 short-range (120 km) missiles in the East Sea off Wonson.

: President Park announces postponement of her June 14-17 visit to the US given the MERS outbreak. President Obama offers condolences in a phone conversation two days later.

: US Pacific Command Commander Adm. Harry Harris visits Seoul and meets President Park and other senior officials; he also visits the Cheonan memorial at Pyeongtaek.

: US State Department releases report acknowledging possible unidentified nuclear facilities in the DPRK.

: South Korean Trade Minister Yoon Sang-jick and Chinese Trade Minister Gao Hucheng sign a bilateral FTA, eliminating tariffs on more than 90 percent of traded goods over two decades and increasing bilateral trade to over $300 billion per annum. Some US analysts see the move as an affront to the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership initiative.

: US notifies the ROK of the extension of the US Visa Waiver Program  until March 2017, allowing Korean citizens to visit the US without obtaining a visa for 90 days.

: Blue House announces June 14-17 visit by Park Geun-hye to Washington, DC and Houston. The Obama-Park meeting since has been rescheduled to mid-October 2015.

: The New York City-based Korea Society hosts an expert session on Unification and Alliance Support, providing an update on Seoul’s unification policy and encouraging greater US and Japanese cooperation.

: Pyongyang declares miniaturization capability, advancing US and ROK concerns about missile and nuclear development.

: US Senate Subcommittee Chairman on East Asia, Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduces a resolution recognizing the DPRK as a serious threat to US national security.

: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon begins a five-day visit to Korea, participating in the World Education Forum and meeting President Park, Foreign Minister Yun and National Assembly Speaker Chung Eui-hwa. North Korea rejects Ban’s proposed visit to the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

: US Secretary of State John Kerry meets ROK President Park Geun-hye and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in advance of the US-ROK presidential summit, which was subsequently rescheduled to Oct. 2015.

: Arbitration begins between the Korean government and US-based private equity fund Lone Star at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington, DC – the first investor-state dispute filed under the KORUS Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

: ROK Defense Ministry identifies photographs of a May 9 DPRK missile launch from the sea as authentic and describes the DPRK’s developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) as “very serious and concerning.”

: Google opens a start-up and entrepreneurs campus in Seoul. President Park Geun-hye expresses gratitude to Google for selecting Seoul for its first Asian campus.

: Special Representatives Hwang Joon-kook and Sung Kim discuss the Six-Party Talks and denuclearization in Washington.

Date Range