US - Korea

Chronology from May 2021 to Aug 2021

: 38 North publishes additional evidence of the Yongbyon 5 MWe reactor’s activation, namely “a discharge of cooling water into a new outflow channel.”

: White House press secretary Jen Psaki stresses the “urgent need” for dialogue and diplomacy with North Korea following news that the North had restarted activity at its primary nuclear reactor for the first time in three years.

: UN nuclear watchdog says it has detected “deeply troubling” indications of Yongbyon nuclear reactor operating since July, including the release of cooling water.

: South Korean Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Park In-ho signs a deal with the chief of the US space operations and agrees to form a joint consultative body on space policy to strengthen cooperation.

: ROK Unification Minister Lee calls on Russia to play a “constructive role” in advancing the peace process on the Korean Peninsula during talks with Moscow’s nuclear envoy.

: US special representative for North Korea Sung Kim and South Korean counterpart Noh Kyu-duk discusshumanitarian aid to North Korea. The next day, ROK Unification Minister Lee meets with the US envoy and discusses a coordinated approach to jump-start stalled talks with the North.

: US Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim arrives in Seoul for talks with his South Korean and Russian counterparts to resume dialogue amid renewed tensions over the ongoing military exercise between Seoul and Washington.

: State Department spokesperson Ned Price says that the Biden administration prioritizes alliances with NATO, South Korea, and Taiwan as a “profound source of strength” for the United States.

: North Korea reportedly declares a no-sail zone for ships off the east coast, indicating that it had plans to launch missiles amid a military exercise between South Korea and the United States.

: ROK Unification Minister Lee urges North Korea to come back to the negotiating table within this year, expressing concerns that upcoming political events in the region could slow down the peace process with Pyongyang.

: South Korea and the United States start their annual joint military training Monday amid North Korea’s strong protest and threats of a serious security crisis.

: US aids the evacuation of South Korean Embassy staff in Afghanistan under a memorandum of understanding that the two countries signed earlier this year in the event of a contingency.

: 400,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine that the US agreed to provide arrive in South Korea on Sunday, according to the US Embassy in Seoul.

: North Korea denounces the expiration of a pandemic-related US government ban on residential evictions, saying Washington should address its own human rights issues before “poking its nose” into other countries’ affairs.

: North Korean Ambassador to Moscow Sin Hong-chol calls for US troop withdrawal from South Korea and called the US-ROK joint military exercise a “war rehearsal.”

: United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai virtually meets with South Korea’s Trade Minister Yeo Han-Koo to discuss the Biden-Harris administration’s trade priorities and opportunities in supply chain resilience, tackling climate change and WTO reform.

: Cheong Wa Dae dismisses an allegation that it might have had a secret deal with North Korea for the reconnection of direct communication channels earlier this month.

: Kim Yo Jong, sister of Kim Jong Un, slams South Korea and the United States for going ahead with joint military exercises, denouncing the drills as the “most intensive expression” of Washington’s hostile policy toward Pyongyang.

: Secretary Blinken expresses a willingness to consider different “options” and “possibilities” with North Korea in a renewed call for its return to dialogue at a regional forum.

: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says the upcoming US-ROK military exercise is not “constructive,” calling for Washington to avoid any action that would cause tension with North Korea.

: South Korea decides to conduct upcoming military exercise with the United States as planned despite North Korea’s warning.

: ROK FM Chung and Secretary Blinken agree to make continued efforts to engage with North Korea and foster lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula during their phone talks.

: Director-general and deputy-level officials of the United States and South Korea meet to coordinate efforts to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

: US national intelligence officer for North Korea at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Sydney Seiler says that the US will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea.

: ROK Unification Ministry says that South Korea will deal with the issue of joint military drills with the United States in a “wise” and “flexible” manner so as to not heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

: Kim Yo Jong, sister of the North Korean leader, warns that annual military drills between South Korea and the United States will cloud the future of inter-Korean relations.

: Congressman Brad Sherman (D-California) proposes the “Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act,” which more than a dozen US lawmakers sign on to, seeking to formally end the Korean War and establish liaison offices between the United States and North Korea.

: ROK FM Chung calls inter-Korean hotline restoration to restore trust and improve ties between the South and North.

: Deputy Secretary Sherman highlights need for the US and China to work together in dealing with regional and global issues such as nuclear-armed North Korea during her visit to China.

: South Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun and US Deputy Secretary of State Sherman have talks in Seoul over stalled nuclear diplomacy with North Korea and other bilateral and global issues.

: Deputy Secretary of State Sherman stresses the importance of cooperation between the US, South Korea, and Japan in addressing regional issues such as the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

: Pentagon spokesman John Kirby says that the United States maintains and continues to advance its capabilities to counter any cyber-attacks from China and North Korea.

: North Korea’s foreign ministry accuses the United States of using humanitarian aid as a political tool to interfere with North Korea’s internal affairs.

: RIK chief nuclear negotiator Noh Kyu-duk speaks by phone with US counterpart Sung Kim and discussed efforts to advance the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.

: US Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim has phone talks with Chinese counterpart after he sought to reach out to North Korea during his trip to the South.

: South Korea’s Navy joins a US-led multinational maritime exercise Vanguard in Australian waters to enhance cooperative operation abilities.

: Pentagon spokesman John Kirby says that the US remains committed to the joint defense of South Korea and that includes maintaining an appropriate level of US forces on the Korean Peninsula.

: US shortlists North Korea as a nation complicit in human trafficking and forced labor again.

: South Korea and the US agree to speed up cooperation in supply chains such as memory chip and battery sectors, in the follow-up to the outcome of their leaders’ summit.

: Moon Chung-in, former adviser to the South Korean president, says ending the bilateral “working group” forum on North Korea policy between South Korea and the United States cannot be an incentive for Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table.

: President Moon reaffirms his commitment to doing his best to reinvigorate the Korea peace process in a Time magazine interview.

: US Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim wraps up his five-day trip to Seoul after redoubling Washington’s calls for dialogue with a recalcitrant Pyongyang.

: South Korea and the United States agree to consider terminating their “working group” forum on North Korea policy.

: State Department spokesman Ned Price says the United States is willing to hold dialogue with North Korea at any time and any place.

: Sung Kim says he looks forward to Pyongyang giving a “positive response soon” to Washington’s dialogue offer, referring to Kim Jong-un’s recent remarks that Pyongyang should be ready for both dialogue and confrontation.

: US Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim arrives in Seoul for talks with his South Korean and Japan counterparts to resume nuclear diplomacy with Pyongyang.

: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says the North should be ready for both dialogue and, more importantly, confrontation with the United States, while calling for efforts to stably control the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

: G7 nations issue a joint statement calling for the complete denuclearization of North Korea, welcoming the commitment of Washington to engage with Pyongyang through diplomacy.

: Secretary Blinken stresses the need to work with China to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula in a phone call conversation with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi.

: State Department spokesman Ned Price says the US seeks to engage with North Korea diplomatically to make progress toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

: Cheong Wa Dae (the Blue House) says that South Korea and the US have established a senior-level expert group to follow up on their summit deal on their “vaccine partnership.”

: President Moon will visit Britain for G7 summit followed by state visits to Austria and Spain for talks on bilateral ties.

: Secretary Blinken pledges to work with the two Koreas to help realize long-awaited reunions of Korean-Americans with families in the North, calling it a “heart-wrenching” issue.

: South Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun plans to visit Washington later this week for talks with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues between the two countries.

: ROK Unification Minister Lee calls for “maximum flexibility” in deciding what to do with joint military exercise with the US set for August, saying such drills should never serve as a chance to cause additional tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

: South Korea plans to accelerate its space development program including boosting cooperation with the US in a move that may help the Biden administration’s Asia strategy to check China’s growing global clout.

: US Sen. Duckworth says that the recent lifting of US curbs on South Korea’s missile development would be “complementary” to America’s regional deterrence efforts.

: ROK FM Chung meets three visiting US senators (Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois), Chris Coons (D-Delaware), and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska)) and discusses bilateral and alliance issues.

: ROK FM Chung holds a breakfast meeting with US Indo-Pacific Command chief Adm. John C. Aquilino in Seoul to discuss their countries’ alliance and peace on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.

: Secretary Blinken has called on NATO members to deepen their cooperation with South Korea amid US efforts to reinforce cooperation between US allies.

: ROK intelligence chief Park Jie-won is expected to return home after a weeklong trip to the US that apparently focused on discussions with his counterparts on North Korea.

: North Korea slams the US lifting of missile restrictions on South Korea as a “stark reminder” of Washington’s hostile approach to Pyongyang, saying the recently unveiled US policy on North Korea is “just trickery.”

: 38 North says that North Korea appears to be continuing activities at its Yongbyon nuclear complex but no clear evidence has been detected to determine if spent fuel rods have been transferred from the storage facility to produce plutonium.

: South Korea’s Unification Ministry says it will seek to restore communication lines and dialogue with North Korea based on “sufficient conditions” for engagement created by the summit between Presidents Moon and Biden.

: US Ambassador to Indonesia Sung Kim begins his work as a special representative for North Korea, speaking with his Japanese counterpart, Takehiro Funakoshi.

: ROK Unification Minister Lee In-young says the summit between Presidents Moon and Biden created “sufficient” conditions need to resume the long-stalled dialogue with North Korea.

: South Korean biopharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics signs a deal to manufacture Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine at its local factory.

: Biden pledges to provide full vaccinations for all 550,000 South Korean troops, agreeing to pursue a global COVID-19 vaccine partnership.

: President Moon and President Biden hold 171 minutes of one-on-one, small group, and expanded summit meetings, about 20 minutes longer than meetings between the US president and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Moon and Biden reaffirm their security alliance and committed to a string of partnerships in vaccine collaboration and North Korea. Moon also announces a joint decision with the US to end guidelines that restricted Seoul’s development of missiles, and an agreement to work together to build stable supply chains for semiconductors, electric vehicle batteries and medical supplies.

: During a tour of the US, President Moon meets House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders to discuss the alliance, North Korea and COVID-19 vaccines.

: South Korean President Moon Jae-in heads to the US for summit talks with President Biden on COVID-19 vaccine cooperation, North Korea, alliance issues and bilateral economic partnership.

: President Joe Biden says that the United States will provide up to 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to other countries by the end of next month, reiterating his pledge to turn the US into an “arsenal” of vaccines for the entire world.

: North Korean propaganda outlets criticizes South Korea’s biennial integrated defense exercise with the United States, warning that it will only “stab itself in the eyes” by confronting the North.

: Secretary Blinken reaffirms his country’s commitment to UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea, amid US outreach for engagement with the reclusive North.

: US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines visits the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas as Washington seeks to round out its policy on North Korea.

: Head of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) Park Jie-won meets the intelligence chiefs of Japan and the United States in Tokyo and exchanges views on North Korea and other relevant issues.

: Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby says that the source and destination of illicit weapons seized over the weekend in Arabian waters are still under investigation, adding that the US does not exclude North Korea from its list of potential destinations.

: Former South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn says that the US and South Korea must remain firm and flexible in their commitment to denuclearize North Korea.

: South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong says it is “desirable” for the US administration to appoint special representative for North Korea.

: Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security Jennifer Walsh says that North Korea continues to build up its chemical and biological weapons in addition to its nuclear weapons.

: Secretary Blinken calls for coordinated efforts to denuclearize North Korea at the G7.

: South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and his US counterpart, Antony Blinken, hold bilateral talks on the margins of a Group of Seven (G7) meeting in London.

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