US - Korea

Chronology from Jul 2009 to Oct 2009

: KCNA rejects Lee Myung-bak’s “grand bargain” idea unless the ROK first discards confrontational policies.

: U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg travels to Korea as part of week-long Asia tour.

: President Obama says that Iran and the DPRK “must be held accountable” if they continue to put their pursuit of nuclear weapons ahead of international security.

: State Department spokesman Ian Kelly reiterates that the U.S. will provide a package of incentives to the DPRK if it takes irreversible steps toward its denuclearization.

: An ROK official at the Ministry of National Defense says the ROK has no plan to participate in the U.S.-led global ballistic missile defense (BMD) network.

: Military sources in Korea say the U.S. has started deploying its latest Apache attack helicopters in the ROK to strengthen its deterrent capabilities.

: In a memorandum, President Obama says the U.S. will withhold funding for the DPRK and several other countries for their poor human rights record involving human
trafficking in accordance with section 110 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.

: DPRK says that it has entered a final phase of uranium enrichment, and is building more nuclear weapons with spent fuel rods extracted from its only operating plutonium-producing reactor.

: U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Bosworth visits China, South Korea, and Japan for consultations on resuming Six-Party Talks.

: DPRK leader Kim Jong-il says in a commentary carried on Pyongyang Radio, “We can ease tensions and remove the danger of war on the peninsula when the U.S. abandons its hostile policy and signs a peace treaty with us.”

: Ambassador Philip Goldberg, U.S. envoy for implementing UNSC Resolution 1874, visits Seoul and says complete, verifiable denuclearization of the DPRK is “certainly our goal” and that the U.N. sanctions resolution “very much lays that out.”

: The U.S. and South Korea conduct Ulchi Freedom Guardian, an annual joint military exercise involving about 56,000 ROK troops and 10,000 U.S. troops.

: National Security Adviser James Jones says that the U.S. will deal with the DPRK through Six-Party Talks despite Pyongyang’s hope to improve ties with Washington through bilateral negotiations.

: President Obama reiterates that Bill Clinton’s trip to free the two female reporters was a private initiative and not a sign of easing international diplomatic pressure on the DPRK.

: Ex-U.S. President Bill Clinton visits Pyongyang. After talks and dinner with Kim Jong-il, he departs with two U.S. journalists, who had been arrested and sentenced for illicitly entering North Korea from China.

: The North Korea Sanctions Act of 2009 is submitted to the Congress. It calls on the Obama administration to “impose certain sanctions on North Korea as a result of the detonation by that country of a nuclear explosive device on May 25, 2009” under the Arms Export Control Act.

: A survey by Pew Research Center indicates that 78 percent of Koreans now regard the U.S. favorably. This compares sharply to 58 percent in 2007.

: DPRK media criticize annual joint U.S.-ROK Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises as “a military plan aimed at invading the North.”

: DPRK Ambassador to the UN Sin Son-ho says that Pyongyang is “not against dialogue” with Washington. He also says “the Six-Party Talks are gone forever.”

: Ri Hung-sik, director general of the DPRK Foreign Ministry’s International Organization Bureau, dismisses a U.S.-proposed “comprehensive package” of political and economic incentives for Pyongyang as “nonsense.”

: Secretary Clinton urges ASEAN Regional Forum members to keep pressure and enforce UN sanctions on the DPRK to end its nuclear program.

: A DPRK Foreign Ministry official calls Secretary Clinton “by no means intelligent” and a “funny lady.” He says, “Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping.”

: Sen. John Kerry sponsors an amendment to the 2010 defense-authorization bill expressing a sense of the Senate that the Obama administration should conduct a review to determine whether the DPRK should be re-listed as a state sponsor of terrorism.

: Secretary Clinton says the DPRK must obey a UN resolution on its international shipments or its vessels will “find no port” for commerce.

: Secretary Clinton says “there is obviously a list of incentives and offers that could be made if the DPRK representatives evidence any willingness to take a different path than the one they are currently pursuing.”

: Assistant Secretary Campbell outlines a two-track strategy involving tougher sanctions but also negotiations if the DPRK is willing to give up its nuclear ambitions.

: Secretary Clinton likens Pyongyang’s behavior to that of unruly children.

: Assistant Secretary Campbell says, “If North Korea is prepared to take serious and irreversible steps, the U.S., South Korea, Japan, China, and others will be able to put together a comprehensive package that would be attractive to North Korea.”

: U.N. Security Council panel imposes new sanctions on North Korea, naming five people and five companies subject to travel bans and a freeze on financial assets. U.S. officials express satisfaction with the list and China agrees to most recommendations.

: Ah Ho-young, ROK deputy trade minister, reaffirms that ROK has no plan to renegotiate its free trade agreement (FTA) signed with the U.S.

: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and the Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell says North Korea is strengthening ties with Burma and that Washington will watch all external support for Burma’s nuclear development, including those by Russia and the DPRK.

: Commander of U.S. forces in Korea Gen. Walter Sharp says the U.S. has no immediate plans to allow South Korea to develop longer-range missiles to counter North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities.

: The DPRK, at a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), harshly criticizes the U.S. nuclear threat on the Korean Peninsula, and defends its recent nuclear test.

: U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Kathleen Stephens says the nuclear agreement between the U.S. and South Korea should be changed based on the understanding that peaceful nuclear development is important to South Korea.

: Voice of America reports that nine more DPRK refugees arrived in the U.S. in June, bringing the total to 91 since passage of the North Korean Human Rights Act in 2004.

: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she hopes the DPRK will free two jailed U.S. reporters. She said the two reporters had expressed “great remorse for the incident,” adding that “everyone is very sorry that it happened.”

: U.S. senators introduce a bill to impose new economic sanctions on the DPRK, re-designate the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism, and expand U.S. military cooperation with ROK and Japan.

: Grand National Party (GNP) lawmaker Choi Ku-sik who is spearheading the campaign for the ROK to obtain “programmatic consent” for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, emphasizes that his motive has nothing to do with proliferation.

: President Obama says he doesn’t think a war “is imminent” with the DPRK. He also says, “I think they understand that they would be overwhelmed in a serious military conflict with the United States.”

: ROK Defense Ministry official says the U.S. is open to talks on the possibility of South Korea developing ballistic missiles capable of striking all of North Korea.

: U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly states that the U.S. will not resume food aid to the DPRK unless there is a guarantee that the food will be distributed properly among North Koreans who need it.

: Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan says his ministry will be in charge of persuading the U.S. to allow the ROK to pursue a broader commercial nuclear program including the “recycling” of spent fuel.

: North Korean ship, Kang Nam I, which the U.S. Navy had been tracking because it was suspected of carrying illicit cargo, returns to Nampo without delivering any cargo.

: The DPRK test-fires seven missiles. Vice President Joseph Biden dismisses the latest series of missile launches as, “Some of it seems like almost attention-seeking behavior.”

: President Barack Obama says the U.S. is trying to “keep a door open” for North Korea to return to international nuclear disarmament talks, even as Washington pursues sanctions against the DPRK.

: A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released says that Americans now consider the DPRK its biggest threat, above Iran, China, and Russia.

: North Korea test-fires four short-range KN-01 surface-to-ship missiles, with a range of 120-160 km, from a base at Sinsang-ri north of Wonsan.

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