US - Korea

Chronology from Sep 2021 to Dec 2021

: South Korea and the US have “effectively” agreed on draft text of the proposed declaration of a formal end to the Korean War, says Seoul’s top diplomat amid their continued push to resume dialogue with North Korea. The US declines to directly comment on any progress, only stating that the US remains committed to dialogue with North Korea.

: President Biden signs US defense budget bill that calls on his administration to maintain the troop level of US Forces Korea (USFK) at the current level.

: Seoul’s Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun and Chinese counterpart, Le Yucheng, hold first “Strategic Dialogue,” which touched on geopolitical issues related to China-US relations and the Taiwan Strait. China provided explanations in broad terms rather than specifically when talking about how it looks at the global situation, while South Korea hoped to play a role promoting cooperation between the two major powers.

: South Korea will expand “future-oriented” cooperation with the US on supply chains, technologies, and other areas next year while reinforcing “conflict prevention” efforts with China, says the foreign ministry. The ministry delineated the plans in a written policy report for 2022 to President Moon as Seoul seeks to craft an optimal diplomatic strategy amid a hardening China-US rivalry on technological primacy, security, trade, and other fronts.

: President Biden has banned provision of nonhumanitarian aid to North Korea for fiscal year 2022, accusing the state of human trafficking, according to the White House.

: It is reported during the fifth ROK-US Joint Public-Private Economic Forum in Seoul that South Korea and the US plan to discuss cooperation on “trusted” 5G networks, global supply chains, and other key issues in upcoming talks amid intensifying US-China rivalry.

: First Vice Industry Minister Park Jin-kyu holds talks with Jose Fernandez, US undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, to deepen the allies’ economic ties.

: UNSC should address human rights issues of North Korea in an open session, says US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, with representatives of the UK, Estonia, France, Ireland, Japan, and Norway in a joint statement following a closed-door meeting.

: Seoul-hosted virtual conference of Asia-Pacific parliamentarians opens to discuss inclusion and solidarity amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The forum has 27 member states, including South Korea, China, Japan, Russia, Vietnam and the United States.

: President Moon says that the US, China, and North Korea agree “in principle” on declaring a formal end to the Korean War and Seoul will push to make it happen.

: South Korea’s intelligence chief says US possible proposal to provide COVID-19 vaccines to Pyongyang could create momentum to bring it back to long-stalled nuclear negotiations.

: US has no hostile policy toward North Korea while it continues to wait for a positive response to its outreach, says Jalina Porter, principal deputy spokesperson for the State Department. He reiterated the US remains ready to meet North Korea any time without any preconditions.

: North Korea appears to be aiming to counter or cripple US missile defense programs in Northeast Asia, says a US Congressional Research Service report.

: US designates a number of entities in China and Russia for violating UNSC resolutions that prohibit UN member states from employing or hosting North Korean workers.

:  North Korean state media uses Human Rights Day to lambaste the US-led mission in Afghanistan, which suffered “the bombardment of ‘protection of human rights’ and ‘counter-terrorism’ by the US and the West.”

:  On Human Rights Day, US designates North Korea’s Defense Minister Ri Yong Gil and a number of other entities in North Korea, China, and Russia for human rights violations.

: Thirty-five Republican House members, including the party’s two Korean-American representatives, signletter voicing “grave concern” with discussions of an end of war declaration with North Korea, stating there is “no historical precedent” for the regime abiding by such an agreement and warning of premature US troop withdrawal from the peninsula.

: South Korea and the US launch a bilateral dialogue platform to discuss ways to boost cooperation on the semiconductor sector.

: US missile defense system capabilities, including those in South Korea, are constantly reviewed and upgraded to meet evolving threats says, Pentagon press secretary.

: South Korea’s tightened vaccine pass regime sparks discrimination complaints by foreign residents unable to have their overseas vaccination status officially recognized here and subsequently denied access to cafes, restaurants, and other multiuse facilities.

: South Korean government reiterates principled support for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics following US announcement of its decision to boycott the event diplomatically, expressing hope again that it will contribute to peace and inter-Korean relations.

: US officials have started calling the end-of-war declaration, a signature diplomatic goal of the Moon Jae-in administration, an end-of-war statement.

: US announces diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics over China’s human rights abuses.

: US completes construction of a new long-range radar in Alaska designed to give early warnings for incoming ballistic missiles from rogue nations, such as North Korea.

: US says it is keeping South Korea on its list of countries to be monitored for currency practices.

: UN excludes North Korea from its global humanitarian assistance plan for 2022. The decision comes as North Korea maintains a strict border lockdown to stave off the coronavirus, prompting international organization staff members necessary for on-site monitoring and assessment to leave the country.

:  South Korea and the US agree to update joint wartime contingency plans to deter North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile threats during the Security Consultative Meeting.

: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stresses the importance of unity in the South Korea-US alliance to confront the “challenges of tomorrow” amid intensifying Sino-US rivalry.

: South Korean National Assembly’s committee on foreign affairs in South Korea approves the bill to ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

: Department of Defense concludes review of the global defense posture, calling for cooperation with allies and partner countries to deter North Korean threats and potential Chinese aggression.

: Biden’s administration commits to achieving peace with North Korea through dialogue as the US and South Korea discuss an end of war declaration.

: US defense official reiterates the US steady commitment to offering “extended deterrence” to South Korea, voicing concerns over North Korea’s “problematic and irresponsible” behavior.

: Samsung Electronics Co. says it has selected Taylor, TX as the site of its new $17 billion chip fabrication plant, a move to boost production amid a global chip shortage.

: South Korean government says it will join US-led plan to release strategic crude reserves along with other major oil-consuming nations to help bring down soaring energy prices.

: Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai meet to discuss supply chains and steel tariffs. They agreed to strengthen the bilateral strategic partnership on rising trade issues like those regarding the supply chain, technology, digital and climate change, in light of recent changes in the global trade order.

:  South Korea, the US, and Japan agree during vice foreign ministerial talks to keep working together for regional peace and response to such global issues as climate change, supply chain resilience and COVID-19.

: US designates North Korea as a state violator of religious freedom.

: ROK First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman holdstalks to discuss ways to bring North Korea back to dialogue, including the declaration of a formal end to the Korean War. They also discussed the alliance and other issues of common interest, including COVID-19 vaccines and the global supply chain crisis.

: US plan to host a joint news conference backfires after Japanese and South Korean officials opt out of the event because of a dispute over an islet that both claim.

: Agreement to launch of the Energy Policy Dialogue is made between South Korea’s Industry Minister Moon Sung-wook and US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in Washington. It aims to promote collaboration across policy, technology, and commercialization, and support decarbonization efforts, by sharing experiences and strategies and conducting joint research in such fields as hydrogen storage, next generation batteries and lithium-ion battery recycling.

: US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and South Korean counterpart, Moon Sung-wook, agree to cooperate on enhancing supply chain resiliency. They also agreed to expand their commercial forum to tackle other issues, such as setting global standards for key industrial sectors.

: Group of 23 US lawmakers sends letter to Biden urging him to “prioritize: engagement with North Korea and support a formal declaration to end the Korean War.

: China has the ability to help steer North Korea toward a diplomatic solution of its nuclear standoff, saysPentagon Press Secretary. He insisted one way for China to do so would be to faithfully implement UN Security Council sanctions on the North.

:  US and South Korea fully agree on the need to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula through diplomacy, State Department spokesperson says. He declined to comment on whether the US agrees with a Seoul-proposed declaration of an end to the Korean War.

: US remains committed to implementing UNSC sanctions on North Korea, says State Department spokesperson. He said the US urges all other UN members to do the same to prevent North Korea from advancing nuclear and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities.

: Senior officials from South Korea and the US hold talks in Washington on ways to restart dialogue with North Korea. They discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula, prospects for humanitarian cooperation, and the potential for dialogue with the DPRK.

: FM Chung pushes for a formal declaration to end the Korean War during meeting with Secretary Blinken on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Rome. National Security Adviser Sullivan admits that Korea and the US “may have somewhat different perspectives on the precise sequence or timing or conditions for different steps” when it comes to Seoul’s proposal for an end-of-war declaration as a catalyst to restart nuclear talks.

: North Korea demands sanctions to be lifted as a condition for negotiations to discuss a formal declaration to end the Korean War.

: Report from the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence recommends an expansion of the “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing alliance to include South Korea, Japan, India, Germany, and France.

: State Department seeks to provide up to $12 million in grants to entities working to implement US sanctions on North Korea and prevent its weapons proliferation.

: Mark Lambert, deputy assistant secretary of State for Korea and Japan, says the US is reviewing possibility of declaring a formal end to the Korean War, during a meeting with Lee Seok-hyun, vice chairman of South Korea’s National Unification Advisory Council.

: Senate Foreign Relations Committee passes Otto Warmbier North Korea Censorship and Surveillance Act, aimed at countering North Korea’s repressive censorship and providing outside information to the people of the reclusive North.

: US and South Korea are aligned on the need to engage with North Korea diplomatically, but may differ when it comes to when and what steps should be taken to bring the recalcitrant North back to the dialogue table, says US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

: South Korea and the United States decided to set up a director-level dialogue channel for regular discussions on semiconductor issues, says Seoul’s industry ministry.

:  President Moon and US President Joe Biden will hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Italy or US climate summit in Britain.

: US Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim says he looks forward to exploring options with South Korea to resume dialogue with North Korea, including the proposed declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War. He also mentioned US willingness to help address the North’s humanitarian concerns, while urging Pyongyang to stop missile launches, which he cast as “concerning and counterproductive.”

: President Moon says South Korea’s first domestically built space rocket completed all flight sequences as scheduled but fell short of putting a dummy satellite into orbit.

: North Korea’s recent missile test underscores need for engaging it and sanctions relief can be considered part of incentives to bring it back to negotiations, says FM Chung.

: North Korea fires what appears to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) toward the East Sea, as top nuclear envoys of South Korea, the US, and Japan meet in Washington to discuss efforts to bring the North back to dialogue through humanitarian aid and other incentives.

: Gen. Jay Raymond, chief of Space Operations at the US Space Force calls for strong space cooperation with South Korea, stressing credible deterrence in the “contested” security domain comes from a robust partnership based on “mutual trust and shared values.”

: US Defense Intelligence Agency projects that North Korea may resume underground nuclear tests if it does not agree to complete denuclearization.

: South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy says that a formal declaration of an end to the Korean War could pave the way for resuming stalled denuclearization talks with North Korea.

: US remains prepared to meet with North Korea without preconditions as it awaits the North’s response to its “specific proposals,” says State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

: US official says officials from more than 30 countries, including South Korea, will discuss ways to counter ransomware attacks from countries, including Russia and North Korea, in a two-day US-led virtual “counter ransomware initiative.”

: South Korea and the United States agree to consider a new bilateral working-level defense dialogue aimed at promoting cooperation between their regional policy initiatives.

: North Korea will continue to strengthen its “self-defensive: deterrent, says North Korean ambassador to the UN Kim Song, claiming military activities between South Korea and the United States are reaching a “dangerous level.”

: North Korean leader Kim claims need for boosting the country’s military capabilities to counter “hostile forces” against Pyongyang but said the move is not aimed at a war against South Korea or the United States.

: According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, South Korea will strengthen its “tailored” deterrence, along with the US, against North Korea’s nuclear and missiles threats while enhancing its attack and missile defense capabilities.

: North Korea announces it testfired a new type of anti-aircraft missile. The latest launch marks North Korea’s seventh major weapons test this year.

: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says he will restore inter-Korean hotlines early next month, calling Washington’s outreach to Pyongyang for dialogue “a petty trick.”

: South Korea launches  indigenously developed 3,000-ton-class submarine, Shin Chae-ho, equipped to fire ballistic missiles. The Shin Chae-ho is the third and final submarine in the Jangbogo-III Batch-I vessel class that the ROK has developed using domestic technology.

: North Korea fires unidentified projectile into the East Sea, days after Pyongyang held out the prospect of an inter-Korean summit if the South drops “double standards.”

: Department of Commerce makes a request to major chipmakers, including Samsung Electronics, Intel, and TSMC, for sales figures, inventory totals, the names of largest clients and the share of sales to these clients. Although the survey is voluntary, chipmakers perceive it to be obligatory given that the Biden administration indicated that it could leverage the Defense Production Act to penalize the companies that fail to comply.

: North Korea could declare a formal end to the Korean War as suggested by South Korea and even discuss holding an inter-Korean summit if the South treats the North with “impartiality” and mutual respect, says Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea’s leader.

: Leaders of the US, Australia, Japan, and India (the “Quad”) call on North Korea to engage in dialogue and abide by UNSC resolutions that prohibit its ballistic missile tests.

: US military in South Korea conducts a surgical strike drill simulating attacks on major North Korean facilities, amid tensions on the Korean Peninsula over the North’s missiles launches. Meanwhile, the North has shown signs of restarting a plutonium-producing reactor and expanding uranium enrichment facilities at its mainstay Yongbyon nuclear complex.

: North Korea rejects Moon’s proposal to declare a formal end to the Korean war as something premature,” arguing that such a declaration would be meaningless as long as US “hostile policy” remains unchanged. Vice Foreign Minister Ri Thae Song says an end-of-war declaration has “no legal binding force” and will “become a mere scrap of paper in a moment upon changes in situations.

: During trip to the US, Moon stops in Hawaii to receive the remains of 68 Korean service members from US accounting agency for prisoners of war and those missing in action.

: US is open to discussing a possible end of war declaration with North Korea as it seeks to engage in dialogue over a number of other issues, says a Pentagon spokesman.

: Yoon Seok-yeol, leading opposition presidential contender, says he will demand the US redeploy its tactical nuclear weapons to the rok and have nuclear sharing with Seoul if national security is threatened by North Korea’s nukes and missiles.

: President Moon reaffirms his country’s commitment to playing a leading role in the fight against COVID-19, while attending a virtual summit hosted by US President Joe Biden.

: Top diplomats of South Korea, Japan, and the United States meet in New York to discuss North Korea and other issues.

: South Korean President Moon Jae-in suggests in his UN speech that the two Koreas and the US, probably joined by China, declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

: US President Joe Biden says his country seeks to completely denuclearize the Korean Peninsula through diplomacy at US General Assembly in New York.

: Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong holds phone call with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and discusses efforts to bolster climate action, including achieving carbon neutrality.

: North Korea is expanding a uranium enrichment plant within the Yongbyon nuclear complex, reports the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Activities at the plant likely reflect plans to increase nuclear weapons production, says the report.

: State Department condemns North Korea’s ballistic missile launches, calling the act a violation of US Security Council resolutions that poses a threat to its neighbors and the international community. A department official adds that US remains committed to dialogue with the North.

: South Korea unveils development of a supersonic cruise missile to improve maritime defense capabilities just days after the North fired a new long-range cruise missile in a sign of accelerating military competition between the two Koreas.

: North Korea fires two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea, says South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

: North Korean state media denounces the United States for meddling in Taiwan issues and voices support for Beijing’s “One-China” principle.

: Ambassador Sung Kim says the US “is prepared to work with North Korea to address its humanitarian concerns regardless of progress on denuclearization” after holding three-way talks with South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Tokyo to discuss humanitarian aid and other incentives to resume dialogue with the North.

: South Korea’s Unification Ministry says it will continue efforts to resume operations of the inter-Korean liaison office as it marked the third anniversary of the office.

: North Korea successfully test-fires a new type of long-range cruise missile, a low-level provocation amid stalled talks with the United States.

: North Korea denounces the US-led war in Afghanistan as a “human rights crime,” accusing Washington of committing “atrocities of mass destruction.”

: ESTsecurity, a cybersecurity firm, says a hacker group believed to be linked to North Korea, has attempted to steal data from South Korean experts working as members of an advisory panel for the defense ministry.

: North Korea’s Foreign Ministry criticizes the US pullout from Afghanistan, calling the American government a “destroyer of human rights and democracy.

: US reconnaissance aircraft monitors the Korean Peninsula amid speculation that North Korea might be preparing for a military parade to mark major national anniversaries.

: Commander of US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) saysUnited States stands ready to respond to any missile launch by North Korea should the North decide to stage such a provocation.

: According to the Defense Ministry’s 2022-2026 defense plan, the ROK military will begin to deploy new weapons systems and significantly upgrade its technological capabilities in response to South Korea’s shrinking population and the North’s development of nuclear weapons.

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