A timeline of the belligerent North (I)

The DPRK is often painted with terms like a ‘rogue state’, a ‘belligerent nation’ particularly with regards to how it manages its nuclear capabilities and weapons program, and its international relations.

A timeline from CNN traces the development of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities and weapons program from 1985 – 2016.

See: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/29/world/asia/north-korea-nuclear-timeline—fast-facts/

I decided to highlight certain events in the timeline which I think are relatively more significant; For simplicity’s sake, I will go by the abbreviations “NK” for North Korea and “US” for United States. Also, I will upload this timeline in two posts, the first post dated from 1985-2008 and the second post from 2009-2016.


  • NK joins the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)


  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) claims NK is violating the NPT
  • Demands for inspections
  • NK threatens to quit NPT but does not do so; agrees to inspections in 1994


  • NK and the US signs nuclear agreement
  • NK pledges to freeze and eventually dismantle its nuclear weapons in exchange for international aid to build two power producing nuclear reactors


  • (Sept 17) President Bill Clinton agrees to ease economic sanctions against NK
  • (Dec) US-led international consortium signs $4.66 billion contract to build two nuclear reactors in NK


  • (Jul) NK threatens to restart its nuclear program if US does not compensate it for the loss of electricity caused by delays in building nuclear power plants


  • (June)  NK warns it will drop its moratorium against testing missiles if the US does not pursue normalized relations with NK
  •  It also says it will restart its nuclear program if there is not more progress on two U.S.-sponsored nuclear power plants being built in North Korea.


  • (Jan 29)  President George W. Bush labels North Korea, Iran and Iraq an “axis of evil” in his State of the Union address. “By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger,” he says.
  • (Oct 4-16) U.S. officials confront North Korea with evidence that they are operating a nuclear weapons program in violation of the 1994 nuclear agreement;  U.S. has proof that they are operating an uranium enrichment facility.
  • North Korea admits that it has violated the agreement
  • (Dec 22) NK begins to remove IAEA monitoring equipment from nuclear facilities
  • (Dec 31)  NK expels IAEA inspectors.


  • (Jan 10)  NK  withdraws from the NPT
  • (Feb 5)  North Korea’s official news agency says the nation has reactivated its nuclear power facilities.
  • (Feb 24 – Mar 10) Start of missile tests
  • (Apr 23) – Declares it has nuclear weapons.
    (Aug 27) – Start of Six Party Talks. The U.S., North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia take part in talks about the crisis in North Korea.


  • (Feb 24-28 and  Jun) More Six Party Talks but no major progress
  • (Aug) – NK offers to freeze its nuclear program in exchange for aid, easing of sanctions and being removed from the U.S,’ list of state sponsors of terrorism.
  • The U.S. wants North Korea to disclose all nuclear activities and allow inspections.


  • (Feb 10) North Korea drops out of six-party nuclear talks and says it will bolster its nuclear weapons arsenal.
  • Insists on a bilateral non-aggression pact with the U.S. before it will consider dismantling its nuclear program.
  • The U.S. insists Pyongyang must first agree to permanently and verifiably dismantle its nuclear weapons program before it will grant any incentives, including economic assistance and diplomatic recognition.
  • (Sept 19) North Korea agrees to give up its entire nuclear program, including weapons, a joint statement from six-party nuclear arms talks in Beijing said. “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning at an early date to the treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT) and to IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards,” the statement said.


  • NK continues to carry out missile testing, including launching two short-range rockets
  • (Jul 15 )The UN Security Council unanimously passes a resolution demanding that North Korea suspend its missile program. The North Korean ambassador immediately rejects the resolution.
  • (Oct 9) North Korea claims to have successfully tested a nuclear weapon.
  • (Oct 14) The UN Security Council approves a resolution imposing sanctions against North Korea, restricting military and luxury goods trade and requiring an end to nuclear and ballistic missile tests.


  • (Feb 13) – North Korea agrees to close its main nuclear reactor in exchange for an aid package worth $400 million
  • (Jun 25) After spending two days in Pyongyang meeting with North Korea’s nuclear negotiator, the U.S. envoy to North Korea, Chris Hill, says that North Korea has reaffirmed its commitment to the nuclear disarmament agreement reached in February. He also says North Korea has invited the IAEA to monitor the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facility, scheduled to occur within a few weeks.
  • (Sept 2) U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill announces that after talks in Geneva between U.S. and North Korean officials, North Korea has agreed to fully declare and disable its nuclear programs by the end of 2007.
  • (Sept 30) At six-party talks in Beijing, North Korea signs an agreement stating it will begin disabling its nuclear weapons facilities. North Korea also agrees to include a U.S. team of technical experts in the disabling activities.
  • (Oct 2) South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun becomes the first South Korean leader to walk across the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea on his way to a three-day summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
  • (Oct 4) North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun sign an eight-point agreement in Pyongyang; among other things, it calls for a smooth implementation of the six-party agreements to shut down of North Korea’s nuclear facilities and the replacement of North and South Korea’s current armistice agreement with a permanent peace.
  • (Dec 31) North Korea misses a deadline to declare all its nuclear programs.


  • (Jan 4) The North Korean Foreign Ministry states, via broadcast message, that North Korea had already provided enough explanation to meet the 12/31/2007 deadline, and that it had provided that information in a report presented to the U.S. in November. Members of the six party talks dispute this claim
  • (Oct 11) U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack announces that North Korea has been removed from the U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism.
  • (Dec 8-11) Another round of six-party talks is held in Beijing, China. The talks break down over North Korea’s refusal to allow international inspectors unfettered access to suspected nuclear sites.




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Currently living and pursuing my undergraduate studies in South Korea.

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