Chronology of U.S.-Korea Relations

Content Type
Journal Article
Comparative Connections
Issue Number
Publication Date
January 2010
Center for Strategic and International Studies
No abstract is available.
Human Rights
Political Geography
United States, Korea
Oct. 1, 2009: Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Pak Kil-yon, the DPRK's vice foreign minister, calls on the U.S. to alter its policy toward Pyongyang. Oct. 1, 2009: US Congress instructs the Government Accountability Office to evaluate if there has been any significant change in the US policy on DPRK refugees since Congress passed the North Korean Human Rights Act in 2004. Oct. 6, 2009: Xinhua reports that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il told Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao that the DPRK “is willing to attend multilateral talks, including the Six-Party Talks, depending on the progress in its talks with the United States.” Oct. 7, 2009: Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of US forces in Korea says the US will transfer wartime control of ROK troops in 2012 despite concerns over a nuclear-armed DPRK. Oct. 8, 2009: Washington Post reports survivors of USS Pueblo crew who were tortured in North Korea in 1968 were awarded $65 million in damage by a federal judge in the District last year and are trying to locate DPRK assets frozen by the US government that they can seize. Oct. 8, 2009: North Korea's Minju Joson denounces recent nomination of a US special envoy on DPRK human rights, calling it part of a hostile offensive motivated by politics. Oct. 12, 2009: DPRK fires five KN-02 missiles with a range of 75 km off its east coast. Oct. 13, 2009: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the US has absolutely no intention of relaxing sanctions against the DPRK before denuclearization. Oct. 14, 2009: North Korea's Rodong Shinmun says “a peace accord should be concluded between the DPRK and the US if the nuclear issue on the peninsula is to be settled.” US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell says US is ready for an “initial interaction” with the DPRK “that would lead rapidly to a six-party resumption of talks.” Oct. 18, 2009: Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) says “when the states with the largest nuclear arsenals take the lead in nuclear disarmament, it will positively influence the newly emerged nuclear weapons states in various parts of the world and also contribute to total elimination of nuclear weapons on this globe.” Oct. 19, 2009: US Defense Department press secretary Geoff Morrell says South Korea has made “great contributions” to the execution of the war in Afghanistan but urges it to continue at least the current level of support. Oct. 20, 2009: DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan says “We are committing our own efforts for the good result and for the good future of relations between our two nations and for * Prepared with assistance from David Shin W. Park US-Korea Relations 45 January 2010 successful talks with the United States and to defend the peace, which is the common goal of our two nations, the Americans and the people of the DPRK, to live as friends.” Oct. 21, 2009: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates tells ROK troops in Seoul that the DPRK has become a more deadly threat to the region. He also urges the ROK to increase military spending to counter threats from the DPRK and assist with global security. Oct. 21, 2009: Adm. Robert Willard, commander of US Pacific Command, says the US and other nations must continue to deal with the DPRK's “unpredictability,” and work through military deterrence and diplomatic pressure to convince its leaders to abandon their nuclear program. Oct. 22, 2009: Cheon Seong-whun of the Korea Institute for National Unification says the US nuclear umbrella is “fragile” and not enough to shield the ROK from the DPRK's nuclear threats. Oct. 23, 2009: The US freezes the assets of the North Korea's Amroggang Development Bank, which it says is controlled by previously sanctioned Tanchon Commercial Bank. It also designates Tanchon president Kim Tong-myong as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and freezes his assets. Oct. 24, 2009: US Special Envoy for Disarmament Talks Sung Kim meets DPRK envoy Ri Gun to convey the US position on denuclearization. Oct. 27, 2009: Rodong Sinmun accuses the US of stepping up production and deployment of “bunker-buster” bombs to mount a preemptive attack on its nuclear sites. Oct. 29, 2009: Radio Free Asia, quoting an intelligence source, reports that the DPRK's recent short-range missile tests were a failure with none of the five projectiles reaching its target. Oct. 30, 2009: South Korea announces it will increase the number of its provincial reconstruction team (PRT) personnel in Afghanistan to 130 to protect civilian aid workers. Nov. 1, 2009: DPRK Foreign Ministry calls for direct talks with the US. Nov. 3, 2009: Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reports the DPRK has completed reprocessing spent fuel rods and made “noticeable successes” in weaponizing plutonium. Nov. 3, 2009: State Department spokesman Ian Kelly says that “reprocessing plutonium is contrary to DPRK's own commitments” and violates UN resolutions. Nov. 16, 2009: Rodong Sinmun demands US must pull its troops out of the ROK as early as possible, saying the so-called “UN Command” is unjust and it increases the “threat to peace and security” on the Korean Peninsula. Nov. 17, 2009: US Senate Foreign Relations Committee approves the nomination of Robert King as special envoy for DPRK human rights. US-Korea Relations 46 January 2010 Nov. 18, 2009: President Obama meets President Lee in Seoul. Nov. 19, 2009: President Obama pledges that the US commitment to peace and stability in Korea “will never waver.” Nov. 19, 2009: The UN adopts a resolution condemning the DPRK for its “systemic, widespread, and grave violations” of human rights. Nov. 23, 2009: DPRK urges the US to replace Korean Armistice Agreement with a peace treaty. Dec. 9, 2009: Rodong Sinmun says DPRK nuclear issue resulted from the hostile policy of the US, is “totally bilateral,” and “would be solved spontaneously” after the US drops its anti-DPRK policy, eradicates the military threat against Pyongyang, and stops its nuclear war provocation. Dec. 9, 2009: Taliban warns the ROK government of “bad consequences” if it dispatches its defense force to take part in the fight against insurgents in Afghanistan. Dec. 8-10, 2009: Ambassador Bosworth visits Pyongyang and says that the US has reached a “common understanding” with the DPRK on the need to resume the Six-Party Talks and implement the principles outlined in 2005. Dec. 10, 2009: The DPRK Foreign Ministry says the meeting with the US “deepened the mutual understanding, narrowed their differences and found not a few common points.” Dec. 12, 2009: Thai authorities seize a cargo aircraft that arrived in Bangkok for refueling from the DPRK with tons of weapons on board. Dec. 17, 2009: Robert King, US special envoy for DPRK human rights, says that the US will consider resuming food aid to DPRK if it allows monitoring of food distribution. Dec. 25, 2009: Korean-American human rights activist Robert Park crosses the frozen Tumen River from China into the DPRK, carrying a letter that calls for opening the border so food and medicines can be delivered to DPRK people and releasing all political prisoners. Dec. 31, 2009: State Department spokesman Ian Kelly says the US is seeking consular access to Robert Park who is being held in the DPRK for illegal entry. He also says that this issue will not affect US efforts to bring the DPRK back to the Six-Party Talks.