NORTH KOREA TIMELINE:
Key events in the lead up to and the aftermath of the Iraq war
1999: U.S. Department of Energy intelligence report
allegedly claims that North Korea is working on uranium enrichment
2000: U.S. and South African intelligence claim Congo may be supplying North Korea with
2001: North Korea threatens to pull out of the 1994
Agreed Framework, saying the U.S. has
failed to live up to its obligations under the agreement.
2001: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) unable to
verify that North Korea is
not diverting nuclear material for military
purposes, as North Korea has
not provided the inspectors with sufficient access.
George W. Bush does not certify North Korea's
compliance with the Agreed Framework, but sends fuel oil to Pyongyang under a waiver.
2002: U.S. claims that North
Korea acknowledges a secret uranium enrichment program,
prompted by U.S. intelligence
indicating North Korea was
trying to acquire large amounts of high-strength aluminum, useful in equipment
to enrich uranium.
U.S. intelligence reportedly concludes that Pakistan was a major supplier of critical equipment
to North Korea's
newly revealed enrichment program.
2002: Korean Peninsula Energy
Development Organization (KEDO) decides to suspend heavy fuel oil shipments
to North Korea until North
Korea takes steps to dismantle its nuclear
U.S. tells Pakistan that
inappropriate contact with North
Korea will have consequences.
2002: North Korea reportedly succeeds in purchasing
from China 20
tons of tributyl phosphate (TBP), which is used to extract plutonium from spent
North Korea decides
to lift the freeze on its nuclear facilities and orders IAEA inspectors to
leave the country.
announces North Korea moved 1,000 fresh nuclear
fuel rods to a storage facility at the Yongbyon
Bush identifies North Korea as
a key threat to the U.S. and its allies in a National
Security Directive on missile defense.
2003: U.S. agrees to direct talks with North Korea to
resolve questions about its nuclear program.
North Korea announces
it is pulling out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treay (NPT) and rebuffs
demands that it allow a return of U.N. inspectors.
U.S. indicates it would consider energy aid to North Korea if
it abandons its nuclear weapon program.
North Korea pledges to South Korea not to produce nuclear
U.S. spy satellites see trucks in North Korea that
appear to be moving 8,000 spent fuel rods from
2003: North Korea
announces it has restarted its nuclear facilities.
declares North Korea in non-compliance with
its inspection obligations and sends the issue to the U.N. Security Council.
U.S. spy satellites show a steady stream of activity
around North Korea's
plutonium reprocessing plant. The activity indicates preparation to activate
Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly estimates North Korea could be months, not
years, from producing highly-enriched uranium (HEU).
North Korea appears
to be having trouble restarting its plutonium
2003: U.S., Britain and France fail
the U.N. Security Council to criticize North Korea's pursuit of nuclear
weapons, due to Russian and Chinese opposition.
three-way talks with China and
the U.S., a North Korean
official says North Korea has
nuclear weapons, and that most of the 8,000 spent fuel rods have been
U.S. rejects North
Korea's proposal to end its nuclear weapon program only
after receiving U.S. concessions.
Korean official says the U.S. has
a satellite photo showing smoke coming from radiation and chemical labs at Yongbyon
(signaling the site may be reprocessing spent fuel
North Korea nullifies a 1992 agreement with South Korea to
keep the peninsula free of nuclear weapons.
Bush and South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun vow not to "tolerate nuclear
weapons in North Korea," and threaten "further
steps" if North Korea continues
its nuclear program.
Japan cracks down on companies suspected of aiding North Korea's
uranium enrichment and missile programs.
a visit to North Korea, Congressman
Curt Weldon says North Korea admits
having nuclear weapons and plans to build more.
to a U.S.-South Korean joint statement, U.S. troops will
withdraw from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in a phased redeployment. No precise
schedule is announced.
North Korea announces
plans to build nuclear weapons in an attempt to decrease the size of its conventional
C.I.A. reportedly believes that North Korea is
developing technology to make nuclear warheads small enough to fit on missiles.
2003: U.S. reportedly believes North Korea has
begun to process spent fuel rods.
Korean news indicates North Korea claimed to have restarted
the five MW(e) reactor at Yongbyon, and to have resumed construction on two
reactors frozen under the Agreed Framework.
North Korea says
it finished producing enough plutonium from the 8,000 spent fuel rods for six
bombs, and that it intends to weaponize
the material quickly.
Korean intelligence confirms North Korea has
performed 70 high explosives tests.
declares North Korea "the most immediate
and most serious threat to the nuclear nonproliferation regime."
six-party talks with U.S., China, South Korea, Russia and Japan; North Korea reportedly announces
that it intends to test a nuclear weapon.
2003: A U.S. official
says activity at Yongbyon appears to have
intelligence reportedly estimates that North Korea may have produced one,
two, or more new nuclear weapons.
U.S. reportedly says it will give a written guarantee,
be signed by the 6 nations involved in the negotiations, not to attack North Korea if
it takes steps toward abandoning its nuclear weapon program.
German national is charged with exporting aluminum
tubing for North Korea=s
tells Congress that North
Korea can probably turn nuclear fuel into a
functioning weapon without performing a full nuclear test.
North Korea says it would give up its nuclear
weapons, cease testing and exporting missiles, and submit to international
inspections in exchange for a written security guarantee, economic compensation,
and a promise
by the U.S. not
to hinder its economic development.
work on the nuclear power project in North Korea, promised under the 1994
Agreed Framework, is suspended for one year.
North Korea says it will freeze its nuclear facilities
if the U.S. removes it from the U.S. list of
terrorism-sponsoring countries, lifts sanctions and provides energy aid.
North Korea reportedly rejects a U.S. proposal
for verifiable and irrevocable dismantlement of North Korea's
nuclear program in return for security assurances.
2004: U.S. delegation visits Yongbyon, where it is shown
what North Korea claims
is weapon-grade plutonium. A member of the delegation says the cooling pond
there, which formerly held the 8,000 rods, is empty.
2004: A.Q. Khan's confession reopens speculation that a 1998 Pakistani
weapon test may
have involved North Korea. American
military jets sampled the air after
the test and found traces of plutonium, but Pakistan says all its bombs are fueled
six-nation talks end inconclusively, with North Korea willing to dismantle
its nuclear program on terms yet to be reached, provided it can retain a civilian
nuclear program. North Korea continues to deny a uranium
C.I.A. classified report is said to conclude that North
Korea probably received from the A.Q. Khan nuclear network
a comprehensive nuclear package, similar to that received by Libya, which
included all the equipment and technology it needed to produce uranium-based