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Monday, October 17, 2005

North and South Korea timeline

1945- End of the second world war the USSR occupies the area of Korea north of the 38th parallel and America occupies the south.

1946 - North Korea's Communist Party (Korean Workers' Party - KWP) inaugurated. Soviet-backed leadership installed, including Red Army-trained Kim Il-sung.

1948 - Democratic People's Republic of Korea proclaimed. Soviet troops withdraw.

1950- South Korea declares independence and North Korea invades.

1953- An armistice ends the Korean war. Two million people have been killed.

1960- In South Korea President Syngman Ree steps down after student protests against electoral fraud. New constitution forms Second Republic, but political freedom remains limited.

1960s - In North Korea there is heavy industrial growth.

1961 - In South Korea a military coup puts General Park Chung-hee in power.

1963 - In South Korea General Park restores some political freedom and proclaims Third Republic. Major programme of industrial development begins.

1972 - In South Korea martial law is declared. Park increases his powers with constitutional changes.

After secret North-South talks, both sides seek to develop dialogue aimed at unification.

1979 - In South Korea Park is assassinated. General Chun Doo-hwan assumes power.

1980 - Martial law is declared after student demonstrations. In the city of Kwangju at least 200 killed by the army, causing resentment that has yet to fade. Fifth republic and new constitution.

In North Korea Kim Il-sung's son, Kim Jong-il, moves up party and political ladder.

1981 - In South Korea Chun indirectly elected to a seven year term. Martial law ends, but government continues to have strong powers to prevent dissent.

1986 - In South Korea the constitution is changed to allow direct election of the president.

1980s - In South there is an increasing shift towards high-tech and computer industry.

1987 - In South Korea President Chun is pushed out of office by student unrest and international pressure in the build-up to the Sixth constitution. Roh Tae-woo succeeds Chun, grants greater degree of political liberalisation and launches anti-corruption drive.

1988 - Olympic games in Seoul, South Korea. First free parliamentary elections.

1991 - North and South Korea join the United Nations.

1992 - North Korea agrees to allow inspections by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but over next two years refuses access to sites of suspected nuclear weapons production.

1993 - In South Korea Roh is succeeded by Kim Young Sam, a former opponent of the regime and the first civilian president.

1994 - In North Korea Kim Il-sung dies. Kim Jong-il suceeds him as leader, but doesn't take presidential title. North Korea agrees to freeze nuclear programme in return for $5bn worth of free fuel and two nuclear reactors.

1995 - US formally agrees to help provide North Korea with two modern nuclear reactors designed to produce less weapons-grade plutonium.

1995 - In South Korea corruption and treason charges are brought against Roh Tae-woo and Chun Doo-hwan.

1996- Pyongyang announces it will no longer abide by the armistice that ended the Korean War, and sends troops into the demilitarised zone. A North Korean submarine runs aground in the South, 11 crew found shot dead in apparent mass suicide and 13 killed by South Korean forces during massive search operation.

South Korea admitted to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In North Korea severe famine follows widespread floods.

1998 - In South Korea Kim Dae-jung sworn in as president and pursues "sunshine policy" of offering unconditional economic and humanitarian aid to North Korea.

South Korea captures North Korean mini-submarine in its waters. Nine crew inside found dead.

1998 - In North Korea the late Kim Il-song declared "eternal president", while Kim Jong-il's powers widened to encompass head of state.

UN food aid brought in to help famine victims in North Korea.

North launches rocket which flies over Japan and lands in the Pacific Ocean. Pyongyang insists it fired a satellite, not a missile.

2000 June - Summit in Pyongyang between Kim Jong-il and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung. North stops propaganda broadcasts against South.

2000 August - Border liaison offices re-open at truce village of Panmunjom.

South Korea gives amnesty to more than 3,500 prisoners.

One hundred North Koreans meet their relatives in the South in a highly-charged, emotional reunion.

Kim Dae-jung awarded Nobel Peace Prize.

2001 May - In North Korea a European Union delegation headed by Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson visits to help shore up the fragile reconciliation process with South Korea. The group represents the highest-level Western diplomatic mission ever to travel to North Korea.

2001 June - North Korea says it is grappling with the worst spring drought of its history.

2001 August - Kim Jong Il arrives for his first visit to Moscow after an epic nine-day, 10,000-kilometre train journey from Pyongyang. Kim apparently dislikes flying.

2002 January - US President George W Bush says North Korea is part of an "axis of evil", along with states such as Iraq and Iran. Pyongyang says Mr Bush has not stopped far short of declaring war.

2002 September - Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visits North Korea, the first Japanese leader to do so. He meets Kim Jong-il who apologises for the abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s.

2002 March - Group of 25 North Koreans defect to South Korea through Spanish embassy in Beijing, highlighting plight of tens of thousands hiding in China after fleeing famine, repression in North.

2002 June - Battle between South Korean and North Korean naval vessels along their disputed sea border leaves four South Koreans dead and 19 wounded. Thirty North Koreans are thought to have been killed.

2002 December - In South Korea Roh Moo-hyun, from governing Millennium Democratic Party, wins closely-fought presidential elections.

2002 October-December - Nuclear tensions mount. In October the US says North Korea has admitted to having a secret weapons programme. The US decides to halt oil shipments to Pyongyang. In December North Korea begins to reactivate its Yongbyon reactor. International inspectors are thrown out.

2003 January - North Korea withdraws from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a key international agreement aimed at preventing the spread of atomic weapons.

2003 April - Delegations from North Korea, the US and China begin talks in Beijing on North Korea's nuclear ambitions, the first such discussions since the start of the nuclear crisis.

2003 July - Pyongyang claims that it has produced enough plutonium to start making nuclear bombs.

2003 August - Six-nation talks in Beijing on North Korea's nuclear programme fail to bridge gap between Washington and Pyongyang.

2003 October - Biggest mass crossing of demilitarised zone since Korean War: Hundreds of South Koreans travel to Pyongyang for opening of gymnasium funded by South's Hyundai conglomerate.

2003 October - Pyongyang says it has finished reprocessing 8,000 nuclear fuel rods, obtaining enough material to make up to six nuclear bombs.

2004 February - South Korean parliament approves controversial dispatch of 3,000 troops to Iraq.

2004 March-May - In South Korea President Roh Moo-hyun suspended after parliament votes to impeach him over breach of election rules and for incompetence. In May the Constitutional Court overturns the move and President Roh is reinstated.

2004 April - More than 160 killed and hundreds more injured when train carrying oil and chemicals hits power line in town of Ryongchon in North Korea.

2004 June - Third round of six-nation talks on nuclear programme ends inconclusively. North Korea pulls out of scheduled September round. In South Korea US proposes to cut by a third its troop presence. Opposition raises security fears over the plan.

2004 August - In South Korea Yeongi-Kongju area selected as site for new capital, to replace Seoul by 2030. (But!)

2004 September - South Korea admits that its scientists carried out an experiment to enrich uranium in 2000. In November the UN's nuclear watchdog rebukes Seoul but decides not to refer the matter to the Security Council.

2004 December - Row with Japan over fate of Japanese citizens kidnapped and trained as spies by North Korea in 70s, 80s. Tokyo says eight victims, said by Pyongyang to be dead, are alive.

Parliament votes to extend the deployment of South Korean troops in Iraq.

2005 February - Pyongyang says it has built nuclear weapons for self-defence.

2005 March - Anger as Japan restates its claim to a small group of islands whose sovereignty is disputed by Seoul and Tokyo. South Korea says the move seriously damages relations.

2005 June - Fugitive former head of Daewoo returns and is arrested for his role in the industrial giant's $70bn-plus collapse.

2005 July - Fourth round of six-nation talks on nuclear programme takes place in Beijing after a 13-month boycott by Pyongyang.

Source: BBC timelines for North and South Korea.

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