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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Historic talks between North and South Korea.

HISTORY IN THE NEWS:



History never dies. It is reborn every minute of every day.

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DEDICATED TO THE ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.


"If total isolationism is no answer, total interventionism is no answer either. In fact, the clear, quick, definable, measurable answers are ruled out. In this twilight of power, there is no quick path to a convenient light switch." -Adlai Stevenson, June 17, 1965.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
*North Korean isolationism has historical causes.
*Korea suffered invasion and occupation by Japan and China for around two millennia.
* Korea's golden age came in the 16th century at the height of the Joseon or Yi Dynasty in which it developed a Confucian ideology centred around a bureaucratic ruling class called the 'Yangban'.
*In the 17th century, due to more invasion and occupation, Korea became isolationist and xenophobic, earning it the nickname, 'the Hermit Kingdom'
*After Stalinist North Korea lost the Korean War against the South and the Soviet Union denounced Stalinism and distanced itself from NorthKorea, North Korea developed the 'Chuche' ideology, an ultranationalist, isolationist dogma deriving from Marxism, Confucianism and the Yangban legacy from the age of the 'Hermit Kingdom'.

TAG: North Korea, having developed a peasant-based command economy, failed to capitalize on the high-tech computer revolution of East Asia, so it never really recovered from the recession of the 1970s brought about by high oil prices. On top of that, a national ideology of self-sufficiency further prevented its economy from integrating with the outside world. Facing increasing disasters through famine and flood, the leadership is beginning to recognize that economic union with South Korea may be its only salvation.

IN THE NEWS: THE LEADERS OF NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA, KIM JONG IL AND PRESIDENT ROH MOO HYUN MEET IN PYONG YANG TO DISCUSS A TWO-NATION KOREAN ECONOMIC UNION WHICH COULD ENCOURAGE NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT AND THE EVENTUAL REUNIFICATION OF THE TWO KOREAS. SINCE THEIR SEPARATION, 60 YEARS AGO, THE NATIONS HAVE MET ONLY ONCE, IN 2000. BEHIND THE HIGH MOTIVES CRITICS SEE KIM JONG IL MANOEUVRING FOR MORE AID TO HIS COUNTRY WHILE STALLING ON THE NUCLEAR ISSUE; AND PRESIDENT MOO HYUN TAKING ADVANTAGE OF PROGRESS IN THE SIX-NATION DISARMAMENT TALKS TO SWEETEN THE CHANCES FOR FELLOW LIBERALS IN SOUTH KOREAN ELECTIONS.

IN A NUTSHELL: North Korea has never lost sight of its mission to reunite the two Koreas since, historically, the Korean peninsula was usually conquered and united from north to south. In early centuries, the historical capital remained the northern city of Pyongyang as Korea waged an epochal struggle for survival in the face of China and Japan. By the 17th century this defensiveness had turned into a cult of diplomatic isolation and historical exceptionalism, gaining Korea the epithet “the Hermit Kingdom”. In the wake of the Cold War division of north and south in 1945, North Korea’s sense of being under siege was exacerbated. Economic disasters, poorly concealed behind by the bluff and bluster of nuclear armament suggest that vainglorious ideas of self-sufficiency may now be fading.

THEN AND NOW: The vision of s single, independent modern Korea was envisioned by the Chinese in 1895, if only as a buffer against Japanese aggression. An entire, independent Korea was was fought for by the March First movement and other Korean student activist organizations during the Japanese occupation of the 1930s. At the Cairo Conference of 1943, the Allies projected the same vision of a single, independent Korean peninsula upon the defeat of Japan. And in 1945, in the Moscow Agreement, the US and and the USSR expressed intentions of allowing for a promptly reunited Korea. Of course it didn't come to pass. Almost sixty years later, the first tentative steps toward union are being taken by North and South Korea themselves.

CONTENTS: SCROLL DOWN FOR:

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
RELEVANT DATES
RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
LOCATION OF NOTE:
PROFILE:
CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY
EYEWTNESS
PRESENT SITUATION
PLUS CA CHANGE
CURIOSITY
PREVIOUS ENTRIES
TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS: After the division of Korea in 1945, the north adopted Soviet Communism and formally became the state of North Korea in 1948. Its invasion of south Korea, in 1950, was passively backed by Stalin but the attack was really North Korea’s own attempt to reunite and to dominate a historical Korea. The war ended in 1953, with North Korea’s failure to take the south and not long after, its great supporter, Stalin, died. With Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin’s legacy, Soviet support of North Korea receded and North Korea returned to the 17th century Korean ethic of self sufficiency. In the 1960s and 1970s a surge of internal development made it more prosperous than the south. But it was slow to engage with the outside world in obtaining technology and by the 1970s, the oil crisis was slowing down its economy. By the 1990s, its continuing isolation and historical ‘self sufficiency’ had brought about a major famine and dependence on South Korea for relief.

RELEVANT DATES:

1392- After the Mongol invasion and occupation of Korea recedes, Litan, ruler of Korea’s new and greatest dynasty, the Joseon, sets up an administrative system which will last until the 20th century. He makes Confucianism and Chinese higher education universal. Korea opens relations with the Ming dynasty and will be protected by China for the next 200 years.

17th century: as a consequence of the Chinese and Japanese invasions, the Joseon dynasty o forms the Hermit Kingdom, by building fortresses, limiting contacts with other nations, enforcing stricter border controls, and controls in trade. This period is one of the sources for what will become the CHUCHE ideology of North Korea.

1934- Kim Il Sung leads an ideologically communist and Soviet-backed insurgency against the Japanese.

1945- Aug 8- the USSR attacks Japan and occupies North Korea.

1945- Korea gains independence from Japan. The USSR and the USA agree to a joint occupation of Korea with their respective zones olf north and south separated by the 38th parallel

1945- 27th December- the Moscow Agreement between the US and the USA is framed as a plan for Korean independence: but as with Berlin, Korea is divided between communist east and democratic west. The Industrial north is occupied by Russia while the agricultural south is occupied by the US. The Moscow Agreement is never carried out.

1948- 15 August- after US-sponsored elections, the Republic of South Korea is proclaimed. Syngman Rhee is president.

1948- Sept 9- Kim Il Sung declares the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea.

-North and South Korea each declare sovereignty over all of Korea.

1950- Backed by Stalin, North Korea invades US-occupied South Korea.

1953- end of the Korean War. The border is sealed with a 2 km DMZ.

1955- in response to military failure, the death of Stalin, Krushchev's attack on Stalin and a divided Korean communist party Kim il Sung proclaims the Korean Chuche ideology of self-sufficiency.

1961-1979- General Park brings about an economic revolution through South Korea's industrialization and development of an export economy

1970s- North Korea’s Communist dictator Kim Il Sung grooms his son Kim Jong Il for the succession. They live like the secluded royalty of the medieval Confucian Yangban class- even though feudalism and Confucianism have been repudiated.

-late 1970s- North Korea races ahead economically but then stagnates due to the oil crisis and technological backwardness. Despite this Kim remains ideologically rigid and refuses to follow China's example of economic openness to the market.

1991- the two Koreas agree not to develop nuclear weapons.

-early 1990s- North Korea working on a nuclear program.

1998- floods, crop failures, food shortages result in famine in North Korea.

1998- South Korea- President Kim Dae Jong saves the country from serious recession by allowing more foreign investment. He adopts a conciliatory approach to North Korea.

2001-2002- US President Bush declares North Korea part of the ‘Axis of Evil’.

2002- North Korea is discovered to be developing a weapons program and expels UN weapons inspectors.

2003- North Korea withdraws from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and reports that it has enough plutonium to build a nuclear bomb

2003-2005- meetings with the international community to retrain North Korea from developing a weapons program. No agreement is reached.

2006- after missile tests, North Korea tests a nuclear device in October. The UN imposes sanctions.

18-22 Dec. six-nation talks resume briefly and are postponed

2007- Feb 8- Six-nation talks resume in Beijing..North Korea agrees to close its largest reactor in return for much needed fuel.

May- for the first time in 56 years, passenger trains from north and south cross at the border.

June- for the first time since being expelled, five years ago, international inspectors are allowed to return to the Yongbyon nucelar plant.

July- international inspectors confirm the shutting down of the Yongbyon nuclear plant.

August- after massive floods, North Korea appeals for aid.

October- leaders of North and South Korea meet for a historic summit.

RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS.In 1998, South Korean president, Kim Dae Jung inaugurated his "Sunshine Policy" which declared a policy of cooperation with the north on the condition of mutual non-aggression as a prelude to eventual reunification. It held that threats and sanctions on the North from South Korea and the US did more harm the good. On June 13-15, 2000, the leaders of North and South Korea held historic unification talks in Pyongyang and produced the "North-South Joint Declaration'. For its part, North Korea envisions a federal structure which would leave separate leaderships intact. And increasingly, unified Korean teams began participating in the Olympics. However it has not all been roses. Having begun to reinforce its regional status and ‘self-sufficiency’ by developing a nuclear weapon in the early nineties, North Korea was further provoked by US president Bush’s 2001 designation of the historically defensive nation as part of the ‘Axis of Evil’. When evidence of a nuclear weapons program was discovered in 2002, North Korea expelled UN weapons inspectors. In 2003, North Korea defiantly announced that it had enough plutonium for a bomb and withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Between 2003 and 2005, negotiations between North Korea and the international community went nowhere. By the summer of 2006, North Korea had test-fired a ballistic missile. In October, North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon. In November, the United Nations imposed sanctions. After the failure of negotiations aimed at North Korea's nuclear disarmament, Pyongyang exploded its first nuclear device last fall. In February, after North Korea agreed to move toward dismantling its nuclear program, the two Koreas began to talk about the possibility of reunification.

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS. Around 1600, when the Joseon dynasty was at its height, Korea suffered invasions by the Tokugawa of Japan and the newly triumphant Manchu of China. That’s when the roots of modern North Korea’s isolationism were born. Though Korea ejected Japan and managed to maintain a relatively calm, tributary relationship with China, it was in the 17th century that it adopted the polices of defensive isolation that earned it the sobriquet ‘The Hidden Kingdom’ It was also during this period that China developed an adeptness at handling Korea diplomatically that lasted throughout the Communist period and continues today in China’s stern yet protective relation to Pyongyang in the nuclear crisis.

LOCATION OF NOTE: Pyongyang- North Korean capital and the site of the current summit. On a cliff above the Taedong river, Pyongyang is administered as a province and is the oldest city in Korea. Six of the city's ancient gates remain standing. There are three 1st century BC tombs and several Buddhist temples. In 1122 BC, according to legend, the city was built by survivors of the Shang dynasty; its founder is said to have been the scholar Ki-Tze. In 300-200 BC it was the capital of the Choson dynasty. After invading in 108 BC, the Chinese made the city into a colony. Over the following centuries it was the capital of Koguryo and then Koryo. Pyong Yang was overrun by the Japanese Tokugawa in 1594; the intended to use it as a base for attacking China but destroyed it instead. The Japanese destroyed it again in 1894 and in 1904. In 1948, Pyong Yang became the capital of North Korea and was taken and retaken during the Korean war. Devastated, it was rebuilt as a modern city. In the 1990s, a mausoleum reputed to date to the ancient legendary ” Dangun” dynasty of Korea’s founding myth, was discovered near Pyongyang. But North Korea has so far refused to allow objective archeological testing by an outside nation to verify the mausoleum’s Dangun heritage. Pyong Yang remains a historic cultural centre while the Moran Bong stadium is used for the leadership's nationalist "Busby Berkeley" extravaganzas.

PROFILE: Kim Il Sung: a vociferous advocate of a united Korea, he nevertheless became first President of North Korea in 1948 and was responsible for the conutry's seminal industialization and militarization. Born Kim Sung Chu in Pyongyang in 1912, he was expelled from school in 1929 for being a Communist. He changed his name to Kim Il Sung after the Korean guerrilla freedom fighter of the early 20th century. He fought a nationalist guerrilla campaign against the Japanese in the 1930s. In 1941 the Japanese expelled him and he went to the Soviet Union where he fought with the Red Army. At the end of World War II, he led his Korean People's Revolutionary Army into North Korea with the Soviet Army. After the war, he was made chairman of the Soviet-created People's Committee of Korea. His aim of a united Korea was expressed in his invasion of South Korea in 1950. In an effort to consolidate and retrench after losing the war, he repressed internal dissent. After the death and demonization of Stalin by Moscow and North Korea's abandonment by the Soviet Union, Kim Il Sung manufactured a personality cult along with his nationalist 'Chuche' ideology of self-sufficienty, a blend of Marxism, Confucianism and the old ideology of the 'Hermit Kingdom.' In 1972 he stepped down as premier but held the all-powerful post of president under a revised constitution. In 1980 he held talks on reunification with South Korea. He maintained good relations with China and the Soviet Union. Kim Il Sung died in 1994. Due to the cult of personality and his single-handed creation of North Korea, his death was an occasion of mass hysteria throughout the country.

CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY: Three themes seem to dominate Korean history: dominance arising from the north, where the Korean peninsula joins Manchuria; difficulties in maintaining internal unity; and the combined threat and influence of outside powers- mainly China and Japan as well as, more recently, Russia and the United States. A Korean state ‘begins’ in the Manchurian north in the first century BCE. In the following, early centuries, CE, it is dominated by the Han Chinese. With the fall of the Han, the Japanese become the new invaders. After Japan is driven out in the 7th century, an internally divided Korea is finally united from the north in the 10th century. By the 14th century, receding Mongol rule has left the new state intact and the Joseon (or Yi) dynasty rises triumphant. Over the next two hundred years of struggle with China and Japan, Korea, though a tributary of China, develops a defensive national identity, and a successful practice of playing off great powers against one another. Repeated occupation by Japan from the late 19th century up until World War Two only strengthens national identity. Japan industrializes Korea and Korea continues a tradition of adopting the best in culture and technology from both friends and enemies. It is Communist North Korea’s effective abandonment by the Soviet Union and isolation by the West, that causes it to fall back on the old, Joseon traditions of wariness, isolation and self-sufficiency expressed in Kim Il Sung's "Chuche" ideology.

EYE-WITNESS: From the Journal of Hendrick Hamel, a Dutch merchant who spent the years 1653 to 1666 in Korea after he and his crew were shipwrecked there and became Korea's first European visitors. Their sojourn took place during Manchu China's domination of Korea: "The only people who have a trade post on Korean soil are the Japanese who own a factory on the southeast side of the city of Pusan. The Japanese who stay there come from the island Tsushima. They import pepper, sapwood, alum, buffalo horn, deer skins and more goods which are imported by us and the Chinese into Japan. Furthermore they have some trade with Peking (=Beijing) and the north of China. The trip to and fro takes three months, which is very costly. That's why only the greatest merchants can undertake these trips. At the foreign trade they usually use linen as a means of trade. The greater merchants use also silver as a means of trade, but the farmers and the common people use rice and grains. Before the Tartarians took over this country this was a country full of bliss and friskiness. The people did nothing else but eating, drinking and making love. But now they have to pay so much tribute to Tartarians and the Japanese that they have hardly anything to eat in feeble years. It is especially the tribute to the Tartarians who usually personally come to claim it three times a year, which pressures heavily on the economy of the country."

PRESENT SITUATION: (October 4, 07) South Korea's Roh Moo Hyun and North Korea's Kim Jong Il have agreed to work out the terms of a peace deal which would bring an end to the half century of hostility during which the two nations have formally been at war. Cross border freight by rail and a common fishing zone are among several joint economic initiatives. Further commitments were made which could bring an end to North Korea's nuclear programs in a matter of months.

PLUS CA CHANGE: Pyong Yang is the historic capital of old Korea. As the capital of North Korea, it remains the site of the current summit between the two nations- even though North Korea is the weaker Party. The South Korean president's humble journey by land to Pyong Yang seems to have been a tactful concession North Korea's fanatical national pride, its exceptionalism and its appeals to historical tradition. The North Korean leadership, as if it were still a medieval dynasty, has treated all visits by arms negotiators, protesting diplomats or envoys from superpowers as "tributes" to North Korean greatness.

CURIOSITY: In the 1970s- North Korea’s Communist dictator Kim Il Sung and his son and h Kim Jong Il lived like the secluded royalty of the medieval Confucian Yangban class- even though feudalism and Confucianism had been repudiated under North Korean Stalinism.

PREVIOUS ENTRIES: See May 17 '07- Trains From North and South Korea Cross the Border

TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF KOREA:

Ancient Koguryo

1122 BC- founding of Pyongyang- according to tradition.

300-200- Pyong Yang is capital of the Choson Dynasty.

1st century BC- southern Korea ruled by the Choson Dynasty.

108 BC- the Chinese Han occupy Korea. Confucianism is introduced.

37 BC- as Han dyansty declines, Korea splits into 3 rival kingdoms. Koguryo founded in northern Korea and Manchuria. Paekche was the southwest (Seoul) and Silla the SE

Japanese and Chinese Domination.



108 BC- the Chinese Han occupy Korea, bringing Buddhism and Confucianism.

57 BC Koguryo founded in central and northern Korea and Manchuria. Paekche was the southwest (Seoul) and Silla in the SE.

-3-4th cent. Collapse of the Han- Japanese military activity and influence moves into the south, forming the protectorate of Kaya with influence in Paekche in southern Korea- initiating Japanese contact with China.

Silla

7th century -Silla unites the South and founds a paid aristocracy and bureaucracy. The small Japanese protectorates are expelled.

668- Koguryo is driven out of the South leaving a united Kingdom of Silla protected by a wall on the north side of which is Pyongyang and the state of Bohai whioch succeeds Koguryo.


- internal divisions open Korea to Chinese Tang suzerainty.

Formation of the State of Koryo

-935- South Korean state of Shilla is destroyed by the states of Paekche and Koguryo. The unified state of Koryo. Korea faces China’s Sung dynasty as more of an equal.

-918- Wang Kon founds the the Koryo dynasty (918-1392). Its capital is at Songdo.

1238- Koryo falls to Mongols but never successfully controlled..

Founding of the Great Joseon Dynasty

1392- After the fall of the Mongols, Litan of Korea’s new and greatest dynasty, the Yi or Joseon, sets up an administrative system which will last until the 20th century. He makes Confucianism and Chinese higher education universal. Korea opens relations with the Ming dynasty and will be protected by China for the next 200 years.

1400s- Korean ‘Hangul’ alphabet is formed under the Joseon

-the Joseon develop the powerful Yangban ruling class.

16th cent. during Joseon period Korea reaches her height in cultural development, science, technology and Confucianism and successful use of Chinese ideas. This period has a profound effect on modern Korea- even its cultural, social ad political attitudes.

The Return of Japan and China

-1592 —Japan’s Tokugawa dynasty invades and occupies Korea, looting Korean art.

-1594- Pyongyang falls to the Japanese.

1600- Japan is finally expelled from Korea. But Korea will remain in Japan’s zone of control until 1790. A historic hatred develops.

-1627-1636- The Manchu take Korea as they overthrow Ming China

Korea responds with the Hermit Kingdom.

17th cent. As a consequence of the Chinese and Japanese invasions, the Joseon dynasty of Korea forms the Hermit Kingdom, by building fortresses, limiting contacts with other nations, enforcing stricter border controls, and controls in trade. This period is one of the sources for the CHUCHE ideology.

European Infiltration hardens Korea's isolationism.

19th cent. Europe’s use of punitive expeditions against Korea for its mistreatment of missionaries and adventurers only hardens the sense of isolation that began with the Hermit Kingdom.

Japanese Invasion and Occupation of 1894.

-1894-5- Japan invades China, overrunning Korea. Now Japanese influence replaces Chinese while the Japanese insist on “civilizing” reforms. But Korean absolutism returns quickly.

-1894- Japanese destroy Pyongyang.

1895- China recognizes Korean independence.

-1904- Japanese destroy Pyongyang again.

1904-5- Japanese victory in Russo-Japanese war confirms Japanese dominance in the region.

1910- After defeating Russia at Port Arthur, Japan formally occupies Korea and begins systematic industrialization.

1912- Kim Il Sung is born Kim Sung Chu in Pyongyang.

Rise of Korean Nationalism under Japanese Occupation.

1918-19- the March First Movement- a massive popular movement for democracy is spawned among student groups.

1919- a provisional government in exile is formed in Shanghai under Syngman Rhee.

1934- Kim Il Sung leads an ideologically communist and Soviet-backed insurgency against the Japanese.

-Japan retaliates with a crackdown on all expressions of Korean culture. Japanese dress is enforced.

1940-45- millions of Koreans deported for slave labour by Japanese during Wolrd War II.

1941- Kim Jong Il is expelled by the Japanese. He receives military training in the Soviet Union.

Korean Independence Arises from World War II.

1943- Korean independence is declared at the Cairo Conference in anticipation of the defeat of Japan.

Cold War Korea is Divided betweeen US and Soviet influence.

1945- Aug 8- the USSR attacks Japan and occupies North Korea.

-Korea gains independence from Japan. the USSR and the USA agree to a joint occupation of Korea with their respective zones of north and south separated by the 38th parallel.

1945- 27th December- the Moscow Agreement between the US and the USA is framed as a plan for Korean independence: but as with Berlin, Korea is divided between communist east and democratic west. The. Industrial north is occupied by Russia while the agricultural south is occupied by the US. The Moscow Agreement is never carried out.

-Kim Il Sung is made chairman of the Societ-created People's Committee of Korea.

-North Korea loses many skilled technicians and artisans to to South Korea.

1946- Kim Il Sung carries out land reform in the redistribution of plots to peasants in North Korea.

The Two Koreas Proclaimed as Separate States.

1948- 15 August- after US-sponsored elections, the Republic of South Korea is proclaimed. Syngman Rhee is president.

1948- Sept 9- Kim Il Sung declares the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea.

-North and South Korea declare sovereignty over all of Korea.

The Korean War.

1950- Backed by Stalin, North Korea invades US-occupied South Korea.

1953- end of the Korean War. The border is sealed with a 2 km DMZ.

-President Rhee of South Korea uses the threat of the communist north as a pretext for autocratic rule.

North Korea Proclaims its Chuche Ideology

1955- in response to military failure, the death of Stalin, Krushchev's attack on Stalin's laegacy and a divided Korean communist party Kim il Sung proclaims its Chuche ideology of self-sufficiency.

1960- South Korea- President Rhee's use of fraud in the election causes a student revolt which forces him to resign.

1961- South Korea: General Park rules though the Military Revolution which restores some liberties.

North and South Korea's Economic Revolutions.

1961-1979- General Park brings about an economic revolution through South Korea's industrialization and development of an export economy.

1963- Dec 17- General park declares South Korea's Third Republic.

1972- Kim Il Sung steps down but holds on to power.

1970s- North Korea’s Communist dictator Kim Il Sung grooms his son Kim Jong Il for the succession. They live like the secluded royalty of the medieval Confucian Yangban class- even though feudalism and Confucianism have been repudiated.

North Korea's Economic Stagnation.

late 1970s- North Korea races ahead economically but then stagnates due to the oil crisis and technological backwardness. Despite this Kim remains ideologically rigid and refuses to follow China's example of economic openness to the market.

1979- South Korea: General Park assassinated. General Chun Doo Huan takes power.

1980- Kim Il Sung holds reunification talks with South Korea.

1980s- General Chun Doo Huan helps make North Korea a successful and educated exporter of hi-tech.

1987- pressure of mass student demonstrations cause an end to authoritarian rile

12 October- a new South Korean constitution. Roh Tae Woh succeeds Chung and brings in liberal political reform and fights corruption.

1988- South Korea's first free parliamentary elections.

1990- South Korea: Roh broadens the lase of his Democratic Liberal Party.

North Korea Develops Nuclear Weapons Program.

1991- the two Koreas agree not to develop nuclear weapons.

-early 1990s- North Korea working on a nuclear program.

1994- death of Kim Il Sung. He is succeeded by his son, Kim Jong Il.

1996- South Korea- Rho and General Chun are indicted for corruption. The 1970 revolution is condemned. The way is paved for liberal, civilian rule.

1997- Succession of Kim Jong Il as supreme commander of the military and de facto head of state.

1998- South Korea- President Kim Dae Jong saves the country from serious recession by allowing more foreign investment. He adopts a conciliatory approach to North Korea.

1998- floods, crop failures, food shortages result in famine. Famine kills over 1 milllion- North Korea is forced to accept rice imports from South Korea.

1999- North Korea test-fires a medium range missile over the Pacific.

North Korea Intransigent on Nuclear weapons; Declared by Bush as part of the Axis of Evil.

2001-2002- US President Bush declares North Korea part of the ‘Axis of Evil’.

2002- North Korea is discovered to be developing a weapons program and expels UN weapons inspectors.

2003- North Korea withdraws from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and reports that it has enough plutonium to build a nuclear bomb

2003-2005- meetings with the international community to retrain North Korea from developing a weapons program. No agreement is reached.

2006- after missile tests, North Korea tests a nuclear device in October. The UN imposes sanctions.

18-22 Dec. six-nation talks resume briefly and are postponed

North Korea Shows Flexibility on the Nuclear Issue.

2007- Feb 8- Six-nation talks resume in Beijing..North Korea agrees to close its largest reactor in return for much needed fuel.

May- for the first time in 56 years, passenger trains from north and south cross at the border.

June- for the first time since being expelled, five years ago, international inspectors are allowed to return to the Yongbyon nucelar plant.

July- international inspectors confirm the shutting down of the Yongbyon nuclear plant.

August- after massive floods, North Korea appeals for aid.

October- leaders of North and South Korea meet for a historic summit.
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