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Sunday, April 14, 2013

KERRY, US SECRETARY OF STATE VISITS JAPAN ABOUT 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.

KOREA

"Numerous foreign powers occupied Korea throughout its history, but the peninsula had always been the home of one nation." -The Encyclopedia of Invasions.


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QUOTE: To be weak is miserable/ Doing or suffering- Milton, Paradise Lost.


TAG:  Japan must deal with North Korea's long memory of repeated Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula. 

IN THE NEWS:  US Secretary of State John Kerry visits Japan to discuss peace and security for local allies South Korea and Japan. Meanwhile, North Korea's belligerence continues. On Saturday, he visited China in an attempt to get Beijing to talk sense to its North Korean ally.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:  In the eyes of the world, there are two Koreas, North and South. But North Korea, isolated from from the modern world, has the longest memory. For North Korea there is only one Korea, the Korea that more or less remained intact until 1950. That original Korea, which consisted in the entire Korean peninsula, suffered repeated occupation and invasion by China and Japan over two millennia. In essence, it was a weaker power, up for grabs by two great regional powers. Japan occupied Korea most frequently and for the longest periods.
 
IN HISTORY. 

-For two thousand years Korea was a weaker buffer state between the regional powers of Japan and China. A stable, independent Korea was key to the balance of power. But Korea's chronic internal disorder often lead China or Japan to intervene on Korean soil.

-In the third to fourth centuries AD, Japan, aware of China's weakness, occupied Korea.

-In the 16th century, Korea was briefly occupied by Japan under the Tokugawa Dynasty.

-In the 19th century, Japan took advantage of China's decline which left Korea vulnerable again.

-as Korea weakened in the late 19th century, it became vulnerable to Japanese influence.

-Korean weakness and Chinese and Japanese competition for influence led to Japan's invasion of Korea in 1894.

-Japan would not leave Korea until the end of World War Two in 1995.  


RELEVANT DATES:

First Japanese Contact with Korea

-3-4th cent. AD- 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.

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


Japanese Tokugawa Invasion of Korea.

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

1598- Japan is finally expelled from Korea by the Joseon. Korean admiral Yo Shun Shin, using the world's first armoured ships, beats the Japanese at sea. But Korea will be in Japan’s zone of influence until 1790. A historic hatred develops.

Rise of Japan as a Modern Regional Power.

19th cent.-Korea's situation changes as a result of China's waning power and the rise of Japan.

-internal disorder in court and government weakens the Korean state.

-1876- Japanese influence is secured through the signing of the treaty of Kanghwa. Japan opens an embassy in Seoul and China, now threatened opens a competing legation in the same ciity.

-1882-- the U.S. signs a treaty with Korea. the US, China, Japan and Russia are all competeting for Influence on the Korean Peninsula.

Treaty Makes Korea a No-Man's land between Japan and China.

-1884- Korean aristocratic reformers, inspired by Japanese ideas, attempt a coup which brings Chinese and Japanese relations to the boiling point. The crisis is headed off by a Sino-Japanese treaty which provides that neither country would occupy Korea without notifying the other.

-1894- deteriorating social creations explode in the Tonghak rebellion. Korea appeals for Chinese help in quelling the rebellion. Japan also sends troop. The rebellion ends leaving Japanese and Chinese troops confronting one another.

Japan Invades.

-1894-5- Japan invades China, overrunning Korea.

-1895- treaty of Simonoseki. Japanese victorious over China. Japan declares Korea a "sovereign state" but remains in essential control.

-Japanese influence replaces Chinese while the Japanese insist on “civilizing” reforms. But Korean absolutism returns quickly.

1905- Japan becomes the leading regional power.

1905- Japan defeats Russia in the Russo-Japanese War, leaving Japan the major power in the region. Japan establishes Korea as a protectorate.

1910- Japan formally takes Korea and begins systematic industrialization. During the period 1910-1945, Korean nationalism develops in opposition to Japanese attempts to extinguish Korean culture.

1945- Korea gains independence from Japan



CONTENTS: SCROLL DOWN FOR:
DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS

RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
PREVIOUS ENTRIES
REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
LOCATION OF NOTE:
PROFILE:

CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY

TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF KOREA



KOREA: 1995-1998- After the division of Korea in 1945, the north adopted Soviet Communism and formally became the state of North Korea in 1948. South Korea was formed in the same year. The North's 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 xenophobic self sufficiency. In South Korea, meanwhile, President and strong man Singman Rhee ruled an autocratic, anti-Communist state with strict limitations on civil liberties. Economically and politically the Rhee government was heavily backed by the US which maintained a large military force in South Korea. In 1960, Singman Rhee was forced from power by a student uprising in protest against electoral fraud. In 1961 the new government, with a constitution that still restricted liberties, was overthrown by General Park Chung-hee. Though restoring some liberties, Park maintained an iron grip as he brought about South Korea's industrial revolution through the 1960s and 1970s. South Korea specialized in value-added industrial goods to create a massive export economy. In the early 70s, however, Park further tightened his grip on power. In 1979, Park was assassinated. In the 1980s, the export economy finally began to raise the standard of living. Dictatorship persisted under a new General, Chung Dee Hwan. Internal political pressures and external pressures in connection with the Seoul Olympics brought about Chung's resignation and the country's first free elections. President-elect General Roh fought corruption and increased political liberalization. In 1990 began the two Koreas' first disarmament and reunification talks. Meanwhile, North Korea's continuing isolation and historical ‘self sufficiency’ brought about a major famine and dependence on South Korea for relief. In 1998, Kim Dae Jong was elected president. Kim liberalized politics, saved the country from recession and inaugurated his "Sunshine" policy of improved relations and eventual reunification with North Korea. He opposed a continuing diplomatic stand-off between the U.S. and North Korea.


RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS.

In 1998, South Korean president, Kim Dae Jong inaugurated his "Sunshine Policy" which pursued cooperation with the North on the condition of mutual non-aggression as a prelude to eventual reinification. 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 envisioned a federal structure which would leave separate leaderships intact. And increasingly, unified Korean teams began participating in the Olympics.

Meanwhile, progress was set back when US President Bush named North Korea as part of the "Axis of Evil. " 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, it had test-fired a ballistic missile. In November, the United Nations imposed sanctions. After the failure of negotiations aimed at North Korea's nuclear disarmament, Pyongynag exploded its first nuclear device unbderground in fall, 2006. In February2007, when North Korea agreed to move toward dismantling its nuclear program, the two Koreas began to talk about the possibility of reunification.


Also in February, the president of Hyundai, the auto giant, was jailed for three years for embezzlement. In May, on the occasion of the departure of ceremonial trains from North and South, South Korean Unification Minister Lee Ji Joung talked about reconnecting "severed bloodlines" while North Korean cabinet councillor, Kwo Ho Ung implied that the United States was to blame for the division of the two Koreas. Much as medieval and early modern Korea blamed outside intervention for local problems, North Korea continued to hold foreign powers responsible for a divided Korea.


On October 4, 2007, South Korea's Roh Moo Hyun and North Korea's Kim Jong Il 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.


Things, however, were not destined to continue so msoothly. South Korea elected Lee Mung Byak, a conservative with a harder line against the North- by a landslide in December. As if to presage things to come, Seoul's historic Namdaemum Gate was destroyed by a fire (see ) in February 208. Two months later, in April, Lee Mung Byak announced a harder line against North Korea which retaliated with threats. In June, President Mung Pyak, aware of his own slim majority in palrimanet and mounting public disapproval of the government's aim to lift the ban on U.S. beef (due to BSE) promises a more responsive administration. Irritants continue to sour relations with the North as South Korea protests the police shooting of a tourist in North Korea's Mount Kumgang Special Tourism zone. In November, North Korea demanded a halt to all cross-border traffic from the soouth by December. 1.


October, meanwhile, brought the 2008 credit crisis with South Korea, heavily vulenerable to foreign debt, bringing in a bailout package of $130 billion. Febreuary 2009, sees the introduction of rock-bottom interest rates. It seems relations with the North couldn't get worse when Pyongyang, in January 2009, announces an end to all military and business deals with Seoul.

By August, unpredictably, North Korea has sent condolences upon the death of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung while easing up cross-border traffic restrictions and reintroducing North-South family reunions. Relations become warmer yet in October when North Korea apologizes for the bursting of a North Korean dam on the Imjin river, drowing South Korean campers down stream.


And then in November 2009, North and South Korean naval ships trade gunfire across a disputed border area. Bewilderingly, perhaps, North Korea accepts from the South a first consignment of food for famine relief from the South in January, 2010. But the first talks in two years concerning a joint industrial site end in discord. An exchange of heavy weapons' fire erupts again in the disputed border area.

Soon after, in March, a South Korean war ship goes down, believed sunk by the North Korean navy. In May, the South confirms that the vessel was indeed sunk by North Korea. In the face of international opprobrium and talk of sanctions, Pyongyang threatens all out war with the South.

In July, South Korea and the United States hold joint Naval exercises in the Sea of Japan. North Korea threatens nuclear action if the exercises go ahead.


PREVIOUS ENTRIES


2/11/08- Seoul's Namdaemun Gate Destroyed by Fire.
12/15/07- Lee Mung Byak elected President of South Korea,
10/2/07- Historic talks between North amd South Korea.
5/17/07- Trains from north and South Korea Cross Border.

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS. In the first century BC, the Han Chinese occupied Korea, bringing Confucianism and Buddhism. But by 57 BC, the independent kingdom of Koguryo was founded in the north and center of the peninsula. In the extreme south were the three kingdoms of Silla, Paekche and Kaya. After occupation by the Japanese, Korea was unified for the first time in the 7th century AD under Silla. However, in 900 , Silla was destroyed by Paekche and Koguryo. In 935 a unified state was restored. Decline into rule by warlords weakened Koguryo in the face of the Mongols who swept into the kingdom in 1238. In the 14th century, after the withdrawal of the Mongols, the great statesman Litan founded the Joseon dynasty which would rule Kora for the next six centuries using an efficient Confucian administrative system founded and managed by the Yang Ban bureaucratic aristocracy. 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. The 19th century was characterized by the gradual encroachment of commercial interests from the west and in increasing domination by a modernizing Japan. Japan, Russia, the United States and China vied for influence in Korea- though Chinese influence was waning. After Japan and China both sent troops to help Korea settle internal unrest, China withdrew and Japan occupied Korea. Japan's victory in 1905, in the Russo-Japanese War, left Japan the dominant regional power and Japan formally occupied Korea in 1910. From then until 1945, Japan was responsible for Korea's first stage of rapid, forced industrialization. Japan's cultural and political repression of Korea provoked a militant Korean nationalism.

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 dynasty rrose 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. From the beginning of the 19th century, internal dissension, caused by political favoritism and factionalism weakens the formerly powerful Korean state. 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 has caused it to fall back on the old, Joseon traditions of wariness, isolation and self-sufficiency. South Korea, meanwhile, has grown from staunchly right-wing anti-Communist dictatorships to a period of rapid economic modernization in the 1970s to political democratization and liberalization in the 1990s.


TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF KOREA:

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.

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.


8th Century AD- -internal divisions, due to a national parliament's restriction on monarchical power, open Korea to Chinese Tang suzerainty.

-900- South Korean state of Silla is destroyed by the states of Paekche and Koguryo.

-935- a unified state is restored by diplomatic marriages, conquest and alliance and named Koryo after a royal principality. It is ruled by a Confucian administration; Korea faces China’s Sung dynasty as more of an equal.

11th century. Korea a tributary state of China's Sung Dynasty.

-1170- General Cho Chung-hon stages a military coup. Rule by warlords ensues.

1238- Koryo falls to Mongols but is never successfully controlled. Kublai Khan levies Korean tribute armies for ill-fated invasions of Japan.

1392- After the fall of the Mongols, General Yi Songoye overthrows the Koryo. Litan of Korea’s new and greatest Joseon dynasty, 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

1419-1450- the Josean reaches its height under Sejong the Great.

-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.

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

1598- Japan is finally expelled from Korea by the Joseon. Korean admiral Yo Shun Shin, using the world's first armoured ships, beats the Japanese at sea. But Korea will be in Japan’s zone of influence until 1790. A historic hatred develops.

-1627-1636- The Manchu take Korea as they overthrow Ming China. Korea becomes a vassal state of the Manchu.

17th cent. As a consequence of the Chinese and Japanese invasions, the Joseon dynasty 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.

18th century: King Yongjo and then King Chongjo maintain the old, Confucian style of Joseon Yangban rule by appointing officials for merit rather than class or political faction,

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.

-Korea's situation changes as a result of China's waning power and the rise of Japan.

-internal disorder in court and government and expressure weakens the Korean state.

-1876- Japanese influence is secured through the signing of the treaty of Kanghwa. Japan opens an embassy in Seoul; and China, now threatened opens a competing legation in the same ciity.

-1882-- the U.S. signs a treaty with Korea. the US, China, Japan and Russia are all competeting for Influence.

-1884- aristocratic reformers, inspired by Japanese ideas, attempt a coup which brings Chinese and Japanese relations to the boiling point. The crisis is headed off by a Sino-Japanese treaty whichprovides that neither country would occupy Korea without notifying the other.

-1894- deteriorating social creations explode in the Tonghak rebellion. Korea appeals for Chinese help in quelling the rebellion. Japan also sends troops. The rebellion ends leaving Japanese and Chinese troops confronting one another.

-1894-5- Japan invades China, overrunning Korea.

-Japan turned Korea-
            "into a colony, indeed, virtually a 'military camp.' When the Japanese marched in, Koreans had, in a poet's slight hyperbole, 'nothing, neither sword nor pistol, dagger nor club' to fight back with. Korea became 'a peacock chained by the neck.' Although collaboration was irresistibly practical, and Koreann children had to 'endure hardships in order to become good citizens of great Japan,' patriotism throve during the occupation. Independence, ineffectively claimed, wwas ecstatically anticipated. The poet Sim Hun typically promised, 'when that day comes 'to soar like crow at night and pound the Chongo bell with my head.'" -Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Millennium.

-1895- treaty of Simonoseki. Japanese victorious over China. Japan declares Korea a "sovereign state" but remains in essential control.

-Japanese influence replaces Chinese while the Japanese insist on “civilizing” reforms. But Korean absolutism returns quickly.

1905- Japan defeats Russia in the Russo-Japanese War, leaving Japan the major power in the region. Japan establishes Korea as a protectorate.

1910- Japan formally takes Korea and begins systematic industrialization. During the period

1910-1945, Korean nationalism develops in opposition to Japanese attempts to extinguish Korean culture.


1945- Japan defeated. Korea gains independence from Japan

1945- the Yalta Conference. Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill agree on zones of post war occupation. In Korea, 38 degrees north would determine who would accept the Japanese surrender: Sviets to the north and Americans to the south.


1945- 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.

1947-  The UN  determines that internationally supervised elections should be held throughout Korea. But the Soviet-occupied north refuses the idea and declares itself The Democratic People's Repiublic of Korea. The South meanwhile elected a government to head what it named the Republic of Korea.

1948- 15 August- South Korea formaly created.

SK:- President Syngman Rhee relies on US political, military and economic support to resist several Communist insurrections supported by North Korea.

1949- June- US troops leave SK.

1950- Backed by Stalin, North Korea invades US-occupied South Korea. The US, with allied UN countries, occupies and defends South Korea.

1953- the Korean War ends with a Soviet-Occupied North and a US-occupied South. The Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea is drawn by the UN but 1999 it will be the subject of serious disoute.


  SK- Rhee uses the continued communist threat from the north to impose autocratic rule with limitations on civil rights; he is strongly supported by the US.

-Krushchev's denunciation of Stalin leads to withdrawal of Soviet backing from North Korea.

1955- North Korea proclaims its Chiche ideology.

1960- SK: a student uprising over electoral fraud forces resignation of Syngmman Rhee.

-the new constitution of the Second Republic of SK still limits civil rights and insurrectionary movements continue to plot and agitate.

1961- In South Korea, a military coup led by park Chung-hee overthrows the civilian government of Chang Myon. Park institutes military rule.

1963-SK: Park is elected head of government, leading his own Democratic Republican Party (DRP). He institutes the Third Republic and restores some civil rights.

-Park leads massive industrial and economic, export-led expansion. He achieves record growth rates of 10-20 per cent into the 1970s. To build the economy he exports wealth in value-added manufactured goods and keeps wages low.

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.

1972- SK: Park brings back martial law and makes changes to the constitution granting himself unlimited power.

1975- SK: Park brings in emergency measures.

1979- Brief recession in South Korea; General Park Chung-hee is assassinated.

1980- SK: Choy Kyu Ha and then General Chun Doo Hwan succeed Park as president.

-SK's industrialization finally begins to raise its standard of living as well as capitalize on the hi-tech and computer revolution.

1987- SK: massive student demonstrations against General Chun Doo.

Oct- SK: a new constitution is passed.

1988- international pressures around the Seoul Olympics force Chun's resignation.

-first free elections in SK. Military man Roh Tae Woo succeeds Chun as president.

-Roh introduces political liberalization, creates the Democratic Liberal Party (DRP) and attacks corruption.

1990- first reunification talks between the two Koreas.

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

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

-1993- SK: President Roh is succeeded by Kim Young Sam, a former opponent of the regime who is the country's first non-military president in 30 years.

1994- death of NK's Kim Il Sung.

1996- SK: former presidents Roh Tae Woo and Chun Doo Han are indicted for corruption and fomenting the 1979 coup.

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

1998- Kim Dae Jong elected president of South Korea. But a recession follows. His business reforms barely save the economy.

-SK: in several amnesties, Kim Dae releases many communist dissidents from prison.

1997-1999- Kim Dae spurs resumption of unification talks.

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

-South Korean president, Kim Dae Jong inaugurates his "Sunshine Policy" which declares a policy of cooperation with the north on the condition of mutual non-aggression as a prelude to eventual reinification. It also holds that threats and sanctions on the North from South Korea and the US do more harm the good.

-June 13-15, 2000- the leaders of North and South Korea hold historic unification talks in Pyongyang and produce the "North-South Joint Declaration'.

-increasingly, unified Korean teams participate in the Olympics.

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

2002- North Korea is found 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.

Oct 31- North Korea agrees to return to nuclear talks.

Feb 12-19 2007- North Korea agrees to give up its nuclear arms program in return for oil.

March 28- after North Korea shows signs of reconciliation with the international community, South Korea resumes food aid to the north.

April 13- North Korea is silent on a promise to close a nuclear facility.

May 10- the North Korean military agrees to a test run of rebuilt north and south Korean cross-border railway lines.

May 17- North and South Korea sun ceremonial test runs cross-border railway trains.

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.

Lee Myung Bak President of South Korea.

December: South Korea Elects Conservative Lee Myung Bak in landslide as president.

2008- January- U.S. declares North Korea defaulting on declaration of nuclear activities. China urges Pyongyang to comply.

February- Seoul's Historic Namdaemum gate destroyed in fire.

Lee Myung Bak takes hard line against North Korea.

-Seoul's President Lee Mung Byak ties aid to North Korea to nucelar disarmement and improvement in human rights.

-Pyongyang accepts guest performance of New York Philharmonic Orchestra suggesting thaw in relations.

April- President Lee Mung Byak of South Korea taking tough line on North Korea; North Korea fires Southern managers from a joint industrial park. Pyongyang fires a test missile and accuses Ming Byak of sending a warship into North korean waters.

Lees' majority wins narrow majority in parlaiment.

May- S. Korea removes sanctions on US beef, imposed because of BSE in 2003. Street protests erupt against removal of sanctions.

June- President Lee apologizes for not taking public concerns into account as his ratings fall sharply.

Relations Improve on US with Nuclear Disarmament.

-North Korea finally makes a declaration of its nuclear program.

-July- US and North Korea hold first nuclear disarmament talks in two years.

July- U.S. beef arrives in Seoul as government responds to popular pressure and puts further regulations in place to safeguard cosumers.

-South Korean tourist in North Korea's Mount Kumgang Special Tourism zone is shot by North Korean police, causing tensions with the South.

North Korea balks on Disarmament after not receiving US aid. Relations worsen with South Korea.

-North Korea threatens to restart its nuclear program after claiming US is reneging on renwed aid in disarmament deal.

October- South Korea, aware of its large foreign debt, brings in a $130 billion bailout package in response to the global market crash and credit crisis.

November- In response to increasing north-south tensions, North Korea tells South Korea: as of December 1, halt all cross-border traffic into the north.

-December- North Korea slows down disarmament as US suspends energy aid.

2009- January: North Korea declares an end to all military and political agreements with South Korea as relations deteriorate.

February- South Korea brings in rock bottom interest rates in anticipation of worsening credit crisis.

North Korea Carries out Nucelar and Rocket tests, raising tensions.

April- North Korea tests a rocket; in response to international objections, it walks out of disarmament talks.

May- Kim Jong Il makes first public appearance since rumours of his illness in 2008.

-North Korea carries out underground nuclear test, cuaing international protest.
August- death of Kim Dae-jung, former South Korean president. North Korea sends a senior delegion to pay respects.

-June- North Korea suggests re-starting talks on joint industrial park with South.

-August- UN Security Council votes to impose sanctions on North which threatens retaliation through nuclear war.

Pyongyang attempts to improve relations with South.

-North Korea announces easing up crossborder traffic and agrees to continue formerly suspended cross-border familuy reunions.

October- North Korea apologizes for the breaking of a dam on the Imjin River which killed campers downstream in South Korea and discusses flood prevention with the South.

-through China, Pyongyang suggests it might be willing to restart disarmament talks.

Dispute heats up on Disputed Area of Sea Border.

November- North and South Korean war ships exchange fire across a disputed border area known as the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea. Drawn in 1953 at the end of the Korean war, the North insists that it should be further south.

December- US envoy ontains understanding from Pyongyang on need for six-party talks on its nuclear disarmament.

2010- January- North Korea accepts first consignment of food from the South in two years, makes peace overtures to US and South Korea.

-failure of two days of talks about the North-South Kaejong industrial estate, the first in two years.

-artillery fire from North Korea near disputed sea border ignites return fire from South Korea.

North Korea Sinks South Korean Ship.

March- South Korean war ship Cheonan believed sunk by North Korean navy.

May- South Korea confirms sinking of war ship Cheonan by North Korea. North Korea denies it.


South Korea Cuts Ties With North.

-South Korea cuts all ties with North. The after, North Korea allows workers to return to the North-South joint industrial park which remains aan important source of revenue for North Korea.

June- North Korean government meets to approve a  re-allocation of cabinet seats.

-South Korea: Lee Myung-bak's Grand National party suffers defeats in local elections.

US Sanctions against North Korea over the Cheonan.

July- the US, in continued response to the sinking of the Cheonan, imposes additional
sanctions on North Korea.

-the US and South Korea plan naval meouevres in the area in response to the Cheonan incident. North Korea threatens to reply with nuclearweapons.

August- Kim Jong Il visits China in hopes of resuming six-party talks.

September- Kim Jong Il appears to be grooming his son, Kim Jong Un to succeed him.


The North Attempts to Placate the South.

2010 September - As US President Obama signs new sanctions into law, the North makes overtures to the South, including an offer of more family reunions and acceptance of flood-damage aid.

Kim Jong-il's youngest son Kim Jong-un is appointed to senior political and military posts, fuelling speculation that he is being prepared to succeed his father. 

November- North Korea allows a visiting US scientist to visit the nation's new, state of thecentrifuge, suggesting imminent nuclear capability, causing alarm in Tokyo and Washington.

 Cross Border Clashes Continue.

-after South Korean military manoeuvres, North Korea shells a  South Korean island, provoking threats of string retaliation from South Korea.

2010 November - North Korea shows an eminent visiting American nuclear scientist a vast new secretly-built facility for enriching uranium at its Yongbyon complex. The revelation sparks alarm and anger in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo.

2010 November - Cross-border clash near disputed maritime border results in death of two South Korean marines. North Korea's military insists it did not open fire first and blames the South. South Korea places its military on highest non-wartime alert after shells land on Yeonpyeong island.

2011 February - North Korea- Foot and mouth disease hits livestock, threatening to aggravate desperate food shortages.

2011 July - Nuclear envoys from North and South Korea hold first talks since collapse of six-party talks in 2009.

2011 August - Further exchange of fire near Yeonpyeong island.

2011 October - US Congress approves long-stalled free trade agreement with South Korea. The deal is expected to increase US exports to South Korea.

Death of Kim Jong Il; Succession of Kim Jong Un.

2011 December - Kim Jong-il dies. Kim Jong-un presides at his funeral, is hailed as "Great Successor" and takes over from his father as chairman of the National Defence Commission.

2012 February - Kim Jong-il is posthumously awarded the highest military title of Generalissimo - the same rank held by his father, Kim Il-sung.

Army pledges loyalty to his successor, Kim Jong-un, in a mass parade held to mark the 70th anniversary of Kim Jong-il's birth.

2012 March - South Korea hosts a global conference on nuclear security, attended by the US and Russian leaders among others. Iran and North Korea do not attend.

2012 April - Kim Jong-un formally takes over ruling party leadership, becoming First Secretary of the Workers Party.

North Stages Long Range Missile Test.

The launch of a "rocket-mounted satellite" to mark the birthday of Kim Il-Sung fails. Most observers think it was a long-range missile test of the sort that North Korea had agreed to suspend in return for US food aid. North Korea says it is no longer bound by the agreement, which also banned nuclear tests.

2012 April - South Korea: the governing conservative Saenuri (New Frontier) Party, formerly called the Grand National Party, wins parliamentary elections with a reduced majority.

2012 June - South Korea becomes the first major Asian economy to halt oil imports from Iran.

2012 July - South Korea begins move of most ministries to "mini capital" at Sejong City, 120km south of Seoul. Key ministries will remain in Seoul.

2012 July - Army head Ri Yong-ho is removed from senior posts in the ruling party, and leader Kim Jong-un appoints himself to the highest rank of marshal.

North Korea needs food after Devastating Floods.

2012 August - The United Nations says North Korea has asked for urgent food aid after devastating floods in July.

Dispute Over Islands by South Korea and Japan.


2012 August - Lee Myung-bak becomes South Korea's first president to visit the Liancourt Rocks, which Japan also claims. Tokyo recalls its ambassador in protest.

2012 October - Days after South Korea and the US unveil a new missile deal, North Korea says it has missiles that can hit the US mainland.

Arms race between North and South Korea.

2012 October - South Korea strikes deal with the US to almost triple the range of its ballistic missile system to 800km as a response to North Korea's test of a long-range rocket in April.

 South Korea Eelects a new President, a woman-  Park Geun-hye

2012 December - South Korea elects its first female president, Park Geun-hye. She takes office in February.

2012 December - A North Korean rocket launch puts a satellite into orbit, after the failure to do so in April. The UN including China regard this as a violation of a ban on North Korean ballistic missile tests, as the rocket technology is the same.

North Korea Stages a Third nuclear test- allegedly aimed at US.

2013 January - The UN Security Council condemns the December launch. North Korea announces it will carry out a third "high-level nuclear test" and rehearse more long-range rocket launches aimed at the US "arch-enemy". The previous two tests were conducted in 2006 and 2009.


2013 January - South Korea launches a satellite into orbit for the first time using a rocket launched from its own soil. Previous attempts in 2009-10 failed. The launch comes weeks after a North Korean rocket placed a satellite in orbit.

2013 February - North Korea carries out a third nuclear test, said to be twice as big as the 2009 test.

UN Approves more Sanctions against North Korea; North Korea on War Footing.

2013 March - UN Security Council approves fresh sanctions over North Korea's nuclear test, targeting cash transfers and travel for diplomats. North Koreas threatened the US with a pre-emptive nuclear attack and issues threats to South Korea over nearby islands and non-aggression pacts.

2013 March - South warns North over unilateral abrogation of Korean War armistice and bellicose rhetoric. North also cut off a hotline and vowed to end non-aggressions pacts with South. A cyber-attack from an internet address in China temporarily shuts down the computer systems at South Korean banks and broadcasters.

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