North Korea Timeline

June 26, 2008 7:16:39 AM PDT
A timeline of nuclear weapons development in North Korea:
  • 1986: North Korea starts operation of a 5-megawatt nuclear reactor at Yongbyon after seven years of construction with Soviet help.
  • 1993: North Korea says it will quit the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, later suspends its withdrawal.
  • 1994: North Korea and the United States sign an agreement under which the North shuts down the plutonium-based Yongbyon nuclear reactor in exchange for help in building two nuclear reactors for producing electricity.
  • Jan. 29, 2002: President Bush labels North Korea, Iran and Iraq an "axis of evil."
  • Oct. 4, 2002: Washington says North Korea admitted to a visiting U.S. delegation that it has a uranium enrichment program.
  • Nov. 21, 2002: U.S.-led consortium says it is suspending construction of the two new reactors.
  • Jan. 11, 2003: North Korea withdraws from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
  • Aug. 27-29, 2003: North Korea joins first round of six-nation nuclear talks in Beijing, which include China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the U.S.
  • Feb. 10, 2005: North Korea announces it has nuclear weapons.
  • Oct. 9, 2006: North Korea conducts an underground nuclear test blast.
  • Feb. 13, 2007: North Korea agrees at six-nation talks to take initial steps to disarmament, after Washington moves to help free some $25 million frozen in North Korean accounts.
  • July. 14, 2007: North Korea shuts down its Yongbyon reactor.
  • Sept. 6, 2007: Israeli warplanes bomb a Syrian nuclear reactor site allegedly built with North Korean design help.
  • Oct. 3, 2007: The six countries at nuclear talks agree that North Korea will provide a complete declaration of its nuclear programs and disable facilities at its main reactor complex by Dec. 31.
  • Nov. 5, 2007: North Korea starts disabling the Yongbyon reactor under the watch of U.S. experts.
  • Dec. 31, 2007: North Korea misses its deadline for declaring all its nuclear programs.
  • Feb. 26, 2008: The New York Philharmonic performs in Pyongyang, in the highest-level cultural exchange between the U.S. and North Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War.
  • April 24, 2008: The White House says North Korea assisted Syria's secret nuclear program and that the nuclear reactor destroyed by Israel was not intended for peaceful purposes.
  • May 8, 2008: North Korea gives the U.S. more than 18,000 pages of records on the Yongbyon reactor after discussions between the two countries to resolve disagreements over what its nuclear declaration will include.
  • May 16, 2008: The U.S. announces it will provide North Korea with 500,000 tons of food aid as a humanitarian gesture unrelated to the nuclear talks.
  • June 26, 2008: The White House says it will lift some trade sanctions and move to remove North Korea from a U.S. terrorism blacklist after Pyongyang releases a long-delayed accounting of its nuclear weapons activities.

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