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Timeline: North Korea's nuclear weapons development

A satellite photo shows North Korea's suspected nuclear facility at Yongbyon.
A satellite photo shows North Korea's suspected nuclear facility at Yongbyon.

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SPECIAL REPORT
• Analysis: What are the options?
• Six-nation talks: Where they stand
• Interactive: N. Korea military might
• Timeline: Nuclear development
• Interactive: The nuclear club
• Satellite image: Nuclear facility
• Special report: Nuclear crisis

Chronology of nuclear weapons development in North Korea:

1993: North Korea says it has quit the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty amid suspicions that it is developing nuclear weapons. It later reverses that decision.

1994: North Korea and U.S. sign an agreement. North Korea pledges to freeze and eventually dismantle its nuclear weapons program in exchange for international aid to build two power-producing nuclear reactors.

Aug. 31, 1998: North Korea fires a multistage over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean, proving it can strike any part of Japan's territory.

May 25-28, 1999: Former Defense Secretary William Perry visits North Korea and delivers a U.S. disarmament proposal.

Sept. 13: North Korea pledges to freeze long-range missile tests.

Sept. 17: U.S. President Bill Clinton eases economic sanctions against North Korea.

December: A U.S.-led consortium signs a US$4.6 billion contract for two safer, Western-developed light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea.

July 2000: North Korea again threatens to restart its nuclear program if Washington doesn't compensate for the loss of electricity caused by delays in building nuclear power plants.

June 2001: North Korea warns it will reconsider its moratorium on missile tests if the Bush administration doesn't resume contacts aimed at normalizing relations.

July: State Department reports North Korea is going ahead with development of its long-range missile. A Bush administration official says North Korea conducts an engine test of the Taepodong-1 missile.

December: President Bush warns Iraq and North Korea that they would be "held accountable" if they developed weapons of mass destruction "that will be used to terrorize nations."

Jan. 29, 2002: Bush labels North Korea, Iran and Iraq an "axis of evil" in his State of the Union address. "By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger," he says.

Oct. 4: A visiting U.S. delegation says North Korean officials revealed that the country has a second covert nuclear weapons program in violation of the 1994 agreement -- a program using enriched uranium. North Korea later denies this.

Oct. 16: U.S. officials say they have discovered evidence of a nuclear weapons program in North Korea.

Oct. 26: Bush, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung meet at an Asian-Pacific regional summit in Mexico and agree to seek a peaceful end to the North's nuclear problem.

Nov. 11: The United States, Japan and South Korea halt oil supplies to North Korea promised under the 1994 deal.

Dec. 12: North Korea reactivates nuclear facilities at Yongbyon that were frozen under the 1994 deal with the United States.

Dec. 13: North Korea asks the U.N. nuclear watchdog to remove monitoring seals and cameras from its nuclear facilities.

Dec. 14: The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency urges North Korea to retract its decision to reactivate its nuclear facilities and abide by its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Dec. 21: North Korea removes monitoring seals and cameras from its nuclear facilities

Jan. 10, 2003: North Korea withdraws from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Jan. 28: South Korean envoy Lim Dong-won meets North Korea's number two leader Kim Yong Nam. Lim says North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has received the letter from President Kim Dae-jung that suggests Pyongyang should reverse its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Feb. 3: The U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signs a "prepare to deploy" order that will send 24 bombers to the Pacific region.

Feb 4: Pyongyang describes the U.S. move as an attempt "to crush us to death."

Feb. 5: North Korea's official news agency says the nation has reactivated its nuclear power facilities.

Feb. 12: The 35-member IAEA board of governors declares North Korea in breach of atomic safeguards and refers the case to the U.N. Security Council.

Feb. 18: The (North) Korean People's Army threatens it will abandon the 1953 Korean War armistice if the United States continues its military buildup in the region.

Feb. 24: North Korea test fires a land-to-ship missile into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

Feb. 26: The United States says North Korea has reactivated its five-megawatt nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.

March 10: North Korea test fires another surface-to-vessel anti-ship missile into the Sea of Japan, or East Sea as it is known in South Korea.

March 29: Pyongyang says it will resist all international demands to allow nuclear inspections.

April 5: North Korea says it won't recognize any ruling made by the U.N. Security Council.

April 12: In a dramatic shift, North Korea backtracks on its calls for direct 'face-to- face' talks with Washington, saying it will consider any format for dialogue if the United States is prepared to make a "bold switchover."

June 2: Group of Eight world leaders meeting in France accuses North Korea of undermining non-proliferation agreements.

June 9: North Korea lifts its war of words with the United States to a new level, saying it may now need nuclear weapons to combat what it describes as a hostile threat from Washington.

July 12: A senior U.S. official says North Korea has begun reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods, suggesting the communist country intends to produce nuclear weapons.


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