North Korea


“I think the issue of North Korea is one where the international community as a whole has to work to resolve the crisis.”
– Helen Clark





               North Korea


               25.4 million


              200,000; most are citizens of North                   Korea

      Nuclear capability:

              Believed to be able to miniaturize                       nuclear warheads to fit on ICBM                        missiles

      Intercontinental ballistic missile range:

               Claim to be able to reach anywhere                    in the United States


Human Rights Watch has called North Koreans “some of the world’s most brutalized people” due to restrictions against their political and economic freedoms. North Korea has strained international relationships with many countries, including South Korea, with whom many attempts at reunion of the states have been made, all resulting in failure. Currently, North Korea is accelerating its nuclear weapons program in response to South Korea’s unveiling of their THAAD defense system, which North Korea opposes. North Korea is at odds with not only South Korea over its nuclear program, but also Japan and the United States. The United Nations has also imposed sanctions against North Korea due to its refusal to halt its nuclear development.

                 Key Actors:

  • North Korea has rescinded peaceful talks with South Korea and is also antagonistic with the United States and Japan due to their nuclear program and their refusal to denuclearize
  • South Korea borders North Korea, who they split with in 1945 and have since been adversaries. South Korea is allied with the U.S.A, who assist in military training and drills.
  • The United States supports South Korea and is attempting to force North Korea into de-nuclearization
  • The United Nations imposed increased sanctions against North Korea in an attempt to persuade its de-nuclearization as its missile tests increased in 2017



  • 1945 – End of WWII, Korean territory taken from Japan by Allied forces
  • 1948 – Free elections held in the US-occupied south of Korea results in the creation of the Republic of Korea; North Korea becomes the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea founded by Kim Il-Sung
  • 1993 – North Korea threatens to quit the nuclear non-proliferation treaty but later withdrawals this threat.
  • 1994 – Kim Jong-Il takes power after the death of his father, Kim Il-Sung
  • 11 January 2003 – North Korea withdraws from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty
  • 10 February 2005 – North Korea announces that they have attained nuclear weapons.
  • 9 October 2006 – North Korea conducts an underground nuclear test.
  • 25 February 2008 – South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak takes office and introduces hard-line strategy of relations with North Korea over the issue of nuclear demilitarization
  • 30 January 2009 – North Korea ends peace agreements with South Korea
  • 23 February 2009 – North Korea deploys additional ballistic missiles
  • 23 November 2010 – North Korea attacks Yeonpyeong Island, killing 4 South Koreans and injuring an additional 19
  • 28 December 2011 – Kim Jong-Un takes power following his father’s state funeral
  • 17 October 2013 – South Korea asks the United States Pentagon for information concerning the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system in the interests of defense against North Korean nuclear missiles
  • July 2016South Korea and the United States agree to employ the THAAD system in South Korea for defence against North Korean missile attacks
  • 6 March 2017North Korea launches 4 missiles toward the sea of Japan, 3 into Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ)
  • 2 May 2017 – THAAD system fully operational in South Korea
  • 4 July 2017North Korea tests an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can, North Korea claims, reach “anywhere in the world” (which experts believe to be unlikely) which landed in the waters of the Japanese exclusive economic zone
  • 28 July 2017North Korea launches a test ICBM allegedly capable of reaching Los Angeles, California
  • 3 September 2017North Korea claims to have successfully tested a thermonuclear bomb
  • 19 September 2017United States President Donald Trump claims that the United States could “destroy” North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies
  • 20 September 2017North Korea dismisses President Trump’s threats, likening them to the sound of “a dog barking”
  • 25 September 2017 – North Korean foreign minister accuses the United States of declaring war against North Korea (false), and claims it has the right to shoot down United States bombers
  • 8 November 2017 – North Korea accuses the United States of threatening them with “nuclear aircraft carriers and strategic bombers”
  • January 2018North and South Korea agree to hold high-level talks, the first of its kind for more than two years. The north also agrees to send a delegation of officials and athletes to that month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
  • February 2018 – Donald Trump announces the “largest ever” sanctions package against North Korea. The latter nevertheless says that it is willing to start direct talks with America.
  • 5 March 2018 – A meeting takes place between a high-ranking South Korean delegation and Kim Jong-un during a historic visit by the South Koreans to Pyongyang
  • 6 March 2018 – North Korea, it is announced, is willing to discuss denuclearization if it can begin direct talks with the U.S. Kim Jong-un is also said to be scheduled to meet his South Korean counterpart in April, in the first summit of its kind in more than a decade
  • 8 March 2018Donald Trump accepts the invitation from North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, to hold historic talks to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missile program. An exact time and location yet to be determined.
  • 25 March 2018 – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un makes an unannounced visit to Beijing, China, in what is his first foreign visit since taking power in 2011.
  • 27 April 2018 – Kim Jong-un makes a historic visit to South Korea, where he meets
    South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks at the border crossing between both
    countries. During that meeting they agree to end hostile actions and work towards
    reducing nuclear arms on the peninsula.
  • 29 April 2018 – South Korean President Moon Jae-in says that North Korea’s nuclear test
    site, Punggye-ri will be closed. Foreign experts from South Korea and the US will be
    invited to watch the closure.
  • 1 May 2018 – South Korea starts taking down the loudspeakers along its border with
    North Korea. The speakers had for years been used to blast propaganda across their
    mutual border.
  • 24 May 2018 – North Korea blows up one of its nuclear facilities in a show of good faith ahead of the summit with the President of the United States.
  • 12 June 2018 – Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump meet in Singapore in a historic moment, as it is the first time a North Korean leader has met the U.S. President. An agreement was signed to encourage positive relations between the U.S. and North Korea, stating North Korea’s desire for peace on the Korean peninsula and their commitment to steps toward denuclearization. 
  • 20 June 2018 – North Korea reportedly returns the remains of 200 missing U.S. soldiers from the Korean War.
  • 7 July 2018 – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Kim Yong Chol in Pyongyang to address progress since the June 12th summit. While Pompeo believed the talks went well, the North Korean Foreign Ministry characterized them as “unilateral and robber like”
  • 13 July 2018 – A secret North Korean uranium enrichment site, named Kangston by US intelligence is discovered
  • 14 September 2018 – North and South Korea open their first joint liaison office in Kaesong
  • 18 September 2018 – Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in meet in Pyongyang for their third summit
  • 19 September 2018  – During the summit the two leaders announce the Pyongyang Joint Declaration, agreeing to expand the cessation of military hostilities
  • 7 October 2018  – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang to confirm the dismantling of nuclear test sites and discuss plans for a second summit between US President Trump and Kim Jong Un

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