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Posted at 03:18 PM ET, 02/29/2012

North Korea agrees to halt uranium enrichment: A timeline of key events

North Korea has agreed to halt its uranium-enrichment program as well as its nuclear and long-range missile tests, in return for food aid from the United States.


The cooling tower at the Yongbyon nuclear complex near Pyongyang, North Korea, shown in 2007. The structure has since been torn down. (Wang Wei - AP)

(Click here to see more photos from Yongbyon nuclear complex)

The agreement comes after a meeting between the U.S. and North Korean officials in Beijing last week, The Post’s William Wan reports.

But North Korea has made such promises in the past. The first promise came in 1994, when the country agreed to suspend its nuclear program in return for two nuclear reactors and $5 billion worth of free fuel. Four years later, Pyongyang fired a rocket over Japan, which landed in the Pacific Ocean.

Here are some key events of the nuclear program in North Korea, leading up to their agreement to a nuclear moratorium and IAEA inspections:

1992: North Korea agrees to allow inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but refuses access to locations that are suspected of nuclear weapons production.

1994: North Korea agrees to halt its nuclear program in return for $5 billion worth of free fuel and two nuclear reactors.

1995: The United States agrees to provide two modern nuclear reactors designed to produce less weapons-grade plutonium.

1998: North Korea fires a rocket over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean. Pyongyang claims it launched a satellite.

2002: The United States decides to halt oil shipments to Pyongyang, claiming it has admitted to having nuclear weapons. North Korea throws out international inspectors and reactivates its Yongbyon reactor.

2003: North Korea withdraws from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. For the first time, delegations from the United States, China and North Korea meet in Beijing to hold talks about the latter’s nuclear ambitions. Later that year, Pyongyang says it has obtained enough material to make up to six nuclear bombs.

2005: North Korea agrees to give up its weapons in return for more aid and security guarantees. But it later demands a civilian nuclear reactor.

2006: North Korea detonates a nuclear device in a test blast. The device was estimated to have a yield of less than a kiloton. It also test-fires a long-range missile named Taepodong-2, which crashes shortly after takeoff, U.S. officials say.

2007: North Korea agrees to close its main nuclear reactor in exchange for fuel aid.

2009: North Korea conducts a second test detonation of a nuclear device, this one with an estimated yield of between 1 and 10 kilotons. The regime also indicates that it may be willing to resume bilateral and multilateral talks on its nuclear programs at a meeting with visiting Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

2010: North Korea calls for end to hostile relations with the United States and vows to strive for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. The same year, the country showed a visiting American nuclear scientist a new secret facility for enriching uranium at its Yongbyon complex, angering Washington and Seoul.

2012: North Korea says it will suspend its nuclear missile tests.

Click here to see a map of North Korea showing the nuclear facilities in the country.

Sources: The Washington Post, BBC News, The Guardian, and CNN.

Photos from inside North Korea:

More world news coverage:

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- North Korea agrees to suspend uranium enrichment

- Read more headlines from around the world

By  |  03:18 PM ET, 02/29/2012

Tags:  World, North Korea, uranium enrichment

 
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