Timeline: North Korea's Nuclear Program

Staff and Wire Reports
Wednesday, June 10, 2009; 12:00 PM

A timeline on missile development in North Korea:

1990s | 2000 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009


1993: North Korea shocks world by saying it will quit Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, later suspends its withdrawal.

1994: North Korea and the U.S. sign agreement in Geneva. North pledges to freeze, eventually dismantle, nuclear weapons program in exchange for help building two power-producing nuclear reactors.

Aug. 31, 1998: North Korea fires a multistage Taepodong-1 missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean.

Sept. 13, 1999: North Korea pledges to freeze long-range missile tests.

Sept. 17, 1999: President Clinton agrees to first major easing of economic sanctions against North Korea since Korean War's end in 1953.


July 2000: North Korea threatens to restart nuclear program if Washington does not compensate for loss of electricity due to delays in building nuclear power plants.

June 2001: North Korea warns it will reconsider missile test moratorium if Washington doesn't resume contacts aimed at normalizing relations.

July 2001: State Department reports North Korea developing long-range missile.

December 2001: President Bush warns Iraq and North Korea will be "held accountable" if they develop weapons of mass destruction.

Jan. 29, 2002: Bush labels North Korea, Iran and Iraq an "axis of evil" in State of the Union speech.

September 2002: North Korea pledges in summit talks with Japan to extend its moratorium on missile tests beyond 2003.

Oct. 4, 2002: North Korea tells visiting U.S. delegation it has second covert nuclear weapons program.

Jan. 10, 2003: North Korea says it will withdraw from Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

April 16, 2003: U.S., Chinese and North Korean officials announce talks in Beijing aimed at ending nuclear standoff.

April 24, 2003: North Korea says it has nuclear weapons and may test, export or use them depending on U.S. actions.

Aug. 27-29, 2003: North Korea joins first round of six-nation nuclear talks in Beijing, which include China, U.S. Japan, Russia and South Korea.

Feb. 25-28, 2004: Second round of six-nation talks.

May 2004: North Korea reaffirms its missile moratorium in summit talks with Japan.

June 23-26, 2004: Third round of six-nation talks.

September 2004: North Korea refuses to attend fourth-round talks, accusing U.S. of "hostile" policies.

May 2005: North Korea fires a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan.

Feb. 10, 2005: North Korea announces it has nuclear weapons.

July 26-Aug. 7, 2005: Fourth round of six-nation talks; North Korea in attendance.

Sept. 15, 2005: The U.S. imposes restrictions on Macau-based bank after its alleged involvement in North Korean illegal activity, including counterfeiting.

Sept. 19, 2005: North Korea pledges to dismantle nuclear programs in exchange for pledges of energy assistance; U.S. pledges not to invade and to respect North's sovereignty in an agreement ending talks.

Nov. 9-11, 2005: Fifth round of six-nation talks.


Jan. 3, 2006: North Korea says it won't return to talks unless the U.S. lifts sanctions imposed for its alleged currency counterfeiting and other illegal activities.

March 8: North Korea fires two short-range missiles.

May 18: Japan says North Korea has moved a missile to a launch site. Media reports identify it as a long-range Taepodong-2.

June 18: North Korea vows to increase its "military deterrent" to cope with what it called U.S. attempts to provoke war.

June 21: President Bush warns North Korea faces further isolation if it test fires a long-range missile.

July 5: North Korea launches seven missiles into the Sea of Japan, including a Taepodong-2.

Sept. 26: North Korea rejects further talks on its nuclear program, claims Washington wants to rule the world.

Oct. 3: North Korea says it will conduct a nuclear test in the face of what it claimed was "the U.S. extreme threat of a nuclear war."

Oct. 9: North Korea declares to have conducted its first nuclear test, drawing a unanimous condemnation from the 16 members of the U.N. Security Council.

Oct. 31: North Korea agrees to return to stalled, six-nation talks on its nuclear program following a meeting in Beijing with Chinese and U.S. officials


Feb. 8, 2007: Sixth round of six-nation talks.

Feb. 13: North Korea promises to close down and seal its lone nuclear reactor within 60 days in return for 50,000 tons of fuel oil as a first step in abandoning all nuclear weapons and research programs.

March 22: North Korea refuses to negotiate in six-nation talks until it receives a promised transfer of funds frozen by the U.S. Treasury.

June 14: U.S. gives North Korea $25 million in previously frozen funds.

July 14: North Korea closes down its Yongbyon nuclear reactor.

July 18: Seventh round of six-nation talks

Sept. 2: North Korea pledges to disclose all of its nuclear activities and disable its nuclear programs by the end of 2007.


Jan. 1, 2008: North Korea fails to fulfill its promise to declare all of its nuclear programs by the end of 2007.

May: North Korea says it will blow up the cooling tower attached to its Yongbyon nuclear facility if it is removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

June 26: North Korea turns over the long-awaited report detailing plutonium production to Chinese officials, omitting, however, much of the information originally demanded by the U.N., including a list of its nuclear weapons and possible uranium enrichment program.

June 27: North Korea destroys its cooling tower at Yongbyon, a widely televised event.

July 10: Eighth round of six-nation talks.

Sept. 24: North Korea announces plans to restart nuclear fuel processing and bans international inspectors from its Yongbyon plant.

Oct. 11: Bush administration removes North Korea from terrorism blacklist.

Oct. 13: North Korea resumes tearing down its Yongbyon nuclear plant and lifts its ban on U.N. inspectors.

Dec. 12: North Korea refuses to agree to a written declaration confirming its nuclear claims.


April 5, 2009: North Korea launches a long-range missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean, calling it a "peaceful" launch in an effort to put a communications satellite into orbit.

April 13: U.N. Security Council issues a statement condemning North Korea's missile launch and declares that it will broaden sanctions against the country.

April 14: North Korea orders U.N. inspectors out of the country and vows never again to participate in six-nation talks.

May 25: North Korea explodes a nuclear device underground.

May 27: North Korea says it is no longer obligated to follow the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and threatens to strike if its ships are stopped by international forces trying to block the export of missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

June 7: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces that the U.S. will consider reinstating North Korea to a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

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