North and South Korea relations: a timeline of how we got here

North and South Korea relations: a timeline of how we got here
[Photo: Flickr user (stephan)]

North Korea and South Korea have announced plans to end the peninsula’s seven-decade war. The historic summit came in the wake of an unlikely series of events including missile testing; Twitter threats by the U.S. president; a unified display at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang; and finally, a sit-down between the leaders of North and South Korea.

Here’s a brief timeline of events that led to this important meeting:

  • 1994: A meeting between North and South Korean leaders was canceled after the death of Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea.
  • 1998: Former dissident Kim Dae-jung is elected president of South Korea; he calls for an end to “Cold War style” relations.
  • 2000: North and South Korean leaders meet for first talks; Kim Dae-jung wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his work toward reconciliation
  • 2007: Second meeting between North and South takes place
  • 2008: So-called Sunshine Policy ends, cooling relations between North and South
  • January 1, 2017: Kim Jong-un announces that plans to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile have “reached the final stage.”
  • August 9: Trump says North Korea had best not make more threats, leading North Korea to announce a plan to launch missiles toward Guam.
  • September 19: Trump refers to Kim as “Rocket Man” in his address to the UN General Assembly, saying he could “totally destroy North Korea.”
  • September 22: Kim accuses Trump of “mentally deranged behavior.”
  • January 1, 2018: Kim calls for improved relations with South Korea, while noting that he has a nuclear button on his desk. Trump responds that he also has a nuclear button.
  • January 3: North Korea calls South Korea via a hotline on the DMZ for the first time in almost two years.
  • January 9: North and South Korean officials meet and agree on North Korea sending athletes and delegates to the Olympics.
  • February 23: Trump calls for new sanctions on North Korea.
  • March 8: Trump accepts Kim’s invitation to meet.
  • March 26-28: Kim Jong-un makes first foreign visit, meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
  • April 18: Trump confirms that the CIA chief secretly met with Kim in North Korea.
  • April 23: South Korea stopped blasting K-Pop into the DMZ.
  • April 27: North and South Korea leaders meet.