Chronography of Korea North and South post 1945
Page last modified 22/2/2022
also China, Japan, Korea for events pre 1945
8.0, North Korean Missile and Nuclear
7.0, North Korean Missile and Nuclear
6.0, North Korean Missile and Nuclear
5.0, North Korea under Kim Il Sung, 1968-96
4.0, South Korea post Armistice 1953-1991
3.0, Korean War, stalemate 1951 to
2.0, Korean War 1950-51. US forces reach
Chinese frontier; General MacArthur wants to carry war into China
1.0, Korean War started by North, 1950
0.0, Korea divided, 1945-50
16/6/2020, North Korea blew up the
�Liaison Office�, a 4-storey building in a zone of North Korea where South
Koreans could work. This was a protest at propaganda balloons and food sent in
by southerners from across the border.
12/6/2018, A historic summit meeting
took place in Singapore between President Kim Jong Un of North Korea and President Trump
of the USA.
27/4/2018, Kim Jong Un became the first
leader of North Korea to cross into South Korea for a historic meeting with the
South Korean leader, Moon Jae In.
Korean Missile and Nuclear Tests 2016-17
28/11/2017, North Korea
test fired a missile which flew 1,000 km towards the Sea of Japan. This missile
attained a height in excess of 100 km then re-entered the atmosphere, proving
that North Korea has missiles with a re-entry capability.
Korea fired another missile over the Japanese island of Hokkaido, into the Pacific Ocean. The missile rose to an altitude
of 770 km, and travelled 3,700 km, which would have taken it to Guam had it
travelled southwards not east.
Korea detonated a test Hydrogen Bomb underground in its north-east. The test
produced a magnitude 6.3 earthquake. The missile was reported to be capable of
being fitted on an ICBM and hitting the USA.
Korea test fired a missile, which overflew the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, travelled 1,000 km and landed
in the Pacific. Japan protested at the intrusion into its airspace.
Korea launched a further missile, which landed inside the Japanese Economic
Zone waters. The missile attained a height which indicated it had
intercontinental ballistic capabilities, threatening the US.
Korea test-fired a ballistic missile
which flew 930 km/580 miles, on US Independence Day.
Korea test-fired a further land to sea missile.
Korea test-fired 4 anti-ship missiles.
Korea fired a short-range ballistic
missile that flew for 280 miles in 6 minutes before landing in the Sea of
Japan. This was reported to be the second
test-firing of a missile in two days by North Korea.
21/5/2017, North Korea
test-fired a further ballistic missile.
Korea test fired a further ballistic
missile, which flew 430 miles. It fell into the sea between Russia and
Korea test-fired a further ballistic
16/4/2017, The day
after North Korea�s annual celebrations of �The Day of the Sun� (15 April, the
anniversary of the birth of the founder of North Korea, President Kim Il Sung), with a
large military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea attempted to launch an
intercontinental ballistic rocket. However the rocket blew up on the launch
pad. President Trump of the USA had, stationed a naval strike force just off
North Korea, ready to strike either Pyongyang or the rocket launch pads. On 17/4/2017 North Korea threatened to
conduct one missile test every week.
Korea test-fired a medium range missile
which they said was capable of destroying a US aircraft carrier. The missile
Korean artillery fired four missiles
into the Sea of Japan, as part of an exercise simulating a North Korean attack
on US bases in Japan; some missiles landed within 200 miles of Japan. Japanese Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe called the move �extremely dangerous�.
Korea successfully launched a solid-fuel Pukguksong-2
missile from a submarine. This was an act of defiance against the new Trump
administration in the US.
Korea conducted its 5th nuclear test, the largest to date.
7/2/2016, North Korea
launched a satellite into orbit. The
US and South Korea made strong protests, because the same rocket technology
could be used for an intercontinental nuclear strike.
Korea claimed to have exploded a Hydrogen
Bomb in an underground test. China, North Korea�s closest ally expressed
anger over this and over claims that North Korea had also succeeded in firing a
missile from a submarine. However the explosion was smaller than would be
expected from a true Hydrogen Bomb, and may have been a �boosted fission� bomb
13/6/2017, Otto Warnbier, a 22-year old
student at the University of Virginia, was unexpectedly released from North
Korea after more than a year in detention following his conviction for stealing
a propaganda poster whilst on a tour of the country. He had been sentenced to
15 years hard labour for this offence following a 1-hour trial. He was returned
in a state of severe brain damage, and died on 19/6/2017. The cause of his
brain damage has not been determined.
10/4/2017, The US sent the large
aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to the sea off North Korea, as a show of force.
20/8/2015, Kim Jong Un, President of North
Korea, put his troops on a war footing in reaction to South Korea blasting
propaganda messages by loudspeaker across the border. Seoul said the propaganda
broadcasts, the first since 2004, were in retaliation for a landmine that
maimed two South Korean soldiers. North Korea threatened to shoot out the
loudspeakers. There was also exchange of gunfire between the two countries.
16/9/2013, North Korea reopened the joint N-S industrial zone at Kaesong.
3/4/2013, North Korea closed the joint N-S industrial zone at Kaesong.
7.0, North Korean Missile and Nuclear
2/4/2013, North Korea
said it would restart its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.
12/2/2013, North Korea conducted a 3rd
underground nuclear test, provoking fears of war with the USA.
12/12/2012, North Korea successfully launched a
satellite using its Unha-3 rocket, see 13/4/2012.
13/4/2012, North Korea launched a satellite, which
exploded soon after take-off. The USA condemned the move. The rocket used was
the Unha-3, which could theoretically carry a nuclear missile to the mainland
USA. See 12/12/2012.
29/2/2012, North Korea agreed to stop enriching
uranium and testing missiles.
11/3/2013, North Korea cut the phone line with the South, breaking the 1953
7/3/2013, The UN Security Council unanimously agreed to tighten sanctions on
18/7/2012, Kim Jong Un was officially
appointed Supreme Leader of North Korea.
Kim Jong Il died, succeeded
by hs son, Kim Kong Un.
17/12/2011, Kim Jong Il, leader of North
Korea died. His youngest son, Kim Jong Un, succeeded him.
23/11/2010, North Korea shelled the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong.
26/3/2010, North Korea was blamed for the sinking of a South Korean naval
vessel, the Cheonan, killing 46 of
the 104 aboard.
6.0, North Korean Missile and Nuclear
25/5/2009, North Korea
announced that it had conducted a second successful underground nuclear test;
America condemned the move.
5/4/2009, North Korea fired a rocket, ostensibly
to carry a satellite. The UN held an emergency session, but took no action.
13/2/2007, North Korea agreed to close its nuclear
facility at Yongbyon by 14/4/2007 in
return for energy aid equivalent to 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil.
9/10/2006, North Korea claimed to have conducted its
first ever nuclear test explosion.
7/2006, The UN and Japan imposed sanctions on N Korea, and
South Korea halted food aid.
Korea agreed to stop building nuclear reactors in exchange for aid and
10/2/2005, North Korea announced it had nuclear weapons.
8/3/2004, North Korea demanded the withdrawal of all
US troops from South Korea as a precondition for N Korea abandoning its nuclear
24/4/2003, Talks in Beijing between N Korea and the
USA ended when the Koreans stated, provocatively, that they had almost
completed the reprocessing of 8,000 spent fuel rods, giving enough plutonium
for 8 more warheads.
10/1/2003, North Korea announced it would withdraw
from the 1970 Non Proliferation Treaty, which allowed international inspection
of nuclear facilities. It claimed this was due to the �hostile actions� pf US
President Bush, who had named North Korea as part of an axis of evil. |It was
uncertain whether North Korea genuinely feared a US attack, or was trying to
gain leverage for extracting more aid.
2002, The US suspended help to North Korea in building two nuclear reactors,
over suspicions that the country was secretly enriching uranium for a bomb.
United Nations inspectors were expelled from the Yongbyon nuclear facility.
14/6/2000, Talks between North and
South Korea. As a result of these talks, a limited number of North Koreans were
allowed to meet family members in the South, from whom they had been separated
since the Korean War 1950-3.
Korea agreed to stop testing long-range missiles.
Korea fired a Taedong missile over Japan. A North Korean mini-submarine
was captured in South Korean
31/8/1998, North Korea test-fired a
ballistic weapon over Japan as a show of strength. There were fears that North
Korea was covertly building nuclear weapons.
1997, Major famine in North Korea; estimates of
those who died vaty from 100,000 to 3 million. Kim Jong Il became Party Leader.
Kim Jong Il succeeded Kim Il
5.0, North Korea
under Kim Il Sung, 1968-96
1/2/1996, The US Government offered to help a UN food
assistance programme in famine-hit North Korea.
1994, North Korea shut down its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, which had been producing plutonium. This was in exchange
for US aid and assistance in producing civilian nuclear power.
21/10/1994, North Korea agreed to international
inspection of its nuclear facilities in return for political and economic
Kim Il Sung
8/7/1994. North Korean President Kim Il Sung (born 1912) died.
His son Kim
Jong Il succeeded him after a power struggle.
22/3/1994, Talks between North and South Korea, aimed
at averting nuclear capability by the North, broke down and a full military
alert was set up in the South. The crisis was defused when former US President Jimmy Carter
visited Pyongyang on 15/6/1994.
11/3/1993. North Korea
threatened to withdraw from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, but did
not in fact leave.
12/2/1991, North and South Korea formed a joint team
for a table tennis competition.
31/8/1998, North Korea test-fired a ballistic weapon
over Japan as a show of strength. There were fears that North Korea was
covertly building nuclear weapons.
Korean President Kim Il Sung received 43,000 gifts as he
instituted lavish celebrations for his 76th birthday.
1986, North Korea started
operations at the 5-megawatt Yongbyon
nuclear reactor, which had been built with Soviet help.
1975, Sweden became the first Western
country to set up an embassy in Pyongyang, North Korea.
23/1/1968, The USS Pueblo, an intelligence ship,
and its 89 man crew was seized by the North Koreans in the Sea of Japan.
Korea post Armistice 1953-1991
1991, South Korea joined the United
1988, South Korea hosted the Olympic
10/6/1987, President Chun of South Korea named his
successor as General
Roh Tae Woo. This provoked demonstrations because Roh,
close friend of Chun,
had supported his coup against the military after the 1979 assassination of Park.
1986, South Korea began exporting cars.
Korean dissidents set off a bomb at the Martyr�s Mausoleum, Yangon, Myanmar. 16
South Koreans were killed and the South Korean President, Chun Doo Hwan, only narrowly escaped death.
1/9/1983, A South Korean airliner was shot down by
Soviet fighter planes after it had strayed into USSR airspace, killing 269
14/10/1982. 5,837 people were married simultaneously in
Seoul, South Korea; the world�s largest
3/1/1982, South Korea finally lifted a nightly curfew
imposed 36 years earlier.
26/10/1979, President Park Chung Hee of South Korea
was assassinated by his secret service.
1972, Martial law was declared
in South Korea.
21/1/1968, North Korean commandos made an assassination attempt upon President Park of South Korea, getting within 300 metres of the
1965, South Korea restored official links
19/7/1965, Syngman Rhee, first President of the Republic of
Korea (1948-60) died in Hawaii.
1961, Military coup in South Korea led to
rule by an authoritarian junta under Park
3/7/1961, In South Korea, General Park Chung Hee was
named as leader of the military administration which had overthrown the
democratic government on 16/5/1961.
27/4/1960. Synghman Rhee resigned as President of South
popular discontent (The April Revoluition).
15/3/1960, Presidential elections in South Korea were
won fraudulently by Synghman Rhee, 85; demonstrations across the
country forced his resignation on 27/4/1960.
Geneva Agreement ended hostilities between North and South Korea.
10/10/1953, President Eisenhower of the USA signed a treaty with South Korea promising military aid if
North Korea attacked.
War, stalemate 1951 to Armistice 1953
27/7/1953, Armistice signed in Panmunjom,
Korea, ended the Korean War. The 3-year conflict
cost an estimated 4 million lives. These included 1,313,000 South Koreans,
1,000,000 of whom were civilians; 900,000 Chinese soldiers, 520,000 North
Korean soldiers, and 1,000,000 North Korean civilians. There were 33,629 US
casualties and 3,194 UN soldiers were killed. Across Korea, 43% of industrial
facilities and 33% of homes were destroyed.
now had 1,200,000 troops under Peng TeHuai fighting alongside North Korea.
24/10/1952, In the US,
described Korea as �the burial place of twenty thousand Americans� and promised
that if he was elected President he would end the Korean War. Meanwhile the
United Nations remained deadlocked over the issue of the return of North Korean
prisoners of War. The USSR and China wanted them all returned to North Korea,
but some PoWs insisted they had been forcibly drafted into the North Korean
forces and wanted to settle in South Korea.
23/6/1952. US planes
bombed hydro-electric plants in North Korea. One of these was close to the Yalu
River, the border between North Korea and China. The US was forced to apologise
to its allies for taking the Korean war so close to the border without
also� USA� for Korean
War, 1950 onwards
accused the US of germ warfare in Korea.
27/12/1951, A trial armistice period ended and fighting
resumed in Korea, but now only to influence the final peace. Both sides
realised that complete victory was unattainable.
25/10/1951, Peace talks in Korea resumed at Panmunjom.
23/9/1951, South Korean forces took Heartbreak Ridge,
as fighting continued.
23/8/1951, Talks to end the Korean War broke up
began between the USA and USSR over the Korean conflict. The USSR demanded a
return to the 38th parallel; the US insisted on the current front line
as the frontier. The US also rejected Chinese demands for a withdrawal of all
foreign troops from Korea. PoWs were also an issue, with the US holding 171,000
prisoners, 50,000 of whom did not wish to return to Communist rule. Many North
Koreans and Chinese wished to go to South Korea or Taiwan. The Communists,
afraid of losing face, wanted all returned. Both sidcs wanted an end to the
conflict; Dwight D Eisenhower, in office from 1953, was concerned at the
expense of the war. Stalin�s death in 1953 in March 1953 eased the deadlock.
Most of the PoWs who wanted to defect to Western countries were allowed to do
25/4/1951, In the Korean War, the Battle of Imjin
River ended. The frontline had now become stalemated at around the 38th
parallel, where the frontier had been before the war.
22/4/1951, In the
Korean War, the Battle of Imjin River. Defensive action by UN troops against
Chinese and N Korean forces.
2.0, Korean War
1950-51. US forces reach Chinese frontier; General MacArthur wants to carry war
11/4/1951. General MacArthur was relieved of his command by President Truman, after disagreeing over the
conduct of the Korean War.� MacArthur wanted to carry the war over into
Communist China, and bomb Chinese bases in Manchuria.� MacArthur returned to a heroes
welcome in Washington, but did not realise his hopes of nomination for the US
Presidential elections. From now until the Armistice of 1953 both sides fought
holding actions to maintain current positions; US forces were slightly north of
the 38th parallel.
the Korean War, UN / US forces once again reached the 38th parallel,
the border between North and South.
4/1/1951, Seoul was
evacuated by US forces (again). However at Pyongtaek, 50 km south of Seoul, the
Chinese-North Korean offensive was halted. A UN counter-offensive began in late
1/1/1951, Chinese and North Korean forces advanced through UN
lines and captured Seoul.
forces in Korea crossed the 38th parallel.
6/12/1950, North Korean forces, backed by China, reoccupied
Pyongyang, which had been taken by US and South Korean forces in October 1950.
entered the Korean War; 200,000 troops entered Korea across the Yalu River. UN troops were forced back south again. On
28/12/1950 Chinese forces crossed the 38th parallel. The West had
ignored Chinese threats to intervene if US forces crossed north of the 38th
Korean forces began an offensive in the Yalu Valley; China planned intervention to support the North.
26/10/1950. US forces advancing in North Korea reached the Yalu
River, the border between North Korea and China.
1.0, Korean War
started by North, 1950
19/10/1950. US and South Korean
forces captured Pyongyang, during the Korean War. The UN General Assembly declared an aim of a united Korea.
29/8/1950. The first British soldiers arrived in Korea.
29/6/1950, South Korean forces retook Seoul.
See also� USA� for Korean War, 1950 onwards
28/6/1950, British Royal navy ships joined the US forces in South
27/6/1950. North Korean forces took Seoul. British forces joined the
war in Korea.
26/6/1950, US President Truman sent US forces to support South Korea.
25/6/1950. Start of the Korean War. North Korea invaded the South,
crossing the 38th parallel, which was the border.
0.0, Korea divided, 1945-50
Korea Chairman, Kim
Il-sung, was informed that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had decided to support
plan for an invasion of South Korea. Stalin provided the message to Kim
by way of Soviet envoy Terenti Shtykov, after having met with Chinese
Zedong in Moscow.
29/6/1949, US troops
completed their withdrawal from South
Korea, leaving behind just 500 men to serve as advisors to the
98,000-strong South Korean armed forces, a body barely large enough to maintain
internal order, let alone deal with any threat from North Korea.
7/6/1949, In a
statement to US Congress, President Harry S Truman, talking about
measures necessary to prevent Communist domination of the Pacific, declared that Korea had become a testing
ground in the ideological conflict between Communism and democracy.
17/3/1949, The USSR
agreed to provide heavy military equipment to North Korea.
9/9/1948,� Following the withdrawal of Russian troops, North Korea became independent as the
People�s Democratic Republic of North Korea.
15/8/1948. The Republic of Korea was proclaimed in the south of
the peninsula; Syngman Rhee was the first
President. On 9/9/1948 a Communist
republic was set up in North Korea.
South Korean National Assembly elected Syngman
Rhee as Chairman.
14/11/1947. The UN recognised the independence of Korea.
23/8/1946, In North Korea, the Workers Party was established. By
December 1946 its membership reached 600,000 (total population of North Korea
was then 9 million). One of the Party leaders was Kim Il Sung, who had received
Red Army training.
14/10/1945, Kim Il Sung returned
to North Korea (in the uniform of a Soviet Red Army Major) to receive a hero�s
welcome. Soviet policy in North Korea
was to install North Korean Communists in key positions swiftly after the War
ended to reinforce Communist rule in the northern half of the country.
Communist Party of Korea was founded. North Korea observes Party Foundation Day
every October 10 as a national holiday.
6/9/1945, A leftist committee led by Woon Hyung Lyuh
proclaimed itself the official Government of an independent South Korea. However
the US under Lieutenant
John R Hodge, Commanding General of US forces in Korea, refused to
recognise this Government. The US wanted to establish a trusteeship to
supersede both the US military administration in the South and the
Soviet-backed administration in the North. The Korean Government in exile
declared itself as a political party, not the government.
11/8/1945, The US
drafted General Order No.1, providing for Japanese forces in Korea north of the
38th parallel to surrender to the Soviets; those south of the 38th
parallel to surrender to the Americans. The Soviets began to seal off the North
at the 38th parallel, whilst the US was keen to halt any further
southwards penetration by Russian soldiers.
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