China, North Korea, and Nuclear Arms

As tensions again escalate on the Korean Peninsula, ChinaFile has compiled more than a decade of developments in North Korea’s nuclear armaments program. We begin our timeline in late 2002, when China first joined diplomatic discussions paving the way for what would become known as the “Six-Party Talks” on denuclearizing North Koream—talks that included for the first time, diplomats from both North and South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the United States. Fully-searchable, the timeline links each development to news headlines from the day and is sortable by country. - Ouyang Bin, David Barreda, Zhang Xiaoran, Feng Huanhuan, Luo Xiaoyuan

2002-10-01 00:00:00

North Korea intensifies its nuclear threat

North Korea intensifies its nuclear threat by reactivating its nuclear reactor and other facilities at Yongbyon.

2002-10-01 00:00:01

China’s response

President Jiang Zemin consults with U.S. President George W. Bush regarding P.R.C. attempts to halt North Korea’s nuclear brinksmanship.

2002-10-01 00:00:02

United States’ response

The U.S. says North Korea has admitted to having a secret weapons program. The U.S. decides to halt oil shipments to the North Korean capital Pyongyang.

2003-01-01 00:00:00

North Korea withdraws from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

North Korea announces that it will withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a key international agreement aimed at preventing the spread of atomic weapons.

2003-01-01 00:00:01

China’s response

Xinhua, the state-run news agency of the P.R.C., reports that President Jiang Zemin expressed his disagreement with North Korea’s withdrawal from the NPT in a telephone conversation with U.S. President George W. Bush, the first clear expression of China’s support for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

2003-01-01 00:00:02

United States’ response

U.S. Secretary of Defense Colin Powell visits China seeking further discussion and calls on the IAEA to refer the North Korean nuclear issue to the U.N. Security Council for resolution.

2003-01-01 00:00:03

South Korea’s response

South Korea asks China to use its influence with North Korea to try to reduce tension over the nuclear issue.

2003-01-01 00:00:04

Russia’s response

Russia offers to press Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program.

2003-08-01 00:00:00

First round of Six-Party Talks

The first round of Six-Party Talks is held in Beijing. The talks achieve no significant breakthroughs. North Korea proposes a step-by-step solution, calling for the United States to conclude a “non-aggression treaty,” normalize bilateral diplomatic relations, refrain from hindering North Korea’s “economic cooperation” with other countries, complete the reactors promised under the Agreed Framework, resume suspended fuel oil shipments, and increase food aid.

2003-08-01 00:00:01

China’s response

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi outlines six points of consensus that have been reached by the end of the first round of Six-Party Talks, including a commitment to resolve the nuclear issue through peaceful means and dialogue, and pursuing a nuclear-free Korean peninsula while still considering North Korea’s security.

China, North Korea, and Nuclear Arms

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