WASHINGTON / SEOUL (Reuters) – Nearly a year after the last meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, North Korea has re-tested short-range missiles and emitted harsh rhetoric, while Washington shows little interest in easing sanctions.
The last meeting of the two leaders – in the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas – did little to break the impasse in the denuclearization negotiations.
This led to crises of increasing tension, although Trump – who once ridiculed Kim as "Little Rocket Man" – largely downplayed Pyongyang's actions.
Here is a timeline of these developments:
June 12, 2018: A summit in Singapore represented the first time that an American president met with a North Korean leader, but the statement that came out of the meeting was light on details, opting for general commitments.
Since the summit, North Korea has shown no tangible signs of willingness to abandon its nuclear weapons, and experts said it is believed to have continued to develop its arsenal. Washington, at the same time, tried to keep sanctions intact, prompting North Korea to accuse the United States of sticking to hostile policies.
February 28, 2019: A second summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam collapsed on easing sanctions, raising questions about the future of denuclearization diplomacy.
June 30, 2019: Trump and Kim met again at the border between North Korea and the South and agreed to restart negotiations, but nuclear talks at the labor level in Sweden in October disrupted.
December 3, 2019: Rising tensions later in the year, Pyongyang warned Washington of a "Christmas gift" after Kim gave the United States until 2020 to propose new concessions in nuclear talks. In addition to a warning from Kim that the world would soon see a "new strategic weapon", however, the deadline passed uneventfully.
March 2020: North Korea launched a series of short-range missiles, its first tests of the year. This drew calls from the United States and China for Pyongyang to return to negotiations, but there was no sign that any discussions would materialize.
April / May 2020: Kim's disappearance from public view has led to several weeks of feverish speculation about her health, fueling concerns in Washington and elsewhere about stability on the Korean Peninsula. The situation calmed down in early May, when state media said Kim had participated in the completion of a fertilizer factory.
May 28, 2020: The US Department of Justice accused the North Korean state bank of circumventing U.S. sanctions laws and accused 28 North Korean and five Chinese citizens in their biggest crackdown on North Korean sanctions violations .
June 16, 2020: North Korea blew up a liaison office in Kaesong, used for joint negotiations after threats of action, if defectors continued with a campaign sending propaganda pamphlets to the North.
June 24, 2020: State media announced that Kim had decided to suspend the military action plans that North Korea had threatened to carry out against the south.
June 25, 2020: marking 70 years since the start of the 1950-1953 Korean War, the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a report defending the country's nuclear weapons program and promising "never to stray from that road that we choose ". The state media, however, did not report any of the anti-US. mass rallies that have often been held on that anniversary in the past. (Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Matt Spetalnick in Washington and Josh Smith in Seoul; Editing by Michael Perry)