Korea, North

Flag of North Korea
  1. Korea, North Main Page
  2. Partition of Korea Leads to War
  3. Famine Overshadows Nuclear Ambitions
  4. Secretive Government Opens Up in Exchange for Aid
  5. Kim Jong Il and U.S. President Bush Engage in Diplomatic Roller Coaster
  6. North and South Korea Establish Closer Ties
  7. Uncertainty Surrounding Nuclear Program Continues
  8. Tension Between North and South Reaches Crisis Point
  9. Kim Jong-il Dies
  10. Kim Jong-un Launches Satellite and Tests Nuclear Device, Testing International Patience
  11. North Korea Threatens U.S., South Korea with War
  12. Reported Leadership Shuffle Sparks Concern
  13. UN Imposes Further Sanctions after Provocations
North Korea Threatens U.S., South Korea with War

In Feb. 2013, North Korea said it had detonated a third nuclear bomb. The explosion was larger than North Korea's previous tests. In response to the test, the UN Security Council unanimously passed another round of strict sanctions against North Korea. In a first, China was involved in drafting the sanctions. The sanctions came shortly after the U.S. and South Korea began annual military drills near the north-south border. Reacting to the sanctions and the exercises, President Kim promised to launch "a pre-emptive nuclear strike" against the U.S. and South Korea. He also said he had voided the 1953 armistice that ended the war between North and South Korea, essentially declaring war with the South. Kim's threats were mostly dismissed as bluster but were nevertheless the most menacing in years. He continued his bellicose tone in March and shut down not only Red Cross hotlines between North and South Korea but also military hotlines. At a rare plenary meeting of the Central Committee in March, Kim said North Korea would continue to develop its nuclear weapons program despite sanctions and restart the mothballed nuclear facility in Yongbyon. In early April Kim prohibited South Korean workers from entering the Kaesong industrial park, which is run jointly by the two countries and located in North Korea.

In response to the growing threat from North Korea—and to support the South—the U.S. sent F-22 stealth fighter jets and B-2 and B-52 bombers to the region. The U.S. also increased the number of ground-based ballistic missile interceptors in California and Alaska and deployed an advanced missile defense system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad), to Guam two years earlier than planned.

The Kaesong complex re-opened in September after several rounds of talks. In addition, North Korea said it would resume a program that allows family members separated by the war to visit each other. South Korean president Park Geun-hye said the breakthroughs were evidence that her policy of "trustpolitik" had made progress. However, the encouraging news was tempered by reports of steam rising from the weapons-making nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, suggesting that North Korea may have reopened the facility.

Next: Reported Leadership Shuffle Sparks Concern
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