In a recent turn of events, the US President Donald Trump has accepted North Korea’s invitation for direct talks with the country’s leader Kim Jong-un. The path to possible peace has been quite precipitious; here is the timeline showing the key developments eventually facilitating the envisaged negotiations.
North Korea’s First ICBM Test
On July 4, 2017, Pyongyang claimed it had conducted its first successful test of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 4 июля 2017 г.
….and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 4 июля 2017 г.
President Trump has vowed to “very strongly” confront North Korea over its missile tests.
NK’s Second ICBM Test
A mere 24 days later, Pyongyang launched its second IBM, doubling down on its threat to develop a nuclear strike capability against the US mainland in the face of severe warnings from Trump. Kim Jong-un personally supervised the late night launch of the missile, saying it was a “stern warning” for the United States that it would not be safe from destruction if it tried to attack.
Fire and Fury
In August, Trump issued a stark warning to North Korea, saying that the country would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen" if it continued threatening the United States.
NK Conducts Sixth Nuclear Test
On September 3, North Korea successfully conducted a test of a hydrogen bomb, preliminarily estimated to have a yield of up to 70 kilotons.
President Trump, for his part, continued calling on regional partners to amplify pressure on Pyongyang following North Korea’s sixth nuclear test.
North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 3 сентября 2017 г.
..North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 3 сентября 2017 г.
South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 3 сентября 2017 г.
NK Fires IBM Over Japan
Tensions were running high as on September 15 North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan into the Pacific with flight distance of 3,700 kilometers, thereby putting the US territory of Guam within range.
Rocket Man on a Suicide Mission
Trump gave first major UN speech, during which he called the North Korean leader a "rocket man" on a "suicide mission" and warned Pyongyang that the country would be totally destroyed if it attacked the United States or its allies.
I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 17 сентября 2017 г.
Following the speech, the North Korean leader responded, calling Trump a “dotard” exhibiting "mentally deranged behavior."
Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend — and maybe someday that will happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 12 ноября 2017 г.
State Sponsor of Terrorism
Trump announced the re-listing of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, in a bold move to dramatically increase pressure on Pyongyang.
North Korea was removed from the official State Department terrorism list in 2008 by President George W. Bush.
NK’s Third ICBM
On November 29, North Korea fired its third ICBM, which flew both higher and longer than previous such launches, an act of defiance against President Trump after he put the country back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Kim Ready to Send North Korean Athletes to Olympics
In a New Year’s address, Kim Jong-un voiced readiness to send North Korean athletes to Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
"The Winter Games to be held in South Korea will be a good occasion for the country. We sincerely hope that the Winter Olympics will be a success. We are ready to take various steps, including the dispatch of a delegation. To this end, the two Koreas can immediately meet," Kim said.
My Button is Bigger Than His
After Kim warned Trump about Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities, Trump lashed back at the North Korean via his beloved Twitter, insisting that his “nuclear button” was “bigger.”
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 3 января 2018 г.
US & South Korea Postpone Military Exercise
Shortly after that, the United States and South Korea agreed to delay annual joint military drills until after Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Pyeongchang.
North and South Korea at Olympic Games
Following the first high-level talks between North and South Korea in more than two years, Pyongyang agreed to send a delegation of officials and athletes to the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
On February 9, at the Olympic opening ceremony, North and South Korean athletes marched together under a unified Korean flag. On the next day, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, held talks in Seoul, with the latter leaving a heart-warming message in Seoul’s presidential guest book, expressing hopes for further warming of relations and future unification.
US Imposes “Heaviest Sanctions”
On February 23, President Trump announced another batch of restrictions against North Korea, hailing the package as the "heaviest sanctions ever" levied on Pyongyang.
South Korean Envoys Visits North Korea
On March 5, South Korea’s special envoys paid a visit to North Korea and held talks with Kim Jong-un. During the two-day visit, the South Korean 10-member group focused on establishing conditions for negotiations aimed at denuclearization as well as dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang. South Korea’s presidential office revealed the results of the envoy’s meeting with the North Korean leader, including agreement of a summit meeting between the two Koreas in late April.
Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea. For the first time in many years, a serious effort is being made by all parties concerned. The World is watching and waiting! May be false hope, but the U.S. is ready to go hard in either direction!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 6 марта 2018 г.
Prior to the envoys’ visit to Pyongyang, Trump stated that the US would be ready to meet North Korea, provided the country "denuked."
Trump-Kim Meeting Set by May
After Kim told South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong that he was committed to denuclearization and would refrain from future nuclear weapons' tests, and was ready to meet President Trump, the latter responded positively to Kim’s invitation to meet by May.
Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 9 марта 2018 г.
The deal with North Korea is very much in the making and will be, if completed, a very good one for the World. Time and place to be determined.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 10 марта 2018 г.