Timeline of U.S.-North Korean Relations

1950 to Present

Flag of North Korea

The Korean War was fought on the Korean Peninsula between the Chinese supported forces in the north and the American supported, United Nations forces in the south.


Open warfare stops with a ceasefire agreement on July 27. The peninsula is divided by a demilitarized zone (DMZ) along the 38th parallel. The north is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the south becomes the Republic of Korea (ROK).

A formal peace agreement ending the Korean War has not yet been signed.

USS Pueblo

The DPRK captures the USS Pueblo, an American intelligence gathering ship. Although the crew is later released, the North Koreans still hold the USS Pueblo.

Shot Down

An American reconnaissance plane is shot down by North Korea. Thirty-one Americans are killed.

New Leader

Kim Il Sung, known as the "Great Leader" of the DPRK since 1948 dies. His son, Kim Jong Il, assumes power and is known as the "Dear Leader."

Nuclear Cooperation

Agreement reached with United States to build nuclear reactors in DPRK.

Missile Test?

In what appears to be a test flight, the DPRK sends a missile flying over Japan.

Axis of Evil

In his 2002 State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush labeled North Korea as part an "Axis of Evil" along with Iran and Iraq.


United States stops oil shipments to DPRK in a dispute over the country's secretive nuclear weapons program.

DPRK removes international nuclear inspectors.

Diplomatic Moves

DPRK withdraws from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. So called "Six Party" talks open between the United States, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and North Korea.

Outpost of Tyranny

In her Senate confirmation testimony to become Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice listed North Korea as one of several "Outposts of Tyranny" in the world.

More Missiles

DPRK test fires a number of missiles and later conducts a test explosion of a nuclear device.


"Six Party" talks early in the year lead to plan for North Korea to shut down its nuclear enrichment program and allow for international inspections. But the agreement has still not been implemented.


In September, U.S. State Department announces North Korea will catalog and dismantle its entire nuclear program by the end of the year. Speculation follows that North Korea will be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. More diplomatic breakthroughs, including discussion of ending the Korean War, follow in October.

Mr. Postman

In December, President Bush sends a handwritten letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

More Progress?

Speculation runs high in June that President Bush will ask that North Korea be removed from the U.S. terror watch list in acknowledgment of progress in the "six party talks."

Removed From List

In October, President Bush formally removed North Korea from the U.S. terror watch list.

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Your Citation
Porter, Keith. "Timeline of U.S.-North Korean Relations." ThoughtCo, Jun. 16, 2014, thoughtco.com/timeline-of-us-north-korean-relations-3310269. Porter, Keith. (2014, June 16). Timeline of U.S.-North Korean Relations. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/timeline-of-us-north-korean-relations-3310269 Porter, Keith. "Timeline of U.S.-North Korean Relations." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/timeline-of-us-north-korean-relations-3310269 (accessed April 20, 2018).