NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 275 (August 15, 2013)


Chronology of Inter-Korean Talks on Kaesong Industrial Complex

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- The following is a chronology of events leading up to the seventh round of talks on Aug. 14 that reached a five-point agreement on the resumption of normal operations at the park.

June 3, 2003: South and North Korea hold an event to kick off the first-stage of construction of the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

Dec. 15, 2004: The first batch of goods is produced in the complex.

Nov. 21, 2006: The number of North Korean workers employed in the zone surpasses the 10,000 mark.

Jan. 30, 2007: Total production reaches the US$ 100 million mark.

June 22, 2008: North Korea claims that the South's inability to fulfill previous inter-Korean agreements threatens the fate of the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

June 24, 2008: North Korea adopts a decision to partly restrict the movement of South Koreans and goods coming out of the park.

Oct. 2, 2008: North Korea warns that anti-North Korea leaflets spread by South Korean activists will have a negative impact on the Kaesong park.

Nov. 12, 2008: North Korea says it will shut off cross-border travel through the Military Demarcation Line from Dec. 1.

Dec. 1, 2008: North Korea cuts the maximum number of South Koreans allowed into the park to 880 and restricts commuting time to and from the park in a so-called Dec. 1 measure.

March 9-20, 2009: North Korea carries out three temporary cross-border travel bans during the joint Key Resolve military drill between the South and the U.S.

March 30, 2009: North Korea opens an investigation on Hyundai Asan employee Yu Seong-jin on charges of criticizing the North Korean political system.

May 15, 2009: North Korea nullifies inter-Korean agreements regarding the park.

June 8, 2009: A South Korean garment manufacturer decides to drop out of the park.

Aug. 13, 2009: North Korea releases Yu after being detained for 136 days.

Aug. 17, 2009: Hyundai Asan Chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun returns from her eight-day visit to the North after agreeing on a five-point pact design to boost the park.

Sept. 1, 2009: Cross-border travel normalizes as the North lifts its Dec. 1 measure.

May 24, 2010: The South's government bans new investment into the park in a so-called May 24 measure designed to punish the North for its torpedoing of a South Korean Navy ship.

May 27, 2010: North Korea's military chief withdraws military pacts regarding inter-Korean cooperation and exchange.

Nov. 24, 2010: Seoul temporarily prohibits travel to the Kaesong park following the North's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.

October, 2012: North Korea unilaterally imposes massive taxes of about US$160,000 on eight South Korean firms operating in the park.

March 27, 2013: North Korea severs the military hot line with the South, used as a channel for cross-border travel.

March 30, 2013: North Korea threatens to shut down the park.

April 3, 2013: The North bars South Korean personnel and production materials from going into the Kaesong Industrial Complex, citing provocations against its supreme leadership and joint South Korea-U.S. military drills.

April 8, 2013: North Korea declares its workers will be pulled out from the Kaesong complex.

April 9, 2013: All 53,000 North Korean laborers fail to report to work at Kaesong, causing all operations at the complex located just north of the demilitarized zone to come to a halt.

April 11, 2013: The South Korean president and unification minister propose talks with the North to resolve outstanding issues. North Korea rejects the proposal.

April 25, 2013: South Korea proposes working-level talks to resolve the Kaesong issue after North Korea rejects a request to visit Kaesong by businessmen that have factories in the border town.

April 26, 2013: North Korea rejects the working-level talks proposal. Seoul orders a pullout of all personnel from Kaesong.

May 3, 2013: The last seven South Koreans leave Kaesong.

May 23, 2013: The North proposes talks to jointly mark the 13th anniversary of the June 15, 2000 inter-Korean summit declaration.

May 27, 2013: Seoul prohibits civilian participation in the June 15 ceremony.

June 6, 2013: South Korean President Park Geun-hye calls on the North to accept her trust-building process. North Korea calls for comprehensive government-level discussions to resolve the issues of Kaesong and Mount Kumgang.

June 9-10, 2013: Delegates from the two Koreas meet to arrange senior-level talks on all outstanding issues facing inter-Korean relations. Agreement is reached to meet in Seoul on June 12-13 after marathon negotiations.

June 11, 2013: Plans to hold senior-level talks fall through after both Koreas disagree on the ranks of chief negotiators.

July 3, 2013: North Korea allows South Korean entrepreneurs to visit the Kaesong park.

July 4, 2013: Seoul proposes working-level talks to normalize the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The two Koreas agree on working-level talks to discuss the issue.

July 6-7, 2013: The Koreas agree in principle to reopen the Kaesong factory park following talks at Panmunjom. Both sides agree on the "constructive development" of the complex.

July 10, 2013: The two Koreas hold a second round of talks to normalize the industrial complex. North Korea proposes separate talks for Mount Kumgang tours and separated family reunions. Seoul only accepts talks on reuniting separated families.

July 11, 2013: North Korea says it will hold off its proposal for talks on family reunions and Mount Kumgang.

July 17, 2013: South and North Korea stick to their guns at the fourth round of negotiations on how best to proceed with the normalization of Kaesong.

July 22, 2013: The Koreas report some progress being made on the "internalization" of the complex, but fail to make headway on key issues at the fifth round of talks in Kaesong.

July 25, 2013: Talks effectively break down after no agreement is reached on safeguards. Seoul warns it could take grave action on the future of Kaesong unless Pyongyang shows it is sincere on providing assurances it will not unilaterally close down the complex.

July 28, 2013: Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae urges the North to make clear its position on safeguards and calls for "final talks" to resolve outstanding differences. The official warns that Seoul can take "grave measures" if Pyongyang remains silent.

Aug. 4, 2013: The Ministry of Unification issues a statement stressing Seoul is losing patience with the lack of response from the North to engage in final talks.

Aug. 7, 2013: Seoul approves 280.9 billion won in insurance payments to companies that have factories and assets in Kaesong. North Korea calls for the seventh round of talks to resolve the Kaesong impasse that is accepted by Seoul.

Aug. 14, 2013: South and North Korea reach a five-point agreement to reopen the shuttered complex after operations were halted for more than four months. The Koreas agree on safeguards to prevent another work stoppage at the joint factory park and will move to set up a joint committee to oversee future operations.

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