October 3, 2008 / 10:42 AM / 11 years ago

TIMELINE: Rocky path of North Korea nuclear deal

(Reuters) - U.S. diplomat Christopher Hill ended talks in Pyongyang on Friday aimed at convincing North Korea to abide by a sputtering disarmament deal, although Washington vowed not to offer new concessions.

The North had frozen and started to take apart its Yongbyon nuclear complex as part of a disarmament-for-aid deal reached with five regional powers. The following is a brief chronology of how the tide turned on implementing the nuclear deal:

June 26, 2008 - North Korea presents long-delayed list of its nuclear arms programs. Under deal with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and United States it should have provided declaration at end of 2007.

Analysts see problems because declaration fails to address North Korea’s nuclear weaponry or U.S. suspicions it has secret uranium enrichment program for weapons and is helping Syria with suspected nuclear reactor project.

North Korea also reports it has produced less plutonium than U.S. officials had estimated.

- Washington says it will start 45-day process to take North off its terrorism blacklist and remove trade sanctions.

June 27 - North Korea topples cooling tower at its Yongbyon nuclear reactor.

July 4 - North Korea says it has fulfilled obligations under nuclear deal and calls on others to live up to theirs.

July 8 - New round of six-party talks opens in Beijing. Envoys seeks ways to verify claims made in nuclear list.

July 23 - Foreign ministers from six countries in nuclear deal hold first meeting during regional forum in Singapore.

August 11 - Washington says it will not take North Korea off terrorism blacklist. Bush administration later says it will wait until adequate verification protocol is reached.

August 18 - North Korea expresses anger at not being removed from list, accuses Washington of “sinister intentions”.

- United States and South Korean forces start joint military drills, further angering North Korea, which says exercises threaten nuclear deal and undermine its trust in Washington.

August 20 - North Korea says it sees as “unjust” calls for Pyongyang to verify claims it made in declaration.

August 26 - North Korea says it will stop disabling Yongbyon, accuses Washington of violating nuclear deal.

September 3 - U.S. and South Korean officials say North Korea has taken initial steps to restart Yongbyon, process experts say could take year or more.

September 19 - North Korea says it does not wish to be taken off U.S. terrorism blacklist and it has started to restore Yongbyon.

September 22 - North Korea asks International Atomic Energy Agency to remove seals and cameras in place at Yongbyon.

September 24 - IAEA says North Korea has broken U.N. nuclear seals on its atomic complex and is expelling inspectors.

October 3 - U.S. nuclear envoy Hill completes three days of talks in Pyongyang aimed at getting North Korea to abide by disarmament pledges.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz, editing by Roger Crabb

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