North Korea appeared on Thursday to have returned to testing its longest-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) for the first time since 2017.
The launch leaves the diplomatic legacy of former US President Donald Trump and outgoing South Korean President Moon Jae-in in tatters. Both had touted North Korea’s self-imposed moratorium on such testing as a key success from several years of engagement.
Amid stalled denuclearisation talks that US President Joe Biden has struggled to jumpstart, Thursday’s test highlighted the bumpy road that led from threats of “fire and fury” to historic summits with Kim Jong Un to stalled talks and disappointment, and now back to major weapons tests.
Following are key moments in North Korea’s missile tests and its foreign relations, in particular with the United States, over the past few years.
November 29, 2017
Capping a year that saw North Korea’s first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch, a nuclear test, and a war of words between leader Kim Jong Un and then-US President Donald Trump, North Korea test-fires a Hwasong-15 ICBM, capable of reaching the entire United States, and declares it has become a nuclear power.
February 25, 2018
North Korean official Kim Yong Chol expresses willingness for US talks while visiting South Korea for the Winter Olympics.
March 8, 2018
South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s envoy delivers Kim’s invitation for Trump to visit North Korea; Trump agrees to meet Kim.
April 27, 2018
Kim and Moon meet for first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade, pledging to work for “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”. They meet again in May and September.
June 12, 2018
Kim and Trump hold their first summit, in Singapore, agreeing to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula in exchange for U.S. security guarantees.
June 19, 2018
South Korea and US announce a suspension of joint military exercises.
July 27, 2018
North Korea returns the remains of 55 US soldiers.
September 9, 2018
North Korea displays floats and flowers but no long-range missiles at military parade.
September 10, 2018
White House unveils Kim’s proposal for second summit.
November 16, 2018
Kim guides test of “cutting-edge tactical weapon”.
February 28, 2019
Trump and Kim end their second summit in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi without an agreement due to differences over demands by Pyongyang for sanctions relief and by Washington for North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons.
May 4, 2019
Kim supervises tests of rockets and a new short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) in first such tests since the November 2017 ICBM launch.
May 9, 2019
North Korea fires two KN-23 SRBMs.
June 30, 2019
Trump and Kim meet for the third time in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas.
July 23, 2019
Kim inspects a large, new submarine, possibly designed for submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM).
July 25, 31 – 2019
North Korea launches KN-23 SRBMs.
August 2, 2019
North Korea fires two more KN-23 SRBMs; Trump says the tests do not violate his agreement with Kim.
August 6, 10, 16 – 2019
North Korea fires more KN-23 and tactical missiles.
August 24, 2019
Kim oversees the test of a new “super-large” multiple launch rocket system (MLRS).
September 10, 2019
North Korea tests “super-large” MLRS.
October 2, 2019
North Korea test-fires new Pukguksong-3 SLBMs.
October 21, 2019
Trump says Kim and he get along well and “like” and “respect” each other.
October 31, 2019
North Korea tests the “super-large” MLRS.
January 1, 2020
Kim vows to further develop nuclear programmes and introduce a “new strategic weapon”.
March 3, 9, 14 – 2020
North Korea tests MLRS and short-range missiles.
March 21, 2020
Kim supervises test of new tactical guided weapon. Trump sends letter to Kim offering help on the new coronavirus.
March 29, 2020
North Korea tests “super-large” MLRS.
October 10, 2020
North Korea unveils a new ICBM and SLBM at military parade.
October 22, 2020
Trump says he has a very good relationship with Kim and stopped war. Biden likens Kim to Adolf Hitler and calls him a “thug”.
March 21, 2021
North Korea fires two short-range cruise missiles but the United States plays down the first such tests under President Joe Biden and said it was still open to dialogue.
September 13, 2021
North Korea tests a new long-range cruise missile, state media say, seen by analysts as possibly the country’s first such weapon with a nuclear capability.
September 15, 2021
North Korea fires a pair of ballistic missiles off its east coast. North Korean state media says it was a new “railway-borne missile system.”
September 28, 2021
North Korea fires its first “hypersonic missile” featuring a gliding warhead.
October 19, 2021
North Korea test-fires a new SLBM launched from a Sinpo-class submarine, reportedly featuring advanced guidance technologies, and capable of “pull-up” manoeuvres.
January 5, 2022
North Korea test-fires a second type of hypersonic missile. Analysts says it appears to have a Manoeuvrable Reentry Vehicle (MaRV) to carry its warhead.
January 10, 2022
North Korea conducts a second test of that hypersonic missile, showcasing improved capabilities over the first launch.
January 12, 2022
The Biden administration imposes its first sanctions over North Korea’s weapons programmes.
January 15, 2022
North Korea test-fires two KN-23 SRBMs from two separate trains.
January 25, 2022
North Korea test-launches two long-range cruise missiles.
January 30, 2022
North Korea fires a Hwasong-12, the first launch of an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) since 2017.
February 27 and March 5 – 2022
North Korea launches two ballistic missiles towards East Sea. It does not identify the missiles involved, but says it was testing components for a reconnaissance satellite. US. and South Korean officials say the launches were secret tests of North Korea’s new Hwasong-17 ICBM system, though not to its full range or capability.
March 9, 2022
Conservative Yoon Suk-yeol is elected president in South Korea. While saying he is open to diplomacy, he vows to take a more hardline approach to North Korea than his predecessor.
March 11, 2022
South Korea’s military said it had detected activity at North Korea’s nuclear test site to restore at least some tunnels that were demolished in 2018 when the site was closed.
March 15, 2022
The USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier leads military exercises in the Yellow Sea, and air defence artillery at Osan air base in South Korea intensify drills in response to increase North Korean missile tests.
March 16, 2022
South Korea reports that a suspected ballistic missile fails shortly after being launched from the Pyongyang international airport and explodes in mid-air.
March 24, 2022
North Korea conducts a full test of an ICBM, according to South Korea and Japan, the first such launch since 2017.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)