North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Launches and Nuclear Program – Timelines

South Korean people watch a televised news broadcast at Seoul Station, in Seoul, South Korea, 05 April 2017. Photo: Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

On April 5, 2017, the regime of North Korea and its “supreme leader” Kim Jong-un carried out its latest firing of a ballistic missile.

Following is a timeline of North Korea’s ballistic missile launches (compiled by South Korean news agency Yonhap):

— Aug. 31, 1998: North Korea fires off its first ballistic missile, the Unha-1 rocket, also known as the Taepodong-1 missile, from the launch site of Musudan-ri in North Hamgyong Province.

— July 4, 2006: North Korea test-fires an advanced version of Taepodong-2 missile at the Musudan-ri launch site.

— April 5, 2009: North Korea launches the Unha-2 rocket at the Musudan-ri launch site with the attendance of leader Kim Jong-il and his son Kim Jong-un.

— April 13, 2012: North Korea fires off a long-range rocket, the Unha-3 rocket, from the Dongchang-ri launch site in North Pyongan Province. But the rocket crashed in pieces into the sea shortly after takeoff.

— Dec. 1, 2012: North Korea says it will launch a working satellite, the Kwangmyongsong-3, on the carrier rocket Unha-3, between Dec. 10 and 22.

— Dec. 10, 2012: North Korea extends the rocket launch window until Dec. 29, citing technical problems in the first-stage control engine module.

— Dec. 12, 2012: North Korea launches a long-range rocket from the Dongchang-ri launch site in North Pyongan Province.

— May 8, 2015: North Korea conducts a test-fire of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), dubbed “KN-11,” in its first attempt to launch such a missile. Seoul said that it was more of a test for the ejection rather than firing.

— Nov. 28, 2015: North Korea fires-off an SLBM in the East Sea, but Seoul views the test as a failure.

— Dec. 21, 2015: South Korea’s military says North Korea conducted another SLBM test in December, but the test ended in a failure.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that North Korea succeeded in the underwater test of a KN-11 missile near the eastern port of Sinpo on Dec. 21, citing unidentified U.S. defense officials.

— Feb. 2, 2016: North Korea notifies U.N. agencies of its plan to launch a satellite between Feb. 8-25.

— Feb. 6, 2016: North Korea informs the International Maritime Organization of its plan to move up the launch date to between Feb. 7-14.

— Feb. 7, 2016: North Korea fires a long-range rocket from the Dongchang-ri launch site at around 9:30 a.m. The North claims it has successfully placed a satellite, named “Kwangmyongsong-4,” into orbit.

— March 18, 2016: North Korea launches what appeared to be two mid-range Rodong ballistic missiles from its western province.

— April 15, 2016: North Korea conducts its first test-launch of an intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missile, also known as the BM-25, but the launch ended in failure.

— April 23, 2016: North Korea test-fires an SLBM in the East Sea, which flew only about 30 kilometers

— April 28, 2016: North Korea launches two intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missiles, but the launches ended in failure.

— May 31, 2016: North Korea test-fires an intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missile, but the launch ends in failure.

— June 22, 2016: North Korea fires off two intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missiles. One missile flew about 400 km, which experts widely viewed as a success.

— July 9, 2016: North Korea launches an SLBM off its east coast, but Seoul said the missile appeared to explode at an altitude of some 10 kilometers.

— July 19, 2016: North Korea test-fires two mid-range Rodong missiles and a shorter-range Scud missile.

— Aug. 3, 2016: North Korea fires-off two mid-range Rodong ballistic missiles from near the southwestern area. One missile flew about 1,000 kilometers before falling into Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

— Aug. 24, 2016: North Korea test-fires an SLBM in waters off its east coast towards Japan. The missile flew about 500 kilometers, making it the longest flight by such a missile.

— Oct. 15, 2016: North Korea fires-off an intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missile, but it exploded after the launch.

— Oct. 20, 2016: North Korea launches what appears to be an intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missile, but the test ends in failure.

— Feb. 12, 2017: North Korea launches a new intermediate-range ballistic missile, called Pukguksong-2, into the East Sea. Experts said the country appears to apply technology used in the SLBM to develop a new missile.

— March 6, 2017: North Korea fires four ballistic missiles from its the Dongchang-ri launch site toward the East Sea.

— March 22, 2017: North Korea launches a missile from its east coast that is presumed to have failed. The type of the missile is not confirmed.

— April 5, 2017: North Korea fires what appears to be a type of KN-15 intermediate-range ballistic missile.

A photograph released by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) watching the ground jet test of a high-thrust engine on screens at an undisclosed location in North Korea, 19 March 2017. Photo: KCNA/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Following is a Timeline of North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Development (compiled by The Guardian):

— 1986: North Korea starts operation of a five-megawatt nuclear reactor at Yongbyon after seven years of construction with Soviet help.

— 1993: North Korea says it will quit the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, but later suspends its withdrawal.

— 1994: North Korea and the US sign an agreement under which Pyongyang shuts down the plutonium-based Yongbyon nuclear reactor in exchange for help building two nuclear reactors for producing electricity.

— January 29, 2002: The US president, George Bush, labels North Korea, Iran, and Iraq an “axis of evil”.

— October 4, 2002: Washington says North Korea admitted to a visiting US delegation that it has a uranium enrichment program.

— November 21, 2002: US-led consortium says it is suspending construction of the two new reactors.

— January 11, 2003: North Korea withdraws from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

— Aug. 27-29, 2003: North Korea joins first round of six-nation nuclear talks in Beijing, which include China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the US.

— Feb. 10, 2005: North Korea announces it has nuclear weapons.

— Oct. 9: 2006: North Korea conducts an underground nuclear test blast.

— Feb. 18, 2011: Satellite images show the North has completed a launch tower at its new west coast missile base at Tongchang-ri, experts say.

— April 13, 2012: Rocket is launched from Tongchang-ri and appears to have disintegrated soon after blastoff and fallen into the ocean, South Korean authorities say.

— Dec. 12. 2012: North Korea launches long-range rocket, which the international community condemns as a disguised ballistic missile test.

— Feb. 2013: North Korea conducts third and largest nuclear test so far, attracting added UN sanctions and sending military tensions on the Korean peninsula surging for months.

— Dec. 13, 2013: North Korea announces the execution of Kim Jong-un’s uncle and political mentor, in a move seen by some as a sign of internal dissent.

— May 2015: North Korea says it successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile, but experts say the exercise fell far short of a full flight test.

— Dec. 3, 2015: Satellite images indicate North Korea is excavating a new tunnel at its main nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, a US thinktank says.

— Dec. 11, 2015: State media cite Kim Jong-un as saying North Korea has developed a hydrogen bomb, but Washington says it doubts Pyongyang has a thermonuclear device.

— Jan 6, 2016: North Korea says it has detonated a hydrogen bomb.

— Sept. 9, 2016: Suspected 5th nuclear test detected in the north east of the country.

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