Timeline: North Korea’s Tests and Summits in Recent Years

People watch a TV broadcasting file footage of a news report on North Korea firing what appeared to be a pair of ballistic missiles off its east coast, in Seoul
People watch TV broadcast file footage of a news report showing what appeared to be a pair of ballistic missiles fired by North Korea off its east coast in Seoul
People watch TV broadcast file footage of what appears to be a pair of ballistic missiles off North Korea’s east coast, in Seoul, South Korea, on September 15, 2021. REUTERS/KIM HONG-JEE

September 16, 2021

(Reuters) – Tensions escalated just days after North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the sea near Japan, South Korea’s military said on Wednesday.

The following are key moments in North Korea’s missile tests over the years, and especially in its foreign relations with the United States.


July 4

North Korea tested the Hwaseong-14 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).

28 July

North Korea conducted another Hwasong-14 ICBM test.

August 8

US President Donald Trump has warned that North Korea could face “fire and fury”.

Aug 29

North Korea fired the Hwasong-12 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM).

September 3

North Korea has conducted its sixth nuclear test, saying it has mastered hydrogen bomb technology.

September 14

North Korea fired Hwasong-12 IRBM.

September 19

Trump has threatened to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea.

September 21

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called Trump a “mentally deranged American daughter”.

September 23

US B-1B bomber flew over the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

November 29

North Korea tested the Hwasong-15 ICBM capable of reaching the entire US and declared it had become a nuclear power.


February 25

North Korean official Kim Yong-chol expressed his desire for US talks during his visit to South Korea for the Winter Olympics.

March 8

South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s envoy to Trump invite Kim to visit North Korea; Trump agrees to meet Kim

April 27

North Korea’s Kim and South Korean President Moon pledged to work for the “complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” for the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade. They meet again in May and September.

May 10

Trump announced a summit with Kim in Singapore on June 12.

June 12

Kim, Trump held their first summit in Singapore, agreed to denuclearize the Korean peninsula in exchange for US security guarantees.

June 19

South Korea, US announce suspension of joint military exercises.

July 27

North Korea returns the remains of 55 American soldiers

September 9

North Korea displays floats and flowers at a military parade but does not show long-range missiles.

September 10

The White House unveils Kim’s proposal for a second summit.

November 16

Kim guided the testing of the “state-of-the-art tactical weapon”.


January 1st

Kim says he is ready to meet with Trump but warns to follow a new path.

February 28

Trump and Kim ended their second summit in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi without a deal due to differences over demands by Pyongyang for sanctions relief and Washington’s demands for North Korea to give up nuclear weapons.

May 4

Kim oversees the testing of the rocket and a new short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) in the first such tests since its November 2017 ICBM launch.

9 May

North Korea fires two KN-23 SRBMs

May 10

Trump said he did not consider the North’s missile tests a “breach of trust,” calling it “standard stuff.”

30 June

Trump and Kim met for the third time at the DMZ on the Korean Peninsula.

July 23

Kim inspected a large, new submarine, possibly designed for submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

July 25, 31

North Korea launched the KN-23 SRBM.

August 2

North Korea fired two more KN-23 SRBMs; Trump says the tests do not violate his agreement with Kim.

Aug 6, 10, 16

North Korea fired more KN-23 strategic missiles.

August 24

Kim oversees the testing of a new “super-large” multiple launch rocket system (MLRS).

September 10

North Korea tests “super-large” MLRS.

2 October

North Korea tests new Pukguxong-3 SLBM.

October 21

Trump says Kim and he share a good friendship and “like” and “respect” each other.

October 31

North Korea tests “super-large” MLRS.

December 3

North Korea says it is up to the US to choose what “Christmas gifts” it wants.


January 1st

Kim has vowed to further develop nuclear programs and introduce “new strategic weapons”.

March 3, 9, 14

North Korea tests MLRS and short-range missiles.

March 21

Kim oversaw testing of the new tactical guided weapon; Trump sent a letter to Kim offering help on the new coronavirus.

March 29

North Korea tests “super-large” MLRS.

October 3

Kim sent a good message to Trump, who tested positive for COVID-19.

October 10

North Korea unveiled a new ICBM and SLBM at a military parade.

October 22

Trump says he has a great relationship with Kim and has stopped the war; Biden compared Kim to Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler and called him a “thug”.


March 21

North Korea fired two short-range cruise missiles but the United States downplayed the first such tests under President Joe Biden and said it was still open to talks.

September 13

North Korea successfully tested a new long-range cruise missile over the weekend, state media said in what analysts believe to be the country’s first such weapon with a nuclear capability.

September 15

North Korea fired a pair of ballistic missiles off its east coast, South Korea’s military said, adding to tensions just days after it tested a cruise missile with potential nuclear capabilities.

(Compiled by Reuters staff; Editing by Lincoln Feast)


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