It is ironic that that in this life-giving season of Easter, the threat of war looms in East Asia. By God’s Divine Mercy , may our plea for peace in the Korean Peninsula be heard. May those in authority give Korea and us all a piece of peace.
Here is a look at recent incidents involving North Korea and international efforts to stop the communist state’s nuclear and missiles programs that have led to rising tensions on the Korean peninsula.
December 12, 2012 – North Korea launches a rocket which puts a weather satellite into orbit. It was labeled by the United States, South Korea and Japan as a test of technology that could one day deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting targets as far away as the United States.
Jan 23, 2013 – The UN Security Council condemns the launch and tightens existing U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang. North Korea announces it will carry out a third “high-level nuclear test”.
Feb 12, 2013 – North Korea conducts its third nuclear test in defiance of U.N. resolutions, drawing condemnation from around the world, including its ally China. The U.N. Security Council month later votes to tighten financial restrictions on Pyongyang and crack down on its banned cargo trading.
March 7, 2013 – In response to the U.S.-led move for new U.N. sanctions, North Korea threatens the United States with a preemptive nuclear strike. It later calls the U.N. sanctions a plot to topple its leadership.
March 11, 2013 – The US begins annual joint military drills with South Korea. North Korea says it has scrapped the Korean War armistice, a pact with the UN says cannot be unilaterally scrapped. Also, the U.S. Treasury imposes sanctions against North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank, its main foreign exchange institution, for supporting Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction. Japan and Australia later follow suit.
March 15, 2013 – North Korea accuses the US and its allies of attacks on its internet servers after some of its official websites become inaccessible.
March 19, 2013 – The US flies B-52 nuclear-capable bombers over Korean peninsula, following several North Korean threats to attack US and South Korean targets.
March 21, 2013 – The United Nations starts an investigation into reports of widespread and systematic human rights violations in North Korea.
March 27, 2013 – North Korea cuts a key military hotline with South Korea, the last official direct link between the two.
March 30, 2013 – North Korea says it is entering a “state of war” with South Korea, amid increasing tension in the peninsula.
April 2, 2013 – North Korea announces plans to revive the mothballed Yongbyon nuclear reactor able to produce bomb-grade plutonium, as a deterrent against recent U.S. threats.
April 3, 2013 – North Korea closes access to a joint factory zone with South Korea, putting at risk $2 billion a year in trade that is seen as vital for the impoverished state. The United States announces plans to send missile defenses to Guam.
April 5, 2013 – North Korea asks embassies to consider moving staff out and warns it cannot guarantee the safety of diplomats after April 10.