President Donald Trump accepting a reported offer to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is a stunning turn of events after a year of heated verbal warfare that included crude insults and mutual threats of nuclear attacks. It remains to be seen whether a summit will take place or lead to a meaningful breakthrough, but here’s a look at recent events:
Jan. 1, 2017: Kim Jong Un says in a New Year’s address that preparations for launching an intercontinental ballistic missile have “reached the final stage.”
Jan. 2: President-elect Donald Trump tweets, “North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!”
July 4: North Korea conducts its first flight test of an ICBM, the Hwasong-14, which Kim calls the North’s “package of gifts” for the U.S.’s Independence Day.
July 28: A second Hwasong-14 is launched with an estimated range reaching into the U.S. mainland, including cities such as Chicago.
Aug. 9: Trump says North Korea had best not make more threats or “they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” North Korea hours later announces a plan to launch a salvo of missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam, a major military hub in the Pacific.
Aug. 29: An intermediate-range North Korean missile flies over Japan and plunges into the northern Pacific.
Sept. 3: North Korea carries out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date, saying it was a hydrogen bomb designed for use on ICBMs.
?Sept. 19: Trump tells the U.N. General Assembly the United States would “totally destroy North Korea” if forced to defend itself or its allies. He refers to Kim as “Rocket Man” and that he’s “on a suicide mission for himself.”
Sept. 22: Kim accuses Trump of “mentally deranged behavior.” He says he will “surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U. S. dotard with fire.”
Nov. 29: North Korea’s third ICBM test demonstrates a potential range that could reach Washington, D.C.
Jan. 1, 2018: Kim says in his New Year’s address that he has a nuclear button on his desk, but also calls for improved relations with South Korea and suggests sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Trump soon responds that he has a bigger and more powerful nuclear button, “and my Button works!”
Jan. 9: North and South Korean officials meet in the border village of Panmunjom, and agree on North Korea sending athletes and delegates to the Olympics.
Feb. 9: Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, becomes the first member of North Korea’s ruling family to visit the South since the end of the Korean War. She attends the Olympics opening ceremony and later tells South Korean President Moon Jae-in her brother desires to meet Moon in a summit soon.
March 7: After visiting Kim in Pyongyang, South Korean presidential national security director Chung Eui-yong says Kim is willing to discuss the fate of his nuclear arsenal with the United States and has expressed a readiness to suspend nuclear and missile tests during such talks.
March 9: Trump accepts Kim’s invitation to meet, which the White House says will take place by the end of May.