On January 02, 2018, when the world was still to come out of the hangover of New Year eve bash, US President Donald Trump issued a nuclear war threat against “food-starved” North Korea in response to its leader Kim Jong-un’s “nuclear button” statement.
In response to Kim’s “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times” remark a day before, Trump said, that he “too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his (Kim), and my Button works!”
At that time, it seemed that 2018 would turn out to be one of the disastrous years in the history as North Korea and US were locked in a bitter contest and were spewing nuclear threats against each other from their mouth.
However, after months of rhetoric and nuclear threats, the world on Tuesday took a sigh of relief as the two leaders shook hands and appreciated each other during the historic US-North Korea summit.
But the summit between Trump and Kim was full of twists and turns. Few days before the summit, Trump announced his shocking decision that he will not meet the North Korean leader in Singapore.
In a letter to Kim, Trump said that it would be "inappropriate" to have the long-planned meeting amid "the tremendous anger and open hostility" by North Korea.
However, the talks between the US and North Korea reignited and the summit finally took place on scheduled time and place.
Here is the chronology of key events leading to a historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un:
March 7, 2017: President Trump says the nuclear threat from North Korea has entered a “new phase”, a day after Pyongyang test-launched four ballistic missiles towards Japan.
April 26, 2017: The Trump administration briefs US Congress on its North Korea policy and releases a statement that calls for increasing sanctions pressure on North Korea and working with allies and regional partners on diplomacy.
April 27, 2017: Trump warns that a “major major” conflict with North Korea, and said that he is seeking a diplomatic solution to the issue.
May 24, 2017: Trump refers to Kim as a “madman with nuclear weapons” who could not be let to run loose.
June 1, 2017: The US imposes sanctions on individuals and entities linked to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.
July 4, 2017: Pyongyang test fires a long-range missile into the Sea of Japan, with some experts stating the missile could potentially reach Alaska, a US state located in the northwest extremity of North America.
August 9, 2017: Tension rises as North Korean threatens to fire ballistic missiles near US Pacific territory of Guam.
September 19, 2017: In his first address to the UN General Assembly, President Trump threatens to “totally destroy North Korea.”
September 21, 2017: President Trump issues an executive order imposing additional sanctions on entities that facilitate financial transactions and trade with North Korea.
September 21, 2017: Kim responds to Trump’s UN speech with an unprecedented statement under his own name, calling Trump’s behaviour “mentally deranged” and asserting that “a frightened dog barks louder.”
November 20, 2017: President Trump officially designates North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.
December 22, 2017: The UN Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 2397, imposing additional sanctions on North Korea, including cutting refined petroleum imports by nearly 90 per cent.
January 1, 2018: Kim announces in his annual New Year address that North Korea’s nuclear forces are “capable of thwarting and countering any nuclear threats from the United States”.
February 23, 2018: President Trump announces new sanctions against North Korea, targeting the country’s shipping, trading companies and vessels.
March 8, 2018: The United States and North Korea announce that their leaders plan to meet before June to discuss nuclear disarmament on the Korean peninsula.
March 25, 2018: Kim makes first visit to China to meet President Xi Jinping.
May 8, 2018: Kim makes second visit to China to meet President Xi.
May 8, 2018: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo travels to North Korea to meet Kim in preparation for the US-North Korean summit.
May 9, 2018: North Korea releases three American detainees as a goodwill gesture ahead of a possible summit between Trump and Kim.
May 10, 2018: President Trump announces he will meet Kim Jong-un on June 12 in Singapore to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
May 15, 2018: North Korea cancels talks with South Korea scheduled for the next day and threatened to cancel the Trump-Kim summit, citing discontent with US-South Korean joint military drills.
May 24, 2018: North Korea reports that it destroyed its nuclear testing site at Punggye-ri.
May 24, 2018: In a letter to Kim, Trump cancels the US-North Korean summit scheduled for June 12, citing “tremendous anger and hostility” displayed by Pyongyang.
May 25, 2018: In response to Trump’s letter, Kim Kye Gwan, North Korean first minister of foreign affairs, states that North Korea “has the intent to sit with the US side regardless of ways at any time.”
June 1, 2018: President Trump takes a U-turn and confirms that he would meet Kim for a historic summit in Singapore on June 12 and that it will be the beginning of a “process.”
June 10, 2018: Trump and Kim arrive in Singapore for the first meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.
June 11, 2018: Mike Pompeo says US is offering “unique” security guarantees to North Korea in return for a “complete, verifiable and irreversible” denuclearisation.
June 12, 2018: President Trump and North Korean leader Kim meets for a historic face-to-face summit.
(With PTI inputs)