WASHINGTON: Since the end of the Korean War, the United States and North Korea have relations marked by high tension and periodic, but short-lived, thaws. Here is a recap of their troubled history.
A divided Korean peninsula
In 1945, the Japanese occupation of Korea comes to an end with the Japanese defeat at the end of World War II. Korea is divided along the 38th parallel between the Soviet-backed regime of Kim il-Sung in the North and a South protected by the United States.
In June 1930, North Korea invades the South with the help of China and the Soviet Union. A coalition led by the United States retakes Seoul. In July 1953, an armistice -- not a full-fledged peace treaty -- is signed and Washington imposes sanctions on Pyongyang.
Pueblo spy ship crisis
In January 1968, the USS Pueblo, a spy ship, is captured by North Korea. After being held 11 months, its 83 crew members are released. According to Pyongyang, the ship violated its territorial waters, a charge the United States denies.
In October, three months after the death of Kim il-Sung and his succession by his son Kim Jong-Il, Pyongyang and Washington sign a bilateral agreement. North Korea commits to freeze and dismantle its military nuclear program in exchange for the construction of civilian reactors.
In 1999, a year after its first test of a long-range ballistic missile, Kim Jong-Il declared a moratorium on missile tests and Washington eased sanctions.
In October 2000, US secretary of state Madeleine Albright meets Kim Jong-Il in Pyongyang.
Axis of Evil
In January 2002, US president George W. Bush labels North Korea, along with Iran and Iraq, as part of an "axis of evil." In October, Washington accuses Pyongyang of conducting a secret uranium enrichment program in violation of the 1994 nuclear agreement.
In August 2004, North Korea declares it is impossible to participate in a new nuclear program with the United States, attacking Bush as a "tyrant" worse than Hitler and a "political imbecile."
In 2006, Pyongyang conducts its first nuclear test.
Off the US blacklist
In October 2008, the United States withdraws North Korea from its blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism in return for controls on all Pyongyang´s nuclear installations. Pyongyang had been on the blacklist since 1988 due to its suspected involvement in the bombing of a South Korean airliner in 1987 that killed 115 people.
In January 2016, an American student Otto Wambier is arrested and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for stealing a propaganda poster. He died in June 2017, one week after being repatriated in a coma. Numerous Americans have been held for years before being repatriated. Three are currently detained there.
Trump vs Kim
On January 2, 2017, US President-elect Donald Trump says that North Korea will never be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon capable of reaching US territory.
In July, North Korea conducts two intercontinental ballistic missile tests. Kim declares: "The entire US territory is now within our ICBM range."
On August 8, Trump threatens "fire and fury" if Pyongyang continues to threaten the United States.
On August 29, Pyongyang sents a ballistic missile over Japan. The US president says, "Talking is not the answer," although his defense secretary does not rule out diplomacy.
September 3, North Korea carries out its sixth nuclear test, announcing a "perfect test" of a hydrogen bomb that can be mounted on a missile.