North Korea's missile program has been of particular interest to its neighbors and the United States because of its potential when combined with the secretive country's nuclear weapons program. A timeline of North Korea missile milestones since August 1998:
-Aug. 31, 1998: North Korea fires a multistage Taepodong-1 missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean.
-Sept. 13, 1999: North Korea pledges to freeze long-range missile tests.
-Sept. 2002: North Korea pledges in summit talks with Japan to extend its moratorium on missile tests beyond 2003.
-May 2004: North Korea reaffirms its missile moratorium in summit talks with Japan.
-May 2005: North Korea fires a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan.
-March 2006: North Korea fires two short-range missiles.
-May 18: Japan says North Korea moved a missile to a launch site. Media reports identify it as a Taepodong-2.
-June 7: South Korea expresses deep concern over signs North Korea may be preparing to test fire a ballistic missile.
-June 14: The U.S. ambassador to South Korea warns of American countermeasures if North Korea conducts a missile test.
-June 16: The United States says a test of a Taepodong-2 long-range missile may be imminent.
-June 18: North Korea vows to increase its "military deterrent" to cope with what it called U.S. attempts to provoke war.
-June 20: A North Korean official is quoted as saying the country is not bound by the 2002 Pyongyang Declaration moratorium on missile tests.
-June 21: U.S. President George W. Bush warns North Korea that it faces further isolation if it test fires a long-range missile.
-June 21: A North Korean diplomat in New York demands direct talks with the United States. Washington rejects the demand.
-June 28: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says North Korea should refrain from aggravating regional tensions with missile launch.
-June 29: Bush warns that a North Korean missile launch is unacceptable. Visiting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi says a launch would be followed by "various pressures."
-July 3: North Korea says it would respond to a pre-emptive U.S. military attack with an "annihilating strike and a nuclear war."
-July 5: North Korea launches a series of missiles.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.