North Korea returns remains of soldiers missing since Korean War

Posted July 27, 2018

Mr Trump met Kim Jong-un in Singapore on 12 June, where the USA said the North Korean leader had agreed to totally get rid of his nuclear weapons.

"Our objective remains the final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea, as agreed to by Chairman Kim Jong-un".

Repatriation of American remains from the 1950-53 conflict was part of the agreement signed between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at their landmark summit in Singapore last month.

"Today, the Chairman is fulfilling part of the commitment he made to the President to return our fallen American service members", the White House statement said.

The White House statement said the U.S. government was "encouraged by North Korea's actions and the momentum for positive change". Between 1990 and 2005, Pyongyang transferred 229 sets of remains to the United States but stopped doing so as relations with Washington deteriorated over North Korea's nuclear program. After the Japanese surrender, the Soviet Union occupied the area north of the 38th parallel and the United States occupied the area south until 1948. That's because now, South Korea is also on board for such a deal. North Korean veterans of the war, which left more than 1.2 million dead, will gather in Pyongyang for a conference. This means that the Korean War is still technically ongoing, 68 years later.

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Officials from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in Hawaii were expected to be in South Korea to assist with the return of the remains.

Friday is the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement.

After the historic summit, Mr Trump tweeted that "there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea", but in recent days he has faced criticism about the lack of clear progress towards denuclearisation.

Citing diplomatic sources in Seoul, Yonhap News Agency reported that North Korea has apparently received 100 wooden caskets from the transfer of the remains.

Nevertheless, Friday's repatriation will likely be seen as a concrete goodwill gesture after years of efforts by relatives and U.S. authorities to retrieve the remains. After several meetings, and at least one in which North Korean officials simply failed to meet their American counterparts, American officials reportedly feel confident the transfer will happen.

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According to Fox, American officials are expecting the return of 55 sets of remains from North Korea on Friday.

Earlier this month Trump reiterated his faith in Kim Jong-un via Twitter.

The statement did not say how many remains were returned.

Pyongyang has nevertheless expressed its willingness to allow the resumption of joint search missions in the country to retrieve more remains.

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