Published: Fri, July 27, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

North Korea Hands Over Remains of U.S. Soldiers From Korean War

North Korea Hands Over Remains of U.S. Soldiers From Korean War

It was not immediately clear how many remains had been handed over to the USA, though South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported Thursday that it was about 50.

The United Nations Command (UNC) in South Korea said 55 sets of remains were on board the plane.

Kim Jong-un agreed to "denuclearisation" in his summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore last month.

About 7,700 USA soldiers are listed as missing from the Korean War, and 5,300 of the remains are believed to still be in North Korea. 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.

An American military plane flew into North Korea on Friday and left with the remains of USA troops who were killed during the Korean War, the White House says.

The C-17 had left Osan Air Base earlier Friday to fly to the city of Wonsan, North Korea, before completing the return journey, the White House said in a statement.

The statement made clear that "the fundamental method to prevent such serious situations from taking place is for the North and the United States to scrap the armistice treaty as soon as possible and declare an end to the war".

Trump claimed last month that the North Koreans had "already sent back, or are in the process of sending back, the remains of our great heroes".

Menendez, the ranking member of the committee, called Trump's meeting with Kim "a reality TV "summit" that was little more than a photo-op with a brutal dictator".

The transfer of the remains coincided with the 65th anniversary of the 1953 armistice agreement that ended fighting, although the two Koreas are technically still at war because a peace treaty was never signed.

U.S. forensic specialists are to conduct a more in-depth assessment of the remains as well as an examination of any military uniform, identification tags or documentation at Osan Air Base.

But Yonhap reported Thursday that the North would begin returning the remains. Officials have bristled, however, at criticism from the USA that it seeks to profit from the repatriations by demanding excessive fees for handling and transporting the remains.

"It symbolises North Korea wants to work with the outside world, but without making any significant concessions on things that are more important, such as nuclear weapons".

Recent reports that North Korea had started dismantling a rocket test site are consistent with a commitment made by Kim at the summit but it must go further and fully denuclearize, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday.

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

Yonhap, citing an unidentified diplomatic source, said on Thursday North Korea had accepted the caskets, which were carried in two trucks, and was expected to transfer the remains on Friday. Its officials also agreed to resume joint U.S.

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