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North Korea Transfers Remains of Korean War Soldiers

North Korea Transfers Remains of Korean War Soldiers

Thursday, 26 July 2018 10:29 PM

Breaking:

North Korea transferred the remains of an unspecified number of soldiers killed in the Korean War, the White House said on Thursday, a first step by Pyongyang to implement an agreement made in a landmark summit in June in Singapore.

The repatriation of remains of U.S. soldiers missing in the 1950-53 conflict is seen as a modest diplomatic coup for U.S. President Donald Trump because it was one of the agreements reached during his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12.

"Today, (Kim) is fulfilling part of the commitment he made to the President to return our fallen American service members. We are encouraged by North Korea's actions and the momentum for positive change," the White House said in a statement.

A U.S. military transport plane flew to an airfield in North Korea's northeastern city of Wonsan to bring the remains to Osan air base in South Korea, the statement said.

A formal repatriation ceremony would be held at Osan on Wednesday, it said.

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.

The pledge to transfer war remains was seen as a goodwill gesture by Kim at the June summit and, while it has taken longer than some U.S. officials had hoped, the handover will rekindle hopes for progress in nuclear talks.

Kim committed in a broad summit statement to work toward denuclearization but Pyongyang has offered no details about how it might go about this.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said the return of the remains could boost the momentum for the nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

More than 7,700 U.S. troops who fought in the Korean War remain unaccounted for, with about 5,300 of those lost in what is now North Korea.

Earlier story:

A US aircraft flew to North Korea Friday to collect the remains of American troops killed in the Korean War, the South's Yonhap news agency reported, the latest step in ongoing diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang.

North Korea is expected to hand over the remains of a number of U.S. service members who were killed during the Korean War on Friday, the 65th anniversary of the armistice that ended the fighting, according to reports in South Korean media.

That exchange would mean that one part of the agreement reached between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore last month has been partially fulfilled — albeit more slowly than many had anticipated.

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.

The US military transport plane took off from the Osan Air Base in South Korea at 5:55 am local time (2055 GMT Thursday), Yonhap said, citing a Seoul government source.

The aircraft's destination was the Kalma airport in North Korea's eastern city of Wonsan, the agency added.

"It is believed to have landed there an hour later," the official was quoted as saying. "It will return (to South Korea) today."

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that the repatriations will begin soon, but did not confirm media reports about the first transfer of some 50 sets of remains.

The South Korean official cited by Yonhap said it was unclear how many sets of remains will be returned on Thursday.

US defence officials are expected to examine the remains in South Korea before sending them on for forensic identification in Hawaii, the agency added.

More than 35,000 Americans were killed on the Korean Peninsula during the war, out of which around 7,700 are still considered missing, including 5,300 in North Korea alone, according to the Pentagon.

Between 1990 and 2005, 229 sets of remains from the North were repatriated, but those operations were suspended when ties deteriorated over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

© AFP 2019

   
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A US aircraft flew to North Korea Friday to collect the remains of American troops killed in the Korean War, the South's Yonhap news agency reported, the latest step in ongoing diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang.North Korea is expected to hand over the remains of a...
us, war, remains, north korea, trump, kim, deal
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2018-29-26
Thursday, 26 July 2018 10:29 PM
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