North Korea Returns Remains of Dead US Soldiers from Korean War
The peace meeting between the US President, Donald Trump and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un seem to be paying off as the North Koreans have fulfilled their promise to return the remains of American service members who perished in the Korean War.
The remains were transferred out of North Korea on Friday fulfilling a key agreement President Trump and Chairman Kim reached during last month’s summit in Singapore.
The remains were transported in a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft and was accompanied by service members from the United Nations Command Korea, as well as experts from the Department of Defense’s POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) from Wonsan, North Korea,
The number of remains being transferred is however unknown but they will be transferred to Osan Air Base in South Korea where a formal repatriation ceremony will be held on the 1st of August after which they will be expected to be taken to the DPAA laboratory in Hawaii for proper identification.
The White House in a statement expressed gratitude to American service members who gave their lives in the defense of the country and assured the American public that the American Government was working diligently to bring the dead soldiers home.
The White House also noted that “Today’s actions represent a significant first step to recommence the repatriation of remains from North Korea and to resume field operations in North Korea to search for the estimated 5,300 Americans who have not yet returned home.”
The DPAA and North Korean officials confirm that about 200 sets of American remains had been recovered so far this year in a statement released by the agency last month.
“The commitment established within the Joint Statement between President Trump and Chairman Kim would repatriate these as was done in the early 1990s and would reinforce the humanitarian aspects of this mission,”
This gesture comes after critics expressed doubts about North Korea’s commitment to denuclearization because North Korea had shown little signs that it is prepared to or engaged in dismantling its nuclear program.
The DPAA estimates that there are 7,697 Americans unaccounted for from the Korean War of which approximately 5,300 are expected to be located in North Korea.
From 1990 to 1994, the U.S. recovered 208 caskets with as many as 400 remains contained inside of them. From 1996 to 2005, 229 additional caskets were also found and transferred.
Further search by the DPAA has also revealed that new areas have been discovered inside North Korea where remains of American soldiers are located.
About 1200 of these are believed to be in POW Camp Burial Sites and another 1,000 could be located near the DMZ. There are also believed to be 184 individual remains at a cemetery in Pyongyang.