US Welcomes Remains Of War Dead Soldiers From North Korea

US Welcomes Remains Of War Dead Soldiers From North Korea

Kerry Wise
August 3, 2018

A USA airman stands guard next to caskets containing remains of US soldiers killed in the Korean War and collected in North Korea before a repatriation ceremony at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018.

Vice President Pence said on Wednesday during a ceremony in Hawaii that the return of the remains is a sign of "tangible progress in our efforts to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula".

Both McKeague and Byrd expressed hope that North Korea would allow the resumption of joint U.S.

The latest letter from Kim arrived on the heels of concerns over North Korea's ballistic missile program and commitment to denuclearization.

It also reported that North Korean officials have discussed how they plan to deceive the United States about the size of their arsenal of missiles and nuclear warheads and facilities.

When Pyongyang handed over 55 sets of remains last month, North Korean officials included written information about where the bones had been found, providing researchers with vital clues. Byrd said he couldn't say how long it would take to make a first identification or identify all of the remains.

The return of the remains was one of Mr. Trump's conditions reached during the leaders' summit in June.

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More than 5,300 U.S. troops are still missing in North Korea.

The returned remains are associated with the fight at what was called the "Frozen Chosin" for the sub-zero temperatures in which Marine and Army units fought their way out of encirclement by Chinese forces and were evacuated by sea, said Dr. John Byrd, a forensic anthropologist.

Byrd cautioned that the 55 boxes did not necessarily equate to the remains of 55 individuals.

"Everything we saw was consistent with these remains, indeed, being from the Korean War, and consistent with these remains being good candidates to be missing Americans from the Korean War", said Byrd.

Many nations fought in the Korean War, but war artifacts that came with the remains - such as buttons, belts, canteens and boots - point to the bones being American, he said. US officials say they have already contacted the family of a service member whose dog tag was returned.

Lab officials also will check to see whether any teeth are among the remains, and if so, compare them with a database of dental records of service members missing from the Korean War.