US Korean War dead heading home at last

Minnie Murray
August 3, 2018

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence is flying to Hawaii on Wednesday to receive 55 boxes of bones recently handed over by North Korea.

When North Korea delivered the remains to members of the United Nations Command in Korea on Jul. 27, the coffins were wrapped in UN flags, Efe reported. They knew their service member was lost over in North Korea and that their remains are potentially still over there.

"He always told us that the real heroes of the Korean War were the ones who didn't get to come home", Pence said.

The two sides are expected to discuss a possible cut in firearms and personnel stationed at the DMZ, as well as a joint excavation of the remains of soldiers killed in the 1950 to 1953 Korean War.

On Wednesday, the U.S. military held a repatriation ceremony at Osan air base in South Korea, where the boxes had arrived the previous week. I just think that we are now we are going to start the process of denuclearization of North Korea, and I believe that he's going back and will start it virtually immediately, and he's already indicated that and you look at what he's done.

Still, an initial field forensic review indicated the "remains are what North Korea said they were", John Byrd, director of analysis for the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, told reporters at an air base in South Korea before the remains were flown to Hawaii. More than 3,000 were initially recovered in 1954 in what the USA military called "Operation Glory".

According to the USA official who spoke to Reuters, one photo showed a truck and covered trailer similar to those the North has used to move its ICBMs.

The remains are believed to belong to servicemen from the US and other United Nations member countries who fought alongside the USA during the Korean War.

The department left open the possibility that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo could meet North Korean officials during meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc in Singapore this weekend.

It is unclear how the USA has already determined they are likely to be American.

Generals from the rival Koreas met Tuesday at their shared border for talks on easing their countries' decades-long military standoff, the second such meeting since their leaders held a landmark summit in April and pledged to reduce the danger of another war on the peninsula.

The remains are being repatriated as part of a historic agreement last month between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Efforts to recover remains in North Korea have faced political and other barriers.

The Sanumdong factory produced two Hwasong-15 ICBMs, North Korea's longest-range missiles, but the United States official noted that Pyongyang still had not tested a reliable re-entry vehicle capable of surviving a high-velocity trip through the Earth's atmosphere and delivering a nuclear warhead. The 55 transfer cases were formerly sent to North Korea on July 20.

Trump declared soon afterward that North Korea no longer posed a nuclear threat. "These types of things tell us that there are steps that still must be taken on the road to denuclearization", Brooks said.

North Korea did not take any information on where the remains were found or what items were nearby, which would have helped the DPAA in the identification process.

US spy agencies are seeing signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country's first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, according to officials familiar with the intelligence.

More than 7,600 American servicemembers remain missing from the three-year war, which ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

The officials who spoke to the Post said the evidence doesn't show that North Korea is growing its nuclear potential, but that it is still working on constructing modern weapons.

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