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Ceremony marks flight carrying Korean War remains to US

04 August 2018

In late July, Pyongyang handed over the remains of dozens of U.S. soldiers who died during in the 1950-1953 Korean War. After the ceremony, the remains - now in United Nations flag-drapped coffins - were put into a military aircraft and headed to the U.S.to find relatives lost more than 65 years ago.

Friday's transfer of the remains coincided with the 65th anniversary of the 1953 armistice that ended fighting between North Korean and Chinese forces and South Korean and USA -led forces under the U.N. Command. The remains will now undergo the process of being formally identified so that they could be returned to their families.

The return of 55 sets is seen as only a first step.

"Based upon previous experiences with this type of turnover from the DPRK, most of the remains will take many months to a few years to identify", the official added using the official acronym for North Korea. Under cooperation with the United States Forces Korea, a United States cargo aircraft flew to Wonsan, North Korea, and returned to Osan Air Base with the caskets. According to a report by the Associated Press on Tuesday, there is simply no way to tell whether the remains actually belong to American soldiers killed in the three-year war that broke out on June 25, 1950.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and the commander of U.S. forces in Asia, Adm. Phil Davidson, were expected to speak at a ceremony marking the arrival of the remains on U.S. soil and the beginning of a long process to identify the bones.

That was the case with USA negotiations with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and more recently with Iran, "which continued to build more centrifuges capable of producing nuclear material even as it negotiated with the United States to limit those capabilities", Wit said. Only last summer, Trump threatened North Korea "with fire and fury", calling the nation an "extraordinary threat" to the U.S. while hinting at the possibility of military conflict.

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There an estimated 5,300 Americans who did not return home from the conflict.

The return of the presumed remains is something President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to during their summit back in June.

During the Singapore meeting, Kim also committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula while Trump promised to provide him with security assurances.

Still, the initial field forensic review indicated the "remains are what North Korea said they were", Byrd said.

The Rodong Sinmun, North Korea's official party newspaper, accused Seoul of "wasting time" waiting for sanctions to be lifted only after denuclearisation is completed, without "taking a single action" on its own.

North Korea halted nuclear and missile tests, shut down its nuclear testing site and began dismantling facilities at its rocket launch site.

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The White House said it did not comment on intelligence.

The newspaper, quoting "officials familiar with the intelligence", says North Korea is working on "one and possibly two liquid-fueled ICBMs" at its Sanumdong facility on the outskirts of Pyongyang.

Official U.S. statistics show more than 7,500 American personnel remains unaccounted for following the war. The two sides remain technically at war because a peace treaty was never signed.

Trump asserted last week that his administration's plan to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons is "going very well".

The US leader even claimed that there is no longer a nuclear threat from Pyongyang. Service members from countries including Australia, Belgium, France and the Philippines also have not been recovered from North Korea.

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Ceremony marks flight carrying Korean War remains to US