Remains of foreign soldiers 'likely to be American': US agency

Larry Hoffman
August 2, 2018

The good news, from Trump's standpoint, is that it will take years to definitively identify the remains.

If North Korea's Kim Jong Un wants to attend the 2018 Asian Games, he need not worry, according to Indonesian envoys in Pyongyang this week.

"For the warrior, this is a cherished duty, a commitment made to one another before going into battle and passed on from one generation of warriors to the next", said U.S. General Vincent Brooks, top commander of U.S. and United Nations forces in South Korea.

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

Other officials and analysts said North Korea's continued work on missile technology was unsurprising as Kim made no firm promises to Mr Trump during their meeting.

Once the boxes are in DPAA custody, the first step will be to inventory them to determine whether the remains are those of Americans, Duus said.

The last time United States military men or women were on the ground to teach for remains was 2005.

The Pentagon estimates that almost 7,700 US troops are unaccounted for from the war; among them are 5,300 believed to have been killed north of the 38th parallel, which largely follows the boundary between North and South Korea.

"Many of the fallen service members died in North Korea and were buried by their comrades where they fell", said the DOD in a press release.

More than 35,000 Americans were killed on the Korean peninsula during the 1950-1953 war, with 7,700 of these USA troops still listed as missing in action - a lot of them in North Korea.

According to a statement issued by the Indonesian Embassy in Pyongyang, Kim Yong-nam expressed his appreciation towards President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo for Indonesia's support of peace efforts on the Korean Peninsula.

"Our science has also improved exponentially in recent years, so our DNA analysts can now make a more complete identification with less DNA", she said, "which does help offset the age of some of the remains".

The Trump administration has hailed the repatriation as a significant goodwill gesture even as efforts toward persuading the North to abandon its nuclear weapons have faltered.

Ahn Ik-san, the general leading the North Korean delegation at the military talks, noted South Korean news reports suggesting that he might try to persuade the South to push for a joint declaration with the USA to formally end the war.

Of the roughly 7,700 missing USA service members from the Korean War, approximately 5,300 are believed to be on North Korean soil.

The chief South Korean delegate, Maj. Pyongyang has appeared open to discussions surrounding its status as a nuclear state following meetings with both South Korea and the United States. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged during Senate testimony last week that North Korean factories "continue to produce fissile material" used in making nuclear weapons. Trump has spoken frequently about the desire to have as many remains of American service members returned as possible.

But Washington then halted the program citing concerns about the safety of its personnel as Pyongyang stepped up its nuclear program.

Still, experts see North Korea´s return of the remains as an important gesture.

Denyer reported from Tokyo.

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