USA says remains returned by North Korea likely American

Clay Curtis
August 3, 2018

But North Korea provided only a single military dog tag with the 55 boxes.

The United States said during a solemn ceremony on Wednesday the human remains presumably included Americans killed in the Korean War and thanked North Korea for making good on its pledge to hand them over.

Each set of remains, in a coffin draped with a United Nations flag, was carried by six service members to a vehicle and loaded onto the C-17s and flown to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickham, where they will be identified at a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency lab.

Some 5,300 of those are believed to have been lost in North Korea, which is separated from the South by one of the world's most fortified borders.

Former DPAA official Jeong Yang-seung, who previously worked on identifying U.S. remains from the North, said it was unusual to locate dog tags during the search and recovery process.

The identification process does not prove the bones belong to one person, but rather that they could not belong to anybody else, Cole said.

The remains will go to a lab in Hawaii run by the military agency that identifies missing servicemen and women from past conflicts.

It could be hard to find out if the remains are even American military members.

They were greeted in Hawaii by Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris, and other senior U.S. officials.

About 7,700 USA soldiers are listed as missing from the 1950-53 Korean War and about 5,300 of the remains are believed to still be in North Korea.

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So we got our hostages back, but they've blown up one of their sites, one of their testing sites, their primary testing site, in fact some people say their only testing site, they are getting rid of a missile, which isn't in the document, that was done afterwards, they're getting rid of a missile testing site - they're doing so much now.

"UNC never leaves troops behind, living or deceased, and will continue the mission of repatriation until every service member returns home", it added. Trump thanked Kim for the return. In return, Trump canceled large US military exercises with South Korea and promised Kim unspecified security assurances.

This spring, however, Trump took a vastly different approach in his dealings with his North Korean counterpart, leading to the "epochal" summit in Singapore in which North Korean denuclearization was agreed upon.

Late last month, the Post reported that new intelligence gathered after the summit suggest North Korea's real plan was to simply lie about denuclearization and hold on to its nukes.

Joel Wit, a former State Department negotiator and founder of 38 North, a North Korea monitoring project, said it was unrealistic to expect North Korea to stop its programs "until the ink is dry on an agreement". But examination showed that the remains were from more than 208 individuals.

The bones' return was part of an agreement reached during a June summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Intelligence officials told the Post that trucks and shipping containers can be seen at the facility.

DPAA deputy director Rear Admiral Jon Kreitz said he saw the remains transfer as an important step that will lead to more recovery operations in North Korea.

Scientists will extract DNA and compare it to DNA samples collected from families of troops still missing from the war.

More than 7,600 American servicemembers remain missing from the three-year war, which ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty. North Korea has steadfastly argued its nuclear weapons are meant to neutralize alleged USA plans to attack it.

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