Remains said to be USA war dead repatriated from North Korea

Kim Jong Un

A US military aircraft carrying the remains of US Korean War killed in the war have been handed over by North Korea in a move praised by US President Donald Trump.

American planes retrieved the remains from Wonsan, North Korea, and will return them to Osan Air Base in South Korea.

The handover is the result of an agreement between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a June 12 summit. It will help heal the pain of so many American families who still await closure on their missing relatives from the Korean War.

"The adoption of the declaration on the termination of war is the first and foremost process in the light of ending the extreme hostility and establishing new relations between the DPRK and the USA", the North's Korean Central News Agency said in a statement on Tuesday, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

American and allied troops were on hand to greet an Air Force C-17 Globemaster as it landed with the remains at Osan - the largest US air base in the South - under fighter-jet escort at 11 a.m.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Kim Yong Chol, right, a North Korean senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief, meet at the Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, July 6, 2018.

US forensic specialists in Osan would then conduct a more in-depth assessment of the remains and any military uniforms, identification tags or documentation, a process that could take up to five days, followed by a formal military ceremony at the airfield. It was accompanied by servicemembers from United Nations Command and technical experts from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

The repatriation of remains could be followed by stronger North Korean demands for fast-tracked discussions to formally end the war, which was stopped with an armistice and not a peace treaty.

North Korea's state media says that ending the war is an important first step because of the history of extreme hostility on the border.

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More than 7,000 soldiers are listed as missing from the Korean War, with around 5,300 believed to be in the North.

Pyongyang returned the remains which were flown to a United States base in South Korea, a first step by the country to keeping a promise made in Singapore.

Kim committed in a broad summit statement to work towards denuclearisation but Pyongyang has offered no details.

Washington has maintained Pyongyang wouldn't get sanctions relief and significant security and economic rewards unless it firmly commits to a process of completely and verifiably eliminating its nuclear weapons.

Earlier I'd asked Korean War veterans from the United States and the UK what this meant to them. At a press conference, Trump said he wanted to stop USA military exercises with South Korea and eventually withdraw U.S. troops - something Pyongyang has been demanding for years. Between 1990 and 2005, Pyongyang transferred 229 sets of remains to the United States but stopped doing so as relations with Washington deteriorated over North Korea's nuclear program. According to Vincent Brooks, US Commander of US Forces in Korea, nearly a year has passed without North Korea conducting a nuclear test.

Pompeo said North Korea had begun to dismantle a missile test site, something Kim also promised in Singapore, and called it "a good thing, steps forward".

But the return of USA remains was one of four points actually listed in that June declaration and comes on the 65th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the 1950-1953 Korean War. Washington halted those operations, citing concerns about the safety of its personnel as Pyongyang stepped up its nuclear programme.

It's unclear how many remains are being transported out of North Korea; the White House said an estimated 5,300 Americans have not yet been brought home.

From 1996 to 2005, joint U.S.

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