Global

Pence receives Korean War remains in somber ceremony

Pence receives Korean War remains in somber ceremony

Each container of remains was accompanied by one Marine, one sailor, one sailor and one airman as part of an Honorable Carry Ceremony.

The fallen servicemen were escorted by military honour guards weeks after the United States president received a commitment from the North Korean dictator for their return.

United Nations Command held a repatriation ceremony there Wednesday before the remains were loaded on a plane bound for Hawaii.

The cases were examined by American experts who concluded they were likely to be American, and likely Korean War combatants.

The Kaakimaka family provided DNA samples to the US military's Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency over a decade ago, hoping officials would be able to make a match. Scientists will extract DNA and compare it to DNA samples collected from families of troops still missing from the war.

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

The Department of Defense is beginning the long and hard task of identifying the remains turned over to the United States from North Korea. But it could be weeks or years before the identities of any Americans are confirmed.

During their meeting in Singapore, the first ever between sitting leaders of their respective countries, both Kim and Trump committed to recovering the remains of USA service members who died during the Korean War and whose bodies were never found. "Today, our boys are coming home", Pence said.

US President Donald Trump thanked North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for handing over the remains of dozens of US soldiers who died during the Korean War, adding that he received a "nice letter" from Kim and hopes to see him soon. Some of them, including Australia, Belgium, France and the Philippines, are yet to recover some of their war dead from North Korea. "So, this is an worldwide effort to bring closure for those families". He said that hopefully the most recent set of remains will lead to more information about those who are missing.

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

As part of ongoing negotiations to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, Kim agreed to return the remains of some US troops.

Pence said Trump was grateful Kim kept his word.

"Today we proved these heroes were never forgotten", he said.

The senior State Department official, speaking to reporters to preview a trip by Pompeo to Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia this week, declined to comment when asked whether Pompeo would meet North Korean officials while in Singapore for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this weekend.

Appearing before the Senate Foreign Relation Committee in late July, Pompeo acknowledged that North Korean factories "continue to produce fissile material" used in making nuclear weapons.

The reports about new rocket development come after ongoing disclosures about a speculated uranium advancement office, called Kangson, that North Korea is working in mystery.

The ministry said last week it plans to reduce guard posts and equipment along the heavily fortified border as an initial step.


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