PYEONGTAEK, South Korea – On Friday, the day 55 US North Korean troops flown out, the first visible result of President Trump's efforts to bring home the American war, 65 years after the end of the struggle, is the Korean War
"We are encouraged by North Korea's actions and momentum for positive change," the White House said with the announcement of the transfer.
A cargo plane of the C-17 Globemaster of the US Air Force, which carried the remains, later landed at Osan Air Base south of Seoul, the South Korean capital. Hundreds of American soldiers and a guard of honor lined up on the tarmac to mark the return of the fallen troops.
Osan Air Base Releases the Remains to Hawaii-based US POW / MIA Accounting Agency Careful forensic work is performed to identify them. Remnants that have been returned from North Korea in the past have been mixed with those of unidentified individuals and even animal bones.
Following the return of the remnants, President Trump thanked Kim Jong-un, North Korea's leader, who threatened less than a year ago with the United States his "nuclear button".
The Korean War was halted with a ceasefire signed 65 years ago on Friday. But thousands of American troops killed in North Korea were not sent back because the war was never formally concluded with a peace treaty and North Korea and the United States have no diplomatic relations.
The remains were flown out Friday was the first to be handed over between 1996 and 2005 since the joint deployment of American military and North Korean workers. The group collected the remains of probably 220 American soldiers.
But since then, the Pentagon's efforts have begun to roll in. The American war-torn home has been overshadowed by tensions over the North's nuclear weapons program.
A breakthrough came when Mr. Trump held summit meeting with Mr. Kim in Singapore on June 12th. Mr. Kim began work on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and promised to return the remains of American troops, beginning with those that had already been captured and identified.
Mr. Trump claimed last month that the North Koreans have "already returned the remnants of our great heroes or are in the process of sending them back." He also boasted that North Korea's nuclear crisis had been "largely solved." Denuclearization in North Korea and the return of American remains have been slower than Washington hoped.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the North Korean capital Pyongyang this month to urge North Korea to continue with Mr. Kim's commitments. North Korea soon accused the United States of providing a "one-sided and gangster-like demand for denuclearization," but failed to provide appropriate American incentives to improve relations.
North Korea and the United States still need to agree on a detailed roadmap for achieving what Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump both identified as their common goal: the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" and the creation of a new bilateral relationship.
Nevertheless, during recent talks with American officials over the border between North and South Korea, the North reaffirms its commitment to return some remains. In addition, its representatives agreed to resume joint North Korean searches at major battlefields in the north to recover further remains.
More than 36,000 American soldiers died in the Korean War. Of them, about 7,700 people are excluded, including 5,300 who died in the north of the country.
Washington considers the return of the remains an important gesture of goodwill as it considers improving relations with North Korea in the event of a nuclear disaster. North Korea has recently begun to dismantle a missile test site, as Mr Trump said, Mr Kim promised that he would do so during their summit meeting.