US welcomes home remains of presumed war dead from North Korea


Vice President Mike Pence, whose father fought in the Korean War, was scheduled to attend an "honorable carry ceremony" at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to mark the arrival of the remains on US soil.

Vice President Pence will take part in an Honorable Carry Ceremony for the remains when they arrive on Wednesday.

The remains were retrieved by a US military aircraft from a seaside city in North Korea and brought to Osan Air Base outside of Seoul.

A USA soldier saluted during a repatriation ceremony for the remains of US soldiers killed in the Korean War and collected in North Korea, at the Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Wednesday.

Questions have arisen over Pyongyang's commitment to denuclearize after USA spy satellite material detected renewed activity at the North Korean factory that produced the country's first intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the United States.

The United Nations Command repatriated 55 cases of soldier remains returned by North Korea last Thursday.

Mr Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and agreed to a pledge to "work towards" the "denucleariaation" of the Korean Peninsula.

DPAA spokeswoman Kristen Duus told NPR's Ailsa Chang, "We find remains very frequently that don't always have ID tags with them".

U.S. spy satellites have detected renewed activity at a North Korean nuclear missile factory, according to a senior United States official.

"With these 55 sets of remains that are being repatriated, there was one single soldier's dog tag", NPR's Anthony Kuhn reported from the Osan Air Base.

About 5,300 were lost in what is now North Korea.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency will take the remains to a lab on the base where forensic anthropologists will study bones and teeth to identify their race, gender and age.

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The Korean War, which took place from 1950 to 1953, killed 36,000 American soldiers, and about 7,700 are listed as missing.

The US secretary of state will also focus on another major regional flashpoint at the forum - rival claims in the South China Sea and China's growing presence there.

The remains were then moved in gray vans to an airfield where United States and South Korean soldiers loaded them one by one into transport planes.

"Whosoever emerges from these aircraft today begins a new season of hope for the families of our missing fallen", Pence said.

The repatriation is a breakthrough in a long-stalled U.S. effort to obtain war remains from North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also vowed during his separate summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore in June to work toward denuclearization, but there has been no concrete agreement to accomplish that goal.

Trump told the rally that had a good relationship with Kim.

"It's a sign that they want to improve relations with us. and certainly for the families it's significant", Joel Wit, founder of the respected 38 North organization that monitors North Korea, told AFP. -North Korea joint efforts resulted in the recovery of 229 containers of remains.

On the issue of sanctions, however, Trump has been adamant, stressing on numerous occasions that North Korea should not expect an easing of restrictions any time soon.

Why are USA remains in North Korea? Additionally, it became apparent in the days after the summit that the much-publicized destruction of the DPRK's primary nuclear weapons test site, an event it had invited American and other global journalists to witness, was much less than met the eye and that the site could easily be rebuilt if needed in the future.

F-16s flew in formation over the ceremony to honor the missing soldiers who fought in the Korean War, before each casket was brought in by a van - six caskets at a time. But many experts say those are neither irrevocable nor serious steps that could show the country is honest about denuclearization.

The Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.