Last week, North Korea handed over what is believed to be the remains of 55 US soldiers who died during the 1950-1953 Korean War, following through on an agreement made between the two leaders at their historic Singapore Summit in June.
"Thank you to Chairman Kim Jong Un for keeping your word & starting the process of sending home the remains of our great and beloved missing fallen!" Late Wednesday, he addressed Chairman Kim in a tweet, saying he was "not at all surprised that you took this kind action".
In July, he revealed the full contents of another letter from Kim on Twitter.
Last June, Trump thanked Jong Un for returning the remains of 200 US service members.
Still, an initial field forensic review indicated the "remains are what North Korea said they were", John Byrd, director of analysis for the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, told reporters at an air base in South Korea before the remains were flown to Hawaii. The agency has DNA samples from 92 percent of the families of the almost 7,700 Americans still missing from the Korean War.More news: Oil prices inch up amid concerns about trade disputes, geopolitical tensions
Friday's transfer of the remains on the Korean Peninsula coincided with the 65th anniversary of the 1953 armistice that ended fighting between North Korean and Chinese forces and South Korean and US -led forces under the U.N. Command.
A USA defense official told VOA North Korea has provided nearly no information to help identify the individuals, and that the process could take months or years to complete.
Both McKeague and Byrd expressed hope that North Korea would allow the resumption of joint U.S.
"The world demanded that they (North Korea) do so in the U.N. Security Council resolutions". The return coincided with the 65th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.
He said samples from the remains would be sent to the Armed Forces Identification Laboratories at Dover Air Force Base in DE to begin the DNA process. Byrd said he couldn't say how long it would take to make a first identification or identify all of the remains. The two sides remain technically at war because a peace treaty was never signed. "But we'll see what happens", Trump said. The last time North Korea handed over remains, in 2007, the country transferred six boxes, out of which seven individuals were identified, he said.
The United States and North Korea conducted joint searches from 1996 until 2005, when Washington halted the operations, citing concerns about the safety of its personnel as Pyongyang stepped up its nuclear programme.