The United States and North Korea will jointly conduct searches for the remains of U.S. service members who died in North Korea during the Korean War, after the search program was suspended in 2005. During the general officer level meeting held on Monday in Panmunjom, the two sides agreed to resume the searches. They will gather on Tuesday to have follow-up talks to detail the next working level measures.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement after the Panmunjom meeting that both sides agreed to resume field operations in North Korea to search for the estimated 5,300 U.S. service members who never returned home. Pompeo also remarked that the two sides would start working level talks on Monday (local time) to coordinate following measures, including the transfer of the remains that have been already collected in North Korea.
Regarding the meeting, Pompeo said in the statement, “Today’s talks were productive and cooperative and resulted in firm commitments,” adding that the meeting aimed to fulfill one of the commitments made by Chairman Kim at the Singapore Summit. The Secretary of State, however, did not make any remarks about the end-of-war declaration.
An official at the Trump administration was quoted by CNN on Sunday (local time) as saying that the two sides are cooperating to transfer the remains of those who are assumed to be around 200 U.S. soldiers in the next 14 to 21 days. Some say that there is a possibility that the remains already collected will be returned to the United States around July 27, which marks the 65th anniversary of the Korean War ceasefire.
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