As part of a follow-up measure for the Singapore Agreement signed by the United States and North Korea, the North is planning to return the remains of U.S. soldiers missing during the Korean War. The remains of some 200 U.S. servicemen are expected to be returned to their home country in about 70 years as early as this week.
“North Korea will return the remains of U.S. servicemen pretty soon,” President Moon Jae-in said in a joint press conference with Russian media Wednesday, a day before his visit to Russia. “I hope working-level negotiations between the United States and North Korea will begin soon.” Meanwhile, Reuters earlier reported that North Korea would hand over the remains to United Nations Command in South Korea, and they would then be transferred to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.” According to ABC, the North is “expected to return remains of up to 200 U.S. service members.”
It has been 11 years and two month since the remains of six U.S. soldiers were returned through Panmunjom in April 2007. Some speculate that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Pyongyang once again as a special envoy given that this is the largest number of remains since 1993 when the remains of 148 soldiers were returned to the United States. “Another high-level talks between Washington and Pyongyang could happen when the North hands over the remains to the United States,” a South Korean government official said.
Eyes are on whether the returning of the remains would accelerate the denuclearization negotiation process. Some point out that North Korea is trying to buy some time by using its typical “Salami tactics,” where it first takes measures to pacify the United States, such as releasing detainees and handing over the remains of U.S. soldiers instead of setting out concrete measures to denuclearize.
Na-Ri Shin email@example.com