North Korea handed over remains of those believed to be 55 U.S. servicemen who died during the Korean War. The retrieval was executed on Thursday, which marked the 65th anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement, in North Korea’s first efforts to implement the U.S.-North Korea Joint Statement declared in Singapore. Following this, there is an increasing expectation that the North’s first step toward the implementation will provide momentum to the U.S.-North Korea negotiation and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which have made little progress.
A U.S. C-17 aircraft departed the Osan Air Base in Gyeonggi Province at 5:55 a.m. Thursday local time, for the city of Wonsan in the North, carrying members of the United Nations Command Korea, as well as from the Department of Defense's POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). At 11:00 a.m., the carrier returned to the Osan Air Base with the remains of 55 cases contained in wooden boxes, under strict protection by two fighter jets.
The White House issued a statement right after the repatriation of the remains, describing North Korea’s decision and the following change as fulfilling. It also stated that this action was a significant first step toward returning the rest of the remains as well as finding around 5,300 fallen U.S. servicemen who have not yet returned home. Once the remains are tested to make sure they are Americans, a formal repatriation ceremony will be held at 5:00 p.m. local time at the Osan Air Base on Aug. 1, presided over Commander of United States Forces Korea Vincent Keith Brooks. On Thursday local time, U.S. President Donald Trump made a grateful comment on his twitter account, quoted as saying “After so many years, this will be a great moment for so many families. Thank you to Kim Jong Un.”
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