HEROES RETURN: Trump Thanks Kim for Returning Remains of US Soldiers

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho addresses the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Friday Sept. 23 2016

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

The Defense Department agency that accounts for missing American service members from past wars hopes to negotiate the resumption of joint operations to recover remains in North Korea, an official said Thursday, calling such efforts a "sacred obligation".

US officials have been closely watching North Korea's willingness to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

It's too early to know how many people are inside the boxes, John E. Byrd, a government scientist who oversees the laboratory examining the remains, told reporters Thursday.

McKeague said that DPAA has a DNA database from 92 percent of the families of the estimated 7,700 USA service members still listed as missing from the 1950-53 Korean War and DNA comparisons with the remains from the 55 cases would begin shortly.


United States Vice President Mike Pence (L) pays respects as a military honor guard carries the remains of american soldiers repatriated from North Korea after arriving to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu, Hawaii, Aug. 1, 2018. "We couldn't be sure how many individuals were in each box". About 5,300 were lost in what is now North Korea. As I said today, we saw this promise kept by North Korea as evidence of the progress that we are making and we continue to remain hopeful that we will achieve the aim that's eluded the world for decades - a nuclear free Korean peninsula.

In addition, the 55 transfer cases handed over by the North Koreans contained equipment associated with the American military, such as boots, canteens, buttons and buckles, Byrd said. USA officials say they have already contacted the family of a service member whose dog tag was returned.

Another method of identification was through chest x-rays that were on file for those who served in the Korean War, McKeague said.

"They had been very carefully packaged with padding and packaging that was done to I think a very high standard", Byrd said in a video call from Hawaii, where the DPAA has a large lab. The remains will immediately be subjected to DNA testing to see if they match DNA in the DPAA's database.

The Pentagon said last week it was considering the possibility of sending personnel to North Korea to search for additional remains.

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