US says remains returned by North Korea likely American

by Abel Hampton August 2, 2018, 1:55
US says remains returned by North Korea likely American

North Korea appears to be building new ballistic missiles despite recent warming ties with the Trump administration and pledges to denuclearise, reports say.

The State Department said the administration still believes Mr. Kim was honest in his commitment to move toward abandoning his country's nuclear weapons when he met in early June with Mr. Trump in Singapore.

The remains were then moved in gray vans to an airfield where US and South Korean soldiers loaded them one by one into transport planes.

Dr. John Byrd, director of scientific analysis for DPAA, told reporters Wednesday at Osan that the agency has completed a two-day field forensic review and determined that the remains are human and "are likely to be American remains".

Richard Downes, whose father, Air Force Lt. Hal Downes, is among the Korean War missing, says this turnover of remains, having drawn worldwide attention, has the potential to put the USA back on track to finding and eventually identifying many more.

A USA defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the AP that it could take months or years to identify the remains. The U.S. official who discussed aspects of the return of the 55 boxes on condition of anonymity said the U.S.is considering the possibility of including South Korea in future searches for remains in North Korea.

The Games' opening ceremony is August 18, which leaves Kim, who has launched a series of diplomatic engagements in 2018, only a few weeks to decide whether to attend the event that will bring the teams of North and South Korea together.

The purported remains of Americans who died in the Korean War are on their way to Hawaii, where they'll be analyzed in hopes of providing a new sense of closure for families who lost loved ones in the war that ended with a cease-fire in 1953.

The Pentagon said it's "absolutely" considering sending US personnel to North Korea to search for more missing Americans. US intelligence agencies in recent months increased their estimates of the size of North Korea's nuclear arsenal, taking into account enriched uranium from at least one secret enrichment site.

A C-17 containing remains of fallen service members departed Wonsan, North Korea, on Thursday Hawaii time headed to South Korea and accompanied by United Nations Command Korea officials and technical experts from the accounting agency to preliminarily examine the remains. There were estimated 5,300 Americans who did not return home from the conflict.

As the Washington Post reports, the new missiles don't necessarily show an expansion of North Korea's missile program, but they do indicate that since Trump stated that the authoritarian state was "no longer a nuclear threat", North Korea has continued with the programs to build and deploy additional nuclear weapons.

Indonesian authorities have invited North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to attend the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games, which will run from August 18 until September 2 in Jakarta and Palembang.

Vice President Mike Pence, whose father fought in the Korean War, was scheduled to attend an "honorable carry ceremony" at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to mark the arrival of the remains on US soil.

During a historic summit with Trump in June, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowed to "work toward" the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea halted nuclear and missile tests, shut down its nuclear testing site and began dismantling facilities at its rocket launch site. But many experts say those are neither irrevocable nor serious steps that could show the country is honest about denuclearization.

At least one-possibly as many as two-Hwasong-15/KN22 intercontinental-range ballistic missiles are being manufactured at the site known as the Sanum-dong Research Center, outside the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, sources confirmed to The Diplomat.

Numerous fallen service members died in North Korea and were buried by their comrades where they fell. "I always knew it in my heart", Embery said. North Korea has steadfastly argued its nuclear weapons are meant to neutralize alleged United States plans to attack it.


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