North Korea returns the remains of USA war dead

Soldiers take care for two lost infants who were found alongside the road to Pyongyang

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North Korea has returned remains believed to be of USA troops killed during the Korean War, the latest move in the cautious diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang.

North Korea on Friday returned the remains of what are believed to be US servicemen killed during the Korean War, the White House said, with a U.S military plane making a rare trip into North Korea to retrieve 55 cases of remains.

While Seoul will continue to be an important interlocutor between Washington and Pyongyang to ensure that the communication channels continue to remain open between the two hardened, mistrustful sides, both the Trump and Kim administrations will need to take more proactive and concrete steps toward building that trust between Americans and North Koreans. "We are encouraged by North Koreas actions and the momentum for positive change".

An Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft flew to Wonson, North Korea, early Friday to receive the remains and returned to Osan Air Base in the South at 11 a.m., the command said in a statement.

Soldiers in dress uniforms with white gloves were seen slowly carrying 55 small cases covered with the blue-and-white United Nations insignia, placing them one by one into silver vans waiting on the tarmac in Osan. A formal repatriation ceremony will be held there August 1.

The remains flown out Friday were the first handed over since a joint effort by us military experts and North Korean workers between 1996 and 2005.

Thousands of U.S. military personnel from the Korean war remain unaccounted for and majority - about 5,300 - were lost in what is now North Korea. This means that the Korean War is still technically ongoing, 68 years later.

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DPAA estimates that there are 7,697 Americans unaccounted for from the Korean War. Unlike in past meetings with some world leaders, Trump did not try to pull Kim's hand towards him or hold on to the North Korean leader's hand too long. Remains that were returned in the past from North Korea were found to have been mixed with those of unidentified people and even with animal bones.

South Korea also said it plans to cut the number of troops from 618,000 to 500,000 by 2020 and the number of generals from 436 to 360 as part of military reforms.

However, the US has repeatedly indicated it will only reward Pyongyang with a peace treaty after North Korea denuclearizes.

Despite soaring rhetoric about denuclearization ahead of their meeting, Mr. Trump and Kim's summit ended with only a vague aspirational goal for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing when and how that would occur. However, he said Kim needed to follow through on his summit commitments to denuclearise.

Experts say a declaration to officially end the war, which could also involve Seoul and Beijing, would make it easier for Pyongyang to direct the discussions with Washington toward a peace treaty, diplomatic recognition, security assurance and economic benefits.

"The United States owes a profound debt of gratitude to those American service members who gave their lives in service to their country and we are working diligently to bring them home", Ms. Sanders said.

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