Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Dutch Korean war veterans urge Rutte to bring back five dead soldiers

Charlie Simmons | 01 August, 2018, 21:31

President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un during their first meeting at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island, in Singapore, June 12, 2018.

Decades after the end of the Korean War in 1953, the remains of dozens of presumed United States war dead began their journey home following a repatriation ceremony in South Korea on Wednesday.

Vice President Mike Pence will greet the remains of USA service members returning to the U.S. on Wednesday during a ceremony in Hawaii.

Monday's reports about ongoing activities at Sanumdong are the latest to indicate that North Korea is still working on its nuclear and missile facilities, despite ongoing talks with the USA about disarmament.

So far, the remains have not been confirmed as those of American service members.

It is unclear how the U.S. has already determined they are likely to be American. According to the Associated Press, the boxes contain "a single military dog tag but no other information that could help US forensics experts determine their individual identities".

Byrd said a single identification "dog tag" was also handed over by the North Koreans.

The five missing soldiers should be buried in the United Nations cemetery in Busan, South Korea, where 117 other Dutch soldiers who died in the conflict were laid to rest, the VOKS said.

"They expressed concern that there was a lot of co-mingling when these remains were recovered from the very beginning", he said.

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A satellite image shows the Sanumdong missile production site in North Korea on July 29, 2018.

DPAA deputy director Rear Admiral Jon Kreitz said he saw the remains transfer as an important step that will lead to more recovery operations in North Korea.

Honor guards carry the remains of US servicemen killed in the Korean War and collected in North Korea, during a ceremony at the Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Wednesday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last week that the return of the 55 boxes was a positive step but not a guarantee that the bones are American.

It declares in its preamble that Kim "reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" - nary a word about that denuclearization being verifiable or pertaining exclusively to North Korea, as Pompeo had put it - and it goes on to state, once more, that North Korea "commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

On Friday, North Korea returned the suspected remains of more than 50 USA soldiers killed during the Korean War, taking a step in implementing the June agreement.

The remains of close to 5,000 USA soldiers have yet to be recovered from North Korea. Gen. Kim Do Gyun, said the two sides had a common view in principle on disarming a jointly controlled area at Panmunjom, removing some guard posts from the Demilitarized Zone that bisects the countries, halting hostile acts along their disputed sea boundary, and conducting joint searches for soldiers missing from the 1950-53 Korean War in DMZ areas. National anthems of the United States and South Korea were played, and the caskets were given a 21-gun salute by USA riflemen.

Together, Pompeo's testimony and the new assessment confirm that North Korea continues to not only produce ballistic missiles capable of threatening the United States, but also fissile material to create new warheads to sit atop those missiles.

Still, Joel Wit, a former State Department negotiator and founder of North Korea-watching website 38 North, said that the North's moves were, historically, par for the course.

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