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US Resisting Pushes by North, South Korea to End War

27 July 2018

Repatriation of the USA soldiers' remains was one of the steps agreed by Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

He says: "After so many years - this will be a great moment for so many families".

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un's historic summit in pictures Who's leading whom? "We are encouraged by North Koreas actions and the momentum for positive change".

The White House earlier confirmed that a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft containing remains of fallen service members had departed Wonsan, a Northern coastal city, on its way to the Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, near the South Korean capital of Seoul.

Lastly, the Trump administration should cancel the travel ban on Americans from traveling to North Korea and on North Koreans coming into the United States.

The remains flown to Osan on Friday are expected to be sent to Hawaii for forensic identification, following a formal repatriation ceremony next Wednesday.

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The repatriation of remains could be followed by stronger North Korean demands for fast-tracked discussions to formally end the war, which was stopped with an armistice and not a peace treaty. The two leaders also agreed to build a "robust peace regime" and to return the remains of prisoners of the 1950-1953 Korean War.

Kim paid tribute to the North's Korean War "martyrs" and to Chinese soldiers killed in the conflict, state media said.

More than 35,000 Americans were killed on the Korean Peninsula during the war, out of which around 7,700 are still considered missing, including 5,300 in North Korea alone, according to the Pentagon.

Nevertheless, Friday's repatriation will likely be seen as a concrete goodwill gesture after years of efforts by relatives and United States authorities to retrieve the remains.

CNN, citing a US official, reported earlier this week that Washington expects to receive an initial 55 sets of remains and planned to send officials to North Korea to open and photograph each casket as part of a "cursory review" of what the North Koreans turned over.

Kim committed in a broad summit statement to work towards denuclearisation but Pyongyang has offered no details.

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"I know they would have wished to have been here and seen this today", he said. At a press conference, Trump said he wanted to stop U.S. military exercises with South Korea and eventually withdraw United States troops - something Pyongyang has been demanding for years.

"It was a successful mission following extensive coordination", U.N. Command and U.S. Forces Korea commander General Vincent Brooks said in a statement.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was dispatched to Pyongyang in early July to nail down the North's summit commitments - including returning the remains of US servicemen. Furthermore, Pyongyang has returned all detained Americans and has begun to dismantle a satellite launch site, according to the think tank 38 North.

The United States has blocked a request by the International Olympic Committee to transfer sports equipment to North Korea so its athletes can participate in the Olympic Games, United Nations diplomats said on Thursday.

Traveling and meeting North Korean people helps Americans understand the country their government has been at war with for 65 years, but it also helps humanize the enemy vilified by over six decades of hostility. Washington halted those operations, citing concerns about the safety of its personnel as Pyongyang stepped up its nuclear programme. South Korea's Defense Ministry also said the North agreed to general-level military talks next week at a border village to discuss reducing tensions across the countries' heavily armed border.

-North Korea military search teams conducted 33 recovery operations that collected 229 sets of American remains. Although family reunions are planned between North Korea and South Korea on August 15, 2018, Korean American families have yet to be included in such a lottery.

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US Resisting Pushes by North, South Korea to End War