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Journey home underway for remains of US soldiers killed in Korean War

04 August 2018

Pence attended a repatriation ceremony at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, where 55 caskets of presumed troop remains were unloaded from military planes and placed on stanchions at the air base.

Vice President Mike Pence said: "Some have called the Korean War the 'forgotten war'. But we do know they are heroes, all", Pence said. The laboratory uses forensic anthropology, odontology, DNA and other scientific methods to identify remains.

The American-led U.N. Command is holding a repatriation ceremony for the remains at an air base in South Korea on Wednesday before a transport plane takes them to Hawaii for identification.

Pence looked on solemnly with his hand over his heart as the long, narrow boxes were gently laid on the stanchions in front of him.

Troops from 16 other United Nations member countries fought with the US during the war.

The returned remains are seen as one major accomplishment of Trump's historic summit in Singapore with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un last month.

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

Experts say positively identifying some of the decades-old remains could take decades.

A USA military aircraft left North Korea last week carrying 55 boxes handed over by Kim Jong Un's regime that are believed to contain the remains of us service members.

Friday's transfer of the remains coincided with the 65th anniversary of the 1953 armistice that ended fighting between North Korean and Chinese forces and South Korean and USA -led forces under the U.N. Command. North Korea has long argued its nukes are aimed at coping with US military threats, saying it wants to sign a peace treaty with the United States to formally end the war.

The recovery efforts stalled for more than a decade because of a standoff over North Korea's nuclear ambitions and a previous U.S. claim that security arrangements for its personnel working in the North were insufficient. They may also talk about ways to make sure their fishermen peacefully operate along the Korean sea boundary, the site of several bloody naval skirmishes in recent years.

More than 7,700 United States troops remain unaccounted for from the Korea War.

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The remains will go to a lab in Hawaii run by the military agency that identifies missing servicemen and women from past conflicts. "Once it became official Friday, Korean time, that North Korea had returned the soldiers" remains, Trump reiterated that North kept its promise and underlined the fact that no monetary rewards were exchanged.

The two sides are expected to discuss a possible cut in firearms and personnel stationed at the DMZ, as well as a joint excavation for the remains of soldiers killed in the Korean War. But many foreign experts say those were not enough to prove it's serious about its disarmament commitment, saying the North must first submit a list of nuclear assets to be dismantled.

The Pentagon said it was "absolutely" considering the possibility of sending personnel to North Korea for this goal.

The Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

The return of the remains comes amid skepticism that North Korea is following through on its pledge to achieve a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

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Journey home underway for remains of US soldiers killed in Korean War