The remains within each box may not be those of a single person and are likely fragments of bones, said Paul Cole, an expert on recovery of soldiers missing in action and prisoners of war, who worked as a visiting scientific fellow at Hawaii's Central Identification Laboratory where the boxes will land.
The reports about new missile construction come after recent revelations about a suspected uranium enrichment facility, called Kangson, that North Korea is operating in secret. About 7,700 US soldiers are listed as missing from the 1950-53 Korean War, and 5,300 of the remains are believed to still be in North Korea.
The repatriation is a breakthrough in a long-stalled United States effort to obtain war remains from North Korea.
Mr. Trump thanked North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the return of the fallen soldiers last week.
Examination of dental charts and mitochondrial DNA will be key technologies used to identifying the remains, and the process may take years to complete, DoD officials said. Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, saluted.
At the East Asia Summit ministerial, Pompeo will meet with his 17 counterparts to address the region's most critical security challenges, including the nuclear threat posed by Pyongyang, conflicts in the South China Sea, the Rohingya crisis in Rakhine state in Myanmar, and cybersecurity, among other topics.
Another, unnamed State Department official was also quoted as saying that the U.S. remains "concerned" by North Korea's attempts to acquire refined petroleum via ship-to-ship transfers.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach hailed North Korea's efforts to ease tensions in the region, calling their decision to take part in the Games "a powerful message of peace" to the world.
The remains had been transferred from the small boxes they arrived in on Friday into full-sized caskets, draped with United Nations flags.
The meeting, their second since last month, held in the border village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone (DMZ), was created to follow on from an inter-Korean summit in April in which the leaders of the two Koreas agreed to defuse tensions and halt "all hostile acts".
-North Korea denuclearization talks that seemed to have stalled following the Singapore Summit in June between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.
The North Koreans "never agreed to give up their nuclear program", said Ken Gause, a North Korea expert at the Center for Naval Analysis.
The pledge to transfer war remains was seen as a goodwill gesture by Kim at the Singapore summit, and was the most concrete agreement reached by the two sides so far. North Korea has steadfastly argued its nuclear weapons are meant to neutralize alleged U.S. plans to attack it.
Since Trump returned from that trip to tell America to "sleep well", North Korea has expanded production of nuclear materials and improved facilities for building missiles.
Joel Wit, founder of the respected 38 North organization that monitors North Korea, noted it is not uncommon for a country to continue producing weapons up until the very moment an actual deal is signed.
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