N Korea 'making missiles' despite United States thaw

Thursday, 02 Aug, 2018

The ARF, slated for Saturday (Aug 4), will be the highest-profile diplomatic event involving North Korea since its historic summit with the United States here on June 12. Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea unilaterally handed over 208 caskets to the USA, which turned out to contain remains of far more than 208 individuals, although forensics specialists thus far have established 181 identities.

From there, the remains will be taken to a laboratory in Hawaii for possible identification, with the goal of matching them with any of the 7,697 US personnel who remain are unaccounted for after the Korean War.

In 2011, Pyongyang returned purported remains of a British fighter pilot, but they turned out to belong to a dead animal. And we have not yet offered him anything to incentivize a production freeze.

Ahn Ik-san, the general leading the North Korean delegation at the military talks, noted South Korean news reports suggesting that he might try to persuade the South to push for a joint declaration with the United States to formally end the war.

What deal has been struck?

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Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in signed the Panmunjom Declaration in April, which saw them agreeing to work together to begin a process of reconciliation and put an end to decades of conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea had told US officials a few times in recent years that it had about 200 sets of USA war remains, although none was "already identified".

"It's hard to live your life not knowing what happened to your loved one", the daughter of one missing serviceman told the BBC earlier. The agency also has a lab at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska, though the remains arriving this week will be analyzed at Hawaii's Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Pompeo, at the Senate hearing last week, sought to assure lawmakers that the disarmament talks with North Korea remained on track and that the effort to dismantle the country's nuclear arsenal was just getting underway.

"Until the ink is dry on an agreement it's unrealistic to expect the DPRK to stop its programs", Wit wrote on Twitter on Monday, using the acronym for North Korea's formal name. Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea unilaterally handed over 208 caskets to the US, which turned out to contain remains of far more than 208 individuals, although forensics specialists thus far have established 181 identities.

But he insisted the Trump administration was still making progress in its talks.

He noted that some could turn out to be those of missing from other nations that fought in the Korean War.

"They are likely to be American remains", he said. The US has repeatedly rejected global calls for sanctions relief on North Korea.

Mattis said it was a "good question" as to why 55 sets of remains are coming home.

Bill Richardson, a former United Nations ambassador who secured the return of six bodies in 2007, told the Washington Post that Pyongyang is unlikely to release them all without conditions. It's possible, she said, for some remains to have become commingled.

U.S. officials have not said if Pompeo will meet his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong-ho, on the sidelines of the forum.