Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

US, South Korea hold ceremony to return home war remains

US, South Korea hold ceremony to return home war remains

The US and North Korea have agreed to discuss the repatriation of American troops' remains from the 1950-53 Korean War on Sunday. That was the day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived for two days of meetings with top North Korean officials, which ended on a sour note after Pyongyang blasted the US side for issuing a "unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization".

President Moon Jae-in is pressuring Donald Trump and North Korean commander Kim Jong Un to reach a nuclear decision following the NATO summit.

In the letter, Kim touted the two leaders' first summit in Singapore last month and their joint statement as "the start of a meaningful journey".

In a Twitter post, Trump attached copies of a July 6 letter from Kim lauding the US leader's "energetic and extraordinary efforts" and expressing "invariable trust and confidence" in his ability to advance talks.

In the note made public by Trump on Thursday, Kim writes that he appreciates Trump's "energetic and extraordinary efforts" to carry out "faithful implementation of the joint statement", The Daily Beast reported.

Trump said last month that the North Koreans had "already sent back, or are in the process of sending back, the remains of our great heroes".

U.S. Forces Korea has already moved about 100 wooden transfer caskets to the DMZ in anticipation of the return of remains.

Pompeo has insisted that a raft of tough economic sanctions imposed on North Korea would remain in place until "final, fully verified denuclearization" occurs. Notwithstanding the misleading happy talk from North Korea - and indeed, from Trump himself - the road to a denuclearized North Korea will be a long and arduous one.

This latest incident comes shortly after Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang resulted in North Korea accusing Pompeo of making a "unilateral and gangster-like demand for nuclearization".

Donald Trump apologises to British PM Theresa May over ‘fake news’
Trump and the 92-year-old monarch shared a few interactions on Friday as they reviewed troops at the royal castle in Windsor. US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived in Scotland on Friday evening on Air Force One.

The source added, "The North Koreans were just messing around, not serious about moving forward".

Trump posted the note several hours after arriving in London for his first visit to the United Kingdom, after wrapping up a contentious appearance at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit.

"I really think that we established a very good relationship", Trump said at a news conference in Brussels.

Following the North Koreans' no-show at Thursday's meeting, the USA state department said the two delegations had agreed to meet on 15 July.

Kim Jong-un has sent a warm but vague letter to his new friend Donald Trump.

Trump agreed to halt bi-annual USA military exercises conducted with South Korean forces, while Kim made a vague commitment to denuclearization.

The Pentagon says Pyongyang has indicated several times they have as many as 200 sets of remains that could be those of U.S. soldiers who died in the war. The North picked up and suggested they hold a general-level military meeting on Sunday.

Pompeo called the talks "productive", although North Korea said it was disappointed with the emphasis on denuclearization with a lack of security guarantees.

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