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U.S. Defense officials due in N. Korea soon to bring back soldiers' remains: CNN Updated: 2018-07-25 17:59:23 KST


A number of officials from the U.S. Defense Department are reportedly due in North Korea later this week to take back the remains of American troops who died in the Korean War.
Citing a U.S. official, CNN reported Tuesday that the officials are coming first to South Korea, and then will take either an American or South Korean transport plane to fly into the North on Friday.
They'll reportedly get a "cursory review" of the remains by taking photos of each container for initial documentation.
After the remains are flown to Osan Air Base in South Korea, a team of American forensic specialists will examine them more closely, looking for any identification like dog tags or uniforms. That process is expected to take about five days.

A ceremony will be held at the base to honor the fallen, before their remains are flown to Hawaii for DNA identification, which will take months.

Generals from the U.S. and North Korea met last week about the return of the remains, which was part of the agreement reached by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump last month in Singapore.

CNN's report aligns with one from U.S. military's independent newspaper Stars and Stripes, which cited an American official as saying Pyongyang agreed to return an initial 55 sets of remains on July 27th -- the 65th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice.

However, the official the CNN cited said Pyongyang has still not given the U.S. or South Korea final approval.
That would mean it's not certain the transfer will happen on Friday, which the official said "would be bad" in terms of confidence-building between Pyongyang and Washington.

But President Trump is still optimistic.
He said Tuesday at a convention of veterans including some who fought in Korea, that he is hopeful that the process will start very soon.

Since the 1990s, an estimated 635 sets of remains have been sent back from the North but over 5-thousand are still there.
Lee Ji-won, Arirang News.
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