The Trump administration is expecting North Korea to return up to 200 sets of remains believed to be United States service members who died during the Korean War, four administration officials said earlier this week.
North Korea announced before the Singapore summit the suspension of its ICBM testing and also closed its nuclear bomb test site, where it conducted several explosions in front of visiting media that it said were to destroy testing tunnels.
The decision followed a meeting between Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford, and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
North Korean soldiers carry an aluminum casket containing remains of a US serviceman killed during the Korean War toward U.N. Command soldiers, foreground, at the border village of Panmunjom, South Korea.
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It was not immediately clear which North Korean test sites Trump was referring to and USA officials familiar with current intelligence on North Korea's nuclear and missile test sites said there was no evidence of new moves to dismantle any sites since Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12.
Many observers were disappointed that the short statement of intent signed by the two leaders was not more clear on the definition of denuclearization, fearing Kim plans to keep his hard-won deterrent. The transfer date and location have not been finalized, the officials said, but they said the administration is ready to receive the remains if the North Koreans decide to move quickly.
A more effective way of repatriating remains is to have a joint mission between USA researchers and the North Korean military, Downes said.
The repatriation will mark the first step to be implemented under the agreement reached during last week's U.S.
Ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said Tuesday that Seoul and Beijing share a "strategic goal" in achieving the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula and that progress in nuclear diplomacy has facilitated high-level contacts between North Korea and its neighbors. The drills help keep US forces at a state of readiness in one of the world's most tense flashpoints. Glaser said it was predictable Xi would want to be briefed by Kim directly about the North Korean leader's talks with Trump. "I wouldn't expect that at this point", he told reporters. This would be his third visit to China, North Korea's main ally and key source of trade and economic assistance. Nationalities will be determined when the remains are tested in the US. China does not wish to fight a trade war but is not scared of one.