Why Are The American Remains Returning From The Korean War Draped In United Nations Flag?

Benny Johnson | Reporter At Large

One of the most important results of President Trump’s negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is the return of the remains of American troops who perished during the Korean War half a century ago.

The remains of over fifty U.S. servicemen arrived in South Korea in accordance with an agreement made between Trump and Kim Jong Un last month.

The remains were transported from North Korea to Osan Air Base at Pyeongtaek, South Korea, where a formal acceptance ceremony for the remains was performed.

U.N. honor guards carried the boxes containing the still unconfirmed remains of U.S. servicemen killed during the Korean War. The date the remains landed in the South happened to be July 27 — the 65th anniversary of the armistice that ended the open hostilities of the Korean War.

AHN YOUNG-JOON/AFP/Getty Images

The boxes of the remains were carried off the transport by the honor guard representing each branch of the U.S. military. The boxes were covered in blue United Nations flags.

Seeing the remains of deceased American military carried under the flag of the United Nations is an odd sight and the reason why this is happening may not be immediately evident for those unfamiliar with one of America’s lesser-known conflicts.

The reason for this is because the Korean War was one between the United Nations and North Korea and its allies. America was acting as the principal military force.

After war broke out between the North and South, the United Nations authorized the deployment of U.N. forces to protect the Republic of Korea. The U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 82 and 83 unanimously, condemning the North Korean aggression and recommending military assistance to the South. The United States contributed the overwhelming majority of the twenty-one country United Nations force, which deployed to the Korean peninsula.

There were many shifts in power and land between the communist-backed North Korean forces and U.N. forces in the first two years. Bloody fighting cost hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides. On July 27, 1953, an armistice was signed demarcating the 38th parallel as the Korean Demilitarized Zone. A peace treaty was never signed between the two sides, who are still frozen in conflict. Therefore, the U.S. forces remains are returned as a function of the original U.N. force under which they were deployed.

Kim Hong-Ji – Pool/Getty Images

Kim Hong-Ji – Pool/Getty Images

Kim Hong-Ji – Pool/Getty Images

KIM HONG-JI/AFP/Getty Images

Ahn Young-joon – Pool/Getty Images

A White House statement said, “Today’s actions represent a significant first step to recommence the repatriation of remains from North Korea and to resume field operations in North Korea to search for the estimated 5,300 Americans who have not yet returned home.”

The remains will be flown to a military laboratory in Hawaii for identification.

Ahn Young-joon – Pool/Getty Images

Ahn Young-joon – Pool/Getty Images

Ahn Young-joon – Pool/Getty Images

Ahn Young-joon – Pool/Getty Images

Ahn Young-joon – Pool/Getty Images

Ahn Young-joon – Pool/Getty Images

Ahn Young-joon – Pool/Getty Images

Ahn Young-joon – Pool/Getty Images

Ahn Young-joon – Pool/Getty Images

Ahn Young-joon – Pool/Getty Images

Ahn Young-joon – Pool/Getty Images

Ahn Young-joon – Pool/Getty Images

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