The U.S. military has sent 100 wooden coffins to the Korean border to receive the remains of American military personnel who perished during the Korean War (1950-1953).
The coffins were sent to the Joint Security Area at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to “receive and transport remains in a dignified manner when we get the call to do so,” U.S. Forces Korea spokesman Col. Chad Carroll told the Associated Press Saturday. The remains will then be transferred to metal cases for their eventual return to the U.S.
It is unclear when North Korea will begin returning the remains of America’s fallen heroes, but there have been numerous reports in recent days suggesting that the process is expected to begin soon.
President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed an agreement at their historic summit in Singapore on June 12.
“The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified,” the landmark agreement read, highlighting one of only a few concrete commitments from North Korea in the statement.
When Pyongyang decides to move forward with this process, it will be the first concrete effort by North Korea to act on the bilateral agreement from the Singapore summit.
North Korea has a bit of a troubled track record when it comes to returning the remains of foreign nationals, having returned dead animals or the incorrect bodies in the past. (RELATED: North Korea Expected To Return US War’s Dead, But No One Knows Whom Or What They’ll Actually Send Back)
Nonetheless, the return of American war dead, like the demolition of Punggye-ri nuclear test site, the returning of American hostages, and North Korea’s commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, are generally regarded as gestures of goodwill.
Despite signs of improving relations between the U.S. and North Korea, overcoming decades of hostility will take time. The president, following in the footsteps of his predecessors, extended sanctions and economic restrictions on North Korea Friday, declaring the country an “unusual and extraordinary threat.” (RELATED: Trump Declares North Korea An ‘Unusual And Extraordinary Threat’)
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