UN Command head talks to N. Koreans about troop remains

Lamar Ellis
September 14, 2018

North Korea in July handed over what are thought to be the remains of 55 USA servicemen who were killed during the Korean War.

"It's been good work done, they moved swiftly on a couple where they thought they had a better chance for a number of reasons, where the remains came from, and what background we had, and how much we had to work with", he said, according to CNN.

The identities of the two sets of remains were confirmed through a DNA sample, chest X-rays and dental records, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Chief Scientist John Byrd told the Military Times.

Byrd said the names will be announced publicly once the family is notified, the report said.

A forensic anthropologist shows some of the objects that accompanied the human remains handed over by North Korea, including a wallet, buttons and canteens, at Joint Base Pearl Harbour-Hickam, Hawaii.

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Byrd and his colleague Jennie Jin, who leads the agency's Korean War Project, spent more than an hour explaining the painstaking process of identifying the remains, which include methods for finding DNA in bone fragments.

More than 7000 US troops who fought in the Korean War are unaccounted for, with approximately 5300 lost in what is now North Korea.

North Korea returned 55 boxes of remains as part of a denuclearization agreement reached between its leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump at their Singapore summit in June.

Byrd acknowledged that it could take months for the next round of identifications. The US military estimates that more than 7,000 US troops who lost their lives during the Korean War remain unaccounted for.

A United Nations Command delegation led by US Air Force Major General Michael Minihan met with North Korean officials at Panmunjom Friday to discuss "military-to-military efforts to support any potential future return of remains", AFP reported Tuesday.

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