A New Sign of Troubled Relations With North Korea

Pentagon suspends its war remains effort
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 8, 2019 2:23 PM CDT
A New Sign of Troubled Relations With North Korea
In this April 24, 2019, file photo released by the Press office of the administration of Primorsky Krai region, North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un talks with Russian officials upon his arrival at the border station of Khasan, Primorsky Krai region, Russia.   (Alexander Safronov/Press Office of the Primorye Territory Administration via AP, File)

In a new sign of troubled relations with North Korea, the Pentagon said Wednesday it has suspended its efforts to arrange negotiations on recovering additional remains of US service members killed in the North during the Korean War. In a statement Wednesday, the Pentagon's Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency said it has had no communication with North Korean authorities since the Hanoi summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un in February. That meeting focused on the North's nuclear weapons and followed a June 2018 summit at which Kim committed to permitting a resumption of US remains recovery, which had been suspended by the US in 2005.

"As a result, our effort to communicate with the Korean People's Army regarding the possible resumption of joint recovery operation for 2019 has been suspended," the agency said. "We have reached the point where we can no longer effectively plan, coordinate, and conduct field operations in the DPRK during this fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, 2019." The agency had hoped to arrange for recovery operations this spring, but the North never agreed to face-to-face negotiations to work out details such as payments required for the provision of support services by the North Korean army, reports the AP. Last summer the North turned over 55 boxes of what it said were the remains of an undetermined number of US service members. Thus far, three American service members have been identified from those remains. (The North gave the US a single dog tag.)

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