U.S., North Korea meet over return of war remains

U.S., North Korea meet over return of war remains

"Both sides agreed to re-commence field operations in the DPRK to search for the estimated 5,300 Americans who never returned home", Pompeo said.

The rendezvous represents the first general-level talks between the United States and North Korea since March 2009.

Professor Yang Moo-jin of the University of North Korean Studies said Kim was sending a domestic and external signal that the North was focusing on the economy after his Singapore summit with President Donald Trump.

USA and South Korean officials say they are ready to help North Korea revive its economy if it gives up its nuclear program.

The preliminary details emerged after US and North Korean officials held working-level talks Monday in the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone.

But the process has been slow, with the North Koreans keeping the USA -led United Nations Command on standby for weeks after the military sent dozens of temporary coffins to the DMZ in preparation.

About 7,700 United States soldiers are listed as missing from the Korean War, and 5,300 of the missing are believed to be in North Korea.

USA officials have previously said it could take years to identify all the remains and to determine whether they are, in fact, Americans.

North Korea is planning to grant a general amnesty next month in the run-up to the 70th anniversary of its foundation day in September, state media said Monday, in an echo of moves done before other key dates in the nuclear-armed country's history. Even without a timetable for the process of nuclear dismantlement, Seoul and Pyongyang are rushing to end the armistice and establish a peace regimen by the end of the year.

According to a report in ABC News, a planned meeting between the two nations, scheduled to have taken place on Thursday, has been postponed on North Korea's request.

The US Department of Defense has said that in the past the North has claimed to possess the remains of up to 200 US soldiers.

Sunday's meeting came a week after Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang to begin follow-up talks to last month's Singapore summit in which Trump and Kim issued vague aspirations for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing when and how it would occur. The U.S. team would then fly out with the remains on July 27, either to Osan Air Base in South Korea or to Hawaii.

Amid growing skepticism about his policy on North Korea, Trump disclosed a personal letter from Kim, boasting he had received "a very nice note" from Kim and that "great progress" is being made on denuclearization.

North Korea "will take practical measures to help the released people settle down to normal working life", KCNA said.

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