Bones given by North Korea 'may not even be American'

Geneva Stokes
August 3, 2018

On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence greeted 55 flag-draped cases of what are believed to be the remains of American service members killed in the war during a ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu. There are 9,569 United Nations Command personnel who remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, including 7,699 Americans. "We don't know who's in those boxes", Mattis said.

According to a report by the Associated Press on Tuesday, there is simply no way to tell whether the remains actually belong to American soldiers killed in the three-year war that broke out on June 25, 1950.

After a solemn ceremony at the US military's Osan Air Base in South Korea, 55 boxes of remains draped in the United Nations flag were taken to a pair of USA military planes, which flew them to a military laboratory in Hawaii for analysis and identification.

That was the case with USA negotiations with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and more recently with Iran, "which continued to build more centrifuges capable of producing nuclear material even as it negotiated with the United States to limit those capabilities", Wit said. More than 3,000 were initially recovered in 1954 in what the US military called "Operation Glory".

"And it also emphasises the sense of duty of the times, and the role given to the military in the efforts of the North and South for peace and prosperity".

The remains of 55 USA servicemen who fought for the country during the Korean War were finally sent back home from North Korea yesterday.

Chief North Korean delegate Lt. Gen.

Many US families have been waiting on closure for decades, not knowing what became of their loved ones.

"Again, this is just a great first step in building some confidence and building a relationship".

"Problems such as inability to get DNA from bones and lack of a DNA reference sample from the family can be major stumbling blocks", said Chuck Prichard, director of public affairs for the Defense POW/MIA Personnel Accounting Agency, the US military's main unit for finding and identifying missing members. Some experts say South Korea can't agree on any drastic measures to reduce animosity unless the North takes serious nuclear disarmament steps.

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During the Singapore meeting, Kim also committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula while Trump promised to provide him with security assurances.

"What's more, a liquid-fuelled ICBM doesn't pose nearly the threat that a solid-fuelled one would because they take so long to fuel, and that's something we almost certainly could see in time to abort a launch, given our assets in the vicinity".

Earlier at Osan, Dr. John Byrd, laboratory director of DPAA, confirmed that a single dog tag had been found among the remains.

Examination of dental charts and mitochondrial DNA will be key technologies used to identifying the remains, and the process may take years to complete, DOD officials said.

The evidence obtained this month is the latest to suggest ongoing activity in North Korea's nuclear and missile facilities.

A US defense official said Tuesday that it probably will take months if not years to fully determine individual identities from the remains. But many experts say those are neither irrevocable nor serious steps that could show the country is honest about denuclearization.

Two family members of Americans missing in North Korea during the Korean War, Diana Brown Sanfilippo and Rick Downes, also flew with the vice president on Air Force Two for the event, as CNN noted.

North Korea handed over 55 boxes of the remains last week as part of agreements reached during a historic June summit between its leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

The source previously told CNN that if a peace treaty to replace the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War did not ensure the survival of the current North Korean regime, it could be the end of denuclearization talks.

USA officials also are eager to resume searches in North Korea for more remains, an effort that has been stalled for more than a decade due to rising nuclear tensions.

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