North Korea returned on Friday the remains of what is believed to be 55 U.S. servicemen killed during the Korean War.
The return coincided with the 65th anniversary of the 1953 armistice marking the end of fighting between North Korean and Chinese forces and South Korean and U.S.-led forces under the United Nations Command, Fox News reported.
The cases containing the remains arrived onboard a U.S. Air Force cargo plane at Osan Air Base outside of Seoul, South Korea and were each draped in the U.N. flag.
The plane and its crew had flown to Wonsan, North Korea, earlier in the day to retrieve the fallen.
About 7,700 U.S. soldiers are listed as missing from the Korea War and 5,300 of the remains are believed to still be in North Korea, according to Fox News.
Approximately 36,000 Americans lost their lives during the conflict.
North Korea has handed over what are believed to be the remains of US troops killed during the Korean War.
— CNN (@CNN) July 27, 2018
During a news conference on Friday, President Donald Trump thanked North Korea leader Kim Jung Un for living up to the commitment he made during their joint summit in Singapore last month to begin to return the remains of the American missing.
“I want to thank Chairman Kim in front of the media for fulfilling a promise that he made to me,” Trump said. “And I’m sure that he will continue to fulfill that promise as they search and search and search.”
Trump announces return of suspected remains of U.S. soldiers from North Korea and thanks Kim for his cooperation pic.twitter.com/p3gBk1MU0k
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 27, 2018
“These incredible American heroes will soon lay at rest on sacred American soil,” the president stated.
He recounted that numerous times during his 2016 presidential campaign, relatives of the fallen would ask him if he could do something about retrieving the bodies of their loved ones.
The then-candidate recalled telling them it might be tough to fulfill that request given the poor relations between the U.S. and North Korea, but he agreed to try.
“It’s something that was very important to me,” Trump said.
Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Hawaii to participate in a repatriation ceremony for the missing on August 1.
“Mike Pence, our wonderful Vice President, will be there to greet the families and the remains,” Trump said. “I’ve asked the Vice President and others to just pay a special tribute — and they will do that.”
Defense Department forensic experts in Hawaii will seek to identify the remains, which may take months.
The families of the fallen will then be notified.
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