US Welcomes Remains Of War Dead Soldiers From North Korea

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The US president has said repeatedly that the deal he reached with Kim has been positive since North Korea has maintained a freeze on nuclear and missile tests and has begun returning US war dead remains.

United States officials have been closely monitoring North Korea's willingness to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

To work on the additional remains the team of DPAA researchers assigned to identifying the remains of Korean War missing will almost double in size from five to nine.

With the remains having been returned to the United States, the Defense P.O.W./M.I.A. Accounting Agency, a Department of Defense outfit, now has the hard task of identifying them, which could take months, according to The New York Times.

Byrd cautioned that the 55 boxes did not necessarily equate to the remains of 55 individuals.

The returned remains are associated with the fight at what was called the "Frozen Chosin" for the sub-zero temperatures in which Marine and Army units fought their way out of encirclement by Chinese forces and were evacuated by sea, said Dr. John Byrd, a forensic anthropologist.

About 7,700 American service members are missing from the battlefields of the Korean War, including some 5,300 believed to have died north of the 38th parallel in what is now North Korea. As I said today, we saw this promise kept by North Korea as evidence of the progress that we are making and we continue to remain hopeful that we will achieve the aim that's eluded the world for decades - a nuclear free Korean peninsula.

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McKeague said North Korea did not receive any payment for the transfer this week.

Military equipment was also found among the remains, including boots, canteens, buttons and buckles.

"Looking back on it, I would say it was challenging but very successful", said Byrd, who took part in the joint field operations that stretched from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s.

"We could immediately compare dental records", he said.

McKeague said he was "guardedly optimistic" that the repatriation would be the "first step of others to account for our missing from the Korean War". US officials say they have already contacted the family of a service member whose dog tag was returned. The agency has DNA samples from 92 percent of the families of the almost 7,700 Americans still missing from the Korean War.

The Pentagon said last week it was considering the possibility of sending personnel to North Korea to search for additional remains.