US welcomes home remains of war dead from N Korea

WASHINGTON/OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea: In a solemn ceremony, the United States welcomed home on Wednesday human remains it said presumably included Americans killed in the 1950-1953 Korean War, and thanked North Korea for making good on a June summit pledge to hand them over.
Only one identification “dog tag” was delivered by the North Koreans, underscoring the long path ahead for US military efforts to identify the remains inside the 55 boxes presented by North Korea to the United States last week.
Vice President Mike Pence hailed the remains’ arrival in Hawaii as evidence of the success of President Donald Trump’s landmark summit in June with North Koran leader Kim Jong Un. Critics say the summit has so far failed to deliver on promised steps towards denuclearization by Pyongyang. “I know that President Trump is grateful that Chairman Kim has kept his word, and we see today this tangible progress in our efforts to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula,” said Pence, whose father fought in the Korean War. More than 7,700 US troops remain unaccounted for from the Korea War. About 5,300 were lost in what is now North Korea.
Other countries under the command of the United Nations also lost troops that are still unaccounted for, including the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
Pence, in his address at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, said he trusted that Americans killed in the war were among the flag-draped cases flown to Hawaii on Wednesday.
“Whosoever emerges from these aircraft, today begins a new season of hope for the families of our missing fallen,” he said. The US military flew the remains from Osan Air Base in South Korea after they had undergone an initial review.
Experts say positively identifying the decades-old remains could take anywhere from days to decades. — Reuters