Thursday, August 02, 2018

Pence hails 'tangible progress' with North Korea as remains of presumed Korean War dead arrive in Hawaii

 (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday the return of the remains of 55 Americans presumed dead from the Korean War was a sign of "tangible progress in our efforts to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula."

Pence spoke at a ceremony at Hawaii's Hickam Air Force Base to mark the arrival of the remains on U.S. soil and the beginning of long process to identify them.

"Today, they are known but to God," said Pence, whose father fought in Korea. "But soon we will know their names and we will tell their stories of courage."

Some have called the Korean War the “forgotten war.” But today, we prove these heroes were never forgotten. Today, our boys are coming home.

Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) August 1, 2018The return of the remains was part of an agreement reached during a June summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

 (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

An armistice that ended the Korean War has yet to be replaced with a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula in a technical state of war. North Korea has argued steadfastly that its nuclear weapons are meant to neutralize alleged U.S. plans to attack it.

Efforts to recover remains in North Korea have been fraught with political and other obstacles since the war's end. Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea unilaterally handed over 208 caskets to the U.S., which turned out to contain remains of far more than 208 individuals, although forensics specialists thus far have established 181 identities.

A series of U.S.-North Korean recovery efforts, termed "joint field activities," between 1996 and 2005 yielded 229 caskets of remains, of which 153 have been identified, according to the Pentagon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.