News & Opinion | July 27, 2018 10:34 am

After 65 Years, North Korea Returns Remains of 55 U.S. Soldiers

Thousands of American troops killed in major battles have not been returned.

north korea
Soldiers carry caskets containing remains of U.S. soldiers who were killed in the Korean War during a ceremony at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek on July 27, 2018. (KIM HONG-JI/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Remains believed to be those of 55 American servicemen were flown out of North Korea on Friday, reports The New York Times, the first visible result of President Trump’s efforts to bring home American war dead home. The Korean War was halted with an armistice signed 65 years ago, but thousands of American troops who were killed in major battles have not been returned because the war was never formally concluded with a peace treaty and the countries lacked diplomatic ties.

“We are encouraged by North Korea’s actions and the momentum for positive change,” the White House said in announcing the handover, according to The Times. 

An American cargo plane carrying the remains landed in Seoul, the South Korean capital. Hundreds of American service members and a military honor guard lined up on the tarmac to mark the return of the fallen troops. From there, the remains will be transferred to the Hawaii-based Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, where a forensics team will work to identify them. Remains returned in the past were found to be mixed with those of unidentified individuals and even with animal bones, reports The Times. 

Trump thanked Kim Jong-un after the return of the remains.

During the summit meeting between Trump and Kim, Kim committed to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and also promised to return the remains of American troops, beginning with those already recovered and identified.