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US, NoKor meet to tackle return of soldiers’ remains

SEOUL (Reuters) – US and North Korean officials met on the inter-Korean border yesterday to discuss the return of the remains of US soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said.

The repatriation of US remains was one of the agreements reached during an unprecedented summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June in Singapore.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unveiled the plan for talks after visiting Pyongyang this month, touting it as one of key issues on which the two sides had made progress, though the North accused his delegation of making “gangster-like” demands in connection with denuclearization during the trip.

Pompeo initially said the two sides had agreed to hold talks on US remains on Thursday but no North Korea representatives showed up on the border.

North Korea then proposed meeting US military officials yesterday, US and South Korean officials have said.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, citing South Korean government sources, said the negotiations had begun at the border village of Panmunjom in the so-called Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas.

Three vehicles of US forces in South Korea, flying United Nations flags, were spotted heading to the border earlier in the day, Yonhap said.

A UN Command general would represent the US side and his counterpart is expected to be a military commander stationed in the DMZ, the news agency said.