Trump thanks North Korea for returning remains of United States war dead

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a Wednesday ceremony in Hawaii, to receive the alleged remains of U.S. servicemen killed in the Korean War. About 5,300 were lost in what is now North Korea.

The memorial was attended by Vice President Mike Pence, his wife and two individuals who had lost their fathers during the Korean War.

"I don't have any announcement today but it's natural to get a lot of business done. but we are not there for any announcements", the official said. It typically uses bones, teeth and DNA to identify remains along with any items that may have been found with remains like uniforms, dog tags and wedding rings.

The July 27 honorable carry ceremony at Osan Air Base, South Korea, transferred 55 boxes of remains covered by the United Nations flag. A United Nations Command color guard - representing different countries in the U.N. - took out the caskets and loaded them onto the military cargo planes.

Troops from 16 other United Nations member countries fought with the USA during the war.

The move comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump agreed the country would disarm its nuclear arsenal.

The remains are believed to be of Americans killed during the Korean War in North Korea.

The remains within each box may not be those of a single person and are likely fragments of bones, said Paul Cole, an expert on recovery of soldiers missing in action and prisoners of war, who worked as a visiting scientific fellow at Hawaii's Central Identification Laboratory where the boxes will land.

USA soldiers salute to vehicles transporting the remains of 55 US soldiers who were killed in the Korean War at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Friday, July 27, 2018.

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The repatriation is a breakthrough in a long-stalled US effort to obtain war remains from North Korea.

Official U.S. statistics show more than 7,500 American personnel remains unaccounted for following the war.

"This is a huge step in the right direction that we hope will finally bring peace to the peninsula and closure to American families who have been waiting more than six decades for their loved ones to return home from their war", Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander Vincent "B.J". Recent reports said the North runs a covert site in the suburbs of Pyongyang to produce weapons-grade enriched uranium.

How many USA servicemen are missing from the Korean War?

On the issue of sanctions, however, Trump has been adamant, stressing on numerous occasions that North Korea should not expect an easing of restrictions any time soon.

The return of 55 sets is seen as only a first step.

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.

The remains will go to a lab in Hawaii run by the military agency that identifies missing servicemen and women from past conflicts. Maharani also discussed North and South Korea relations during the visit, as well as regional issues and the performance of Indonesia's police in countering militancy. In the past, North Korea turned over commingled remains.

North Korea also called the talks with a delegation led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in July "regrettable", claiming the USA has undermined the spirit of the summit.