United States prepares for return of war dead remains from North Korea
22 June, 2018, 02:26 | Author: Kim Reid
Following the June 12 summit in Singapore, Trump stunned US lawmakers, allies and Pentagon officials with plans to halt military exercises with USA ally South Korea and by Tuesday officially announced the cancellation of the exercises slated for August. It has long proposed a "dual suspension", whereby North Korea stops weapons tests and the US and South Korea stop military drills, to encourage talks. The officials weren't authorized to discuss the preparations before an official announcement so spoke on condition of anonymity.
The North Korean government has never explained why the games were halted in 2013 after a big show to commemorate the Korean War armistice, or why they are being relaunched now, but the obvious inference is that Pyongyang wishes to appear more open to the West and welcoming to tourists as diplomacy with the United States unfolds. So far the remains of 334 servicemen have been identified from the bones and personal effects handed over by Pyongyang, and about 5,000 more are thought to be scattered around North Korean territory.
"They've already sent back or are in the process of sending back the remains of our great heroes who died in North Korea during the war".
Kim and the US President agreed on a vague set of objectives aimed at bringing stability to the Korean Peninsula, while Trump also pledged to end joint US-South Korea military drills - a move which would bolster China's position in the region.
With U.S. -China trade ties on the rocks, Kim is well positioned to play both powers, talking sweet to Trump while pursuing a closer relationship with Xi.
Xi termed the results of the summit a "positive outcome". It may eventually use trade and investment to keep him onside, experts said. Crucially, the longer the North Korea saga lingers and the more diplomatic attention is fixed on their nuclear weapons program, the more China avoids harsher scrutiny from the worldwide community.
Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Beijing at a news conference with Foreign Minister Wang Yi that China "acknowledged that the sanctions regime that is in place today will remain in place until such time as that denuclearization is in fact complete".
"Consistent with President Trump's commitment and in concert with our Republic of Korea ally, the United States military has suspended all planning for this August's defensive "wargame" (Freedom Guardian)", Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said. "The detailed negotiations have not begun", Mattis said, according to the British Telegraph, which cited the Yonhap news agency.
The Trump administration had sought for North Korea to be "completely denuclearized" before any sanctions would be lifted.
He said United States officials had tried and failed to persuade the North Koreans to include language in the joint statement in Singapore committing to "complete, verifiable and irreversible" disarmament with a timetable for carrying it out by 2020. I wouldn't expect that at this point.' he told reporters.
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But they have refused to meet with the USA -backed government, saying they will only negotiate with the United States directly. The group has killed hundreds of people in multiple attacks across the country since it first emerged in the region in 2014.
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