Published: Thu, July 12, 2018

N. Korea skips meeting on repatriating the remains of American war dead

N. Korea skips meeting on repatriating the remains of American war dead

President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday a flattering letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that followed up on June's historic summit in Singapore. Despite the secretary's attempt to put a positive spin on the visit, as soon as he was out of the country, North Korea criticized his "unilateral and gangster-like" demands and called the talks "regrettable".

"We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money, unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should", Trump said after meeting Kim in a bid to solve the crisis over the North's nuclear weapons.

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the head of USA intelligence to assess whether North Korea's posture and actions regarding denuclearization match up with the Trump administration's claims.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters in Tokyo on Saturday that the only thing Pompeo left behind in Pyongyang was a letter from Trump to Kim.

According to estimates from the Pentagon, 7,700 US troops are still unaccounted for from the Korean War.

The process was due for a kickstart when North Korean and United Nations officials met on Thursday in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that divides the Koreas to discuss service members missing in action (MIA).

"President Trump still believes that the agreement that was reached in Singapore where North Korea agreed to complete denuclearization represents a commitment that we can make progress on", Vice President Mike Pence told "Fox News" Tuesday in an interview.

American officials have been on standby for weeks and have sent wooden coffins and flags to Panmunjom in preparation for a handover.

At high-level talks last week, North Korea and the USA confirmed they are still poles apart on the next steps to be taken in the process.

North Korea also proposed to reschedule the meeting for Sunday.

While lacking in specifics about the status of diplomatic talks between the U.S. and North Korea, Kim's letter lavishes praise on Trump, repeatedly referring to the President as "Your Excellency".

Byrd, a forensic anthropologist, was part of a 15-strong DPAA team in North Korea 20 years ago.

The agency also says that North Korean officials have indicated they have "as many as 200 sets of remains" already recovered that could be ready for return.

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