Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

United States identifies first troops from returned North Korea remains

United States identifies first troops from returned North Korea remains

The two U.S. service members, who were identified through DNA analysis and historical documents, are believed to have died in late 1950 in an area near the Chongchon River, where United States forces suffered heavy losses during the Korean War.

US forensic scientists have identified the remains of two soldiers killed in the Korean War, Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters on Tuesday.

North Korea provided the 55 boxes in a delayed fulfillment of a commitment its leader, Kim Jong Un, made to President Trump at their Singapore summit on June 12. They have thus far analyzed DNA from about half of the boxes, with some remains in better condition than others.

Mattis added that USA and North Korean officials are discussing the return of additional remains.

Reuters reported that remains from the two identified troops are believed to have been recovered from a battle near the Chongchon River.

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The Pentagon estimates that of the approximately 7,700 U.S. MIAs from the Korean War, about 5,300 are unaccounted for on North Korean soil. Despite setbacks in the nuclear negotiations, North Korea has maintained its moratorium on weapons testing, has toned down its rhetoric, and attempted to downplay the threatening nature of its arsenal, as was evidenced by its decision not to feature ICBMs in its most recent military parade. One of the deceased is presumed to be African-American.

Other tables included personal objects from soldiers that don't have any identification on them, including buttons, canteens and old boots.

The July transfer coincided with the 65th anniversary of the 1953 armistice that ended fighting between North Korean and Chinese forces and South Korean and US-led forces under the UN Command.

The two sides remain technically at war because a peace treaty was never signed. Jennie Jin and Byrd, who were the coordinators at the Korean War agency's Project, elaborated and said that the identification process is painstaking which also includes finding DNA from within the bone fragments.

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