N Korea 'making missiles' despite USA thaw

N Korea 'making missiles' despite USA thaw

Administration officials insisted Tuesday that progress is being made on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's pledge to surrender his nuclear and missile programs, even as a high-level meeting between North and South military leaders on Tuesday failed to make progress on formally ending the decades-old frozen war between the two.

A US military plane made a rare trip into North Korea to retrieve 55 cases.

Decades after the end of the Korean War in 1953, the remains of dozens of presumed United States war dead began their journey home following a repatriation ceremony in South Korea on Wednesday.

More than 60 years after the last shot in the Korean War, the USA military prepared to fly home Wednesday what is believed to be the remains of more than 50 servicemen after the first such handover by North Korea in more than a decade.

Cutting off oil and fuel to the North would require enforcement primarily by China, which supplies most of North Korea's energy needs, but also by Russian Federation, which delivers some oil to Pyongyang.

North Korea handed over the 55 cases on July 27, when an Air Force C-17 flew to an airbase near Wonsan on North Korea's east coast and returned with the remains to Osan. "So, to be able to be with them and the sacrifice their families have made to defend our freedom, to defend the freedom of South Korea, (I'm) just very humbled", he said.

Meanwhile, speaking before the ceremony at the Osan base, . a laboratory director at the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency confirmed to reporters that an American identification tag was turned over by the North with the remains, . and the family of the fallen soldier has already been notified.

South Korea's defense ministry last week said it plans to reduce guard posts and equipment along the border as an initial step to implement the agreement. According to the Post, US officials suspect that North Korea's strategy is possibly to assert that they have fully denuclearized by declaring and disposing of 20 warheads while retaining dozens more.

It could be hard to find out if the remains are even American military members. "Other U.S. service members were captured and placed in prisoner-of-war camps, where many succumbed to starvation, exposure, and torture".

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Many Americans who went missing were prisoners of war who died before the war ended or were left behind during enemy advancements.

Between 1990 and 2005, 229 sets of remains were returned to the USA, but co-operation halted as relations deteriorated alongside the development of North Korea's nuclear programme.

"Keep in mind that it's not necessarily the case that" the person identified in the dog tag will be among the remains but they're hopeful, he said.

"We don't know who will come off these planes today".

The evidence, obtained this month, is the latest to suggest ongoing activity in North Korea's nuclear and missile facilities despite talks with the United States and a June summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump.

The remains are believed to belong to servicemen from the US and other United Nations member countries who fought alongside the USA during the Korean War.

The smiles and handshakes of that Singapore summit were soured by subsequent events.

But Trump now faces criticism at home and elsewhere that North Korea hasn't taken any serious steps toward disarmament and may be trying to buy time to weaken global sanctions against it.

Any work by North Korea on new missiles suggests an expansion of its nuclear capabilities, I would have thought.

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