Monday, 19 November, 2018

U.S. Identifies Bodies of Two Veterans Returned by North Korea

U.S. Identifies Remains of Two Service Members Returned From North Korea US identifies first troops from returned North Korea remains | TheHill
Jeannette Daniel | 14 September, 2018, 06:24

Forensic scientists have identified two sets of remains of US troops killed in the Korean War, turned over by North Korea.

Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon that experts chose to focus on these two sets of remains as they thought "they had a better chance", considering reasons including where the remains had been found and the background Washington had.

"The IDs will be made officially in the next couple of days", said John Byrd, the director of scientific analysis at the US Defence POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

North Korea returned 55 boxes of remains as part of a denuclearization agreement reached between its leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump at their Singapore summit in June.

Korean People's Army soldiers stand beneath the entrance to a pavillion before the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) at the truce village of Panmunjom on the North Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea. About 5,300 were lost in what is now North Korea.

A small group of journalists was given access on Monday to a secure facility on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, where forensic anthropologists are combing through the remains handed over by Pyongyang in July.

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Sampling for DNA analysis has been carried out so far on about half of the boxes of remains, they said. One individual is believed to be African American, based on the remains.

But the next round of identifications might take longer and might be completed "right after Christmas", Byrd added.

The two U.S. service members, who were identified through DNA analysis and historical documents, are believed to have died in late 1950 in an area near the Chongchon River, where United States forces suffered heavy losses during the Korean War.

The US-led United Nations delegation was led by US Air Force Maj.

Scientists say it is unclear whether some of the boxes contain the remains of more than one body.

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