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Trump and Kim Jong Un agree to recover US military remains from Korean War

President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un shake hands at the 2018 summit at Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island in Singapore. (Wire/Released)
June 12, 2018

President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un agreed Tuesday to return the remains of U.S. military personnel who were missing in action during the Korean War.

In a statement signed by both Trump and Kim during the historic summit in Singapore, the two countries agreed to the “immediate repatriation” of those fallen service members who are already identified, the Associated Press reported.

Roughly 7,800 Americans remain unaccounted for from the 1950-1953 war. The Korean military conflict technically lasted from 1950 to 1953 but was ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

Of those 7,800 Americans, 5,300 are believed to have been lost in battles in North Korea or prisoner-of-war camps.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said just a few days before the summit that talks about returning the remains of the missing Americans and South Koreans from the war was a top priority of the summit.

The U.S. and North Korea agreed to have follow-up talks between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean officials.

Past efforts to recover U.S. war remains in North Korea ended abruptly more than a decade ago because of North Korea’s nuclear development and lack of guaranteeing the safety of American recovery teams sent into the country.

Between 1996 and 2005, 30 recovery missions conducted by joint U.S.-North Korea military search teams recovered 229 sets of American remains.

Earlier this year, the leaders of North and South Korea signed an agreement to officially end the Korean War after 65 years, which will be declared later this year, and to work to denuclearize and establish a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met in the Demilitarized Zone, in Panmunjom, and signed the “Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula.”