N.Korea, US to discuss return of soldiers’ remains

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Seoul, July 15 (IANS) US and North Korean officials will meet on Sunday at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom for talks about repatriating the remains of American troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.

The meeting had originally been scheduled to take place on Thursday, but the North called it off at the last minute, citing a lack of preparations, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The North then suggested holding general-level talks with the US-led UN Command (UNC) on Sunday, and Washington agreed.

Recovering and repatriating the remains of the American troops was one of the agreements that US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reached during their historic June 12 summit in Singapore.

About 200 sets of remains are expected to be returned across the inter-Korean border.

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The North’s proposal of talks with the UNC, even though the UNC is led by the US, was seen as an attempt to use the meeting not only to discuss the repatriation of war remains but also other issues, such as a proposal to jointly declare an end to the Korean War.

Sunday’s meeting, if held, would be the first talks between the UNC and the North’s military in nine years and four months.

General-grade talks between the two sides have been held 16 times since 1998 and the last meeting took place in March 2009.

–IANS

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