China may be ‘getting in our way’ on North Korea

U.S. Intel Reportedly Says North Korea is Building New Missiles As Trump Continues to Boast of Progress

A US defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the AP that it could take months or years to identify the remains.

Initial forensic analysis suggested the remains were likely to be of American servicemen, the USA military said. A total of 5,300 American servicemen are believed to have been lost in what is now North Korea. Some of them, including Australia, Belgium, France and the Philippines, have yet to recover some of their war dead from North Korea. USA intelligence agencies in recent months increased their estimates of the size of North Korea's nuclear arsenal, taking into account enriched uranium from at least one secret enrichment site.

Between 1990 and 2005 229 sets of remains from the North were repatriated, but those operations were suspended when ties worsened over Pyongyang's banned nuclear weapons programme.

The Trump administration downplayed reports Tuesday that North Korea is engaged in a flurry of new intercontinental ballistic missile activity, asserting the activity has not undermined President Trump's high-stakes diplomatic outreach to Pyongyang. A repatriation ceremony will be held at the base early Wednesday and then again later in the day when the remains arrive in the USA state of Hawaii.

Experts say positively identifying the decades-old remains could take anywhere from days to decades.

Once the boxes are in DPAA custody, the first step will be to inventory them to determine whether the remains are those of Americans, Duus said.

"We don't know who's in those boxes", Mattis said, adding they could be missing Americans or Australian or French troops.

"It is Kim doing exactly what he said he was going to do". "They have missing, France has missing, Americans have". "We have lots of work to do". It could bring his family some closure, he said.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was forced to admit that North Korea was continuing to produce nuclear fissile material, though he insisted that "progress is happening".

"We will make our best efforts to ensure that we can craft practical measures to reduce military tensions and build trust between the two Koreas through this meeting", Major Gen. Kim Do-gyun, the chief of the five-member South Korean delegation, told reporters before departing for Panmunjom.

When bones meet the size requirement, the lab will cut and send a piece to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, where it will be analyzed and compared to family reference samples.

Foreign-policy experts have remained skeptical about North Korea's intentions, given its history on withdrawing from prior agreements. Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea unilaterally handed over 208 caskets to the US, which turned out to contain remains of far more than 208 individuals, although forensics specialists thus far have established 181 identities. They are working hard to mediate the declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War, saying it can be a starting point for a full-scale peace process.

"Until the ink is dry on an agreement it's unrealistic to expect the DPRK to stop its programs", Wit wrote on Twitter on Monday, using the acronym for North Korea's formal name.

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