SEOUL, North Korea has agreed to return up to 55 sets of remains believed to be of American soldiers killed during the Korean War, a report said Tuesday.
Citing an anonymous United States official, Stars and Stripes, a U.S. military newspaper, also said North Korea has agreed to allow the United States to fly these remains out of the country next week.
According to the report, these details emerged after U.S. and North Korean officials held working-level talks on Monday in the truce village of Panmunjom.
The official said North Korea informed the U.S. delegation that it will return 50 to 55 sets of remains, which would be the first repatriation of war dead remains since 2007.
The report said the U.S. planned to send cases to the Demilitarized Zone and that North Korea would place the remains in them.
The official told Stars and Stripes that a U.S. delegation was expected to retrieve the remains in North Korea and fly them out on July 27, either to Osan Air Base in South Korea or to Hawaii. The date may change as the two sides iron out final details in a later meeting, the official added.
July 27 will mark the 65th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 conflict. The Koreas remain technically at war because the Korean War didn't end with a peace treaty.
Monday's meeting was focused on the return of remains, and the North Korean officials didn't raise other issues or request anything in return, the official told the paper. South Korean media had speculated that the North would seek to tie the issue of returning war dead remains to other demands.
Source: Yonhap News Agency