SEOUL, July 15 (Yonhap) -- Officials of the United States and North Korea met at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom on Sunday for talks about repatriating the remains of U.S. troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.
The meeting had originally been scheduled to take place Thursday, but the North called it off at the last minute, citing a lack of preparations. The North then suggested holding general-level talks with the U.S.-led U.N. Command (UNC) on Sunday, and the U.S. agreed.
"As far as I know, the talks between the North and the U.S. about repatriating war remains are under way," a South Korean official said without elaborating. Earlier, three U.S. Forces Korea vehicles arrived at the Tongil Bridge near the border around 8:20 a.m. before putting U.N. flags on them and heading to Panmunjom.
Recovering and repatriating the remains of U.S. troops killed during the war was one of the agreements that U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reached during their historic summit in Singapore last month.
Sunday's talks were expected to focus on such details as when and how the remains should be transferred. But the North could also demand something in exchange for the return or raise other issues related to the armistice that ended hostilities in the Korean War.
The North's proposal of talks with the UNC, even though the UNC is led by the U.S., 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.
Source: Yonhap News Agency