North Korea has transferred the remains of U.S. soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War following a pledge by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at his historic summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, the White House said Thursday.
The remains were carried out of Wonsan, North Korea, on a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft headed for Osan Air Base, south of Seoul, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. The plane arrived at the base at around 11 a.m. (Korean time).
A formal repatriation ceremony will be held Aug. 1 at the base.
"At their historic meeting in Singapore, President Donald J. Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un took a bold first step to achieve the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, transform relations between the United States and North Korea, and establish enduring peace," Sanders said. "Today, the Chairman is fulfilling part of the commitment he made to the President to return our fallen American service members. We are encouraged by North Korea's actions and the momentum for positive change."
Onboard the aircraft were service members of the United Nations Command in South Korea and technical experts from the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
"Today's actions represent a significant first step to recommence the repatriation of remains from North Korea and to resume field operations in North Korea to search for the estimated 5,300 Americans who have not yet returned home," Sanders said.
The U.S. is committed to handling the remains "with dignity" so the families of the fallen soldiers receive them "in an honorable manner," she added.
Source: Yonhap News Agency