Presumed US remains from site of famous Korean War battle

President Trump had US Ambassador for the Philippines pass on his letter to Kim Jong-un at Saturday's ASEAN meeting

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un leave after signing documents that acknowledge the progress of the talks and pledge to keep momentum going, after their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018.

Military pallbearers carry the remains of USA service members collected in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea during Repatriation ceremony after arriving to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu, Hawaii, Aug. 1 2018.

While North Korea at times has unilaterally handed over boxes of remains, as the country did this week, more fruitful in the eyes of USA officials have been joint efforts to find and recover remains with American personnel on the ground.

The latest letter from Kim arrived as concerns rise about North Korea's ballistic missile programme and commitment to denuclearisation.

Still, the initial field forensic review indicated the "remains are what North Korea said they were", Byrd said.

It's still unclear where the United States stands with North Korea.

The remains were formally repatriated Tuesday in Osan, South Korea to to the control of the United Nations before being transported to Hawaii, where the DPAA's identification laboratory is located.

Only one identification "dog tag" was delivered by the North Koreans, underscoring the long path ahead for US military efforts to identify the remains inside the 55 boxes presented by North Korea to the United States last week.

More than 5,300 U.S. troops are still missing in North Korea. "We couldn't be sure how many individuals were in each box. But we'll see what happens".

To work on the additional remains the team of DPAA researchers assigned to identifying the remains of Korean War missing will almost double in size from five to nine.

In addition, the 55 transfer cases handed over by the North Koreans contained equipment associated with the American military, such as boots, canteens, buttons and buckles, Byrd said.

The scientist said the remains were consistent with being from the Korean War. US officials say they have already contacted the family of a service member whose dog tag was returned.

"Looking back on it, I would say it was challenging but very successful", said Byrd, who took part in the joint field operations that stretched from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. He said that DPAA has chest radiographs for about three-quarters of the missing from the Korean War.

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