During their historic summit, President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un struck a deal to have the remains of fallen United States military servicemen returned to the U.S. After North Korea made the preparations to have the remains returned, two U.S. planes landed in Washington D.C. on Friday morning and brought home the remains.
From Fox News:
Fifty-five cases containing what were believed to be the remains of U.S. servicemen killed during the Korean War were returned Friday, the White House said.
The cases, each draped with the flag of the United Nations, arrived aboard a U.S. military plane at Osan Air Base outside Seoul, South Korea. Earlier, the plane and its crew had traveled to Wonsan, North Korea, to collect the remains, the White House said.
The transfer of the remains from the 1950-53 Korean War had been negotiated last month during a summit meeting in Singapore between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
FOX NEWS ALERT: Remains of 55 U.S. service members flown out of North Korea pic.twitter.com/mmOR7atavL
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) July 27, 2018
North Korea has returned the remains of what are believed to be US servicemen killed during the 1950-53 Korean War
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 27, 2018
President Trump said over social media that the remains were set to leave from across the globe just before midnight on Thursday.
“The Remains of American Servicemen will soon be leaving North Korea and heading to the United States!” Trump said in a tweet. “After so many years, this will be a great moment for so many families. Thank you to Kim Jong Un.”
The Remains of American Servicemen will soon be leaving North Korea and heading to the United States! After so many years, this will be a great moment for so many families. Thank you to Kim Jong Un.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2018
Nearly 7,700 U.S. soldiers are still missing from the Korean War which ran from 1950 to 1953, per Fox News. According to the report, 5,300 of those soldiers were believed to still be in North Korea. It is unclear how many full or partial remains were brought home in the 55 caskets North Korea returned. The war killed millions, including 36,000 American soldiers, Fox News reports.
Time Magazine adds:
Between 1990 and 2005, North Korea returned 229 caskets containing the remains of American soldiers, and repatriated another six soldiers in 2007. In 2015, North Korea returned the remains of Robert V. Witt, an American soldier who was taken prisoner and died of malnutrition in Jan. 1951, after his identity was confirmed with DNA tests.
A soldier carries a casket containing remains of a U.S. soldier who was killed in the Korean War during a ceremony at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, on July 27, 2018. https://t.co/51FO0wtfpX pic.twitter.com/f1RMh515cw
— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 27, 2018
The White House released a statement detailing the agreement made between the world leaders for the repatriation:
“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. 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 Koreas actions and the momentum for positive change.”
The statement also reveals a formal ceremony for the returned soldiers will be held in the first week of August:
“A U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft containing remains of fallen service members has departed Wonsan, North Korea,” the statement continued. “It is accompanied by service members from United Nations Command Korea and technical experts from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. The C-17 is transferring the remains to Osan Air Base, where a formal repatriation ceremony will be held on August 1.”
“The United States owes a profound debt of gratitude to those American service members who gave their lives in service to their country and we are working diligently to bring them home. It is a solemn obligation of the United States Government to ensure that the remains are handled with dignity and properly accounted for so their families receive them in an honorable manner.”
“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,” the statement concluded.
A U.N. honor guard carries a casket containing remains believed to be from American servicemen killed during the 1950-53 Korean War after arriving from North Korea, at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, on July 27, 2018. https://t.co/51FO0wtfpX pic.twitter.com/y0jFJfVOad
— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 27, 2018