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US talks to DPRK on repatriating remains

08-10-2011 11:21 BJT

WASHINGTON - The US military said on Tuesday it had reached out to officials of Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) about the possibility of repatriating remains of American service members killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.

The disclosure came amid an easing of tensions on the peninsula and just over a week after US envoy Stephen Bosworth met veteran DPRK nuclear negotiator Kim Kye-gwan in New York.

Joint recovery efforts of US service members were halted in May 2005 after Washington cited the uncertain environment created by DPRK's nuclear program.

"The United States recently contacted (DPRK) officials on the subject of discussing the resumption of remains recovery operations in DPRK and we are currently awaiting a response," Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Leslie Hull-Ryde told Reuters.

Nearly 8,000 US service members are listed as missing in the war, the remains of more than half of whom are estimated to be buried in the secretive state.

Hull-Ryde said North Korean officials had contacted US officials and said they would look favorably on a US request to hold talks on the matter.

Tensions have eased on the peninsula after spiking to their highest level in years in 2010 when 50 South Koreans were killed in two attacks.

Following recent US-DPRK talks in New York, Pyongyang said it was willing to resume regional nuclear disarmament talks at an early date, without preconditions.

The Six-Party Talks, which also involve China, Japan and Russia, collapsed more than two years ago after DPRK tested a nuclear device and a long range missile.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: China Daily

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