Talks between the United States and North Korea on missing
servicemen from the Korean war ended in New York, Friday night,
with no formal agreement.
The negotiations began on Sunday, and focused on the fullest
possible accounting of American servicemen in three broad areas:
the question of live sightings of alleged Americans living in
North Korea; access to North Korean military archives; and
establishment of a schedule of joint operations to recover the
remains of Americans buried in North Korea.
James W. Wold, leader of the U.S. delegation, expressed
disappointment that the talks ended with no agreement and with no
progress shown in resolving the issue.
Despite assurances in advance of the talks with the North
Koreans that we would deal conclusively with all issues, their
delegation was unable to respond constructively to U.S. proposals
in any of the three areas, " Wold said. "I know that our family
members and veterans are as disappointed as I am."
At the request of the Department of Defense, the North
Koreans agreed to meet with a small number of family members and
veterans representatives on Friday afternoon. That meeting
enabled the attendees to express their views on the accounting
issue and to question directly the high-level North Korean
officials who are responsible for POW/MIA matters in that
country. This was the first time since the end of hostilities
that a group of family members has been able to meet with North
Korean officials who are responsible for the POW/MIA issue.
These negotiations were the fourth in a series of talks
which began in January 1996. Like the earlier ones, they were
confined to the single subject of the fullest possible accounting
of MIAs. The last meeting was in New York City in May 1996, and
led to an agreement and a joint operation in North Korea which
returned the remains of a U.S. soldier in July 1996.
Point of contact for news media queries is Larry Greer,
DPMO/PA, (703) 602-1245.