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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 574-99
December 17, 1999

NORTH KOREAN TALKS END WITHOUT AGREEMENT

U.S. and North Korean negotiators ended talks in Berlin late Friday, Dec. 17, 1999 without reaching agreement on joint recoveries of the remains of American servicemen missing in action from the Korean War.

The three days of negotiations were to establish a schedule of operations in North Korea for the coming year. U.S. teams have conducted remains recovery operations in North Korea each year since 1996. In these four years, 42 sets of remains believed to be American soldiers were recovered over 12 operations. Three of the soldiers have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors. The U.S. teams, led by the U.S. Army's Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii conducted recovery operations in several battlefield areas of North Korea, including Unsan county and the Chong Chon River, each approximately 60 miles north of Pyongyang.

The negotiators discussed ways to continue cooperation on remains recovery operations, but failed to reach an overall agreement as the North Korean side sought to link an extensive humanitarian aid program to the remains recovery operations. The sides set no date for future discussions, but the United States will continue efforts to conclude an agreement consistent with past arrangements.