The Department of Defense announced today that U.S. and North Korean negotiators have reached an agreement in which teams of specialists will jointly recover the remains of Americans missing in action from the Korean War.
This will be the fifth consecutive year that the United States has conducted remains recovery operations in North Korea. During the past four years, the joint teams have conducted 12 remains recovery operations and recovered remains believed to be those of 42 U.S. servicemen. Three have been positively identified, with approximately 10 more in the forensic identification process.
The agreement, following three days of negotiations in Kuala Lumpur, expands similar operations that have been conducted since 1996. Similar talks with North Korea broke down in December 1999 without agreement. The North Koreans returned to negotiations June 7.
The U.S. component of the joint recovery teams will include 20 members. Five operations are scheduled in Unsan and Kujang counties, a distance of approximately 60 miles north of the capital of Pyongyang. Each operation is scheduled to last approximately 25 days, with the first beginning June 25. The final operation of 2000 will end Nov. 11.
Remains recovered through these operations will be flown by U.S. military aircraft from Pyongyang under escort of a U.S. uniformed honor guard to Yokota Air Base, Japan.