North Korean officials did not show up for the planned 12th July meeting with the US military officials. The meeting was to be held at the demilitarized zone (DMZ), where the two nations were likely to continue their discussions on repatriating the remains of the American soldiers killed during the Korean War.
It was anticipated that the two sides were looking forward to discuss on the return of US troop remains. Earlier it was stated that the North Korean officials agreed for the meeting arranged by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during the latter’s visit to Pyongyang on 6th -7th July. Spokesperson from the State Department stated that the 12th July’s meeting has been postponed by North Korea. However, the spokesperson didn’t specify the exact date when the meeting would be held.
On 12th July, Department of Defence and United Nations Command kept waiting in the DMZs Security Area but the North Korean officials didn’t turn up. The official who didn’t want to reveal his name stated that it was not clear why the North Korean officials avoided the meeting.
The returning of the remains of the US soldiers from North Korea always remained a bone of contention between Washington and Pyongyang, since the end of the Korean War. Since the war, thousands of soldiers were reported missing or held as prisoners of war. Although, hundreds of remains were deported since 1990s, the process was filled with mistrust. Since 1015, the process of repatriating remains came to a halt.
Trump and Kim Jong-un committed to recover more American remains during the 12th June summit in Singapore. Both leaders signed a deal in this regard.
Trump told his supporters that North Korea sent back the remains of 200 Americans. However, later the Trump administration stated that they are expecting North Korea to return the 200 remains within a few days. Pentagon released an estimate that almost 7700 US troops are still untraceable form the Korean War.
The latest development is likely to fuel skepticism over North Korea’s pledge to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.