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(2nd LD) U.S. sends wooden cases to inter-Korean border for return of soldiers' remains

All Headlines 18:04 June 23, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with U.S. preparations)

SEOUL, June 23 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. military moved 100 wooden "temporary transit cases" to the inter-Korean border on Saturday in preparation to receive the remains of soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.

The cases in storage at the truce village of Panmunjom, or the Joint Security Area (JSA), will likely be sent to North Korea in a few days for use to carry the remains "in a dignified manner."

"We are also moving United Nations Command (UNC) flags to the JSA and also trestles on which the boxes can stand as we prep them ready to move them to Osan," a U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) official said,

Separately, the USFK has moved 158 metal coffins from Yongsan in central Seoul to Osan Air Base in Gyeonggi Province, the official added.

The repatriation of the remains of U.S. troops killed during the war was one of the agreements that U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reached during their historic summit in Singapore earlier this month.

(2nd LD) U.S. sends wooden cases to inter-Korean border for return of soldiers' remains - 1

The North is expected to hand over the remains in the coming days.

The delivery of the caskets shows that the implementation of the summit agreement is going well.

Coupled with a recent decision by the United States and South Korea to suspend their joint military exercises, the repatriation of the remains is expected to have positive impacts on the upcoming denuclearization negotiations between the two sides.

Speculation has arisen that a high-level U.S. official could visit the North to bring the remains home. Should Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visit Pyongyang for denuclearization talks, he could take the remains with him on the way back home.

It is unclear how the remains will be transported.

Possibilities include a large U.S. military transport plane going into North Korea and bringing the remains out of the country to either South Korea's Osan Air Base or Japan's Yokota Air Base, or taking over the remains at the border village and transporting them to Osan.
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