Two Sets of Remains from North Korea ID'd as US Soldiers

Korean People's Army soldiers stand beneath the entrance to a pavillion before the Military Demarcation Line at the truce village of Panmunjom on the North Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea

Two Korean War dead have been identified from remains turned over to the U.S.in July by North Korea, according to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday.

"There's been already some closure for a couple of families that have waited many, many years for this", Mattis told Pentagon reporters.

He confirmed two sets of remains were identified and further identification efforts are underway.

"One of the reasons that we were able to identify them so quickly [was because their remains] were more complete than usual so it gave us more to look at and narrow down the identity with", Dr. John Byrd, Laboratory Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accountability Agency said.

According to estimates from the Department of Defense, there are approximately 7,700 US troops who remain missing from the Korean War.

The Pentagon estimates that of the approximately 7,700 U.S. MIAs from the Korean War, about 5,300 are unaccounted for on North Korean soil.


The Pentagon said USA and North Korean military officials held negotiations last week on surrendering more remains.

The condition of some of the remains is decidedly better than that of others. Despite setbacks in the nuclear negotiations, North Korea has maintained its moratorium on weapons testing, has toned down its rhetoric, and attempted to downplay the threatening nature of its arsenal, as was evidenced by its decision not to feature ICBMs in its most recent military parade. One set was identified as a tall black American.

Almost 7,700 USA service members were listed as missing and unaccounted for from the 1950-53 Korean War.

Byrd acknowledged that it could take months for the next round of identifications. He also said that consultations are going on about the repatriation of more Korean War remains.

The July transfer coincided with the 65th anniversary of the 1953 armistice that ended fighting between North Korean and Chinese forces and South Korean and US-led forces under the UN Command.

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