US, North Korea reach deal on war remains

By REUTERS
October 22, 2011 18:29

 
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WASHINGTON - The United States and North Korea have reached an agreement on resuming recovery of the remains of American soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The agreement came after three days of talks in Bangkok between US and North Korean officials and coincides with a renewed push to revive negotiations with regional powers on disabling secretive North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The Pentagon said in a statement Friday that, "Accounting for Americans missing in action is a stand-alone humanitarian matter, not tied to any other issue between the two countries."

Yet there has been growing speculation US President Barack Obama, approaching the final year of his four-year term, may initiate talks with North Korea on curbing its nuclear ambitions and the remains recovery talks were seen as a hint at US willingness to engage.

More than 7,900 U.S. soldiers are listed as missing from the Korean War, with some 5,500 estimated to be buried in the reclusive North. Joint recovery efforts were halted in May 2005 over concerns about the uncertain environment created by North Korea's nuclear programs.

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