US to North Korea: Help Us Find Fallen Soldiers

Remains of 5,500 servicemen are believed to be located there
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2011 12:15 PM CDT
A bugle plays "Taps" during the burial services for US Army Cpl. Edward M. Pedregon, who went missing in action serving in the Korean War, Oct. 6, 2011, at Arlington National Cemetery.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – The US recovered the remains of some 220 US troops killed in the Korean War when recovery teams were allowed access to North Korea from 1996 to 2005, but the Bush administration then ended the program over fears for the teams’ safety. Now, for the first time in six years, the US plans to restart talks with North Korea on resuming the search for the remains of roughly 5,500 US troops believed to have been left behind, Pentagon officials have announced.

That could indicate warming between Washington and Pyongyang, though the Pentagon stressed that the talks would be over a “stand-alone humanitarian matter,” avoiding, for example, the issues surrounding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the LA Times reports. Hillary Clinton applauded the effort. "Most Korean War veterans are in their 80s," and close to 1,000 die every day, she said. "We cannot wait any longer to resume this critical work."

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