Archive for July, 2003

US reopens Korean veteran talks

Wednesday, July 9th, 2003


North Korean and US officials are to resume talks on recovering the remains of US soldiers still missing from the Korean War.

Negotiators will meet on Thursday in the Thai capital of Bangkok to discuss a schedule for new search operations, a US spokesman said.

Previous talks were suspended last year as tensions between the two nations rose after the US accused North Korea of developing a nuclear weapons programme.

The US search for remains, involving forensic experts, has focused on several key battlefields.

These include the Chongchon River vicinity, north of Pyongyang, and in the Chosin Reservoir area, scene of some of the most savage fighting of the war in the final months of 1950.

More than 8,000 US servicemen are listed as unaccounted for from the Korean War, which ended 50 years ago this month.

‘Humanitarian work’

US officials stressed that the talks would not focus on the subject of North Korea’s alleged weapons programmes, describing it instead as a “separate, stand-alone, humanitarian” issue.

“This has been the US policy in our dealings with all other countries,” US Defense Department spokesman Lieutenant Commander Jeff Davis told the Associated Press news agency.

“And it has enabled us to continue moving ahead in our humanitarian work even if there may be policy difficulties in other areas.”

Since 1996, when North Korea first permitted the US to search for remains of servicemen, around 200 sets of remains have been recovered.