Lawmaker to Trump: ‘demand’ return of US remains from North Korea

Matt Saintsing
February 21, 2019 - 10:27 am

Photo by Chuck Cannon, Fort Polk Office of Public Affairs

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With just days to go before President Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, one lawmaker is asking the U.S. to “demand” the return of remains of American service members still missing from the Korean War. 

“I urge you to demand the swift and complete repatriation of thousands of American soldiers killed in the Korean War,” Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) wrote in a letter to Trump. 

“The families of our fallen service members have already waited more than half a century for the bodies of their loved ones to be returned. They should not be forced to wait any longer.”

The remains of some 5,000 U.S. service members still missing in action are estimated be on North Korean soil. 

“While your overall goal of dismantling North Korea's nuclear program is of paramount importance and cannot be overlooked, I hope that you will use this occasion to press the North Korean leader to renew his country’s efforts to identify, recover and return the remains of our service members still missing from the war,” the letter reads. 

Photo by Chris Adams/MCT/Sipa USA

55 sets of American war dead from the Korean peninsula were repatriated last July, following Trump’s first meeting with the North Korean dictator. 

The return of U.S. remains is one of four significant points listed in the June declaration signed by both leaders during their first summit in Singapore. 

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North Korean handing over American remains last year was the first concrete outcome from the meeting, and while Buchanan commended Trump for “ensuring that some progress has been made” on this front, he writes, “Much more work needs to be done.” 

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“It is imperative that Pyongyang faithfully follows through on its commitment to repatriate their remains and that these efforts are expedited without further delay,” Buchanan writes. 

The two leaders will meet for a second time in Hanoi, Vietnam for a two-day summit Feb. 27-28, 2019. 

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