WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the remains of U.S. troops missing from the Korean War were in the process of being returned to the United States from North Korea, correcting a statement he made a day earlier.
“And I understand … that they’ve already sent back or are in the process of sending back the remains of our great heroes who died in North Korea during the war,” Trump said at a Cabinet meeting.
Trump, who met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at an historic summit in Singapore earlier this month, said on Wednesday the remains of 200 American servicemen had been sent back.
Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that while North Korea was expected to return the remains of soldiers in the coming days, they had not yet been returned.
Reuters reported earlier this week that North Korea could start the process of handing over the remains of troops, including Americans, within the next few days.
One of the officials said a “sizable number” of remains were expected to be handed over. The official said it was difficult to tell exactly how many would be U.S. troops as they would require forensic testing to determine their identity.
About 7,700 U.S. military personnel remain unaccounted from the 1950-1953 Korean War, U.S. military data shows. According to the Pentagon, North Korean officials have indicated in the past that they have the remains of as many as 200 U.S. troops. More than 36,500 U.S. troops died in the conflict.
Reporting by Jim Oliphant and Idrees Ali; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Paul Simao