US identifies two sets of Korean War remains: James Mattis

US identifies two sets of Korean War remains: James Mattis

The US has identified the first two American service members from among the remains of US war dead returned by North Korea in July.

"There's been already some closure for a couple of families that have waited many, many years for this", Mattis told Pentagon reporters.

John Byrd, who is leading the effort to identify the remains for the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, said the two individuals' identities will be released in the coming days once their relatives are notified.

A forensic anthropologist shows some of the objects that accompanied the human remains handed over by North Korea, including a wallet, buttons and canteens, at Joint Base Pearl Harbour-Hickam, Hawaii.

North Korea provided the 55 boxes in a delayed fulfillment of a commitment its leader, Kim Jong Un, made to President Trump at their Singapore summit on June 12.

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Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the repatriation ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in August, where he thanked the fallen soldiers for giving "the last full measure of devotion for their families, our freedom, our future, our country".

Byrd acknowledged that it could take months for the next round of identifications.

The remains identified came from box 14 and box 16 of the 55 boxes, DPAA officials told the military paper.

The two United States service members, who were identified through DNA analysis and historical documents, are believed to have died in late 1950 in an area near the Chongchon River, where USA forces suffered heavy losses during the Korean War.

The July transfer coincided with the 65th anniversary of the 1953 armistice that ended fighting between North Korean and Chinese forces and South Korean and US -led forces under the U.N. Command. The US military estimates that more than 7,000 US troops who lost their lives during the Korean War remain unaccounted for.

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