Veterans urge Trump to prioritize Korean War remains at North Korea summit

Matt Saintsing
June 11, 2018 - 12:02 pm

Photo by Richard Gray/EMPICS

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While plenty of speculation surrounds President Donald Trump’s momentous summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, one veterans organization is hopeful this meeting will result in the return of thousands of American remains.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) sent a letter to the White House Monday, to urge Mr. Trump to bring up the issue of missing Korean War veterans’ remains

“For the families of those who never returned, the passage of time does not heal their wounds,” the letter reads. “For them, the days became weeks, and the weeks became months, then years, and now, sadly decades.”

If the subject does get raised during the highly-anticipated meeting, it won’t be the first time the two nations have come together on the issue. From 1990 to 2005, U.S. and North Korean officials were party to a repatriation agreement, which saw the return of 229 sets of American remains back home.

But that program ended due to deteriorating political ties, and other attempts to reengage North Korea on this front have largely led nowhere.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were also sent the letter that pushes the administration to “do everything in your power to ensure that those who paid the ultimate price for freedom during the Korean War are finally returned home to their families.”

More than 35,000 U.S. troops died during the Korean War, often dubbed America’s “forgotten war,” and 7,700 are still listed as missing in action. Some 5,300 American remains are believed to still be in North Korea.

Mr. Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet Tuesday in Singapore for a first-of-its-kind summit between the two contentious nations. The heads-of-state will meet face to face Tuesday morning.

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