US seeks N Korea talks on recovery of war remains

Last Updated: Saturday, August 6, 2011 - 10:07

Washington: The US military has proposed talks with North Korea on resuming recovery of remains of thousands of US service members killed in the Korean War.

A Defence Department official said on Friday that a letter was sent to the North Korean government this week after Pyongyang officials had contacted the department saying they would look favourably on such a US request.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as the letter sent on Tuesday has not been made public and North Korea has yet to respond to it.

About 8,000 US service members are listed as missing from the Korean War that ended in 1953 without a formal peace treaty, some 5,500 of them in North Korea. Joint efforts to recover remains halted in 2005 after Washington said security for its personnel was insufficient.

“Because of their overture, we believe our personnel can safely perform these operations in North Korea,” the official said.

The Korean peninsula technically remains at war, and more than 28,000 US forces are based in South Korea. Tensions between the two Koreas escalated sharply in 2010 with two attacks that killed 50 South Koreans. International talks aimed at getting North Korea to end its nuclear weapons programme in return for aid have stalled for two years.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, August 6, 2011 - 10:07
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