US preparing in DMZ for return of troop remains from North Korea

President Trump right and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reach to shake hands at their summit in Singapore on June 12

President Trump right and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reach to shake hands at their summit in Singapore on June 12

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who has been ordered by Trump to unilaterally halt "provocative" United States war games in South Korea, was cautious when asked whether the North had indeed begun to disarm.

He said China would "as always play a constructive role" in that process.

While Pompeo pushes on with follow up talks, Trump appears happy to celebrate the summit as a success, as if the joint statement itself marked a beginning to the end of Kim's nuclear program.

The summit pledge was followed by the U.S. military's postponement of major joint exercises with its ally South Korea following a pledge by Trump to halt the drills which have aroused repeated anger in the North.

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As many as 5,300 sets of US service member remains are still somewhere in North Korea, the US Defense Department has said.

Earlier, during the historic meet in Singapore, the two leaders had signed a statement committing to full "denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula while the U.S. had made a decision to give "security guarantees". The U.S. has long looked to China to use its influence with North Korea to bring it to negotiations, but the visit comes as ties between Beijing and Washington are being tested by a major trade dispute.

He dismissed it as "completely false" and said plans were "still preliminary". The official, who wasn't authorized to discuss the issue publicly and spoke only on condition of anonymity, would not answer questions about whether the site was already being destroyed, but said that as negotiations moved forward, the administration would continue to monitor the area where North Korea tested liquid propellant engines for long-range ballistic missiles.

Kim's visit to Beijing, while expected, is one way for China to highlight its crucial role in USA efforts to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. "I wouldn't expect that at this point".

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Repeating North Korean arguments, Trump said the games were "provocative" to Pyongyang and added that they were "very expensive".

For Xi, having Kim under his wing could increase leverage in his dealings with Trump amid the escalating trade war between the USA and China.

Abraham Denmark of the Wilson Center warned a congressional hearing: "Considering North Korea's repeated history of violating past agreements, there is little reason to trust them this time". For now, Trump has maintained UN-led sanctions on North Korea, but China alone could dent the global pressure, as it is the North's biggest trading partner and supplier of food and energy.

The United States conducted joint recovery operations from 1996 to 2005. "There will be a big question mark over whether China and USA will continue this cooperation".

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