North Korean officials skip meeting over US troop remains

By Adam Taylor | Washington Post

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korean officials did not turn up to a Thursday meeting with the U.S. military about repatriating the remains of the war dead, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the situation.

The two sides had been expected to meet at the Korean Peninsula’s demilitarized zone and discuss the return of U.S. troop remains from the 1950-1953 war – an arrangement the State Department had announced after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Pyongyang last Friday and Saturday.

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On Thursday, however, Department of Defense and United Nations Command officials were left waiting in the DMZ’s Joint Security Area. The expected North Korean officials never arrived, according to the official who requested anonymity as he was not permitted to talk publicly about the event.

“We were ready,” the official said. “It just didn’t happen. They didn’t show.”

A State Department spokeswoman declined to comment, but noted that Pompeo said after his talks in Pyongyang last week that the date for the meeting remained flexible. Just before departing Pyongyang, Pompeo said the meeting was set for July 12 but that it “could move by one day or two.”

In a statement released to reporters on Thursday, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said that North Korean military officials were now seeking a meeting with their U.S. counterparts on July 15.

It was not immediately clear why North Korean officials did not attend the meeting on Thursday or whether they had ever confirmed their intention to.

Ahead of the summit in Singapore, North Korean officials had failed to attend a planning meeting with their U.S. counterparts, causing tension between the two negotiating partners.

The repatriation of the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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