U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday the remains of some American servicemen killed in the Korean War would be returned to the U.S. in the coming weeks. The date and the number of sets of remains to be returned were not disclosed.
“We think in the next couple weeks we’ll have the first remains returned. That’s the commitment, so progress certainly being made there,” Pompeo said during a televised cabinet meeting at the White House.
Officials from the two countries met on the inter-Korean border on Sunday and Monday in an effort to coordinate the return of the remains of the soldiers who were killed during the 1950-53 war.
Pompeo previously said an agreement was reached during the June 12 summit in Singapore between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to return the remains of the servicemen.
The U.S. and North Korea began searching for the remains in 1996 but the search was suspended in 2005 because of rising nuclear tensions. The remains of what are believed to be the remains of 220 U.S. servicemen were recovered before the operation was suspended.
More than 36,000 American service members died in the war and an estimated 7,800 are still unaccounted for, according to the Defense Department.
The conflict ended with a cease-fire agreement instead of a formal peace treaty, meaning the two Koreas are still technically at war.
The 65th anniversary of the signing of the agreement is on July 27.