North Korea, US to Discuss Recovery of War Dead

Posted August 19th, 2011 at 1:20 am (UTC-5)
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North Korea said Friday it will discuss with the United States resuming the recovery of American soldiers killed during the Korean War.

A foreign ministry spokesman told the North's official Korean Central News Agency that Pyongyang had accepted the United States' proposal on humanitarian grounds and work is already underway to arrange talks between the two militaries.

The U.S. Department of Defense says around 8,000 troops are still missing from the Korean War, with more than half believed to be buried in the North.

Joint efforts to recover U.S. missing in action began in 1996, but Washington suspended the operations in 2005 after recovering more than 220 sets of remains, citing security concerns for the U.S. teams.

In another sign of easing tensions, the U.S. said Thursday it will provide North Korea with up to $900,000 in emergency flood aid. The U.S. State Department said the provision of humanitarian assistance is separate from political and security concerns and demonstrates the United States' “concern for the well-being of the North Korean people.”

Earlier this month North Korea's state media said recent floods in the country triggered by torrential rain killed 30 people and left thousands homeless.

The aid offer follows talks between U.S. and North Korean diplomats in New York last month as the United States gauges conditions for the resumption of international negotiations on ending North Korea's nuclear program.