US, North Korea Open Talks on Korean War MIAs

Posted October 18th, 2011 at 2:35 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. and North Korean officials are meeting in Bangkok to discuss a possible resumption of efforts to recover the remains of U.S. soldiers unaccounted for after the Korean war.

A U.S. military spokeswoman said the talks began Tuesday and are expected to last for two to three days. The U.S. delegation is led by Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert Newberry.

The United States suspended the recovery operation in 2005 because of concerns about the safety of its personnel amid tensions surrounding North Korea's nuclear program. The Pentagon did not say why it is now resuming the discussions, but said the talks are not linked to any other issue.

However the United States and South Korea both have increased diplomatic contacts with the North in recent months.

North and South Korean nuclear envoys have held two rounds of direct talks since July about a possible resumption of six-nation negotiations on North Korea's nuclear programs.

The United States and North Korea held one round of talks in New York in July. Unconfirmed South Korean news reports say a second round is being planned later this month.

The United States has made extensive efforts over many years to recover the remains of soldiers lost in the Vietnam War, leading to improved relations with the government of that once-hostile country.

An estimated 5,500 U.S. service members are believed to have been buried in North Korea following the Korean War.