North Korea appears to be building one or two ICBMs

The North Korea flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur
The North Korea flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

02 August, 2018

More than 50 boxes handed over by North Korea to the United States last week appear to hold human remains from the 1950-1953 Korean War and are likely American, according to an initial forensic analysis, a USA official said on Wednesday.

In May, Trump halted new sanctions targeting North Korea in anticipation of his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. "We'll see what happens".

The remains were then moved in gray vans to an airfield where US and South Korean soldiers loaded them one by one into transport planes.

Decades after the end of the Korean War in 1953, the remains of dozens of presumed US war dead were on their way Wednesday to Hawaii for analysis and identification.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has welcomed the return of the 55 boxes but acknowledged it's not certain who is inside.

"It could take months, or even years to identify them", the defense official said.

Instead, the Post reported that "senior North Korean officials have discussed their intention to deceive Washington about the number of nuclear warheads and missiles they have, as well as the types and numbers of facilities, and to rebuff global inspectors, according to intelligence gathered by US agencies".

Initial forensic analysis suggested the remains were likely to be of American servicemen, the US military said.

Sohae has been the main site for North Korea's satellite launches since 2012.

He noted that some could turn out to be those of missing from other nations that fought in the Korean War.

However, it called on the SDF to remain alert to possible threats from North Korea.

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It deemed North Korea unlikely to stage a ballistic missile blitz in light of eased tensions following landmark summit talks in Singapore in June between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The government has said only that the UN Security Council -where China and the United States both wield vetoes - should revisit sanctions after Kim's meeting with Trump.

The lack of info about the supposed remains of United States servicemen from the Korean War will cause the process of identification to take years, according to CNN.

Trump's remark at a political rally Wednesday in Tampa, Florida, was the latest sign of friction between the United States and North Korea, as they attempt to implement on Kim's June 12 agreement to "work toward complete denuclearisation".

North Korea got respect, trade, and weapons, and now they appear to be going on as if Singapore put no restrictions on them. The US has repeatedly rejected global calls for sanctions relief on North Korea.

What are experts saying about this?

USA spy agencies suspect that North Korea is building new missiles in the same research facility that manufactured the country's first ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.

The officials say evidence, including satellite photos taken recently, suggests that construction is underway on one or two ICBMs. During the Korean War, combat troops of 16 other United Nations member countries fought alongside USA service members on behalf of South Korea.

Once the boxes are in DPAA custody, the first step will be to inventory them to determine whether the remains are those of Americans, Duus said.

While the fighting in the Korean War lasted from 1950 until 1953, the war never formally ended and a peace treaty was never signed. The US military presence in South Korea is the backbone of its security commitment to South Korea, which doesn't' have nuclear weapons. In the past, the North has provided bones that in some cases were not human or that were additional bones of USA servicemen already identified from previously recovered remains. Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea unilaterally handed over 208 caskets to the USA, which turned out to contain remains of far more than 208 individuals, although forensics specialists thus far have established 181 identities.

The last time U.S. military men or women were on the ground to teach for remains was 2005.

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