Pyongyang refuses to show up at war remains talks


The President's release of the letter comes shortly after North Korean officials failed to show up to a meeting with USA leadership.

The agreement on the return of remains of Americans believed to have been lost on the North Korean side of the border during the 1950-53 war, "including the immediate repatriation of those already identified", was the only concrete commitment on the four-point summit declaration.

That was the day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived for two days of meetings with top North Korean officials, which ended on a sour note after Pyongyang blasted the US side for issuing a "unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization".

A North Korean soldier marches at the truce village at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which separates the two Koreas in Panmunjom, North Korea, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. DPAA advisers were attending the talks.

While lacking in specifics about the status of diplomatic talks between the U.S. and North Korea, Kim's letter lavishes praise on Trump, repeatedly referring to the President as "Your Excellency".

"North Korea not showing up could be an expression of dissatisfaction toward the USA for making excessive demands in the high-level talks last week", Kyungnam University professor Kim Dong-yub said". The president rattled US allies by demanding that the other NATO nations pay more toward their own defense, although he stopped short of threatening to pull the United States out of the trans-Atlantic alliance. The transfer of remains between North Korea and the United States has not taken place since 2005.

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However, while the North's attitude may further impede the denuclearization talks, the regime is unlikely to boycott them.

Despite the apparent snub and worsening relations with North Korea, Donald Trump tweeted on Monday he has "confidence" that Mr Kim would honour the denuclearisation "contract" they signed at the Singapore summit.

Instead, not showing up to the talks could be a strategy to gain the upper hand in denuclearization negotiations.

But officials have allowed three North Korean feature films and six short movies to be screened at the annual Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival on Seoul's outskirts from July 12, organizers said.

"It takes anywhere from a few months to, in many cases, years, before we can make an identification", Kelly McKeague, head of the USA agency that tracks down remains of USA soldiers lost on foreign battlefields, said in an interview.

South Korea's urbanization is one reason why more than a 1,000 US service members are unaccounted for, said McKeague.