USA identifies some Korean War remains returned by North Korea

Jennie Jin a forensic anthropologist shows some of the objects that accompanied the human remains handed over by North Korea

Modal Trigger Jennie Jin a forensic anthropologist shows some of the objects that accompanied the human remains handed over by North Korea. Reuters

US forensic scientists have identified the remains of two soldiers killed in the Korean War, Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters on Tuesday.

Researchers and analysts at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii have so far sampled 23 of the 55 sets of remains returned in late July.

"One of the reasons that we were able to identify them so quickly (was because their remains) were more complete than usual so it gave us more to look at and narrow down the identity with", John Byrd, director of scientific analysis at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said in comments carried by Reuters. One of the deceased is presumed to be African-American.

"It's a huge battle", said Jin, who estimated that 1,700 of the missing USA forces from the Korean War came from that fight alone.

President Donald Trump's administration has hailed the handover of the remains as evidence of the success of his summit with North Koran leader Kim Jong Un in June.

United Nations military officials have met with North Korean counterparts to discuss the repatriation of additional remains of troops killed during the Korean War, US officials said Monday. Vice President Pence spoke at the repatriation ceremony, where he praised the event as "tangible progress" in negotiations between the US and North Korea. About 5,300 were lost in what is now North Korea. Nevertheless, the Forensic anthropologists are now combing all the remains in a secure facility in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The condition of some of the remains is decidedly better than that of others.

Byrd acknowledged that it could take months for the next round of identifications. Jennie Jin and Byrd, who were the coordinators at the Korean War agency's Project, elaborated and said that the identification process is painstaking which also includes finding DNA from within the bone fragments.

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