North Korea has returned what are believed to be the remains of US soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, the latest gesture of goodwill between the two nations following the Singapore summit in June.
A US military plane made a rare trip into North Korea to retrieve 55 small, flag-draped cases of remains on Friday.
The repatriation is seen as a modest diplomatic victory for Donald Trump , because it was one of the agreements reached when he met with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un .
“After so many years, this will be a great moment for so many families. Thank you to Kim Jong-un,” the US president wrote on Twitter.
The White House earlier confirmed a US Air Force C-17 aircraft containing the remains of fallen service members had departed the North Korean city of Wonsan, on its way to the Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, near the South Korean cpaital of Seoul.
At the airbase, soldiers in dress uniforms with white gloves slowly carried 55 small cases covered with the blue-and-white United Nations insignia, placing them one by one into silver vans waiting on the tarmac.
Officers looked on next to the flags of the United States, South Korea and the United Nations.
A formal repatriation ceremony will be held at the base on Wednesday, the White House said.
The remains would then be flown to Hawaii for scientific testing to determine if they are human and if the dead were American or allied troops killed during the conflict. It’s a process that could take a number of years.