WASHINGTON -- US President Donald Trump on Thursday announced the names of two American soldiers whose remains were identified following their return from North Korea in July.
In a tweet, Trump said the soldiers who fought in the 1950-53 Korean War were Army Master Sgt. Charles H. McDaniel, 32, of Vernon, Indiana, and Army Pfc. William H. Jones, 19, of Nash County, North Carolina.
North Korea returned 55 boxes of presumed American soldiers' remains as part of an agreement reached by Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at their historic summit in Singapore in June.
Trump said McDaniel and Jones are "the first American remains from North Korea to be identified as a result of my Summit with Chairman Kim."
"These HEROES are home, they may Rest In Peace, and hopefully their families can have closure," he tweeted.
|US Vice President Mike Pence(Yonhap)|
The Trump administration has touted the remains' return as evidence of progress in implementing the summit deal, which otherwise commits North Korea to work toward "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees from the US.
The returns were flown out of North Korea and transported to a Department of Defense laboratory in Hawaii to undergo forensic identification.
Included in the boxes was McDaniel's dog tag, which was returned to his two sons in a ceremony near the Pentagon last month.
And in an apparent stroke of luck, the medic's remains were also among the first to be identified.
Of the more than 7,000 American troops that went missing in the Korean War, some 5,300 are believed to have died in North Korea.
US Vice President Mike Pence received the remains in Hawaii in August. On Thursday he presented a US flag that covered the boxes to the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington.
"I can assure you, we will continue to work diligently to achieve peace and security on the Korean Peninsula," Pence said during a ceremony at the memorial. "And we will never relent in our effort to bring our missing fallen home."
The US and North Korea have continued to hold talks on recovering and returning the other remains, as agreed by Trump and Kim.
But negotiations to dismantle the regime's nuclear weapons program have stalled as each side has demanded the other move first. Washington has sought an inventory of the nuclear arsenal, while Pyongyang has insisted on jointly declaring an end to the war, which ended only with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
To help break the impasse, South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with Kim in Pyongyang this week, and drew a commitment from the North Korean leader to dismantle a missile testing site in front of international inspectors, among other things.
Trump welcomed the news, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement that the US was prepared to "immediately" engage in talks with the North. (Yonhap)