Against the background of a number of high-profile statements by the Western press that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is secretly developing a nuclear missile program, thereby violating the Singapore Declaration and deceiving the world community at large and Donald Trump personally, the author would like to present a detailed answer to the matter in question.
As you may recall, the joint statement of the leaders of the United States and North Korea consisted of four main parts. The first two were full of noble intentions: the parties “undertake to establish new relations” and “will join efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula”. In the third, North Korea confirmed the Panmunjom Declaration of April 27, 2018 and agreed to “work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” without, however, any deadlines, clarifications, and further explanations. Only the last paragraph contained some specifics: “The United States and North Korea undertake to return the remains of missing prisoners of war, including the immediate return of already identified persons“.
Since the Korean war, about 8 thousand American soldiers have been considered missing. According to the Pentagon, the remains of about 5,600 U.S. soldiers are still located on North Korean territory. In the period from 1990 to 2005, the DPRK returned the remains of over six hundred American soldiers to the U.S.
On July 9, 2018, during a meeting with the press, Pentagon spokesman Robert Manning reported that the Pentagon is ready to receive the remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War: United Nations Command will receive the remains from the North Korean side and will hand them over to the United States.
On July 26, the representative of the North Korean Foreign Ministry reported that North Korea recently accepted two truck loads of wooden crates from the USA intended for the transportation of the remains, and that on July 27, C-17 military transport aircraft transferred the remains from North Korea to the Osan air base near the city of Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi province.
Interestingly, North Korean media did not report the ceremony, and the U.S. air force plane landed not in Pyongyang but in the newly built Kalma airport near Wonsan.