The U.S has retrieved the remains of what are believed to be 55 servicemen killed in the Korean War.
It’s 65 years since an armistice ended fighting.
And the repatriation makes good on an agreement between U.S. President Donald Trump and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea leader Kim Jong Un at their historic summit.
It’s part of a much more ambitious aim to achieve lasting peace between the DPRK and the U.S and South Korea.
But as CGTN’s Owen Fairclough discovered, veterans marking the anniversary aren’t especially optimistic.
Sweltering in their blazers adorned with medals, veterans from across the U.S came to Washington D.C. to remember the brothers-in-arms they left behind in the Korean War.
Thousands of U.S. troops are still unaccounted for 65 years since the conflict split Korea in half, the U.S having backed the South.
But this anniversary has been marked by an important breakthrough.
Se Woo Pyo, Defense Attaché for the Embassy of Republic of Korea to USA, told people assembled in front of the Korean War Memorial:“Fifty-five cases of remains of U.S. troops turned over by North Korea to the United Nations Command. hope this is a small step to push the momentum towards denuclearization and build trust and build peace.”
The transfer is the first tangible outcome of the historic meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea leader Kim Jong Un.
But veterans who’ve watched similar diplomatic moves start and fail over and over are skeptical about the ultimate objective. The DPRK has handed over remains in the past as a goodwill gesture for previous failed peace talks.
Korean War Veteran Paul Lee said, “I want there to be peace, but I’m not truly 100 percent.”
Another vet, Don Netchske, added: “The political base drums are beating now: ‘We gotta get it done now.’ That’s not going to happen.”
Their skepticism is understandable. Kim Jong Un, marking the anniversary in Pyongyang, insists a formal declaration of the end of the war is the first step towards peace.
But at the White House, a short distance from the memorial, the priority is Kim giving up nuclear weapons first, a process that remains disputed in a flurry of diplomacy that has generated fresh hope of a lasting peace deal.
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