Pentagon suspends efforts to recover troops' remains as North Korea talks stall

news
An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington, June 15, 2005. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the Guantanamo prison against critics who want it closed by saying U.S. taxpayers have a big financial stake in it and no other facility could replace it at a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday. (Reuters/Jason Reed JIR/CN)

SEOUL (Reuters) - It was one of the most concrete agreements to come out of the first U.S.-North Korea summit last year, but now the Pentagon says it has given up hope of recovering any more remains of U.S. troops killed in the 1950-1953 Korean War in the near future.


The U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), which works to recover missing American troops around the world, said on Wednesday that it had not heard from North Korean officials since the second U.S.-North Korea summit, held in Hanoi in February, ended with no agreement.

"As a result, our efforts to communicate with the Korean People's Army regarding the possible resumption of joint recovery operations for 2019 have been suspended," DPAA spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Hoffman said in a statement.

"We have reached the point where we can no longer effectively plan, coordinate, and conduct field operations in (North Korea) during this fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2019."

At their first summit in June last year, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a declaration committing to the recovery of remains of soldiers killed in the war.

The two sides remain technically at war because a peace treaty was never signed.

In July, North Korea handed over 55 boxes of human remains, a move Trump has hailed as evidence of the success of his negotiations with Kim.

Since then, however, there has been little progress on resuming the search for the roughly 5,300 Americans believed to be lost in what is now North Korea.

Despite that lack of progress, as recently as April 26 Trump touted the return of the remains and said they "continued to come back".

North Korea has also been silent about planned joint recovery operations with South Korea, which left the South Korean military to begin independently recovering remains in the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas in April.

The United States and North Korea conducted joint searches for remains from 1996 until 2005, when Washington halted the operations citing concerns about the safety of its personnel as Pyongyang stepped up its nuclear program.

The Hanoi summit in February fell apart over a failure to reconcile North Korean demands for sanctions relief with U.S. demands for Kim to give up a nuclear weapons program that now threatens the United States.

Hoffman said the DPAA is still trying to determine whether new recovery operations might be possible.

"We are assessing possible next steps in resuming communications with the KPA to plan for potential joint recovery operations during Fiscal Year 2020," he said.

SEE ALSO: North Korea Stood Up The US For A Meeting On Recovering POW/MIA Remains

WATCH NEXT: The Historic Handshake Between Trump And Kim Jong Un

(Glow Images via Associated Press)

Editor's Note: This article by Amy Bushatz originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

A massive billing glitch in Tricare's East region, managed by Humana, on Thursday slammed about 25,000 beneficiaries with premium charges 100 times more than they owe monthly for their coverage.

Read More Show Less
A UH-60 Black Hawk departs from The Rock while conducting Medevac 101 training with members of the 386th Expeditionary Medical Group, Feb. 16, 2019. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Robert Cloys)

A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.

At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
Members of the National Socialist Movement, one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the US, hold a swastika burning after a rally on April 21, 2018 in Draketown, Georgia. (Getty Images/Spencer Platt)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Former Canadian Army Reserve Master Cpl. Patrik Mathews, 26, was first identified as a member of The Base by Winnipeg Free Press reporter Ryan Thorpe.

Days after Thorpe's report was published, Mathews went missing and was discharged from the military for his alleged ties to the group. His car was found about 10 miles from the U.S. border soon thereafter, and police found a cache of weapons when they raided his home.

Vice reporters Ben Makuch, Mack Lamoureux, and Zachary Kamel, citing confidential sources, reported on Thursday that Mathews had been illegally smuggled across the border and is being hidden by members of The Base, which has operated in encrypted chatrooms as a largely online organization.

Read More Show Less

The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.

Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."

Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.

Read More Show Less

The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.

Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.

Read More Show Less