Published: Thu, July 19, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

North Korea to grant special amnesty in August. Why?

North Korea to grant special amnesty in August. Why?

The U.S. and North Korea held talks on Sunday to discuss the return of more than 5,000 remains of U.S. service members still missing from the Korean War.

US President Donald Trump holds up a document signed by him and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un following a signing ceremony during their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

The senator's comments come just one day after North Korea's official KCNA news agency released a from an unnamed foreign ministry spokesperson which said that "the attitude of the United States was indeed regrettable" during Pompeo's talks with Pyongyang. South Korea's Foreign Ministry said the North then requested higher level talks with the US-led United Nations Command.

The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency said Monday that the amnesty would be granted for "those who had been convicted of the crimes against the country and people".

North Korea announced Monday that it will grant a general amnesty for prisoners ahead of the country's 70th founding anniversary on September 9, state-run media reported Monday.

About 7,700 U.S. military personnel still remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, U.S. military data show.

U.S. officials have previously said it could take years to identify all the remains and to determine whether they are, in fact, Americans.

Although several details for the transfer of the remains still had to be worked out, there was some agreement about how an initial transfer would proceed, said a USA official, who was not authorized to speak about the meeting publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity. Citing practical difficulties, the official said that 55 was a "ballpark" figure and that further testing by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency would be required to confirm the number. The U.S. keeps about 28,000 troops in South Korea. Talks at the working level will continue on Monday.

There's speculation that Pyongyang is trying to fast-track discussions on more critical issues, such as reaching a declaration to formally end the war, which stopped on an armistice and not a peace treaty. But what, if anything, North Korea may be willing to hand over remains unclear.

The meeting arranged by the U.S. State Department was originally scheduled to take place last Thursday, but the North Koreans were no-shows.

This meeting was aimed at fulfilling one of the commitments made by Chairman Kim at the Singapore Summit.

The no-show came after Kim scuttled a rendezvous with Pompeo during his trip to Pyongyang earlier this month.

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