North Korea says it will grant large-scale prisoner amnesty next month

19 July, 2018, 14:00 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • The administration of Park Geun-hye has been accused of restricting access to the defectors

Pompeo initially said the two sides had agreed to hold talks on US remains on Thursday but no North Korean representatives showed up at the border.

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

Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Minihan, chief of staff for the United Nations Command, led the USA delegation, while North Korea sent a group helmed by a two-star general, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo sent a formal invitation on Friday to South Korea's president Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Widodo's spokesman said, but it was not immediately clear if either has responded. But a USA military official familiar with the matter said last month it was not clear what North Korea might hand over.

President Donald Trump took to Twitter again Sunday to lament coverage of his administration and its fight against "fake news", calling much of the USA news media "indeed the enemy of the people".

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo: "On Sunday, July 15, representatives from the United States held the first General Officer-level talks with the DPRK since 2009". North Korea's foreign ministry decried the U.S.as talks came to a close, for making what it called "rapacious" demands. The United States initially planned to hold a colonel-level meeting, but it accepted North Korea's request to move up the rank.

More than 36,000 US troops died in the Korean War, according to the Pentagon.

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Pointing toward Monday's meeting in Helsinki, Finland, with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump said it would not matter what is accomplished, because he will ultimately "return to criticism it wasn't good enough".

South Korean TV footage showed North Korean athletes and delegates arriving at Seoul's Incheon International Airport Sunday via a flight through Beijing.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last month that the UNC would handle the return of the remains since 16 nations fought under the U.N. flag during the war.

It also granted amnesties in 2012, to celebrate the centennial of the birth of Kim's grandfather and the founder of the North, Kim Il Sung, and the 70th birthday of his father, Kim Jong Il, the same year.

The concession came ahead of Trump's Singapore meeting with Kim.

North Korea and the United States conducted joint operations to recover the remains of US soldiers from 1996 to 2005 but their relations soured as Pyongyang accelerated its nuclear program.

North Korea has long trumpeted a denuclearization goal, but one that it sees as a lengthy process of undefined multilateral disarmament on the entire Korean peninsula, rather than a unilateral dismantlement of its nuclear arsenal.

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