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DPRK's Kim pays tribute to Chinese war dead

China Daily | Updated: 2018-07-28 07:21

Kim Jong-un, the DPRK top leader, visits the Fatherland Liberation War Martyrs Cemetery in Hoechang County, South Phyongan Province, in this undated photo released on Friday. [KCNA via Reuters]

Trump thanks Pyongyang for returning remains of US servicemen

PYONGYANG-Kim Jong-un, the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, paid tribute to the war dead of the Chinese People's Volunteers on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War (1950-53), the Korean Central News Agency reported on Friday.

Kim visited the Martyrs Cemetery of the Chinese People's Volunteers in Hoechang County, South Phyongan Province.

He was quoted as saying by KCNA that DPRK-China relations are developing into "special and durable friendly relations unprecedented in history".

Meanwhile, a US military aircraft flew the remains of more than 50 US servicemen out of the DPRK on Friday, prompting a personal "thank you" from US President Donald Trump to Kim.

Partial fulfillment

The return of the remains marks the partial fulfillment of an agreement reached between Trump and Kim at the historic US-DPRK summit in Singapore last month.

"After so many years, this will be a great moment for so many families. Thank you to Kim Jong-un," Trump said.

The White House said it was "encouraged" by the return of the remains and the "momentum for positive change".

After leaving the DPRK port city of Wonsan, the C-17 cargo plane landed at the Osan US Air Base in the Republic of Korea, where US soldiers stood in ceremonial ranks.

A formal repatriation ceremony would be held at Osan on Wednesday, the White House said.

More than 35,000 US soldiers were killed on the Korean Peninsula during the war, out of which around 7,700 are still considered missing, according to the Pentagon.

After the arrival, the ROK Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it very much welcomed the return, a humanitarian measure that can contribute to healing the scars of the war dead and the bereaved families.

Pyongyang and Seoul agreed to hold general-level military talks on Tuesday to discuss ways to implement the decisions at their summit in April at which they vowed to defuse tensions, the ROK Defence Ministry said on Friday.

Pyongyang has renewed calls for a declaration of the end of the Korean War, calling it the "first process for peace" and an important way Washington can add heft to security guarantees it has pledged in return for the DPRK giving up its nuclear weapons.

The US State Department said Washington is committed to building a peace mechanism to replace the armistice when the DPRK has denuclearized.

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