North Korean claims he was duped into defecting by South Korean intelligence

North Korean claims he was duped into defecting by South Korean intelligence

North Korean claims he was duped into defecting by South Korean intelligence

The U.S. officials had planned to meet to discuss returning the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War.

The two sides met on the inter-Korean border and agreed to resume joint field activities to search for the remains of Americans missing from the war, Pompeo said in a statement.

In the Singapore summit's joint statement, the North committed to "work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" - language that some observers say gives it room to maneuver for a phased, quid pro quo approach with the U.S. But in the weeks since the June 12 summit, the United States and the North have made little progress in their talks.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo returned from his third visit to Pyongyang last week empty-handed, which raised suspicions about Pyongyang's sincerity in its pledge to denuclearize.

The Yonhap news agency, citing officials from both the US and South Korea, said the talks had begun at 0100 GMT/UTC in the border village of Panmunjom, which lies inside the DMZ separating the two Koreas.

Michael Minihan, an Air Force major general at U.S. Forces Korea who doubles as chief of staff for the U.N. Command (UNC), was representing the U.S. side and his counterpart is expected to be a military commander stationed in the DMZ, the news agency said. The State Department later said the North Korean side had been in contact at midday to cancel that meeting Thursday and had suggested rescheduling to Sunday.

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In 2012, North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un granted amnesty to celebrate the centennial of the birth of his grandfather and the North's founder Kim Il-sung and the 70th birthday of his father Kim Jong-il.

Official U.S. statistics show that 7,699 American personnel remain unaccounted for following the 1950-53 conflict. 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 Pentagon says Pyongyang has indicated several times they have as many as 200 sets of remains that could be those of USA soldiers who died in the war.

North Korean officials skipped a planned meeting with United States officials over the war remains last week, citing lack of preparations. More than 36,500 US troops died in the conflict.

The diplomatic detente triggered a rapid improvement in relations between Pyongyang and both Seoul and Washington, culminating in last month's summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.

He later said he had made progress on setting a timeline for North Korea's denuclearisation.

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