North Korea snubs US at meeting to discuss soldiers’ remains

S. Korea approves rare screening of N. Korea films

S. Korea approves rare screening of N. Korea films

In the meeting at the Korean Peninsula's demilitarized zone, the two sides had been expected to discuss the return of USA troops' remains from the 1950-53 Korean War - an arrangement that the State Department had announced after Secretary Michael R. Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang last weekend.

The US military has since announced that 100 wooden coffins have been moved to the inter-Korean border in preparation.

On Sunday, Pompeo seemingly shrugged off the bombastic statement and said the talks with North Korean officials were conducted in "good faith".

North Korean officials didn't show up for a planned meeting with US counterparts to discuss returning the remains of American war dead, South Korean media reported, in the latest sign of tensions between the two sides. "It is likely that military generals from the USA and North Korea will take part in the meeting".

The two countries technically remain in conflict after the 1950-53 Korean War ended without a peace treaty, and all cross-border civilian contact - including trips, letters, or emails - are banned unless endorsed by both governments. But the president's optimistic outlook about North Korea's willingness to denuclearize and steps in that direction have been brought into question, after an NBC report claiming North Korea has been expanding a nuclear facility. "We had anticipated the USA side would come with a constructive idea, thinking we would take something in return", a foreign ministry official said in a statement.

Critics at the time also argued the North was using the program to extort money from Washington, prompting the label "bones for bucks".

Ahead of the summit in Singapore, North Korean officials sometimes did not turn up to meetings where their US counterparts were expecting them, causing tension between the two negotiating partners.

Hundreds of remains have been repatriated since 1990, but the process has been fraught with mistrust.

The US president called it a "very nice note from Chairman Kim" and said "great progress is being made". On the day he left the North issued a statement on state-run media accusing the United States of "gangster-like" demands for unilateral disarmament.

It had been expected at the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom. "We're going to continue to work through that", the vice president said.

If the agency does return to North Korea, he said cooperation will be key.

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