The U.S. doesn't have confirmation that North Korea will release the remains of Korean War soldiers this week, despite President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver dead at 77 Biden, Democrats losing ground with independent and suburban voters: poll Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law MORE's insistence that the process has started and Department of Defense (DOD) officials preparing for the handover.
Though DOD officials will travel to South Korea this week with the intention of retrieving the troop remains from North Korea on Friday, it is still unclear if the operation will occur, according to CNN.
North Korea has reportedly not given South Korea or the U.S. the go-ahead for the transfer.
"As you may know, we're also working to bring back the remains of your brothers-in-arms who gave their lives in Korea," Trump said on Tuesday. "And I hope that, very soon, these fallen warriors will begin coming home to lay at rest in American soil. That's starting the process."
Trump previously claimed that North Korea had returned the remains of 200 U.S. soldiers, though the first transfer is actually scheduled for Friday.
The DOD officials are reportedly prepared to fly into North Korea to pick up the remains. They will then return to South Korea, where forensic scientists are slated to conduct intensive DNA assessments to confirm the origin of the bodies, an official told CNN.
However, Pyongyang has not said definitively that the transfer will happen, leaving the U.S. officials in limbo.
North Korean officials last month skipped a meeting with U.S. officials to discuss returning the remains.
North Korean leader Jim Kong Un signed onto a joint agreement with Trump last month that included a promise by Pyongyang to return the remains of U.S. soldiers and denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
Though reports since the Singapore summit have indicated that North Korea is continuing to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal, satellite images released on Tuesday show North Korean forces dismantling a launch site.