Trump identifies first soldier remains returned from North Korea

Trump identifies first soldier remains returned from North Korea
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE on Thursday released the identities of the first two American soldiers whose remains were returned from North Korea earlier this year as part of negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) identified two Korean War veterans among the remains that were repatriated: Sgt. Charles H. McDaniel, 32, of Vernon, Ind.; and Pfc. William H. Jones, 19, of Nash County, N.C.

"These HEROES are home, they may Rest In Peace, and hopefully their families can have closure," Trump tweeted after sharing their identities.

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Kim agreed to return the remains of Korean War soldiers as part of an agreement reached in June during a summit with Trump.

About 7,000 U.S. service members from the Korean War remain unaccounted for, with DPAA estimating that about 5,300 were lost in North Korea.

In July, North Korea turned over 55 cases of remains believed to be of U.S. troops.

DPAA director Kelly McKeague said earlier Thursday that the Pentagon has offered to meet with the North Koreans next month to discuss joint operations to recover additional remains. McKeague expressed hope that the operation could then start next spring. 

DPAA was able to identify the two soldiers quickly because their remains included partial skulls with teeth that could matched to dental records and clavicle bones that could be matched with military X-ray records, McKeague said.
 
The dog tag for McDaniel, an Army medic, was found among the remains. But officials at the time cautioned that did not necessarily mean his remains were included in the 55 cases. The dog tag was returned to McDaniel's sons in August.

Trump has highlighted the return of Korean War remains as a significant achievement of his administration, and a sign of progress in relations between the U.S. and North Korea amid a broader push for North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.

Kim pledged during meetings with South Korea's president this week to dismantle his nuclear arsenal, contingent on unspecified reciprocal action by the U.S.

Rebecca Kheel contributed to this story.