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Efforts to recover US troops' remains from North Korea suspended: report

Efforts to recover US troops' remains from North Korea suspended: report
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U.S. efforts to recover the remains of American troops killed during the Korean War have stalled as the Trump administration's negotiations with North Korea have seen recent setbacks.

The agency in charge of recovering the remains told Reuters on Wednesday that it has not been in contact with North Korean officials since negotiations between President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE and Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnSouth Korea: Kim Jong Un has executed citizens, shut down capital to stop COVID-19 spread Will Biden choose a values-based or transactional foreign policy? Japan's role could redefine Asia-Pacific relations under Biden and Suga MORE in February failed to produce further results, a spokesman told Reuters.

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“We have reached the point where we can no longer effectively plan, coordinate, and conduct field operations in [North Korea] during this fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2019," U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) spokesman Lt. Col. Kenneth Hoffman reportedly said.

"As a result, our efforts to communicate with the Korean People’s Army regarding the possible resumption of joint recovery operations for 2019 have been suspended,” he said.

The return of remains of U.S. soldiers was begun last year under a historic agreement between Trump and Kim that saw the U.S. and North Korea work towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula for the first time in decades.

However, the negotiations stalled earlier this year over a fight over U.S. sanctions on North Korea.

Roughly 5,300 U.S. soldiers were considered killed in action and remained in North Korea after the end of the Korean War, though the remains of about 50 were returned last year following the two leaders' first summit. Since then, little progress has reportedly been made.

It's unclear whether North Korea plans to continue its path towards denuclearization or closer relations with the U.S. absent a change in posture from the White House and the State Department.

“We are assessing possible next steps in resuming communications with the KPA to plan for potential joint recovery operations during Fiscal Year 2020,” Hoffman reportedly added.