Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

North Korea to grant special amnesty in August. Why?

North Korea to grant special amnesty in August. Why?

American and North Korean generals held a meeting in the border village Sunday to discuss the repatriation of remains of US soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, following up on an agreement between the leaders of the two countries struck in Singapore last month.

A U.S. United Nations Command vehicle passes Tongil Daegyo, or Unification Bridge, in Paju, Gyeonggi, to head to the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom for general-level talks with North Korea Sunday morning.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unveiled the plan for talks after visiting Pyongyang this month, touting it as one of key issues on which the two sides had made progress, though the North accused his delegation of making "gangster-like" demands in connection with denuclearisation during the trip.

The preliminary details emerged after USA and North Korean officials held working-level talks Monday in the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone.

A GOP House representative is planning legislation to impose sanctions on large Chinese banks assisting North Korea. Sources say that North Korea and the United States may hold working group meetings as a follow-up to the July 15 meeting.

Article 4 of the Trump-Kim agreement states that the US and North Korea "commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified".

Pompeo called the talks over the weekend that led to the announcement "productive, cooperative and resulted in firm commitments".

The repatriations would likely take place next week or the week after, the official said.

A USA delegation was expected to retrieve the remains in North Korea and fly them out on July 27, either to Osan Air Base in South Korea or Hawaii, the official said, adding that the date may change as the two sides planned to iron out final details during another meeting in the near future.

Major General Michael Minihan, chief of staff for the United Nations Command, reportedly participated in the meeting as the USA representative. The general from the North's Korean Peoples' Army (KPA) was not identified.

The North did not show up at the border on Thursday but contacted the US on the same day to offer to meet on Sunday, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said last week, adding "We will be ready".

US President Donald Trump on Sunday defended his diplomatic efforts with North Korea, saying his meeting with leader Kim Jong-un was "a good thing" and the regime's halting of nuclear and ballistic missile tests was a "wonderful" fact.

The government of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last granted amnesty in 2015.

"[He] may want to show to his people that in addition to focusing on negotiations with the U.S., the regime is also putting an emphasis on economic development", he said. The report claimed the site matches a covert nuclear facility monitored by US intelligence for years.

But Pentagon officials cautioned it is unclear just how much North Korea is preparing to hand over.

USA military data suggests that 7,700 troops remain unaccounted for from the 1950-53 conflict.

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