U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Monday that the United States will not stop working to recover the remains of American soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.
In a speech marking Memorial Day, Pence recounted the return of 55 cases of remains from North Korea last year following an agreement between its leader, Kim Jong-un, and U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore in June.
He noted with gratitude that he was present at a ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, in August to receive the remains.
"Last June, at his first historic summit in Singapore with Chairman Kim Jong-un, President Trump had our missing fallen on his heart," Pence said at the Arlington Cemetery in Virginia. "And as he began negotiations for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Donald Trump also secured a promise for the return of the remains of all fallen U.S. service members lost in North Korea."
Recovery operations resumed soon after the summit, but they have since been suspended amid a deadlock in denuclearization negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang, according to reports earlier this month.
Pence said the work will continue.
"Some of the remains have been identified but more work remains," he said. "This is just a beginning. But I can assure you, and assure all the families of our missing fallen, we will never rest until every soldier is accounted for and resting on American soil."
The U.S. estimates that the remains of some 5,300 American troops have yet to be recovered from North Korea.
As the son of a Korean War combat veteran, Pence said he will "never be given a higher honor than to have been present when our boys were finally coming home" in August.(Yonhap)