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The meeting comes days after North Korea returned the reported remains of U.S. war dead, the most recent sign of positive diplomacy after last year's threats of war.

USA defence secretary Jim Mattis said the return of the remains was a positive step, but there were no guarantees they were of U.S. military personnel. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency or DPAA is the Department of Defense agency in charge of recovering personnel listed as prisoners of war or missing in action.

"Thank you to Chairman Kim Jong-un for keeping your word & starting the process of sending home the remains of our great and beloved missing fallen!"

The return of 55 sets is seen as only a first step.

The Trump Administration has lauded Pyongyang's return of fallen servicemen as a successful outcome of the summit, at which a four-point agreement was reached between the two leaders.

Mr. Trump thanked Mr. Kim for "fulfilling a promise" to send back U.S. remains and said it was a step in the right direction following their summit.

"Our work is not complete until all have been accounted for no matter how long it takes to do so".

The recovery efforts stalled for more than a decade because of a standoff over North Korea's nuclear ambitions and a previous U.S. claim that security arrangements for its personnel working in the North were insufficient.

The Post says "the new intelligence does not suggest an expansion of North Korea's capabilities but shows that work on advanced weapons is continuing".

It typically uses bones, teeth and DNA to identify remains along with any items that may have been found with remains like uniforms, dog tags and wedding rings.

It will possibly take months, if not years, to identify the remains handed over in 55 boxes.

There are 7,699 US service members listed as unaccounted for from the 1950-53 Korean War, of which about 5,300 are believed to have died on North Korean soil.

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There have also been reports that North Korea is operating a uranium enrichment facility in secret. "And it also emphasized the sense of duty of the times, and the role given to the military in the efforts of the North and South for peace and prosperity".

Rick Downes, executive director of a group of families whose loved ones never came home from the Korean War, said it now appears that Pyongyang is trying to help.

"We don't know who's in those boxes", he said. "This should hasten identifications quite a bit".

Officials familiar with the capabilities of the Hermit Kingdom said U.S. spy agencies were seeing signs of construction at a large research facility in Sanumdong, on the outskirts of Pyongyang.

Air Force General John Hyten, who as commander of the US Strategic Command oversees America's nuclear forces, said North Korea had clearly demonstrated its commitment to halt flight-testing missiles since none had launched since November.

Trump also thanked Kim, posting his message to the North Korean dictator on Twitter last week.

As part of ongoing negotiations to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, Kim agreed to return the remains of some USA troops.

Another ceremony was conducted Wednesday as the remains were sent to Hawaii, with bugles playing taps, as well as "The Last Post", a call used at funerals by British and Commonwealth militaries, and a South Korean bugle call.

United Nations honor guards carry the remains of US servicemen killed in the Korean War and collected in North Korea, onto an aircraft at the Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. North Korea has already made two of its ICBMs at that plant.

The repatriation is a breakthrough in a long-stalled US effort to obtain war remains from North Korea.

The agency identifies remains of servicemen killed in past conflicts.

"It's a very thorough process with many, many procedures so it takes a long time", he said. These include illegal shipments of oil by sea that, according to Washington, enables Pyongyang to bust its import quotas.


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