Remains of American service members who were killed in the Korean war have been returned by North Korean and are on their way to Hawaii for identification. There are reportedly 55 service members’ remains…plus one set of dog tags.
This is great news. It’s important to never forget and to always make every effort to bringing them home.
President Trump is taking credit for making it happen due to his grand meeting with Kim Jong Un. In light of some of the reporting that North Korea is continuing to develop ICBM missiles, it remains a big question on how successful that meeting was.
It is estimated that there are approximately 5300 service members’ remains in North Korea, so the 55 being returned now is about 1% of those. So, although it’s great when we bring home even one, I think we have a long way to go before we start heaping praise on Kim Jong Un and North Korea.
Of course, president Trump disagrees:
The Remains of American Servicemen will soon be leaving North Korea and heading to the United States! After so many years, this will be a great moment for so many families. Thank you to Kim Jong Un.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2018
Ok, so thanking him is not “heaping praise” on him, I’ll grant you that. And I can understand the idea that “being polite” is a useful tactic in negotiations. However, this is an area that should not be part of “negotiations” at all.
North Korea has been using our service members’ remains as negotiating points for many years. Contrary to the hype that Trump supporters want you to believe, President Trump is not the first to have recovered remains from North Korea. Since 1990, 340 have been recovered during various “negotiations” with North Korea.
This is one of those “pre-conditions” that should have been accomplished before any meeting with Kim Jong Un, not part of the negotiations during the meeting.
If North Korea is serious about wanting to become normalized in the world, let alone full denuclearization, then this should not be something that’s even being negotiated. It should be a given before any negotiations take place.
Return our war dead. All of them. Immediately.
Instead, we have continued negotiations about them and are only receiving 1% of them. North Korea will continue to use them as negotiating points as long as we allow them to. As long as we portray this as some sort of grand gesture on their part and thank them for their honorable generosity.
Sorry, honor and true good will towards a true peace would mean unfettered, immediate recovery of all of the remains possible, not 1%.
So far, while it’s great to receive any remains, North Korea’s dubious efforts are unworthy of gratitude.