US preparing in DMZ for return of troop remains from North Korea

(CNN) — About 100 wooden transport cases are being sent to the Demilitarized Zone, starting Saturday, to prepare for receiving US troop remains from North Korea, a representative for US Forces Korea said.

The Trump administration is expecting North Korea to return up to 200 sets of remains believed to be US service members who died during the Korean War, four administration officials said earlier this week. The transfer date and location have not been finalized, the officials said, but they said the administration is ready to receive the remains if the North Koreans decide to move quickly.

The transport cases are headed to the DMZ’s Joint Security Area — the border village of Panmunjom — “for the repatriation of the remains,” said Sung Ho-jung, an information officer for US Forces Korea.

“In addition, UN flags and coffin-support bases were sent. Aside from this, 158 metal coffins were transported from Yongsan US military base in Seoul to Osan Air Base for use when the remains will be sent to the US.”

President Donald Trump has pointed to North Korea’s agreement to return the remains as one of the successes of his July 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

As many as 5,300 sets of US service member remains are still somewhere in North Korea, the US Defense Department has said.