Hours after the United States pledged $900,000 in flood aid to North Korea, Pyongyang announced on Friday that it had agreed to discuss how the U.S. could recover remains of American troops killed in the Korean War.
Roughly 8,000 U.S. members remain missing, with 5,500 of them believed to be buried in North Korea, according to the Pentagon.
The North’s state-media, Korean Central News Agency, quoted an unnamed foreign ministry official on Friday saying that Pyongyang had accepted the U.S. proposal to talk and that preparations for discussion had begun.
The talks over recovering remains comes amid a recent ramp-up of dialogue between North and South Korea as well as the United States, a key ally to the South. In recent weeks, nuclear envoys from the North and South have met after several largely silent years. Officials from the North also met with U.S. leaders in New York last month.
But the U.S. has been carefully calibrating its reengagement with North Korea, taking small steps like the flood aid and discussion over remains, but refusing to resume broader, multinational talks on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament without some sign of commitment from North Korea because Pyongyang has repeatedly reneged on its promises before.