Kim Jong-un blasts delays in North Korean economic projects

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U.S and North Korean military officials met at the inter-Korean border Sunday to discuss the return of U.S. Korean War veteran remains.

"Additionally, both sides agreed to re-commence field operations in the DPRK to search for the estimated 5,300 Americans who never returned home", he said.

Speaking just ahead of the landmark summit in Singapore between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump, Quintana said that not raising human rights issues would send a "wrong message". Gen. Michael A. Minihan, chief of staff for the U.N. Command, and North Korea's side included a two-star general, the South Korean news agency reported, citing diplomatic sources.

The amnesty, which will take effect on August 1, will be granted to those who were convicted of crimes against the state and its people, the Korean Central News Agency said.

In 2012, North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un granted amnesty to celebrate the centennial of the birth of his grandfather and the North's founder Kim Il-sung and the 70th birthday of his father Kim Jong-il.

The U.S. government estimates that the North Korean government has about 80,000 to 120,000 political prisoners in detention.

The repatriation of the soldiers' remains could take longer than expected due to challenges facing the search effort.

North Korea and the U.S. carried out joint operations to recover the remains of United States soldiers between 1996 and 2005.

Military officials have said they are on alert for the transfer of remains, with prearrangements made - including the storage of 100 wooden caskets at the Demilitarized Zone.

The two sides could reportedly hold working-level talks later to follow up on their discussion in Sunday's meeting.

The no-show came after Kim scuttled a rendezvous with Pompeo during his trip to Pyongyang earlier this month.

North Korea and the United States conducted joint operations to recover the remains of US soldiers from 1996 to 2005 but their relations soured as Pyongyang accelerated its nuclear program. The U.S. keeps about 28,000 troops in South Korea.

At last month's summit meeting Kim made a vague commitment to "work toward denuclearization" but there were no details as to how or when such disarmament would take place.

The White House has hailed the summit between Kim and Trump in Singapore as a major breakthrough toward disarming the isolated, nuclear-armed North in exchange for easing of sanctions and other help with economic development.

The date would be symbolic as it marks the 65th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the war instead of a peace treaty.

In addition to the announcement on joint searches, the USA and North Korea are working to transfer the remains of what could be 200 American service members in the 14 to 21 days "subject to change without notification", a USA official told CNN.