US welcomes home NKorean war dead remains

US Vice President Mike Pence has welcomed the presumed remains of US war dead home from North Korea

In a solemn ceremony, the United States has welcomed home human remains it says presumably include Americans killed in the 1950-1953 Korean War, and thanked North Korea for making good on a June summit pledge to hand them over.

Only one identification "dog tag" was delivered by the North Koreans, underscoring the long path ahead for US military efforts to identify the remains inside the 55 boxes presented by North Korea to the US last week.

US Vice President Mike Pence hailed the remains' arrival in Hawaii as evidence of the success of President Donald Trump's landmark summit in June with North Koran leader Kim Jong-un. Critics say the summit has so far failed to deliver on promised steps toward denuclearisation by Pyongyang.

"I know that President Trump is grateful that Chairman Kim has kept his word, and we see today this tangible progress in our efforts to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula," Pence, whose father fought in the Korean War, said.

More than 7,700 US troops remain unaccounted for from the Korea War. About 5,300 were lost in what is now North Korea.

Other countries under the command of the United Nations also lost troops that are still unaccounted for, including the Australia, United Kingdom and Canada.

Pence, in his address at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, said he trusted that Americans killed in the war were among the flag-draped cases flown to Hawaii on Wednesday.

"Whosoever emerges from these aircraft, today begins a new season of hope for the families of our missing fallen," he said.

The US military flew the remains from Osan Air Base in South Korea after they had undergone an initial review.

John Byrd, director of analysis for the US Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), told reporters at Osan that the family of the soldier identified by the dog tag had been notified. But he cautioned it was unclear if that soldier's remains were among those received from North Korea.

Experts say positively identifying the decades-old remains could take anywhere from days to decades.

Still, the initial field forensic review indicated the "remains are what North Korea said they were," Byrd said.

The North Koreans provided enough specifics about where each suspected body was found that US officials have matched them to specific battles fought from 1950 to 1951, although not necessarily individuals, he said.

The pledge to transfer war remains was seen as a goodwill gesture by Kim at the Singapore summit, and was the most concrete agreement reached by the two sides so far.

While it has taken longer than some had hoped, a U.S. State Department official said the process had so far proceeded as expected, and the handover rekindled hopes for progress in other talks with North Korea aimed at getting it to abandon its nuclear weapons program.