Excavations for Remains of US Service Members in North Korea May Resume

When Trump announced the USA would halt joint military drills with South Korea, he backed his controversial move by citing the "tremendous" costs of such exercises.

Seoul and Washington said in June they would halt the joint exercise after U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to end war games following his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12.

However, officials say it could be months before excavations can begin and years until the remains are identified.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, and Kim Yong Chol, a North Korean senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief, arrive for a lunch at the Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 7, 2018.

The United States' annual August military drills with South Korea canceled last month by order of President Donald Trump as his administration negotiates a halt to North Korea's nuclear program would have cost the Pentagon about $14 million, according to defense officials.

North Korea said after the follow-up talks that the meetings with Pompeo were "regrettable", and accused the USA of using "gangster-like" tactics to push denuclearization.

Mount said Trump's reaction would be a concern.

"Certainly they can make a decision whether or not those drills are reinstated if they decide to do so based on North Korea's actions", he said.

Mike Pompeo on the tarmac in Pyongyang.

The Ulchi civilian drills were launched in 1968, a year after a failed attempt by North Korean commandos to assassinate then-South Korean dictator Park Chung-hee.

Kim meeting Trump fulfilled an important foreign policy goal for North Korea, and China, its main trading partner, has been observed resuming trade with Pyongyang.

In the meantime, satellite images of a missile-manufacturing facility in the city of Hamhung showed North Korea is expanding its ballistic weapons program.

Kim has met Xi twice in the lead-up to his June summit with Trump and the third to brief Xi on the outcome of the talks.

Instead, North Korea appears as though it's conducting business as usual.

The Trump administration's latest announcement to slap tariffs on an extra $200 billion of Chinese imports has sparked an outcry from China, whose commerce ministry said on Wednesday the USA move is "unacceptable" and hurts America's own interests, China and the rest of the world.

After the week-long news hiatus, on Tuesday KCNA released four reports of the leader's trip to Samjiyon county on the Chinese border.

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