• Politics
  • White House

President Trump Praises Kim Jong Un for Returning Remains of American Korean War Dead

2 minute read

President Donald Trump announced Friday that remains of American soldiers are on their way home from North Korea, praising Kim Jong Un for keeping his promise.

“At this moment a plane is carrying the remains of some great fallen heroes from America back from the Korean War,” Trump said outside the White House after touting the latest economic growth Friday morning. “I want to thank Chairman Kim in front of the media for fulfilling a promise that he made to me, and I’m sure that he will continue to fulfill that promise.”

Trump said Vice President Mike Pence would be with the families as the remains arrive back in the United States. The remains of an estimated 55 service members are being returned today. The remains of about 5,300 Americans are believed to still be in North Korea.

The return of the bodies marks a tangible result of Trump’s meeting in Singapore with Kim in June. But it remains to be seen whether Kim will follow through on the larger goal of the summit: North Korea’s denuclearization.

“Does [the return of remains] mean North Korea is willing to denuclearize? I just don’t see that connection,” Daniel Pinkston, a North Korea specialist at Troy University in Seoul, told TIME. “Their ideology, how they view the world system, is still consistent with maintaining a nuclear arsenal.”

More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.Rogers@time.com