North Korea stayed away from a meeting with US officials on 12 July. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss repatriating the remains of US soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War. The meeting had been discussed by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un at the Singapore summit.

The Washington Post reports that both sides were to sit down in the DMZ’s Joint Security Area to discuss the issue. However, even though officials at the Defense Department and United Nations Command arrived at the venue, the North Korean team was absent. “We were ready,” the official said.

“It just didn’t happen. They didn’t show.”

Reason for North Korea’s hesitation unclear

The meeting was announced by the US State Department after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Pyongyang. Pompeo had apparently said that the “date for the meeting remained flexible.” It was tentatively set for Thursday but could shift by a couple of days. It seems North Korean officials have suggested holding the meeting on Sunday. This is based on a statement by South Korea’s Foreign Ministry.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un had discussed the subject of repatriation of remains of the war dead alongside denuclearization in the Singapore summit. The former has been a long-pending issue between Washington and Pyongyang, and while action was taken in some cases, it was stopped from 2005 onwards.

The Pentagon estimates that the number of casualties in the Korean War runs into thousands.

North Korea must honor the decisions

Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, was in Pyongyang for two days last week. His mission was to discuss the commitments of North Korea on denuclearization. According to Sky News, Pompeo indicated that a team of the Pentagon would meet officials of the North at a suitable location, probably Panmunjom, the truce village on the border between the two Koreas.

However, they confirmed it was a “no show” by Pyongyang due to whatever reasons and they offered to rearrange the meeting on Sunday. This was notified by US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

Donald Trump was very hopeful that the summit in Singapore with Kim Jong-un would solve many problems in the Korean peninsula and eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons in the region.

After the summit, Kim sent a letter to Trump who shared it on Twitter and referred to it as the "start of a meaningful journey." However, stumbling blocks are appearing. These could delay the process and need to be removed to ensure the return of peace in the region.