North Korea holds talks with US on war remains

File image of North Korean soldiers returning the remains of a US soldier in November 1993
Image caption Co-operation between North Korea and the US on returning remains has stalled for six years

North Korea and the US are holding talks on restarting efforts to recover the remains of US troops killed during the Korean War, after a six-year halt.

Co-operation on the issue stalled in 2005 amid escalating tension over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

But North Korea said last month it would restart talks, and officials are now meeting in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

The move comes amid some signs the two sides are looking to re-engage.

On Monday South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that US and North Korean negotiators would meet in Geneva next week to discuss reviving stalled international talks on ending North Korea's nuclear programme.

The two sides last met in July, in New York, to discuss a resumption of the six-party talks, which also include South Korea, Japan, Russia and China.

The talks broke down in April 2009, just before Pyongyang carried out its second nuclear test.

'Stand-alone issue'

A US spokeswoman said the talks in Bangkok were expected to last two or three days, and a Pentagon statement said they would focus only on the issue of the missing.

"Accounting for Americans missing in action is a stand-alone humanitarian matter, not tied to any other issue between the two countries," said the statement.

Just under 8,000 US service personnel remain classified as missing more than half a century after the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce.

Teams from the two countries recovered more than 200 sets of remains between 1996 and 2005.

But work was called off in 2005 as ties between the two nations deteriorated, with North Korea conducting its first nuclear test a year later.

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