Pentagon: Remains from North Korea 'consistent' with Americans from Korean War

WATCH: US welcomes home possible 'forgotten war' remains

WATCH: US welcomes home possible 'forgotten war' remains

McKeague said he was "guardedly optimistic" that North Korea would agree to the return of more remains and also to joint recovery operations with the U.S.at former battlefields and prison camps.

"Everything we saw was consistent with indeed being from the Korean War, and consistent with these remains being good candidates for being missing Americans from the Korean War", said John Byrd, the director of analysis for the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), after a preliminary review.

While North Korea at times has unilaterally handed over boxes of remains, as the country did this week, more fruitful in the eyes of US officials have been joint efforts to find and recover remains with American personnel on the ground.

Byrd told Pentagon reporters Thursday that along with the remains North Korea provided the identification "dog tag" of an American servicemember, typically a metal military identification worn around the neck.

To work on the additional remains the team of DPAA researchers assigned to identifying the remains of Korean War missing will almost double in size from five to nine.

But he cautioned it was unclear if that soldier's remains were among those received from North Korea.

Most of the remains returned to the US were from the village of Sinheung Ri, near the Chosin Reservoir.

About 7,700 American service members are missing from the battlefields of the Korean War, including some 5,300 believed to have died north of the 38th parallel in what is now North Korea.

In July, Kim Jong Un's regime said the USA was making "gangster-like" demands following a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"There are no costs associated with this particular repatriation", he said.

Military equipment was also found among the remains, including boots, canteens, buttons and buckles.

He said numerous recovered remains likely belonged to U.S. Army soldiers who fought in the November, 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir - 1,024 Americans are still missing from that battle.

"They had been very carefully packaged with padding and packaging that was done to, I think, a very high standard", he said. The lab's Korean War team will then pursue any matches. If any chest bones are among the remains, the lab's analysts can check them against those records. He declined to disclose the name on the tag but said two family members had been notified and are expected to be in the Washington, D.C., area next week with family groups for a detailed briefing from DPAA on the next steps in identifying the remains.

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