"What was supposed to be the easiest item on the United States-North Korea negotiations agenda - the return of Korean War soldiers' remains - is proving to be yet another sticking point", said Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. However, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who visited Pyongyang three times, most recently in early July, has been hesitant to publicly put a timeline on denuclearization. "Even if this takes time, (we) have to definitely achieve (that goal)".
At the meeting on July 16, the talks were focused on the issue of returning the war dead, and the North Koreans did not ask for anything in return, as South Korean media had speculated they would.
As Kim Pyong-il is former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's half brother, critics say Kim Jong-un has been weakening his uncle's influence as another member of the "Baekdu blood line" within the regime, to avoid a power struggle.
However, Trump last week signaled optimism, unveiling a letter from Kim in which the young leader hailed the "start of a meaningful journey" and tweeting "Great progress being made!"
President Trump met with Kim Yong-un on June 12 for an unprecedented summit in Singapore, during which the North Korean leader repeated a pledge to denuclearise his country.
"They are trying to tell the South not to rely on the alliance too much or they won't talk, which would make Moon's policy a failure, while seeking some leeway on sanctions", Shin said. "We have no rush for speed". We have - we're just going through the process.
Meanwhile, the Russian ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, said Wednesday that a summit between the leaders of both countries was "on the agenda", RIA news agency reported.
The North's state-run Uriminzokkiri website said that the reunion and overall inter-Korean ties could face "obstacles" if Seoul doesn't send back the women.
"Both the U.S. and North Korea are still sending mixed messages as to whether and how they will approach denuclearization, fueling skepticism about North Korea's willingness to give up its nuclear weapons and hinting at the US's lack of a coherent strategy in dealing with the regime", academics Gi-Wook Shin and Joyce Lee said in a commentary posted on the 38 North website.
We've all seen the negative press regarding President Donald Trump's meeting with Chairman Kim Jong-un.
A senior USA defence official said on Tuesday Washington hoped North Korea would return about 50 sets of remains within two weeks but details were still uncertain, in spite of two days of talks between US and North Korean officials on Sunday and Monday.
North Korea's Gross National Income per capita stands at 1.46 million won ($1,283.52), making it about 4.4 percent the size of South Korea's, the BOK said.
"Some of them, they were taken to the Republic of Korea without knowing that they were coming here", Quintana said, referring to South Korea by its formal name. Chairman Kim told President Trump he understood that.