The inquiry into whether the process had indeed already begun was posed by New Hampshire's Democratic Sen. Cynthia Shaheen.
"I am optimistic that we will begin to have two opportunities," Pompeo told US lawmakers after taking a few seconds to brainstorm his response. "One is to receive some remains in the not-too-distant future, but then there's a great deal of work with companies… the nonprofits and the like that have been at this previously."
"We have not yet physically received them," he stressed.
The secretary's remarks come a week after the US military indicated that some 100 wooden coffins had been transported to the North Korean border, Military.com reported. Nearly 8,000 US troops that took part in the 1950-53 Korean War are still unaccounted for, according to the US Department of Defense.
Days after the much-anticipated meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Trump, the commander-in-chief revealed in an interview with Fox News that Pyongyang was "already starting to produce the remains of these great, young soldiers who were left in North Korea."
He added: "We're getting the remains and nobody thought that was possible."
According to the Washington Post, the last time that North Korea turned over remains was in 2007 when former UN Ambassador was able to secure the remains of six soldiers.