S. Korea to repatriate 117 sets of remains of Chinese troops next week
SEOUL, The remains of 117 Chinese soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War will be sent back to their homeland next week after excavation from former battle sites, including one on the inter-Korean border, the defense ministry said Wednesday.
In 2014, Seoul pledged to repatriate the remains of fallen Chinese soldiers in a symbolic gesture of friendship, and 599 sets have since been repatriated, including 10 last year.
This year’s repatriation ceremony will take place at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Sunday, according to the ministry.
Of the total, 103 sets were excavated from Arrowhead Ridge inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that bisects the two Koreas. Since last year, South Korea has been carrying out demining and excavation operations on the ridge, which was one of the fiercest battlefields during the war.
Other remains were uncovered in other parts of South Korea and later identified as Chinese soldiers.
During the war, China fought alongside North Korea against the U.S.-backed Allied forces. Nearly 1 million Chinese soldiers are believed to either have died, have been wounded or remain missing, according to Seoul government data.
Along with the remains, about 1,368 items believed to have belonged to Chinese troops will also be sent home, according to the ministry.
The repatriation was supposed to take place around March or April, but it has been delayed due to the COVID-19 situation.
“This event is expected to boost bilateral confidence and further develop their future-oriented cooperative relationship, which will deliver a message of cooperation and coordination for peace on the Korean Peninsula and the region,” the ministry said in a release.
Source: Yonhap News Agency