Friday, 8 May 2015

South Korea, US experts excavate for Korean War remains

South Korea and the United States have begun exhuming the remains of soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War. The project is not the first of its kind – since 2000 the South Korean military has conducted excavations of war remains, Yonhap reported.

To date, most of the 9,500 bodies recovered have been identified as South Korean soldiers.

The U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, or DPAA, sent a team to jointly excavate the remains on Wednesday in the South Korean region of Masan in the southeast, reported South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo.

In August 1950, the area was the scene of brutal fighting between North Korean forces and the Allied Command, which consisted mostly of South Korean and U.S. soldiers. Due to the high number of casualties, soldiers called the area "Death Valley."

The three-day excavation began on Wednesday and will involve 15 South Korean experts and eight U.S. analysts from the DPAA.

According to the U.S. team chief, the bodies of 8,000 dead U.S. soldiers remain unaccounted for. In Masan, the U.S. 25th Infantry Division under the command of Maj. Gen. William Keen repelled North Korean incursions toward the port city of Busan. In the course of bloody battles, however, many lives were lost.

South Korea's defense ministry decided to launch an investigation in Masan after ministry staff member Hwang U-ung said he heard stories about the area from his mother and suggested an investigation.

According to Hwang, locals said U.S. soldiers were buried in a nearby mountain, and superstition suggested digging in the area would bring bad luck.

The Korean War began in June 1950, when North Korean forces invaded Seoul, and continued for three years until a truce was signed in 1953.

Friday 8 May 2015


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