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Seoul hands over remains of U.S. soldier killed in war

The Ministry of National Defense handed over the remains of a U.S. soldier killed during the 1950-53 Korean War to the U.S. on Thursday.

The remains, found near Gaemi Hill in South Chungcheong Province in June last year, were identified through a joint Korea-U.S. investigation.

The ministry said that its Agency for KIA Recovery and Identification and the U.S. Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command have been working together after initial investigations showed that the remains were likely to have belonged to a man of more than 185 centimeters in height from a western country.

The two teams arrived at the conclusion that the remains were of a U.S. solider after DNA analysis provided conclusive evidence in January, the Defense Ministry said. The JPAC will carry out further DNA analysis on the remains in order to identify the deceased soldier’s family.

According to records, the third battalion of the U.S. 24th Division’s 21st Regiment engaged North Korea’s 3rd and 4th Divisions in the area where the remains were found.

During the battle, the U.S. unit sustained heavy casualties and 12 soldiers went missing.

According to the military, 40,677 U.S. soldiers were killed or went missing during the Korean War. Of the total, the remains of 7,977 soldiers have not been found.

In November Seoul and Washington reached an agreement on recovering war remains in joint excavation projects.

So far the South Korean excavation team has handed over the remains of eight U.S. soldiers, while those of three South Korean soldiers killed during the war were found by the U.S. unit.

By Choi He-suk  (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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