Soldiers at an excavation site. (Ministry of National Defense)
South Korea’s military and an international recovery team led by the UN Command will resume an annual search for the remains of Korean and UN soldiers missing from the 1950-53 Korean War, the Ministry of National Defense said Thursday.
The excavation project, which lasts from April to November annually, will begin Monday. The search has been held since 2019, a year after South and North Korea agreed to a military pact singed to end hostilities in the inter-Korean border.
The command is in charge of affairs involving the Demilitarized Zone that separates the Koreas and includes two key battle sites -- Arrowhead and White Horse Hills -- which are responsible for one of the largest casualties during the conflict that leaves the two Koreas at an armistice.
The joint team, which has only worked on Arrowhead Hill, said they will expand the search this year to include White Horse Hill, where they expect to recover 960 South Koreans, along with the UN service members. They have so far recovered 404 human remains, of which nine have been identified.
About 10,000 human remains are thought to be in the DMZ.
The Defense Ministry said it had notified the North of the resumption. Pyongyang has not once responded to Seoul’s suggestion that they start working together on the project.
By Choi Si-young (firstname.lastname@example.org