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Military to resume search for Korean War dead

The Army holds a ceremony Friday to mark the resumption of an excavation project to find the remains of Korean and UN soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War. (Ministry of National Defense)
The Army holds a ceremony Friday to mark the resumption of an excavation project to find the remains of Korean and UN soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War. (Ministry of National Defense)
The military is resuming its search for the remains of Korean and UN soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War, the Ministry of National Defense said Friday.

The first search, from April 2019 to June 2021 near Arrowhead Hills inside the Demilitarized Zone, uncovered the remains of 424 people. It is expected that a similar number will be found at the second site to be searched, near White Horse Hills next to Arrowhead Hills.

It is estimated that 1,000 soldiers died there in one of the war’s fiercest battles, including UN troops from the US, Belgium and Luxembourg, according to the military.

“This was where we saw victory, where our ancestors fought until the last minute,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Nam Yeong-shin said during a ceremony to mark the resumption of the search. “We will do our utmost to bring them back.”

The two Koreas, which are technically at war without a peace treaty, agreed to carry out the excavation project together in September 2018, when they signed a military pact ending hostilities in the inter-Korean border, but Pyongyang has since ignored Seoul’s calls for cooperation.

North Korea, which recently threatened to push South Korea and the US into a more serious security crisis for holding their annual August drills, is thought to be planning a military parade as early as next week.

“There is this pattern of North Korean behavior that repeats provocation to get its way. We could see them show off the latest weapons,” said Shin Jong-woo, a senior analyst at the Korea Defense and Security Forum.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said last week that Pyongyang could be restarting work on nuclear weapons, citing satellite imagery suggesting activity at one of its nuclear reactors. North Korea has refused to return to nuclear talks and has vowed to bolster its preemptive strike capabilities.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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