Seoul returning remains of Chinese soldiers killed in Korean War

March 17, 2014 at 12:38 PM
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SEOUL, March 17 (UPI) -- South Korea was in the process Monday of exhuming the remains of 437 Chinese soldiers killed in the Korean War more than 60 years ago for repatriation to China.

It will be the first time South Korea has returned the remains of Chinese soldiers killed while fighting on the side of North Korea, Yonhap News Agency noted.

"South Korea has buried and maintained the Chinese war remains on humanitarian grounds," Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters. "The South Korean government will repatriate the remains to promote ties between the two nations."

The Chinese soldiers have been buried in Paju, just south of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, since the early 1950s, Yonhap said. South Korean President Park Geun-hye made the offer to repatriate the remains in December and China accepted.

South Korean military officials and a Chinese delegation took part in a ceremony at the burial site, where the bodies were being placed in flag-draped coffins.

The disinterment was expected to take 10 days with reburial to take place March 28 in Shenyang, China, Yonhap said.

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