SEOUL, June 26 (UPI) -- A 1950s U.S. Army report revealed that more than 24,000 Chinese soldiers, who fought in the Korean War, were killed and buried in a lake in a South Korean border town.
The command report, written by the U.S. IX Corps, includes hourly updates of Chinese and North Korean soldiers killed by the South Korean and U.S. troops in the 1950-53 Korean War.
The report was revealed on Tuesday by the Seoul-based Institute for Military History, an affiliate research center of the South Korean Defense Ministry, Hankyoreh reported.
The command report states a total of 24,141 Chinese soldiers were killed near the Lake Paroho in the border town of Hwacheon, 130 kilometers east of Seoul, from May 24-30, 1951.
It is the first time a detailed number of Chinese casualties is revealed, the institute said.
According to past testimonies made by surviving South Korean soldiers, "an enormously large number of Chinese soldiers" were killed and drowned in the water. Among villagers, a tale of some 30,000 Chinese soldiers killed and buried in the lake has been told and passed along for many years, according to a military institute official, in the Hankyoreh report.
A civil society organization, based in the region, has raised the possibility of a large number of Chinese soldier being buried in the lake for many years and called the South Korean government to dig remains of them and return to China, according to Yonhap.
According to a figure by the Defense Ministry, some 12,000 remains of soldiers who died in the Korean War have been found, including a total of 589 Chinese soldiers. The Chinese government has claimed that some 116,000 Chinese soldiers died in the war, plus 29,000 missing or captive.
The South Korean and Chinese government signed an agreement to repatriate remains of Chinese troops in 2013. So far, 589 remains of Chinese soldiers have been returned to China since 2014.