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S. Korea renews commitment in recovering Korean War remains

All Headlines 09:51 March 26, 2010

SEOUL, March 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea renewed its commitment Friday to efforts to recover the remains of its soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, as the government held an inter-agency meeting on ways to improve such efforts.

The meeting of officials from 11 government offices came as South Korea prepares to mark the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, which began on June 25, 1950. The conflict, which is believed to have killed at least 5 million Koreans, ended in a truce rather than a permanent peace treaty, leaving the divided peninsula still technically at war.

"It is our historic duty to bring as many war dead as possible back home as we prepare to mark the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the war," Vice Defense Minister Chang Soo-man said during the meeting, according to his ministry. "We need the help and attention of all government ministries and organizations to come up with a satisfying outcome."

According to the defense ministry, about 39,000 soldiers, or 30 percent of South Korean war dead, were buried in North Korea. About 10 percent of the estimated 137,000 war dead are believed to have been buried in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean Peninsula.

President Lee Myung-bak pledged in his New Year's address that his government would prioritize repatriating the remains of fallen soldiers in North Korea.


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