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N. Korea blames U.S. for halt to remains recovery work

All Headlines 09:29 October 13, 2014

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- North Korea claimed Monday the United States is fully responsible for the suspension of work to unearth the remains of American troops killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.

It accused the Obama administration of making no sincere efforts to bring the remains of the fallen soldiers back home despite its public promise not to forget any of them.

"Lots of remains" of U.S. soldiers are left in North Korea and "uncared and carried away en masse" due to construction of hydropower stations and other development projects, the Panmunjom Mission of the Korean People's Army said in a statement. Panmunjom is the truce village inside the Demilitarized Zone.

It stressed the remains recovery work has been suspended due to Washington's "unilateral attitude" of labeling Pyongyang's satellite launch for peaceful purposes as "a provocation."

It was countering U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's remarks last month that the recalcitrant communist nation was to blame for the failure to restart the unearthing of the remains of the U.S. soldiers in its territory.

The U.S. launched such a recovery work in North Korea in 1996, but it was halted in 2005 amid security concerns to its unearthing team.

The project resumed in 2011, but it was suspended again a year later as Pyongyang fired a long-range rocket.

"It is long since the organization for surveying and unearthing remains operating in the DPRK was disbanded due to the unilateral measure of suspending the work, pursuant to the U.S. administration's unreasonable hostile policy towards the DPRK," the North said in the statement translated and carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. The DPRK is the acronym for the country's official name: the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

lcd@yna.co.kr

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