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S. Korea begins war excavation project for this year

Defense 09:29 May 06, 2020

SEOUL, May 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Wednesday began its annual project to discover and identify the remains of soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War, the defense ministry said, as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the three-year conflict.

The project, which will run till the end of November, kicked off in seven regions and is set to gradually expand across the country, according to the ministry. It was originally scheduled to begin in March but was delayed due to the new coronavirus.

Amid the postponement, the government focused on identifying soldiers from the remains it had already found and succeeded in identifying four warriors who fought in the war, it said.

This year, the ministry aims to secure 12,500 gene samples of the bereaved families and complete the construction of an identification center by October.

The authorities currently have 50,000 samples of the families' genes, but it falls short of some 135,000 veterans who remain to be found, the ministry said.

The government is also considering mobilizing robots to find the remains, it said.

"This year, the ministry will focus on achieving qualitative accomplishment while continuing our quantitative success on the project," the ministry said in a release.

In this photo, provided by the defense ministry, soldiers excavate the remains of war dead at Arrowhead Ridge, a site of fierce battles during the 1950-53 Korean War, inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). South Korea resumed excavating the remains on April 20, 2020, as Pyongyang remained unresponsive to calls for joint work as was agreed between the two sides. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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