The U.S. government has reached out to the South Korean government to help resume U.S.-China military burial cooperation following a breakdown in military dialogue.
“The suspension of military dialogue between the U.S. and China has also led to the suspension of U.S.-China military relics excavation cooperation,” a U.S. Department of Defense official said on Wednesday, adding that the U.S. has asked South Korea to play a role in resuming U.S.-China relics excavation cooperation.
“Unlike the U.S., South Korea continues to cooperate with China in excavating human remains,” the official said, adding, “We expect the U.S. to participate in the trilateral excavation project, which will help resume U.S.-China cooperation.”
The U.S. and China had been working together to recover U.S. military remains buried in China until 2019, before the outbreak of COVID-19.
The United States has since pushed to resume cooperation as China’s COVID-19 lockdowns have eased, but “China hasn’t responded at all,” the official explained.
In fact, the U.S. government has identified the remains of three U.S. pilots shot down during the Korean War as being in Dandong, which borders North Korea, but China has not cooperated in repatriating them, the official added.
The U.S. sent a team of investigators to China in May 2019 and held one teleconference with Beijing in January 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Prisoner of War and Missing Persons Accounting Agency (DPAA), which is in charge of finding the remains, but talks have not progressed since.
South Korea and China, on the other hand, agreed in 2014 to repatriate the remains of Chinese soldiers exhumed from South Korea to China in accordance with international law and the spirit of humanitarianism, and South Korea has since repatriated a total of 913 Chinese soldiers’ remains through last year.
The U.S. side envisions that the three countries could start with scientific and technological exchanges on exhumation, and then, once trust is built, 먹튀검증 jointly investigate and exhume the remains of Korean War soldiers.