War remains sought

An isle-based group plans a new
recovery effort in North Korea

BANGKOK, Thailand » U.S. and North Korean officials have agreed to conduct recovery missions for remains of American servicemen missing from the Korean War for a 10th consecutive year.

The missions, in which personnel from the Hawaii-based Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command carry out search operations in the communist state, are a rare example of cooperation between the two nations, which have been at odds over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The plans for 2005, set in two days of talks in Bangkok led by Jerry D. Jennings, deputy assistant secretary of defense for POW/MIA affairs, call for U.S. excavation teams to work in two areas in North Korea where more than 2,000 soldiers and Marines disappeared.

The agreement was reached Thursday.

The operations will take place between April and October in Unsan County, 60 miles north of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, and near the Chosin Reservoir in the northeastern part of the country, the U.S. Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office said.

Unsan County was the site of fighting between communist forces and the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry and 25th Infantry divisions in November 1950.

Some of the Korean War's most bitter battles took place in the Chosin Reservoir area in November and December 1950, as greatly outnumbered U.S. and allied troops broke out of an attempted encirclement by North Korean and Chinese forces.

The agreement for 2005 gives U.S. teams "more scientific working days" in the field than in previous years, meaning they will have more time for excavations, said Larry Greer, a spokesman for the U.S. side in the talks.

Of 88,000 Americans missing from all conflicts, more than 8,100 are from the Korean War. Remains believed to be those of more than 200 soldiers have been recovered since 1996.

Since 1996, specialists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command at Hickam Air Force Base have recovered more than 200 sets of remains thought to be U.S. soldiers who fought on the Korean peninsula from 1950 to 1953.

Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command


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