S Korea gives back the remains of the Korean War-era soldiers killed by China
The estimates of the number of Chinese military casualties in the 1950-53 Korean War are between 180,000 and 400,000.
South Korea has returned the remains of 88 Chinese soldiers who were killed in the Korean War to China. This is the first such ceremony since South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-you was elected in May.
A solemn ceremony took place at Incheon International Airport, Seoul, on Friday. It involved the handing over of wooden caskets that contained the remains of the Chinese soldiers to a Chinese military Honor Guard.
Xing Haiming, China’s ambassador to South Korea, covered each casket with the Chinese national flag. Then they were loaded onto a Chinese military transport plane. A live video captured the event.
Lee Do-hoon (South Korea’s second vice foreign Minister) said that the annual handovers of the remains of Chinese troops were held on a humanitarian basis and also symbolise friendly cooperation between South Korea, China, and South Korea.
During the 1950-53 Korean War, China intervened for North Korea.
Three million troops of Communist China fought alongside Pyongyang forces, helping to tip the balance in the North-South conflict.
Beijing intervened to save North Korea from defeat, and United States-led United Nations forces were pushed back across the 38th Parallel. The war ended in an impasse that continues to this day.
Although casualty numbers are still disputed, Western estimates often cite 400,000 deaths in China while Chinese sources provide a death toll of around 180,000. This conflict is also known as the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea.
Hours later, the caskets with the remains were received in Shenyang, China’s northeastern capital. This was in a military ceremony attended by veterans of the three-year Korean conflict.
On the plane’s arrival at the airport, two J-20 fighter aircraft from the Chinese air force accompanied it. Firefighting trucks spray water cannons over the aircraft as it lands to a stop. Ground staff were attentive and captured the arrival via State-run media.
This was the ninth handover since South Korea, and China, former Cold War enemies, signed a 2014 agreement to repatriate the remains of fallen soldiers.
Friday’s ceremony brought the total number of returned Chinese remains to 913.
These repatriations also mark the first since the inauguration by South Korea’s President Yoon. He has tried to maintain friendly relations with Beijing while he seeks to strengthen ties with his major security ally Washington.
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