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|Tuesday, September 11, 2001, updated at 08:57(GMT+8)|
Teams to Search for U.S. Remains at ChosineU.S. and DPRK teams will begin this week to try to recover the remains of nearly 1,000 Americans who died in the battle of the Chosin Reservoir, USA TODAY reports Monday.
An epic clash at the start of the Korean War, it featured a harrowing 3-week retreat by U.S.-led forces overwhelmed by tens of thousands of Chinese communists.
The recovery operation also will break diplomatic ground. U.S. officials say the site, 125 miles northeast of the DPRK capital, Pyongyang, is twice as deep into the communist nation as other missions allowed by DPRK since 1996.
These efforts, which have brought back 127 sets of remains, are one area of cooperation unaffected by the suspension of political dialogue between the United States and DPRK. DPRK has agreed to resume talks with South Korea this Saturday but has yet to take up President Bush's offer in June to restart negotiations that had made progress under the Clinton administration.
Veterans praise the Pentagon for getting DPRK permission to search for U.S. dead. "It's the only place the Marines were in DPRK, and it was one of the fiercest battles in the history of the U.S. military," says Frank Metersky, co-chairman of the POW/MIA committee of the Chosin Few, a group of 5,000 survivors that has pushed for U.S.-DPRK contacts.
More than 8,100 Americans are listed as missing from the 1950-53 war. That's four times as many as those unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Larry Greer, a spokesman for the Pentagon's MIA office, says about 900 sets of U.S. remains might be recovered from the area.
Of U.S. remains recovered from DPRK since 1996, eight have been identified. The Pentagon urges families of Korean War MIAs to donate blood to help DNA matching.
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