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Search for Missing Korean War Servicemen Continues in China

  • Luis Ramirez

The United States is pushing for more cooperation from China in the search for the remains of American combatants missing in the Korean War.

Jerry Jennings, a U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense, briefed reporters in Beijing after visiting the Chinese-North Korean border where the remains of an American airman were identified last year.

The U.S. official traveled to the border city of Dandong to thank Chinese authorities for helping with the recovery of the remains of air force pilot Troy Cope, who was shot down by North Korean fighter jets in 1952.

Mr. Jennings said his agenda in China has included negotiations with Chinese officials about cooperating in remains recovery operations. He said Russia has helped by opening its defense files from the Korean War era and the United States wants China to do the same.

"We don't have an agreement with the Chinese where we have access to their files. If we did, we'd break a lot more of these cases. We have no doubt about it. We're attempting to negotiate that access," he said.

About 8,100 U.S. servicemen are still listed as missing from the Korean War.

U.S. officials say China's cooperation also is crucial in solving the cases of missing American prisoners of war who are believed to have been held in Chinese controlled camps.

The 1950-53 Korean conflict pitted troops from South Korea and 15 United Nations countries, including the United States, against North Korean communist forces backed by China.

The Pentagon, with the permission of Pyongyang, has been conducting search missions for missing troops within North Korea since 1996. These missions have recovered 220 sets of remains suspected of being those of American servicemen.

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