Search to Resume for MIAs in N. Korea

60 years after conflict, US hunts remains of 5,300 troops
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2012 2:34 PM CST
Search to Resume for MIAs in N. Korea
July 19, 1950: Troops of the First US Cavalry Division land ashore at Pohang on the east coast of Korea during the Korean War.   (AP Photo, File)

For the first time in seven years, searchers will enter North Korea to track down the remains of thousands of troops who went missing in the Korean War 60 years ago. The US had previously shut down a decade-long operation, fearing for the safety of its officials in the country; it was the only time the two countries' militaries worked together, the AP notes. But with friction between the countries lessening, a renewed search is due to start next month. The US is paying Pyongyang some $5.7 million for its contributions to the effort through September, a military rep says.

Some 5,300 troops remain missing in action in the 1950-53 war, and it could take years to achieve any new identifications. Only 192 have been recovered through earlier work. But by 2015, Congress aims to start identifying 200 MIAs per year across all US conflicts. The resumption of the search has given new hope to families who never learned the fates of loved ones. "We lost one generation pretty much: the parents" of the troops, says an activist. "Are we going to let the children, nieces, and nephews die too, without closure?" (More North Korea stories.)

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