Korea handed over the remains of two American soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War to U.S. officials here, the defense ministry said Wednesday.
Wrapping up an eight-month excavation for Korean War remains, the defense ministry's excavation team said it recovered two sets of foreigners' remains in South Chungcheong Province, south of Seoul, in May and June.
The team confirmed they were those of U.S. soldiers after jointly conducting forensic analysis and DNA tests with the U.S. Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) in Hawaii.
The soldiers were regarded as missing in action in one of the battles of the Korea War in 1950, shortly after the war broke out, officials said. According to military data, 517 soldiers out of 667 were killed in attacks by North Korean soldiers.
The remains will be repatriated to the U.S. later this week for further investigation and identification, the ministry said.
Nearly 8,000 U.S. service members are listed as missing from the war and the remains of more than half of them are estimated to be buried in the communist nation. Currently, about 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea as a deterrent against North Korea.
According to the ministry, the remains of 6,965 people killed in action were recovered from 2000 to 2011, and 5,999 belonged to soldiers. It said the remains of 77 soldiers have been identified and returned to their families. (Yonhap)