South Korea, US repatriate war casualties at Pearl Harbor
South Korea and the United States repatriated war casualties from the Korean War at Pearl Harbor on Wednesday.
The U.S. handed over the remains of 68 South Korean soldiers while South Korea returned the remains of six American soldiers, Stars and Stripes reported.
Since the war ended in 1953, remains of soldiers have been exchanged between North Korea, South Korea and the U.S. upon discovery the soldiers were from another country.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency found through testing that 68 remains were not American, while South Korea found the six American soldiers in unmarked graves.
This was the first joint transfer of remains between South Korea and the U.S.
“So today we pay tribute to all Korean War veterans, their families, as they fought in battle to protect and defend our values in the region,” Adm. John Aquilino, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said at the ceremony.
“We will never forget their service or their sacrifice, as it paved the way for our strong network of alliances and partnerships that continues to secure a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he added.
Although the Korean War effectively ended through an armistice in 1953, there was never a formal treaty ending the war. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said at the ceremony that needed to happen, according to Stars and Stripes.
“At the U.N. General Assembly [Tuesday], I proposed that the relevant parties gather together and proclaim an end to the Korean War, creating a new chapter of reconciliation and cooperation,” Moon said.
“An end-of-war declaration will give new hope and courage to everyone around the world aspiring for peace beyond the Korean Peninsula,” he added.