S. Korea, China to hold talks on remains of Chinese war dead

BEIJING, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and China will hold talks in Beijing this week to discuss a timetable and specific measures to repatriate the remains of Chinese soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, a diplomatic source said Tuesday.

The two nations agreed last month in Seoul to return the remains of more than 400 Chinese soldiers buried at a military-controlled cemetery in South Korea's northern city of Paju. Excavation work to disinter the remains has been under way.

The Wednesday talks in Beijing, involving diplomats and military officials from the two nations, are aimed at finalizing details of the planned repatriation, including a timetable and protocol, the source said on the condition of anonymity.

"The two sides are expected to discuss various ideas on the repatriation with the aim of completing it by the end of this spring," the source said.

Last month's agreement, which came after South Korean President Park Geun-hye offered it during her state visit to China in June last year, has been described as a symbolic milestone in relations between the two former war adversaries.

The Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950, when tank-led North Korean troops invaded South Korea. The United States and 20 other allied countries fought on the side of South Korea under the United Nations flag, while Chinese soldiers came to help North Korea in the war. The conflict ended in a cease-fire three years later.

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