PLA soldiers carry caskets containing remains at the airport in Shenyang on March 31.[Photo by Wang Tian/China Daily]
A funeral service will be held in Shenyang, Liaoning province, on the morning of April 1 for 36 Chinese soldiers who died in the Korean War (1950-53), after their remains were returned from the Republic of Korea (ROK) the previous day.
The service at the Korean War Martyrs’ Cemetery will be attended by government officials, People’s Liberation Army officers and representatives from veterans’ families, according to local authorities.
The 36 soldiers were members of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army. Their remains were found in the ROK over the past year and were handed over to a Chinese delegation at a ceremony on March 31 at Incheon International Airport in the ROK.
Soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (R) receive from their ROK counterparts coffins containing remains of soldiers of the Chinese People’s Volunteers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War, during a handover ceremony at the Inchon International Airport of the ROK, March 31, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]
Chinese Ambassador to the ROK Qiu Guohong (L) pays tribute to the remains of soldiers of the Chinese People’s Volunteers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War, during a handover ceremony at the Inchon International Airport of the ROK, March 31, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]
At a brief memorial service at the airport, Chinese Ambassador to the ROK Qiu Guohong placed Chinese national flags on the caskets holding the remains, before they were flown home aboard a Chinese military transport plane.
Two Chinese J-11 fighter jets escort a transportation plane carrying coffins containing remains of soldiers of the Chinese People’s Volunteers killed in the Korean War, on March 31, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]
Two J-11 fighter jets of the PLA Air Force escorted the plane when it entered Chinese airspace. After the transport aircraft landed at Shenyang Xiantao International Airport, the remains were received by PLA officers in ceremonial uniforms.
Shin Bong-sup, the ROK’s consul-general in Shenyang, said on March 31: “The ROK and China were once in a war fighting each other, but that was in the past. Returning the remains will help to heal the wounds of history between the two countries and strengthen friendship among the people.”
Under an agreement between China and the ROK, officials from the two countries consult each other every year on handing over remains found in the ROK.
The cemetery in Shenyang, built in 1952, was expanded in 2014 to house the returned remains. A stone wall carved with the names of about 210,000 Chinese soldiers who died in the war was erected, and the cemetery now receives more than 150,000 visitors a year.
In 2014 and 2015, the ROK returned the remains of 505 Chinese soldiers.
In 2000, the ROK started to recover the remains of Chinese soldiers who died in the Korean War.
A special unit was established by the country’s army in 2003 to handle recovery work.