The remains of a South Korean soldier killed during the Korean War is returned in a ceremony on Thursday. (Yonhap)
Cheong Wa Dae on Friday urged relatives of people thought to have died during the Korean War to give DNA samples to aid in the efforts to identify remains.
Speaking at a briefing on the government’s efforts to recover remains of South Korean soldiers who died in the war, and to identify and return them to their families, Cheong Wa Dae deputy spokesman Yoon Jae-kwan urged surviving families to give DNA samples.
“Securing DNA from families is very important, which is need to verify the identity (of the remains),” Yoon said, describing the Moon Jae-in administration’s efforts to speed up the process.
According to Yoon, the budget for war remains recovery has been increased to 9.6 billion won ($8 million) this year from 3.6 billion won in 2018, and the number of people whose remains have been recovered rose from 376 to 630 over the same period. The number of DNA samples collected from surviving families also doubled to just under 9,000, Yoon said.
However, the number of unidentified remains far outnumbers those that have been identified.
According to Yoon, the remains of only 149 of the 10,543 individuals the Ministry of National Defense’s recovery team has recovered have been identified and returned to their families.
“Verifying the identity of a war dead is dependent on securing their families’ DNA,” Yoon said.
“The government strongly hopes for more family members to take part in DNA sample gathering.”
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org