Korea: Armed Conflict

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 3rd July 2018.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions have been held with the United States authorities about the repatriation of the remains of United States and British servicemen killed during the Korean War; what is their estimate of the number of UK servicemen whose remains are still in North Korea; and what proportion this is of the total number of UK servicemen killed in the conflict.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

On 12 June 2018 President Trump and Kim Jong Un signed the Sentosa agreement, which included a commitment to recovering Prisoners of War - Missing in Action remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified. The UNC Military Armistice Commission have informed the UNC Sending States that a repatriation event for the transfer of remains will shortly be announced. Some of the remains may be from Sending States other than the US. UK and US officials are in discussion about the handling of remains that are demonstrated to be other than US personnel.

From 27 June 1950 to 27 July 1954, 1,129 UK Armed Forces died as a result of the Korean War[1]. An exercise is currently under way to cross reference records in the UK and the British Embassy in Seoul of those personnel with no known grave, to confirm the number of personnel whose remains might possibly be in North Korea. I will write to the noble Lord when this work is complete.

[1] For deaths prior to 1984, Defence Statistics (Health) uses the AFM database and specifically the 'Theatre' field to identify all those personnel who died as a result of operations in a medal earning theatre

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