Remains of Chinese soldiers in Korean War return
SHENYANG, March 28 (Xinhua) -- The remains of 437 Chinese soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War returned to China on Friday from the Republic of Korea (ROK).
Two Chinese fighter jets escorted a plane carrying the coffins of the soldiers. It landed at an airport in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, at around 9:20 a.m..
At 11:30 a.m., a grand ceremony was held at the airport to welcome back the remains of the war dead.
During the ceremony, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli praised the outstanding service of the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV) during the war.
Though it has been more than 60 years since the conflict, the CPVs and their commendable military service have never been forgotten, he said.
"We hold this ceremony to sing the praises of the CPV martyrs. Our deepest thoughts are with them and our highest respect goes to them," according to Zhang.
Victory in the Korean War safeguarded New China's security and dignity, and preserved peace in Asia and the world as a whole, he said, adding the spirit displayed by the combatants will always be "valuable assets" of the Chinese people.
"They were my brothers who fought the war with me," said Wang Liping, an 85-year-0ld CPV veteran.
"Although I don't know their names, I felt relieved that their souls finally came back home," he said.
At 11:55 a.m., 36 military trucks carrying the coffins drove away from the airport slowly, with relatives and veteran soldiers paying respect to them.
The remains of the 437 Chinese will be buried in a "martyrs' park" in Shenyang.
China will start renovation of such parks in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and other countries this year. Transferring the remains of the CPV martyrs from the ROK will become the norm, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
China currently has 25,000 domestic martyr memorial facilities and has memorial facilities in 20 countries, according to the ministry.
A transfer ceremony was held on Friday morning at the ROK's Incheon International Airport, about 50 km west of the capital of Seoul. The coffins and belongings of the fallen soldiers were handed over to a Chinese delegation.
The Chinese People's Volunteers fought side by side with the DPRK army in the Korean War against the South Korean army and U.S.-led UN forces. Tens of thousands of CPV soldiers died on the Korean Peninsula during the war, which ended in an armistice in 1953.