Chinese soldiers prepare to carry caskets containing the remains of Chinese People's Volunteers who died during the 1950-53 Korean War to military vehicles at Shenyang Taoxian International Airport in Shenyang, Liaoning province, on Sept 2, 2021. (CHEN SONG / FOR CHINADAILY.COM.CN)
INCHEON/SHENYANG – The remains of 109 Chinese soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War were returned to China on Thursday from the Republic of Korea (ROK).
Escorted by two Chinese fighter jets, an air force plane carrying the remains and belongings of the fallen soldiers landed at the Taoxian international airport in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning province, at 11:26 am.
China and ROK have jointly carried out handover of the remains of the Chinese People's Volunteers martyrs in ROK for eight consecutive years and returned in total 825 remains to their motherland, said Chinese Vice-Minister of Veterans Affairs Chang Zhengguo
Around 230 representatives from central and local authorities, the military, and family members and relatives of the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV) martyrs attended a ceremony at the airport to welcome the soldiers' remains at 12:37 pm.
Following the event, the remains were escorted to the CPV martyrs' cemetery in Shenyang, where a burial ceremony will be held Friday.
The remains of 716 soldiers returned from the ROK and were laid to rest in the cemetery between 2014 and 2020.
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Earlier in the day, a repatriation ceremony was held at Incheon International Airport, west of the capital Seoul, attended by the Chinese delegation, led by Vice-Minister of Veterans Affairs Chang Zhengguo, and the ROK delegation, led by Vice-Defense Minister Park Jae-min.
During the ceremony, Chinese Ambassador to ROK Xing Haiming covered the coffins with China's national flag before the coffins were carried onto the airplane.
It marked the eighth repatriation ceremony. In the previous seven repatriations, ROK had returned the remains of 716 Chinese People's Volunteers martyrs killed in the Korean War, including 437 in 2014, 68 in 2015, 36 in 2016, 28 in 2017, 20 in 2018, 10 in 2019 and 117 in 2020.Members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army carry coffins containing the remains of Chinese soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War during a repatriation ceremony at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Sept 2, 2021. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
Speaking at Thursday's ceremony, Chang said China and ROK have jointly carried out handover of the remains of the Chinese People's Volunteers martyrs in ROK for eight consecutive years and returned in total 825 remains to their motherland, following humanitarian principles and in the spirit of friendship and practical cooperation.
Chang noted that against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic since last year, both sides have made more efforts to successfully complete the handover.
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The Chinese side appreciates the efforts made by the ROK side and is ready to deepen friendly cooperation and exchanges between the two countries, promote the protection of the remains of the Chinese People's Volunteers martyrs in ROK and bring more remains of the martyrs back to their motherland as soon as possible, Chang added.