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First-ever Repatriation of War Prisoner Ashes

Posted April. 30, 2004 20:35,   


The ashes of Pak Jung-kyu (69), who died in North Korea in 1997, were sent home. It is the first repatriation of ashes of a prisoner of war.

To follow her father’s dying wish, “Please bury my ashes in my hometown, Chungdo, Kyungbuk,” Pak Young-suk (48), who arrived at Inchon Airport with her father’s ashes, has stayed in China after escaping from North Korea in 2002 with her father’s ashes, which were buried in Onsung, Hamkyung.

Pak was caught in 1951 by the North Korean army while on duty as a soldier in the South Korean army. The Ministry of National Defense recorded him on April 28, 1951 as a casualty of war. Currently, the memorial tablet for Pak is located at Daejun National Cemetory with an inscription reading: “No. 1504895, soldier Pak Jong-kyu.”

Pak Chung-jang (61), who lives in Inchon, welcomed his brother’s ashes with his family.

The government is considering a plan to situate Pak’s ashes in his hometown or the National Cemetory, after confirming whether they are indeed Pak’s ashes.

Ho-Won Choi bestiger@donga.com