Asia

US soldier's remains returned from N Korea after 65 years

A Centurion tank perched on a rocky ridge during the Korean War Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The war had dramatic swings, with each side nearly defeating the other before reaching stalemate

The remains of a US soldier missing since the Korean War have been returned to his family in California, according to local US media.

Cpl Robert V Witt was believed captured when his unit was attacked by Chinese forces in late November 1950, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.

Fellow troops later repatriated to the US said he died from malnutrition in January 1951.

The US lists more than 8,000 soldiers as missing in the Korean War.

Image copyright Courtesy of family
Image caption It took years to identify Mr Witt's remains

Mr Witt's remains were found, along with those of other soldiers, in a joint US-North Korea excavation in North Korea in 2000.

But it took many years since for them to be conclusively identified.

They have now been returned to his sister, 82-year-old Laverne Minnick.

She told the local newspaper: "I am so happy. He's going to be home, where he belongs, with his family."

Mr Witt, 20-years-old when he went missing, will be buried with full military honours in Rose Hills Memorial Park in Los Angeles on Friday.

Image copyright Yonhap/AP
Image caption North and South Korea recently held reunion events for families who were divided by the conflict

The Battle of Chosin Reservoir, during which he went missing, was part of a Chinese offensive early in the Korean War that succeeded in driving US and other UN forces out of north eastern Korea.

The Korean War lasted from June 1950 until July 1953 and pitted the US and its allies against the USSR, North Korea and communist China.

At least two million Korean civilians, up to 1.5m communist forces, and around 30,000 US, 400,000 South Korean and 1,000 UK troops are believed to have died.

A peace treaty has never been signed and the two Koreas remain technically at war.

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