Department of Defense officials have arrived in North Korea to begin the first of five scheduled operations for 1998 to recover the remains of servicemen unaccounted-for from the Korean War.
The 10-mam team is operating in an area about 60 miles north of the capital of Pyongyang in Kujiang County.
It is the site of a November 1950 battle between the communist Chinese army and the U.S. 8th Army, 25th Infantry Division.
This area was the site of fierce combat where approximately 50 U.S. soldiers fell.
More than 8,100 American servicemen are unaccounted-for from the Korean War.
Specialists from the Army's Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii will spend about 25 days at the excavation site.
These teams include experts in forensic anthropology; mortuary affairs; explosive ordnance disposal; logistics; photography; communications and medical support.
Two members of the team will remain in Pyongyang to maintain communications linkage between the site and the United States.
This is the third year DoD teams have conducted joint remains recovery operations in North Korea.
In 1996 and 1997, the remains of seven servicemen were recovered.
One has been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
During 1997, U.S. military personnel operated for six consecutive months inside North Korea.
These operations are part of agreements negotiated with the North Koreans by the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office.
They include archival reviews of North Korean military documents.
One such review was conducted in the Fatherland Liberation Museum in 1997 in Pyongyang, and another is scheduled there next month.
Documents obtained in these archival reviews are analyzed for any information relating to American servicemen, then provided to their family members.
The last of the five operations this year will conclude in October.
U.S. personnel will conduct recovery operations in North Korea almost continuously for the next seven months.