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Release No: 171-03
March 29, 2003


A Department of Defense delegation has concluded a visit to China to discuss additional cooperation in resolving POW and MIA cases.

Jerry D. Jennings, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for POW and Missing Personnel Affairs, led a team of specialists to China this week to explore opportunities with Chinese officials. During his five days in China, Jennings met with U.S. and Chinese officials to emphasize the commitment of the U.S. government to POW and MIA accounting.

He met in Beijing with officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Defense Foreign Affairs Office, and the Red Cross Society of China to discuss ways in which the Chinese government could be of assistance.

"Chinese records may well hold the key to helping us resolve many of the cases of American POWs and MIAs from the Vietnam War, the Korean War and the Cold War," Jennings said."

"The government of China has been very cooperative in our investigations of World War II and Vietnam losses, and has on several occasions notified the U.S. government of China's discovery of some loss sites. Both sides suggested ways to enhance cooperation on Korean War cases and acknowledged that we have limited time to achieve this goal. Toward this end, both sides agreed to increase the frequency of contacts," Jennings added.

Last year, China hosted teams of U.S. specialists to investigate two WWII aircraft crash sites and one Cold War crash site. Follow-on investigations are to continue at these sites.

During the delegation's meetings with Chinese officials, the team explored options for gaining information from Chinese archival materials at the national and provincial levels. These records may be helpful to analysts investigating American POWs and personnel who were lost during combat operations.

Mr. Jennings requested the assistance of Chinese civilian researchers who could conduct archival research on behalf of the U.S. government. Additionally, the U.S. visitors sought information from the Dandong Museum relating to two F-86 pilots who are missing in action from the Korean War.

U.S. officials also want to resume contact with Peoples' Liberation Army veterans from the Korean War in order to build upon information related to the Chinese operation of POW camps during the war.

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