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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 628-98
December 10, 1998

NEGOTIATIONS BEGIN WITH NORTH KOREA

Department of Defense negotiators began unaccounted-for remains recovery discussions this morning in New York City with officials of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

These negotiations will seek to establish a schedule for 1999 in which U.S. and North Korean teams will jointly recover the remains of Americans missing in action from the Korean War. This would mark the fourth consecutive year that U.S. teams have operated inside North Korea on remains recoveries.

The first joint recovery was in July 1996, in which the remains of U.S. Army Cpl. Lawrence LeBouef, Covington, La., were identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Nine operations in three years have yielded the remains of 29 soldiers. The recovery work has been in an area approximately 100 kilometers north of Pyongyang, the capital of the DPRK.

At the conclusion of each of the month-long operations inside North Korea, the American teams join their North Korean counterparts for a formal repatriation ceremony at the demilitarized zone at Panmunjom. The remains are flown immediately to the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii, where forensic techniques are used to establish the identities of the soldiers.