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S. Korea returns Korean War remains of 117 Chinese soldiers

September 27, 2020 GMT
In this photo provided by the South Korea Defense Ministry, Chinese honor guard members, left, receive caskets containing the remains of Chinese soldiers from South Korean honor guards during the handing over ceremony at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. The remains of 117 Chinese soldiers who died in the 1950-53 Korean War were returned to China on Sunday in an annual repatriation delayed this year by the coronavirus outbreak. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)
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In this photo provided by the South Korea Defense Ministry, Chinese honor guard members, left, receive caskets containing the remains of Chinese soldiers from South Korean honor guards during the handing over ceremony at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. The remains of 117 Chinese soldiers who died in the 1950-53 Korean War were returned to China on Sunday in an annual repatriation delayed this year by the coronavirus outbreak. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)
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In this photo provided by the South Korea Defense Ministry, Chinese honor guard members, left, receive caskets containing the remains of Chinese soldiers from South Korean honor guards during the handing over ceremony at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. The remains of 117 Chinese soldiers who died in the 1950-53 Korean War were returned to China on Sunday in an annual repatriation delayed this year by the coronavirus outbreak. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

BEIJING (AP) — The remains of 117 Chinese soldiers who died in the 1950-53 Korean War were returned to China on Sunday in an annual repatriation delayed this year by the coronavirus outbreak.

South Korea handed over the remains at a ceremony at Incheon airport outside Seoul, and a Chinese military transport plane flew them to Shenyang, a northeastern Chinese city near the North Korean border.

Chinese soldiers fought on the North Korean side against U.S.-led forces in the South during the war on the Korean Peninsula.

Most of the 117 remains were found in the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea. It was the seventh annual repatriation, and the largest since the 437 returned in the first one in 2014. In all, the remains of 716 Chinese soldiers have been sent back.

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This year’s return, originally planned for the spring, was postponed for several months because of the spread of COVID-19.