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US To Search for Korea War Remains

December 9, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Clinton administration has agreed to pay North Korea $672,000 to search for remains of American soldiers on remote Korean War battlefields that have been off-limits to the U.S. government for four decades.

Combined with payments for searches this year that yielded only six sets of remains, the U.S. government will have paid North Korea nearly $1 million by the time the final search ends next October, officials said Monday.

Under terms of an agreement reached in the early-morning hours Sunday in New York after days of negotiations, a team of 10 Americans, including forensic scientists and anthropologists, will conduct excavations in two areas.

The first three searches, starting April 21, will be in Kujang County, a mountainous area along the Chongchongang River. The last two searches, ending Oct. 15, will be near Kaechon City, about 20 miles southwest of Kujang County.

Larry Greer, a Pentagon spokesman, said there are mass burial sites in these areas thought to contain the remains of soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, which was driven south by Chinese forces in November and early December 1950. He said as many as 1,700 U.S. soldiers fell in this area.

Greer said the searchers would not return to the site they worked in 1997, in Unsan County, because it yielded so few remains. ``Both sides were looking for more productivity,″ Greer said.

Using what Greer called an agreed formula of compensation for fuel and services, North Korea will be paid $134,400 for each of the five searches in 1998. The total of $672,000 is in addition to $316,500 paid for this year’s three searches.

North Korea also agreed to give U.S. officials access to archival records that might provide clues to the fate of some of the thousands of U.S. servicemen who are unaccounted for from the 1950-53 war, Greer said.

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