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Seoul Marks War Anniversary With Warning Against Radicals

June 24, 1988

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ South Korea on Friday marked the anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War with a warning against radicals allegedly supporting Communist North Korea’s political cause.

In the border town of Panmunjom, meanwhile, the U.N. Command renewed its demand Thursday that North Korea return the remains of two U.S. soldiers who died in captivity in the North during the 1950-53 war.

But Senior Col. Kim Ryon Ki of North Korea told the 494th Military Commission that the matter should be discussed between his country and the United States, not the commission.

The commission consists of delegates from the U.N. Command, North Korea and China. The command, made up of the United States and 15 other countries, fought in the war to help the South repel the North Korean invasion, launched June 25, 1950. Chinese troops joined the North Korean side.

In Seoul, Culture-Information Minister Chung Han-mo marked the 1950 invasion by criticizing domestic political dissent. Past government criticism on the anniversary has been directed mainly at North Korea.

″We will deal harshly with ideological radicals sympathetic with the principles and cause of the North Korean Communists,″ Chung said.

The radicals are demanding that North Korea serve as a co-host of the Olympic Games in Seoul and the United States withdraw its 42,000 troops stationed in South Korea.

The minister criticized radicals consideration of the three-year Korean War as ″a proper effort to unify″ the peninsula, which was divided in 1945.

North Korean troops, supported by Soviet-built tanks, invaded South Korea and captured Seoul in three days.

The war ended in 1953 after leaving about 760,000 military personnel killed and 1.8 million wounded. Civilian casualties were estimated at 1.4 million. In Panmunjon, U.S. Army Col. Charles O. Coffman, speaking for the U.N. Command, criticized North Korea for refusing to return the remains of two Americans when it had admitted having them and implied its willingness to return them.

Coffman said the North and the command held serious talks but the North broke them off Jan. 26 out of ″discontent″ with the U.S. sanctions imposed after the North’s alleged bombing of a South Korean jetliner in November.

All 115 people aboard were killed in what South Korea called an attempt to scare people away from the Olympics in Seoul this fall.

In a message to the U.N. Command Feb. 2, North Korea identified the two Americans as 1st Lt. Jack J. Saunders of Cedar City, Utah, and Cpl. Arthur I. Seaton of Philadelphia.

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