On November 23, a pair of J-20 fifth-generation fighter jets escorted Y-20 transport aircraft that brought back the remains of Chinese PLA soldiers from South Korea.
On November 21, the Chinese Air Force’s Y-20 took off on its 10th repatriation mission, bringing back the remains of 25 Chinese troops who lost their lives during the 1950-53 Korean War.
A poignant ceremony at Incheon International Airport, attended by South Korean Vice Defense Minister Kim Seon-ho and Chinese Vice Minister of Veterans Affairs Chang Zhengguo, marked the return of the fallen soldiers.
Since the initiation of the repatriation project in 2014, Seoul has now returned 938 sets of remains to China. Recovered in 2021, the latest sets of remains were accompanied by 335 personal items of the Chinese troops.
Kim highlighted the humanitarian and respectful collaboration between the two nations, expressing hope that future repatriations would further strengthen their ties.
Two J-20 fighters escorted Y-20 carrying CPV martyrs home pic.twitter.com/6x8GZvaJxz
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) November 23, 2023
Meanwhile, China conducted a welcome-home ceremony for the remains of 25 Chinese soldiers held at Shenyang Taoxian International Airport in northeast China.
The transport plane, escorted by two J-20 stealth fighter jets, received a distinguished honor—the passage through a “water gate” formed by water jets from fire trucks on either side, recognized as the highest accolade in the Chinese civil aviation industry.
Simultaneously, the pair of J-20 fighter jets flew at an exceptionally low altitude, symbolizing a deep mark of respect for the Chinese soldiers.
“Among those at the airport attending the welcome ceremony were 13 student representatives who came all the way from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao. Some 70 years ago, more than 20 students from Hong Kong also joined the CPV and fought on the frontlines during the war,” China state-run Global Times reported.
Scheduled for November 24, a burial ceremony is set to take place at the Cemetery for Martyrs of the Chinese People’s Volunteers in Shenyang, located in Northeast China’s Liaoning Province, as outlined by China’s Ministry of Veterans Affairs.
Global Times said, “Representatives from the Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan regions will be invited to attend this year’s burial ceremony, aiming to further strengthen patriotic education and foster a sense of national unity.”
China Receives the Remains of ‘Fallen Heroes’ From South Korea
In 1950, China deployed a quarter-million troops to the Korean Peninsula in support of its North Korean ally, countering the combined forces of South Korea, the United States, and other nations under the United Nations Command.
The allied forces had nearly reached the Yalu River, the boundary between China and North Korea, when then-leader Mao Zedong dispatched the Chinese People’s Volunteers to intervene.
The Chinese military effectively repelled the combined allied forces, driving them southward on the peninsula and leading to a deadlock along the 38th parallel, now established as the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea.
During the course of the Korean War, over 180,000 Chinese soldiers perished, a conflict acknowledged by Beijing as the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea.
Since 2014, South Korea has been repatriating the remains of Chinese soldiers discovered within its territory, citing adherence to international law and the spirit of humanity.
Li Jingxian, a senior official at the Chinese Ministry of Veterans Affairs, said, “As of last year, China has welcomed back from South Korea the remains of 913 CPV martyrs who died in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea for nine consecutive years.”
“More will continue to be transferred back to their homeland as they are discovered,” he noted.
China has observed the 70th anniversary of what it refers to as the victory in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea, marking the occasion with special arrangements and commemorations.
The belongings of the fallen soldiers have undergone meticulous handling, including measurement, photography, and registration. Electronic archives have also been established, with designated personnel entrusted to ensure secure preservation.
These items of the martyrs are being showcased in various exhibitions that provide a visual narrative of the challenging journey during the war.
Li disclosed that recent efforts have involved delving into the habits, interests, and personal stories associated with the belongings of the fallen soldiers. The objective is to recreate the original battleground, illustrating the living conditions and wartime experiences of the CPV soldiers.
Regarding efforts to trace the families of the martyrs, Li highlighted initiatives launched since 2020. Currently, the DNA identification process for all 913 remains across nine batches has been completed.
By combining the findings from relics, historical data, and DNA results, proactive measures are underway to locate their relatives and facilitate reunions with their families.