Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

China to hunt remains at 1950 US bomber crash site

China to hunt remains at 1950 US bomber crash site

China plans to search for the remains of U.S. victims of an almost 60-year-old Air Force bomber crash, state media said Tuesday, in a likely gesture of goodwill just weeks ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's first visit to the country.
Search and recovery efforts are deeply symbolic for relations between the U.S. and Chinese militaries, whose ties have been strained in recent years by U.S. criticism of China's military buildup and China's objections to U.S. surveillance operations.
China last year yielded to a long-standing U.S. request to provide access to military records that might resolve the fate of thousands of U.S. servicemen missing from the Korean War and other Cold War-era conflicts.
There was no immediate U.S. comment on Tuesday's report. Obama is due to visit China on Nov. 15-18.
Reports said the U.S. bomber caught fire and crashed on Nov. 5, 1950 while flying over southern Guangdong province, just as Chinese forces were preparing to attack U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula. The plane's mission was not known.
Records and eyewitness accounts have indicated that four bodies were buried at the crash site, while the fate of the other 11 on board wasn't clear.
Investigators have identified an area of about 100 square meters (yards) where the U.S. remains were most likely to be found, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
It quoted witness Xu Yueshu as saying he saw an aircraft crash into a mountainside.
"The adults buried the remains. When I got up there I saw many of the aircraft's pieces scattered everywhere. I remember very clearly that one quite complete body was buried on the mountain ridge," Xu said.
Information contained in military archives shows that villagers recovered items including a parachute, rifles, a revolver, spoons, documents in English and a Parker pen, Xinhua said.
More than 8,100 U.S. servicemen are still unaccounted for from the Korean War, when the U.S. and communist Chinese troops were on opposite sides.
China has consistently maintained that all POW questions were settled at the end of the war, but nearly every U.S. administration since then has prodded Beijing to provide information on missing servicemen, including airmen who disappeared after being shot down by the Chinese.
Declassified U.S. Army records from the 1950s make it clear that the United States knew of hundreds of American prisoners in China during the Korean War and feared for their lives.
Since China's agreement last year on military records, more than 100 documents have been found that relate to missing U.S. servicemen in searches by the People's Liberation Army Archives Department, the Xinhua reports said.
The department is combing through more than 1.5 million files relating to Chinese ground forces in Korea during the war, along with those concerning PLA high command and the Central Military Commission.
In a speech Monday in Washington, China's second-highest ranking officer, Gen. Xu Caihou, cited archive cooperation as among the main components of the countries' military-to-military ties.
Xu said archivist Dui Chen had uncovered valuable information, including a photograph and identification documents of U.S. Air Force Capt. Gilbert Tenney, a fighter pilot shot down and killed on May 3, 1952 at the mouth of the Yalu River that divides North Korea from China.


Updated : 2021-05-08 19:36 GMT+08:00