The remains of Chinese volunteer soldiers killed in the Korean War (1950-1953) are prepared before a transfer back to China in Incheon, South Korea, April 1, 2019. (Photo: China News Service/Zeng Ding)
(ECNS) - China has established a DNA database for Chinese soldiers killed in the Korean War (1950-1953) following a technological breakthrough by a team from the PLA Academy of Military Medical Sciences.
The database, unveiled at the Cemetery of Korean War Martyrs in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, helps identify unknown soldiers. Six of the fallen from the Chinese People's Volunteers have had their identity confirmed so far.
Between 1950 and 1953, the Chinese People's Volunteers fought alongside the army of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea against the army of the Republic of Korea and U.S.-led UN forces.
Wang Shengqi has led a team from the PLA Academy of Military Medical Sciences to conduct DNA analysis of the remains of 494 Chinese soldiers killed in the Korean War, establishing the database using three genetic markers.
Wang said the challenge lies in effectively extracting DNA from remains that were buried on the battlefield a long time ago. A new, reliable method has been developed after 10 months of effort.
The other challenge is that many soldiers died young in the war and their parents or siblings have also died, so identify verification has to rely on the DNA of distant relatives, said Wang. His team has made progress in genetic marking and comparison techniques with the support of other governmental departments and experts.
South Korea started to return the remains of Chinese soldiers in 2014 when China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs began to develop a DNA database for identity verification. The work was later transferred to the PLA Academy of Military Medical Sciences under leadership of the Ministry of Veteran Affairs, established last year.