N. Korea says returns remains of British airman

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North Korea said it handed over Wednesday the remains of a British airman killed during the Korean War and pledged to cooperate in recovering more remains from the 1950-53 conflict.

The remains of Desmond Fredrick William Hinton were handed over through the border truce village of Panmunjom following a request by his family in March, the official Korean Central News Agency said.

The agency said it was the second time it has handed over the remains of a British serviceman after the body of a private was transferred in 1995.

It pledged to "render positive cooperation in the future... in unearthing and sending back remains, the humanitarian work for healing the wounds caused by the past Korean War".

A British embassy spokeswoman in Seoul said the remains would be taken to a US centre in Hawaii for forensic examination to try to confirm the nationality and identity.

If the remains were confirmed to be those of a Briton, they would be laid to rest in the UN Memorial Cemetery in the South Korean city of Busan unless relatives requested repatriation.

Some 58,000 British servicemen served during the war as part of United Nations forces defending South Korea, and 1,109 of them were killed.

© 2011 AFP

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