Australian families whose loved ones never returned from Korean War could be a step closer to recovering the remains of those missing in action following the US-North Korea summit.
A four-point plan US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un signed in Singapore on Tuesday included a pledge to recover the remains of prisoners of war and those missing in action in the 1950-53 conflict.
Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester said he was heartened the issue was raised during the historic talks.
“I think it gives some hope,” he told the National Press Club on Wednesday.
There are 43 Australians missing in action from the Korean War.
Ian Saunders, whose father Private John Phillip Saunders was one of the missing Australians, is happy families might soon see some progress.
“We have an excellent opportunity for the Australian government and Department of Defence to consolidate a matter that has never been addressed in 65 years,” he said.
Australia and the US military at the end of the month are expected to sign a deal to exchange relevant information and records relating to the 43 lost Australian servicemen.
Mr Saunders has uncovered evidence from the Australian and US military records from 1950-1955 revealing the locations of 1700 unidentified remains.
While some of the remains could be in North Korea, others are likely to be located above and below ground on Hawaiian soil and at the United Nations Military Cemetery Busan, South Korea.
Lisa Martin, Australian Associated Press
June 13, 2018
Advocates for increased active Australian Government action by the late Jim Bourke, Admiral Ian Crawford and Ian Saunders supported by the Royal Australian Regiment Association, The Naval Association of Australia, and the Air Force Association, The Korean Veterans Association and others led to the establishment of the Korean War Missing in Action Working Group in December 2015. You can follow its progress here
It sought greater active involvement and co-operation with The United States’ Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency(DPAA) and the South Korean Ministry of National Defence Agency for Missing in Action Recovery and Identification (MAKRI) organisations.
Ian Saunders effectively represents the MIA families.