|Graves for North Koreans and Chinese soldiers are seen at the Enemy Cemetery, near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, 52km (32 miles) north of Seoul, August 22, 2008. (File photo by=REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak)|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] South Korea's Red Cross volunteered to take care of a cemetery for North Korean soldiers killed in the Korean War, its secretary-general said Sunday, while the graveyard remains largely abandoned amid an administrative row.
The cemetery, established in 1996 in the border county of Paju, holds 843 sets of remains of North Korean soldiers killed in the 1950-53 war. The remains of some Chinese soldiers had also been held there, but they were repatriated to China in 2014. In March 2019, the government of Gyeonggi Province, which has jurisdiction over the area, agreed to take over the maintenance right of the cemetery from the defense ministry, saying it wants to play a meaningful role in inter-Korean reconciliation.
The provincial government also agreed to give the ministry a tract of land in return. But the implementation of the agreement has been delayed as the two sides displayed differences over how to interpret the deal, leaving the cemetery unattended for nearly two years. On Sunday, Kim Tae-kwang, secretary-general of the Korean Red Cross, said the organization wants to take care of the cemetery on humanitarian grounds.