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Remains of 200,000 Vietnam War soldiers still missing, 300,000 unidentified

By Hoang Thuy   July 26, 2022 | 11:59 pm PT
Remains of 200,000 Vietnam War soldiers still missing, 300,000 unidentified
Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Ba Hoan pays respect to the tombstones of unidentified soldiers who died during the Vietnam War in Nghe An, central Vietnam, July 16, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Chi Tam
Vietnam has still not found the remains of its 200,000 soldiers from the Vietnam War, while 300,000 remains have yet to be identified, an official said.

Nguyen Ba Hoan, Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said 1.2 million Vietnamese soldiers died during the Vietnam War that ended in 1975. The remains of around 200,000 soldiers have yet to be found, while 300,000 found remains have yet to be identified, he added.

The labor ministry has cooperated with the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Public Security, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology and other relevant entities to look into different measures to find and identify more remains, including the decipherment of army unit symbols to figure out the locations where soldiers died, Hoan said Wednesday.

Vietnam has also received help from the Argentinian government regarding anthropological and forensic issues, and signed a memorandum with U.S. agencies to bolster remains identification capabilities.

From 2011 to 2021, forensic departments have received over 41,100 samples, including 34,700 belonging to soldiers' remains and over 6,400 belonging to their family members. Through DNA analysis, 1,400 remains have been identified and families informed. A total 4,100 other remains have also been identified through other methods.

Hoan said the process of finding and identifying remains has been difficult due to numerous factors, including changes to provincial borders after the war, disbanded military units and geographical features. While some DNA samples were collected from 40-50 years ago, many have been severely degraded and cannot be further analyzed.

Vietnam commemorates the 75-year anniversary of its War Invalids and Martyrs Day on Wednesday.

 
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