Vietnam, US strike deal to help identify soldier remains

By Phuong Vu   July 9, 2020 | 01:04 am PT
Vietnam, US strike deal to help identify soldier remains
U.S. service members conduct a ceremony to repatriate remains of two U.S. soldiers killed in the Vietnam War at Da Nang International Airport, September 17, 2019. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Consulate in HCMC.
The U.S. will fund and assist Vietnam in improving its technical ability to identify the remains of soldiers found in its soil.

The agreement was made in line with a Memorandum of Intent signed Wednesday between the Vietnamese Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as witnessed by Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Bui Thanh Son and U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink.

The memorandum will better facilitate identification of the remains of soldiers that died during the Vietnam War (1955-1975).

As stated, the U.S. government will train Vietnamese staff and provide related equipment, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

Deputy Minister Son said Vietnam would continue its cooperation with the U.S. to help find the remains of American MIA (missing in action) soldiers in the spirit of "putting the past behind and looking towards the future."

Ambassador Kritenbrink said the effective cooperation between both nations in dealing with war legacies proves the Vietnam-U.S. comprehensive partnership is growing.

He believes the memorandum would allow the U.S. to provide Vietnam with the latest DNA analyzing tech.

The ambassador confirmed the U.S. would keep performing its part, with work to clean up dioxin, deal with unexploded ordnances like mines and bombs in places across Vietnam, and help locate the remains of Vietnamese soldiers.

Vietnam and the U.S. mark 25 years of normalization of diplomatic relationships this year. The countries have worked together on MIA soldiers for over 30 years, serving as one of the major pillars in their bilateral ties.

So far, American and Vietnamese investigators, excavators and scientists have participated in over 130 joint operations, locating the remains of 770 American soldiers.

There are an estimated 1,200 Americans still unaccounted for in Vietnam since the war.

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