The ashes of a Frenchman who fought during the 1950-53 Korean War will return to the peninsula on Wednesday to be buried in the Demilitarized Zone, the ministry said Monday.
According to the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, the ashes of the late UN veteran Jean Le Houx will arrive at Incheon International Airport at 8 a.m. escorted by a French delegation of 11 people. After a welcoming ceremony at the airport, the ashes will be moved to the Seoul National Cemetery to stay the night.
On Thursday, he will be moved to be buried in the 5th military division in Gangwon Province, inside the DMZ, the border with North Korea, where the French Korean War Memorial is located. In his will, the war veteran said he wished to be buried there with his comrades.
Among the six burials of foreign veterans since 2015, this is the first to take place in the DMZ.
The burial ceremony is to be attended by some 50 people, including the French ambassador to Korea, the French delegation and the ministry officials, the ministry said. A wreath under the name of President Moon Jae-in will also be placed there.
Late Le Houx entered the Korean War in December 1951, when he was 19. He was injured twice in the T-Bone highland battle in 1952, but also took part in the Battle of Arrowhead in October that year. He was discharged in 1953, four days after the Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27.
After returning to his country, he worked at the Citroen car company, the ministry said.
He visited South Korea once after the war, in 2007, at the invitation of the ministry. At the time, he had said it was surprising to see the once war-torn nation to have healed itself and developed.
In his will, he said he wished for his ashes to be buried “in the battleground where I fought fiercely with my comrades in my young days.” He passed away on Dec. 30, 2016 at the age of 84.
The French delegation, which includes the president of the National Association of Veterans of the UN French Forces Patrick Beaudouin and families of the deceased will stay here until Sunday to visit French memorials and former battle fields in the country.
The government started the burial service in May 2015 for the UN veterans who wish to be buried here. Since the service opened, six foreign veterans before late Le Houx came back to rest in peace here, including the latest burial taking place for a former Dutch soldier Johan Theodoor Aldewereld in September.
“We will continue to support and give respectful treatment to the UN veterans who wish to be buried on the Peninsula after death,” the ministry said. “The government also plans to maintain ties with the families of the war veterans.”
By Jo He-rim (email@example.com)