S. Korea honors French war veteran's wish to be buried in DMZ battlefield

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2017-10-30 14:26 Updated : 2017-10-30 14:26
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Photographs of Jen Le Houx, a French veteran who fought during the Korean war. [The Ministry of Patriots & Veterans Affairs]



A French veteran who fought during the Korean War more than six decades ago will be buried inside the world's last Cold War frontier in a post-humous funeral this week as he wished before his death.

The remains of Jean Le Houx, who died on December 30 last year at 84, will be transferred from France to South Korea for burial at a French memorial monument near a South Korean guard post inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) which splits the Korean peninsula.

The burial ceremony involving dozens of participants including French Ambassador to South Korea Fabien Penone will be held on Thursday in Chorwon northeast of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.

A group of ten people led by Patrick Beaudouin, who heads an association of veterans in France, will escort the remains of Le Houx who was dispatched to South Korea as part of the 16-nation U.N. force led by US troops in December 1951 when he was 19 years old, the ministry said in a statement.

The man had served at French auto company Citroen after he was discharged on July 31, 1953. During his trip to South Korea in 2007, Le Houx told his colleagues that he wanted to be buried in a battlefield in South Korea.

President Moon Jae-in will send a funeral wreath for the ceremony, the seventh of its kind. Le Houx would be the first Korean War veteran to be buried inside the DMZ.

Official data showed that of 3,421 French soldiers sent during the 1950-53 war, 262 died on the Korean peninsula and seven was listed as missing. There are about 100 French veterans who are still alive. Forty-four French casualties were buried at the U.N. Memorial Cemetery in the southern port city of Busan.