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Monday, 5 June, 2000, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
US cuts Korean war deaths
Coffins of the remains US soldiers returned last year
North Korea returned the remains of six US soldiers in 1999
The United States has said it wrongly calculated the number of its troops killed in the Korean war - almost half a century after the conflict ended.

The Pentagon said that 36,940 troops - not 54,246 - died in the 1950-53 war, Time and Newsweek magazines reported.

The inflated death toll was blamed on a mistake by an unnamed clerk, who is said to have included figures for all deaths suffered by American forces around the world during the period of the conflict.

These included non-combat deaths such as those from accidents and disease.

The flawed figure has been carried on the Korean war veterans memorial in Washington DC and in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The US was among the dozen countries that contributed troops to United Nations forces to help South Korea fight its communist neighbour.

Thousands of allied troops died and South Korea lost 175,000 soldiers in the fighting. Civilian deaths in both Koreas amounted to an estimated two million.

Anniversary

The 50th anniversary of the start of the war will be commemorated in South Korea with a number of events, including ceremonies laying wreaths and battle re-enactments.

The war began on 25 June, 1950 when North Korea attacked South Korea. The peninsula was divided in 1945.

The two Koreas have been locked in a tense truce since the end of the war which ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

The Cold War rivals are set to meet in a historic summit this month in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.

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See also:

21 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
New evidence of Korean war killings
18 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Koreas finalise summit
29 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
US veterans confess Korean War atrocity
11 Jan 00 | Asia-Pacific
US recognises Korean massacre suffering
18 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
US keeps military option in Korea
18 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
South to 'end' Korean cold war
08 Oct 98 | Korean elections 97
South Korea: A political history
09 Sep 98 | Korea at 50
North Korea: a political history
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