14 Jun 2018

Hope for return of Kiwi sailor's remains in North Korea

8:33 am on 14 June 2018

There is new hope the body of a New Zealander killed in the Korean war could be coming home after spending more than 60 years in North Korea.

Ron Mark, Minister of Defence.

Ron Mark said if Kim Jong-un repatriation promise extends to New Zealand, it will take a close look. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Robert Edward Marchioni, an able seaman in the navy, died during a raid in Sogon-ni in 1951 and his fellow sailors were not able to recover his body.

His final resting place is still unknown.

At the Singapore summit on Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un promised US President Donald Trump to repatriate the many servicemen who died during the conflict between 1950 and 1953.

There are still more than 8000 American soldiers unaccounted for but it is not yet known if that will extend to all the countries that fought in the war.

Minister for Veterans Ron Mark said if it does, New Zealand will want to take a close look in finding Mr Marchioni's grave.

While Mr Mark was a MP in Christchurch, Mr Marchioni's brother, Tony asked Mr Mark for help to find the seaman's final resting place.

Thirty-two other New Zealanders lost their lives during the Korean war.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs