The Korean war prisoners who chose neutral nations: An introduction

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At the end of the Korean War, 76 Korean and 12 Chinese prisoners of war (POWs) refused to return to either side of their divided countries. Instead, they sought asylum in neutral nations that were yet to be determined. Situating this theme issue's three articles in the larger Korean War historiography, this introduction provides a chronology of major events that culminated in the 88 POWs' departure from Korea and voyage to India on 9 February 1954. Emphasizing that these 88 men were not fundamentally different from the other 150,000 Korean and 21,000 Chinese POWs, this paper underscores the fact that these 88 POWs, having survived battles and captivity, risked their lives to escaped from their compound leaders and sought neutral nations' protection. The stories of the 88 prisoners “choosing” neutral nations were in fact tales of survival and escape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-234
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of American-East Asian Relations
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2020


  • India
  • Korean war
  • Latin America
  • Neutral nations
  • Prisoners of war


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