A U.S. delegation departed for Hanoi Monday to hold talks on possible joint U.S.-Vietnamese searches for remains of Americans missing since the Vietnam War, the U.S. Embassy said.
It said the five-member delegation, led by Lt. Col. Joe Harvey, commander of the U.S. Joint Casualty Resolution Center in Hawaii, flew from Bangkok on a U.S. Embassy aircraft following a three-day delay.The delegation originally planned to travel on an Air Vietnam jetliner that crashed Friday while attempting to land in Bangkok, killing 76 people.
The talks are the seventh in a series that began after presidential envoy Gen. John Vessey met with senior Vietnamese officials in August 1987.
The Vietnamese agreed to renew cooperation on accounting for missing Americans while Vessey agreed to "address the urgent humanitarian concerns of Vietnam."
A team of U.S. medical experts conducted technical talks last week on U.S. efforts to assist disabled Vietnamese.
A total of about 1,760 Americans are still listed as missing in action in Vietnam, but experts believe there will never be a final accounting for most of them.
The searches being planned by the American and Vietnamese teams are supposed to focus on 70 high-priority "discrepancy" cases.
In these cases, U.S. officials say there are men who were likely captured by the Vietnamese but Vietnamese officials claim to have no information about them.
The planned searches were supposed to have started last month but were delayed because of Vietnamese anger at a U.S. official's statement to a congressional panel that there could be no formal relations with Hanoi until all Vietnamese troops had pulled out of Cambodia.