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4:30pm ET, 4/16


Clinton expresses regret over No Gun Ri deaths of Korean civilians

Clinton expected to express regret for killing of South Koreans

From CNN Senior Producer Marty Kramer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bill Clinton expressed his regret Thursday for the deaths of civilians at No Gun Ri during the opening weeks of the Korean War more than 50 years ago.

"On behalf of the United States of America, I deeply regret that Korean civilians lost their lives at No Gun Ri in late July 1950," Clinton said in a statement. "The intensive, yearlong investigation into this incident has served as a painful reminder of the tragedies of war and the scars they leave behind on people and on nations.

"Although we have been unable to determine precisely the events that occurred at No Gun Ri, the U.S. and South Korean governments have concluded innocent Korean refugees were killed or injured there. To those Koreans who lost loved ones at No Gun Ri, I offer my condolences. Many Americans have experienced the anguish of innocent casualties of war. We understand and sympathize with the sense of loss and sorrow that remains even after a half-century has passed.

"I sincerely hope that the memorial the United States will construct to these and all other innocent Korean civilians killed during the war will bring a measure of solace and closure. The commemorative scholarship fund that we will launch will serve as a living tribute to their memory.

"As we honor those civilians who fell victim to this conflict, let us not forget that pain is not the only legacy of the Korean War. American and Korean veterans fought shoulder to shoulder in the harshest of conditions for the cause of freedom, and they prevailed. The vibrancy of democracy in the Republic of Korea, the strong alliance between our two countries, and the closeness of our two peoples today is a testament to the sacrifices made by both of our nations fifty years ago."

An estimated 100 to 300 Korean civilians were killed under a bridge near the town of No Gun Ri by U.S. troops who believed that communist North Korean troops had infiltrated and blended in with refugees streaming south.

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