UNSW Canberra representatives hand over the project to
the Vietnamese delegation (Photo: VNA)
Sydney (VNA) – A visiting Vietnamese delegation, led
by Deputy Minister of National Defence Sen. Lieut. Gen. Le Chiem, had a
working session with Australia’s University of New South Wales (UNSW)
Canberra on September 10 to receive a digitalised
project on battlefields and burial sites of fallen Vietnamese soldiers
during the war in Vietnam.
The project, entitled “Operation
Wandering Souls – Bring Them Home”, is an extensive investigation
carried out by experts, researchers and veterans on the war at the UNSW
Canberra’s Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society (ACSACS).
At the meeting, Chiem, who is also deputy head of
the National Steering Committee for Search and Repatriation of Remains of
Fallen Soldiers, spoke about war consequences in Vietnam like the issues of
unexploded ordnance, Agent Orange/dioxin and missing bodies of soldiers.
According to the officer, the bodies of nearly
200,000 Vietnamese soldiers need to be verified and located.
He said the Vietnamese Government has deployed
several measures to find martyrs’ remains, including cooperating with other
countries, organisations and individuals.
Chiem said the ACSACS’s project shows the goodwill
of the Australian government.
Welcoming the delegation, Harvinder Sidhu, Associate
Dean at the UNSW Canberra, said the project has been carried out for years
with voluntary efforts from many experts, researchers and Australian army
He said the ACSACS built the database with records
and information from the Australian War Memorial, Australian army units,
American army, and armies of other nations involved in the American War in
Sidhu told his guests the database currently offers
the location of about 6,500 battlefields and the specific identities and
burial sites of some 460 Vietnamese soldiers.
The same day, the delegation had another meeting
with Elizabeth Cosson, Secretary of the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA)
Chiem took the occasion to ask the DVA to inform all
Australian veterans on the Vietnamese Government and people’s desire to
locate and repatriate soldiers’ remains. Vietnam is willing to host any
organisations and individuals that come to provide such information, he
Cosson pledged to try her best to work with Vietnam
to alleviate the war pain in the country.
She thanked the Vietnamese authorities for
facilitating Australian veterans to come back to their former