U.S. Delegation to Visit North Korea to Search for Soldiers Killed in Korean War

A private delegation working with the approval of the White House will travel to North Korea this weekend to search for the remains of soldiers killed in the Korean War.

The four-day trip will be led by Bill Richardson, the New Mexico governor and presidential candidate, and Anthony Principi, the former veteran affairs secretary for President Bush.

White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino announced the effort on Tuesday.

The bipartisan delegation has been invited by the North Korean government to help recover remains of missing servicemen, Perino said.

"The trip will reinforce progress already achieved in this area," Perino said. "A small number of U.S. officials will accompany the delegation to provide support and technical expertise."

More than 33,000 U.S. troops were killed in the Korean War, which began in June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea. U.S. forces intervened on behalf of the South while Chinese forces backed the North.

More than 8,100 U.S. servicemen still are listed as missing from the Korean War.

No other members of the delegation were immediately announced.