Remains identified of US Army chaplain considered for canonization by Vatican
The Korean War Memorial in Washington(AFP)

The Pentagon announced on Friday that it has identified the remains of a US Army chaplain who died in a prison camp during the Korean War and is being considered for canonization by the Vatican.

Captain Emil Kapaun, of Pilsen, Kansas, was captured by Chinese forces near Unsan, North Korea, in November 1950 and held with other American soldiers at a prison on the south bank of the Yalu River.

The Pentagon said Kapaun ministered to other prisoners of war while in captivity and died of exhaustion and possible heart failure induced by pleurisy on May 23, 1951. He was 35.

The Defense Department's POW/MIA Accounting Agency said Friday that his remains had been identified.

"After 70 years Chaplain (Capt.) Kapaun has been accounted for," acting Secretary of the Army John Whitley said in a statement. "His heroism and resilient spirit epitomized our Army values of personal courage and selfless service."

The Pentagon said Kapaun's "faith and leadership" had inspired thousands of prisoners to "survive hellish conditions."

Kapaun was declared a "servant of God" by Pope John Paul II in 1993, the first stage on the path to canonization.

He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest US military award for valor, by president Barack Obama in 2013.

Some 7,500 service members remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, according to the Pentagon.