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‘S. Korean soldiers responded well,’ says the UN Command

‘S. Korean soldiers responded well,’ says the UN Command

Posted November. 16, 2017 07:07,   

Updated November. 16, 2017 08:42


It is reported that Gen. Kim Un-yong, South Korean commander of the Third Army, has played an important role in transferring a North Korean soldier shot during his defection process through the Joint Security Area (JSA), or a truce village of Panmunjom, to Dr. Lee Guk-jong at Ajou University Hospital in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province.

The defecting soldier sustained more than five gun wounds, including those in his shoulders, thigh and stomach, and was in critical condition. It was indeed a matter of urgency in which his life or death depends on the initial medical treatment.

South Korean guard post at the JSA is under the command of the UN Command and the direct control of the Third Army. Briefed on the situation, Gen. Kim directed to transfer the wounded soldier to Ajou University Hospital by a UN helicopter, believing that Professor Lee, a trauma specialist, is the best person for saving the severely wounded defector.

Gen. Kim was able to recall Dr. Lee thanks to his service as a director general in the overseas deployment of armed forced of joint chiefs of staff in Operation Dawn of Gulf of Aden in 2011. He is said to have actively suggested rescue mission for hostage held by Somali pirates to his superiors.

“Gen. Kim expressed the need for rescue mission to the military command despite some lukewarm attitude and reproach within the forces,” a military source said. He has great confidence in Dr. Lee who treated and saved Seok Hye-gyun, the captain of the freighter Samho Jewelry, who was shot by pirates during a rescue operation.

Meanwhile, the UN Command believes that the South Korean military response was appropriate. “They concluded that our soldiers responded well to minimize the risk of escalating into a major clash and rescue the North Korean soldier appropriately,” South Korean military officials said.

Dr. Lee performed a second round of surgery earlier in the day, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday. It was an orthopedic surgery focusing on the removal of damaged tissue. The North Korean soldier who defected to South Korea through the JSA on Monday afternoon, was transferred to the Ajou University Hospital with multiple gun wounds and underwent the first round of surgery over five hours on the day.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com