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N. Korean soldier-defector writes thank-you note to medical team

N. Korean soldier-defector writes thank-you note to medical team

Posted December. 18, 2017 07:57,   

Updated December. 18, 2017 08:21

Oh Cheong-seong (25), a North Korean solider who had defected to South Korea, left a handwritten memo to the medical team including Prof. Lee Kook-jong just before his transfer from Ajou University Hospital in Suwon to Armed Forces Medical Command Hospital in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province.

“I deeply thank all in the Ajou University Hospital medical team including the professor (Lee Kook-jong) for providing good treatment,” read the memo, which The Dong-A Ilbo acquired on Sunday. The memo is finished with his sign of three large characters “Oh Cheong-seong” in Korean. The memo was reportedly written on Thursday, when Oh left Ajou University Hospital. It happened on the 32nd day after Oh received his first surgery from Prof. Lee’s team.

“I wish to thank the U.S. Forces Korea and the (South) Korean people. I will frequently donate blood and pay a lot of tax,” Oh reportedly told Prof. Lee. In a press conference on November 22, Prof. Lee said, “Some 12,000 cc of invaluable blood donated by people of the Republic of (South) Korea is circulating in the soldier’s body. I hope that Mr. Oh can pay taxes with money he will earn working in South Korea and thereby contribute to the national economy.”

Prof. Lee presented an introductory textbook on law to Oh. “I hear Mr. Oh did not have much chance to study because he served in the military since young,” Lee said. “I presented the book hoping that whichever job he lands in the future, he will become someone who can make many contributions to our society.” The professor had reportedly comforted Oh, who is facing a new living environment.

“I hope that Oh will adapt himself well into the (South) Korean society and live as a member of ‘Oh family from Suwon,’” Lee told reporters. “He is in better health than before when his condition was very bad, but his liver somatic index remains still high. It was very fortunate that he received efficacious treatment.

Starting Monday, Oh will receive rehabilitation treatment and a joint probe by officials from the National Intelligence Service and the South Korean military on the reason behind his defection at Armed Forces Medical Command Hospital.

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com