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N.K. defector Oh Chung-sung receives health care benefits

N.K. defector Oh Chung-sung receives health care benefits

Posted December. 28, 2017 08:47,   

Updated December. 28, 2017 08:59


North Korean soldier Oh Chung-sung (age 24), who fled to South Korea on Nov. 13, has officially announced his will to defect from the North during the government’s joint interrogation. Accordingly, the government has decided to recognize the defected soldier as a South Korean citizen and pay about 25 million won of treatment expenses on behalf of him by applying the health care program.

“Although Mr. Oh indirectly expressed his will to defect by coming to South Korea through the Joint Security Area (JSA), it was not proven perfectly,” the Ministry of Unification told The Dong-A Ilbo on Wednesday. “He has made clear that he wants to defect to South Korea during the government’s recent joint interrogation.”

In this backdrop, the government has recognized Mr. Oh as a citizen of South Korea and decided to apply benefits based on relevant laws. The total expenses for the treatment he received at Ajou University Hospital was about 65 million won, and the National Health Insurance will cover about 40 million won. The remaining amount that Mr. Oh needs to pay shall be covered by the Ministry of Unification pursuant to the “North Korean Refugees Protection and Settlement Support Act.”

Unlike former North Korean diplomat Tae Yong-ho, Oh Chung-sung will not enter Hanawon but receive a separate resettlement program. “Generally, a resident registration card is issued after completing a 3-month program at Hanawon, but Mr. Oh is likely to take a different course,” said the Ministry of Unification. “His resident registration card has not been issued yet.”

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com