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North Korean soldier who crossed military border says he wants to stay

A North Korean Soldier stands guard at the Korean Demilitarized Zone August 11, 2011 (Staff Sgt. Bryanna Poulin III Corps PAO)

The North Korean soldier who fled to South Korea via the Demilitarized Zone on Nov. 13 officially expressed his intention to stay here during a recent government joint interrogation, local news outlet Dong-A Ilbo reported Thursday.

As a defector, Oh Cheng-seong, 24, is eligible for medical benefits as stated in the North Korean Refugees Protection and Settlement Support Act, according to the Ministry of Unification.

The government said it would pay for Oh’s medical treatment last month at Ajou University Hospital trauma center, including two major operations for gunshot wounds sustained during his escape, as stipulated by the law.

The total medical expenses for Oh stand at approximately 65 million won ($60,700), according to the hospital, all of which will be covered by the National Health Insurance scheme and Ministry of Unification.

Identified as the son of a high-ranking military official in the North, Oh is expected to undergo a resettlement program once discharged from the national Army hospital where he is in recovery.

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©2017 the Asia News Network (Hamburg, Germany)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.