SEOUL, Aug. 18 (Yonhap) — President Park Geun-hye has personally called and consoled the two young soldiers who were severely injured in the recent North Korean mine attack in the demilitarized zone, a government official said Tuesday.
The two staff sergeants, surnamed Kim and Hah, are recovering in hospitals after they lost limbs in the mine explosion on Aug. 4.
Last week, the South Korean military blamed North Korea for secretly burying the land mines in the South Korea-controlled half of the DMZ.
“I was very surprised and heartbroken upon hearing the news of your injuries,” Park was quoted by the official as telling Kim on the phone Saturday. Kim lost one leg in the explosion.
The president pledged the government’s best support for the recovery and rehabilitation of the wounded soldiers, also extolling the courage they have shown during and after the explosion, according to the official.
Kim promised Park a quick recovery, the official also said.
Calling Staff Sgt. Hah, who lost both legs, Park said, “You and other service members have greatly touched the heart of the public. It was an unfortunate provocation that should not have happened.”
Park’s message came as military tension is escalating at the border over the attack.
North Korea denied its involvement in the explosion, threatening to shoot down loudspeakers on the border that the South Korean military is using for propaganda warfare against the North as a retaliation measure.
On Monday, Park called on the military to maintain tighter combat readiness against North Korea and denounced the recent mine explosion as a “clear military provocation that was intended to kill or injure our soldiers.”