Oct. 2 (UPI) -- A South Korean soldier who lost both legs during a 2015 land mine incident at the demilitarized zone was recognized as wounded in combat after he appealed a previous decision.
Ha Jae-heon, who was injured on Aug. 4, 2015, was formerly recognized as "wounded while in public service," a decision he had said was "unacceptable," Yonhap reported Wednesday.
South Korean Patriots and Veterans Affairs Minister Park Sam-deuk said following a "review" a ministry commission concluded Ha's injuries took place during combat and not during "public service," according to the report.
Ha was originally recognized as wounded in combat following the 2015 incident. The review committee at South Korea's veterans' affairs reversed the decision in September, citing there are "no provisions" for Ha's injuries under current law.
The reversal prompted Ha to go public with his grievances on Sept. 17.
"I cannot understand this decision from the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs. Is it not clear I was wounded as a result of a North Korean military landmine, during a search operation, and that the joint chiefs of staff said the explosions were the result of enemy provocations?" Ha had said.
Ha had also claimed the current administration of President Moon Jae-in and its policy of engagement with the North had politicized his injuries.
Ha lost both legs, and his fellow soldier Kim Jeong-won lost his right ankle while attempting to rescue his colleague.
On Tuesday, Park said the government engaged in a more "flexible" review of the existing National Merit Act that awards veterans with recognition and government benefits.
Ha told Yonhap he hopes his case would help others so "they would not have to go through twice the ordeals."
North Korea has denied responsibility for the land mines.
The regime engaged in more weapons tests early Wednesday, launching a submarine-launched ballistic missile from land.
The SLBM test may be harder for the United States to ignore, as it can be fired at sea from submarines, potentially threatening the U.S. mainland, according to Newsis.