KOCHI – Former South Korean Foreign Minister Choi Sung-hong has returned to his country in stable condition after experiencing an intracerebral hemorrhage — a type of stroke — that put him in critical condition that required him to undergo surgery in Kochi Prefecture
The 78-year-old Choi was transported Thursday by ambulance to Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture, some 330 km away from the hospital in the city of Kochi, and was met by officials of South Korea’s consulate general in Osaka.
Choi, who served as foreign and trade minister in President Kim Dae-jung’s administration for a year from February 2002, arrived at Incheon airport the same day accompanied by a Japanese doctor.
Kochi Prefecture is known for engaging in active grass-roots exchanges with South Korea, and signed a sister relationship pact with the South Jeolla Province last year.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Choi was found unconscious in a hotel room in Nankoku on July 7 and was sent to the Kochi Health Sciences Centerm, where he underwent two operations.
After it was discovered he was also suffering from another illness, he was taken to Korea University’s hospital to receive treatment based on his family’s wishes.
“I’m overwhelmed with appreciation. We’ll never forget the kind support and consideration of the people of Kochi,” said Choi’s eldest son, a 47-year-old professor at Korea University.
The prefectural government was initially going to take Choi to Kansai airport by helicopter, but opted for an ambulance because of Typhoon Noru.