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  HOME PAGE 23/02/2020 11:24 
21.01.2020 12:27 News >> South Korea To Dispatch Troops To Strait Of Hormuz

South Korea To Dispatch Troops To Strait Of Hormuz

Mission intends to protect South Korean ships, people in region, local media report.

South Korea will send troops to the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday to ensure the safety of Korean people and ships in the region over the next six months, local media reported.
Dispatch of the navy, which has been on an anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia since 2009, aims to expand its mission areas into the Gulf of Oman, and further to the Persian Gulf, Yonhap news agency reported.
"In consideration of the current situation in the Middle East, the government has decided to temporarily expand the 300-strong Cheonghae Unit's sphere of activity in order to guarantee safety of our people and the freedom of navigation of our vessels," the news agency "ed South Korea's National Defense Ministry as saying.
The 31st batch of the rotational troops along with the 4,400-ton destroyer, the Wang Geon, will be dispatched to the region as part of the mission, it said.
The forces will not join a U.S.-led coalition, but carry out independent operations.
"Some 25,000 South Koreans reside in the Middle East, and around 170 South Korean ships sail through Hormuz about 900 times per year", Yonhap said citing a government data.
The Strait of Hormuz is regarded as the world's single most important oil chokepoint between the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
The 39-kilometer (24-mile) strait is the only route to the open ocean for over one-sixth of global oil production. South Korea, the top 12th economy in the world, imports about 70% of its oil from the strait.
Previously, Japan's Cabinet also approved the dispatch of Japanese navy personnel to the region "for information-gathering activities to help ensure the safety of a key oil shipping lane," Japan's official Kyodo news agency had reported in late December.
The mission, which Tokyo claimed to be a part of its "contribution to peace" in the Middle East, will be carried out in the Gulf of Oman, the northern part of the Arabian Sea, and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
South Korea's and Japan's initiatives came as tensions ratcheted up between the U.S. and Iran after two oil tankers were attacked in June in the Strait of Hormuz.
The U.S. held Iran responsible for the attacks and accused Tehran of destroying navigation devices. Both accusations were denied by Iran.
Following the tanker attack, Washington created an international military coalition to safeguard the Strait of Hormuz, however, both South Korea and Japan kept itself out of the coalition.
Tensions in the region have further increased early this month after the U.S. killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in a missile attack in Baghdad triggering tensions and retaliatory attacks by Iran on the U.S. bases in Iraq. -



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