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S. Korea sends forces to Strait of Hormuz without joining U.S.-led mission

S. Korea sends forces to Strait of Hormuz without joining U.S.-led mission

Posted January. 22, 2020 07:49,   

Updated January. 22, 2020 07:49


The South Korean military authorities has decided to send the Cheonghae Unit to the Strait of Hormuz, but without joining the U.S.-led International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC). Therefore, the mission of the Cheonghae Unit will be to protect Korean expatriates and ships in the waters in the Middle East. The decision is considered a compromise that will meet the U.S. request for deployment, maintain economic ties with Iran and protect the safety of military personnel.

At a press conference on Tuesday, the military authorities said that the Cheonghae Unit would temporarily cover an “extended area” to ensure the safety of Korean people and the free passage of ships. The decision was reportedly confirmed last Thursday at the National Security Council (NSC) after National Security Office Director Chung Eui-yong and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha paid visits to the United States to inform its alley of the “unilateral deployment.”

Accordingly, the Cheonghae Unit will go beyond the Gulf of Aden to cover the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf where it will escort Korean ships and safeguard the safety of Korean expatriates. ROKS Wang Geon will shift duties with ROKS Kang Gam Chan at the port of Muscat, Oman, at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday (Korean time) and head for the Strait of Hormuz after finishing preparations.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com · Dong-Joo Cho djc@donga.com