South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced on 21 January its decision to temporarily expand the operational area of the Republic of Korea Navy’s (RoKN’s) Cheonghae Anti-Piracy Unit to cover the Strait of Hormuz in the Middle East amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.
The MND said that the unit, which comprises a KDX-II-class guided-missile destroyer and about 300 personnel on board, will broaden its mission area from the Gulf of Aden to the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian/Persian Gulf to “ensure the safety of Korean people and the freedom of navigation of our vessels”.
The unit will conduct “independent” operations in the region, the MND said, although two liaison officers will be sent to the headquarters of the US-led International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) in Bahrain “for co-operation such as information sharing”.
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