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S. Korea to send troops to Hormuz Strait independently to safeguard people, vessels

11:26 January 21, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will dispatch troops to the Strait of Hormuz by expanding operational areas of its anti-piracy unit deployed nearby to help protect the strategic waterway, the defense ministry announced Tuesday.

But the forces will not join a U.S.-led coalition but launch operations independently, the ministry noted, apparently in consideration of its relations with Iran.

Amid tensions with Iran, the U.S. has asked South Korea and other allies to join a military coalition to secure the waters, and Seoul has said it has been weighing diverse options to play a role.

"In consideration of the current situation in the Middle East, the government has decided to temporarily expand the Cheonghae Unit's sphere of activity in order to guarantee safety of our people and the freedom of navigation of vessels," the ministry said in a release.

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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