South Korea dispatches troops to Gulf of Aden

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Seoul, Aug. 13 (BNA): South Korea’s Navy has dispatched a fresh batch of troops to the Gulf of Aden for anti-piracy efforts, amid speculation the contingent could also undertake missions in the Strait of Hormuz as part of a US-led coalition, South Korean news agency (Yonhap) reported.


The 30th batch of the Cheonghae Unit departed the southern port city of Busan to conduct anti-piracy missions off the coast of Somalia for six months, starting in September, according to the South Korean Navy.


The 300-strong contingent operating the 4,400-ton destroyer, the Kang Gam Chan, is composed of special forces, including an Underwater Demolition Team, a Navy SEAL team, Marines and Navy pilots, aimed at protecting South Korean vessels off the Somali coast and providing support to ships of other nations in nearby waters.


Though Seoul has said it has not received any official requests from the U.S. on the issue, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stressed the importance of the freedom of navigation in the region and called for international support while meeting with Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo last week in Seoul, Yonhap added.