The Republic of Korea, in response to US calls in February 2020, plans to send a destroyer to the Strait of Hormuz as part of its participation in an international coalition to ensure the safety of shipping in the region.
According to them, in January, the South Korean authorities intend to send the negotiator to the headquarters of the International Maritime Safety Agency, which is located in Bahrain, to discuss the details of the country’s participation in the coalition. “This communications officer, conducting an assessment of the general situation, will provide training for sending the destroyer,” the newspaper quoted one of the interlocutors as saying.
Such a decision was taken at a meeting of the National Security Council on December 12. On December 13 members discussed ways to support the efforts of the international community and protect South Korean citizens and ships in the Strait of Hormuz. On the same day, the agency, citing a representative of the country’s national defense ministry, said that Seoul was considering joining the coalition, however, despite US calls, it had not yet made a final decision.
The situation in the Persian Gulf worsened on July 19, when the tanker Stena Impero sailing under the British flag was detained in the Strait of Hormuz by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC, elite units of the Iranian Armed Forces). According to the IRGC, the tanker was arrested “in connection with a violation of international rules” and escorted to the port for inspection. The Department of State has announced that Washington is building a coalition to ensure freedom of navigation in the Gulf region. Australia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom announced their intention to join the coalition.
In 2009, the Republic of Korea deployed the destroyer Kang Gam Chan, as well as several special forces and helicopters, in the Gulf of Aden. Over the past decade, the military contingent of South Korea has provided security for more than 22 thousand ships and repelled 21 pirate attacks in the region.