Middle East, Asia - Pacific

S.Korea weighing options on troop deployment to Mideast

Our stance cannot always be same as US when considering bilateral ties with countries in Mideast, says foreign minister

Rıyaz Khalıq  | 09.01.2020 - Update : 09.01.2020
S.Korea weighing options on troop deployment to Mideast Joint Commission Ceremony takes place at the Army headquarters in Daejeon, South Korea in March, 2017. ( Jong-Hyun Kim - Anadolu Agency )


South Korea may not go along with the U.S. in deploying soldiers in the Strait of Hormuz, the country’s foreign minister said Thursday.  

Kang Kyung-wha told reporters at the parliament that Seoul “cannot always be on the same page as Washington,” Yonhap news reported.

"I think the stance of the United States and ours cannot always be the same in political analysis and when considering bilateral ties with countries in the Middle East," Kang said. "We have sustained economic ties with Iran for a long time and at the moment are continuously trying [to carry out exchanges] in humanitarian assistance and education."

The foreign minister said the government has not yet reached a conclusion on dispatching troops to help safeguard the Strait of Hormuz, a strategically vital area that serves as a route to the open ocean.

More than one-sixth of global oil production is supplied through the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz. Seoul receives nearly 70% of its oil imports from the same route.

His remarks were made a few days after U.S. ambassador to South Korea expressed hope that Seoul will dispatch troops to the strait.

The issue is expected to come up during a bilateral meeting between Seoul and Washington in the U.S. next week.

The U.S. asked its allies to deploy soldiers to safeguard the important strait which supplies most of the energy needs from the Middle East to the far east.

South Korea said relocation of its anti-piracy unit, Cheonghae Unit, deployed in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia could be an option.

Japan last month approved navy personnel to the region "for information-gathering activities to help ensure the safety of a key oil shipping lane.”

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.