U.S. ambassador expresses hope S. Korea will send forces to Strait of Hormuz
Updated: 2020-01-08 13:27:21 KST
In an interview with local broadcaster KBS on Tuesday, the U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, Harry Harris, said the Trump administration would welcome Seoul sending South Korean troops and military hardware to the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions in the Middle East following Washington's killing late last week of Iran's top general.
While expressing those hopes, Harris noted how South Korea gets "so much of" its "energy from the Middle East".
He also stressed that any number of troops deployed to the region would be helpful.
The recent drone strike which killed Iranian's top general has raised expectations that Washington will step up calls for its allies to contribute to maritime security operations in the waterway.
The Strait of Hormuz hosts key shipping lanes for 20-percent of world oil trade and more than 70-percent of South Korea's oil imports.
Earlier on Tuesday, Seoul's foreign ministry said no decision had been made on whether to send troops to the region, adding that an interagency review is underway in consideration of the need to protect South Korean ships and nationals that pass through the waterway.
This comes as Seoul's top national security adviser Chung Eui-yong arrived in Washington on Tuesday for talks with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, following North Korea's renewed threats.
Asked by reporters if Seoul and Washington plan to discuss the possibility of deploying South Korean troops to the Strait of Hormuz, Chung said the allies will share views on "various different issues" not just North Korea.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.