S. Korea on alert as tensions in Middle East spike
Updated: 2020-01-08 16:43:22 KST
South Korean government is on full alert,… following reports of tensions ratcheting up in the Middle East, with Iran's latest attack against U.S. military bases in Iraq.
South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha got on an emergency video conference call with the South Korean ambassadors to Iran, Iraq and Israel to check on the situation there.
The nation's top diplomat reassured the envoys in the region to make sure to secure the safety of all South Korean nationals and companies there and set up a 24-hour countermeasure system and closely work with related ministries if necessary.
The foreign ministry also said that among many other contingency plans,… it is preparing for the possibility of an even worsening situation in the Middle East as well as a probable economic impact on the South Korean economy.
The ministry also upgraded emergency alerts for South Korean nationals and issued travel warnings to the region.
Officials say most of over 15-hundred Koreans in Iraq are in the southern part of Baghdad,… distanced from the targeted Iraqi U.S. bases.
South Korea's presidential office, also on standby,.. said it is prioritizing the safety of South Koreans living near the region while taking real-time reports of the situation.
South Korea's National Security Council on Monday held an emergency meeting to review the Iran crisis and discuss its potential role in efforts to help stabilize local security situation.
The nation's top office appear to be sticking to its principle of "cautiously reviewing" the issue on whether or not to send troops to help Washington ensure the freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.
South Korea' defense chief Jeong Kyung-doo, also during an emergency meeting with his military aides reviewed possible impact of the tension in the Middle East on South Korean people and troops in the region, namely the dispatched units in the UAE and Lebanon.
The top defense chief reportedly ordered to closely review and fully prepare for all possibilities while maintaining solid readiness posture with the U.S.
In case of emergency the South Korean government has been working to grasp the possible requirement of military support equipment necessary for protecting and transporting of its nationals.
Shin Se-min, Arirang News.