South Korea will dispatch its anti-piracy Cheonghae Unit to the Strait of Hormuz to operate separately from a U.S.-led military coalition there.
The Defense Ministry announced the move Tuesday.
It said after taking into account the situation in the Middle East, the ministry decided to tentatively expand the Cheonghae Unit’s theater of operations to cover areas near the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.
The ministry said the unit will carry out operations to help guarantee the safety of South Korean nationals and freedom of navigation.
Such operations will be separate from the U.S.-led International Maritime Security Construct(IMSC) that was created last September following Iranian seizures of commercial vessels in the Persian Gulf.
The ministry said that while the Cheonghae Unit will be carrying out its own operations, it will work with the IMSC if deemed necessary.
Japan also decided to dispatch military assets to the Strait of Hormuz area instead of joining the U.S.-coalition.