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South Korea is denying a Yonhap news agency report which said US Defense Secretary Mark Esper issued a formal request to South Korea to send troops to join a proposed US-led maritime force in the Strait of Hormuz to protect international tankers sailing near Iran, according to Bloomberg. Esper is said to have directly appealed to Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo during a meeting in South Korea.
Seoul is said to be considering "various options," according to Reuters, since South Korean vessels frequent the strait. Despite Seoul officials now downplaying the story, a prior Reuters report detailed early this week:
Maekyung - Business - Newspaper - Government - Official
The Maekyung business newspaper, citing an unidentified senior government official, said South Korea had decided to send the anti-piracy Cheonghae unit operating in waters off Somalia, possibly along with helicopters.
...“It is obvious that we have to protect our ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz, isn’t it? So we’re considering various possibilities,” deputy ministry spokesman Ro Jae-cheon told a regular news briefing on Monday.
Messaging - Seoul - Plans - Wait - White
The current mixed messaging coming out of Seoul, however, suggests plans could be stalled, possibly as official wait and see if the White House plans for a...
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