South Korea's military contingent in the United Arab Emirates has conducted its first combined exercise of the year with its host nation's troops, officials said Tuesday, amid efforts to boost military ties.
The Akh unit recently staged the exercise in the Middle Eastern country to boost joint capabilities in ground-based and maritime anti-terrorism operations, according to the officials.
The two sides held various drills, including those on hostage rescue operations, sniper shooting aboard helicopters, and close-quarters combat under ship hijacking and illegal ship-to-ship arms transfer scenarios, the Akh unit said in a release.
The unit said it aims to stage various other training events and is preparing to conduct joint drills with UAE troops this year on directing fire support.
The latest exercise came as Seoul seeks to strengthen bilateral military cooperation, with Defense Minister Shin Won-sik visiting the UAE earlier this month for talks with his UAE counterpart, Mohamed bin Mubarak Al Mazrouei.
During the talks, the two sides agreed to strengthen defense and arms industry cooperation based on their countries' relations that were elevated to a "special strategic partnership" in 2018.
The Akh unit has been carrying out various missions in the UAE since its establishment in 2011, including protecting South Korean nationals in the region in case of emergencies. Akh means brother in Arabic. (Yonhap)