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S. Korea to send Navy elite forces to the UAE

June 27, 2011 - 18:57 By Song Sangho
South Korea will dispatch 10 members of its Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team to the United Arab Emirates next month to help train troops in the Middle East country, an official at the Ministry of National Defense said Monday.

They will join the 130-member contingent, which was deployed there in January following the UAE’s request last August that South Korea help it nurture world-class special warfare troops.

“Last February, we received a request from the UAE that we send UDT operatives to the country to help train its troops. We have decided to send 10 UDT members in the middle of next month,” said the official, declining to be named.

The South Korean contingent, named “Akh,” was dispatched to the UAE on a two-year mission. “Akh” means “brothers” in Arabic.

The contingent, led by Lieut. Col. Choi Han-oh, is located within the UAE special warfare school in Al Ain, where military officials say there is no danger of any military conflict.

The primary roles for the contingent will be helping educate and train UAE special warfare troops, engaging in combined exercises and protecting South Korean citizens in case of emergencies, officials said.

The Seoul government believes that the mission in the non-conflict region will help promote national interests and further boost military and economic ties with the oil-rich country.

By Song Sang-ho (