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South Korea to hire 11 civilians for UAE base

Nov. 19, 2013 - 20:03 By Korea Herald
The Defense Ministry plans to pick 11 civilians to work as members of its military contingent in the United Arab Emirates. The plan is part of efforts to create employment opportunities for retirees and other job seekers.

It is also pushing a law that governs procedures to deploy troops and extend their dispatch, so as to quicken the domestic approval process for overseas activities including disaster relief and bilateral and multilateral defense cooperation.

Ministry officials said the civilians would work in the UAE unit, called “Akh (brothers in Arabic),” in various positions including public relations, vehicle maintenance, interpretation and operation of intelligence systems.

The application period will begin early next year and the successful applicants will be dispatched next July.

The 130-strong unit in the oil-rich country began its initial two-year mission in 2011. The primary roles for the unit consisting of special warfare forces are to help educate and train UAE troops, engage in combined exercises and protect South Korean citizens in case of emergencies.

The ministry’s push for an overseas dispatch law comes as South Korean troops are expanding their roles abroad in fighting terrorism and piracy, keeping peace in conflict-laden areas and offering rehabilitation support to disaster-hit countries.

South Korea currently has legal grounds for its participation in U.N.-led peacekeeping missions, but does not have any specific legal framework that supports its troops’ cooperation with multilateral forces or other countries on a bilateral basis.

Seoul currently dispatches 1,163 troops in 15 countries including Afghanistan, Lebanon and South Sudan.

By Song Sang-ho (