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S. Korean Navy to join multinational Indo-Pacific humanitarian exercise

Aug. 16, 2023 - 09:50 By Yonhap
This undated photo, released on Wednesday, shows the Cheonjabong landing ship. (Republic of Korea Navy)

The South Korean Navy will participate in an annual multinational humanitarian assistance exercise in the Indo-Pacific later this month to sharpen combined operational capabilities, the armed service said Wednesday.

It plans to send its Cheonjabong landing ship as well as 180 personnel, including Marines, to the Pacific Partnership exercise, which began on Aug. 9 and will run through Nov. 21. Its contingent is set to join parts of the exercise in the Philippines and Malaysia from Aug. 21-Sept. 16.

Led by the US Pacific Fleet, the exercise involves personnel from South Korea, the United States, Australia, Britain, Japan and New Zealand. It was launched in 2004 as part of an effort to overcome the damage wrought by a tsunami that hit South and Southeast Asia.

Since 2007, South Korea has sent largely medical staff to the exercise. But its contingent for this year's edition includes a warship as well as engineering personnel and civilian experts in an effort to reinforce disaster response and humanitarian aid capabilities, the Navy said.

"The exercise is a good opportunity to improve capabilities for humanitarian assistance and disaster responses in cooperation with multinational forces, and enhance military cooperation with the participating countries," a Navy official was quoted as saying in a press release.

From Aug. 21-31, the Korean personnel will join drills in the vicinity of San Fernando in the Philippines, where it will provide aid in the construction of a local school and engage in drills on treating and transporting patients and responding to infectious animal diseases.

In Malaysia from Sept. 5-16, the contingent will conduct drills on establishing a field hospital, responding to a disaster and treating combat casualties, and join a project to repair a local school, according to the Navy. (Yonhap)