South Korea to deploy naval force to Strait of Hormuz
Seoul had decided to deploy the anti-piracy Cheonghae unit operating off the cost of Somalia, South Korean Maekyung business newspaper said, citing an unidentified senior government official.
South Korea's defence ministry said Seoul was exploring measures to protect its ships in the area.
"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 reporters.
Attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz in recent months further increased tensions in the gulf, prompting Washington to call for allies to join a planned maritime security mission.
US and Iran have been locked in a battle of nerves since President Donald Trump withdrew the US from a landmark 2015 deal aimed at limiting Iran's nuclear programme and began reimposing sanctions.
The situation has worsened since the Trump administration stepped up a campaign of "maximum pressure" against Iran this year, with drones downed and tankers mysteriously attacked in Gulf waters.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Washington sparked the crisis when it pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal, known by its formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
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