Seoul mulls sending plane for troops in South Sudan

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Seoul mulls sending plane for troops in South Sudan

Korea is considering sending a chartered flight to South Sudan to bring back some of its peacekeeping troops amid coronavirus concerns, the Defense Ministry said Monday.

About 210 rotational troops of the 270-strong Hanbit Unit are expected to return home without replacement, after the African country asked Seoul and other foreign countries not to send fresh troops in the wake of the spread of the Covid-19 virus across the globe.

“We have had close consultations with the host nation, the United Nations and other countries for stopover destinations with regards to sending a chartered flight,” ministry spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo said at a regular briefing.

The move to bring home the service personnel aims to guarantee their right to vote in the parliamentary elections slated for April 15, among others. Around 10 service members are also supposed to be discharged from the military next month, officials noted.

The remaining 60 troops will stay there to perform basic surveillance duties, ministry officials said, adding that when they will send the fresh 12th batch has yet to be decided.

“We hope to take home all the currently stationed troops before the elections and have been discussing the matter with parties concerned,” a ministry official said.

Korea began troop deployments to South Sudan in 2013 at the UN’s request in accordance with a UN Security Council resolution aimed at assisting peaceful reconstruction work.

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