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South Korean forces arrive in waters near strait of Hormuz amid Iran tensions | South Korea

South Korean forces have arrived in waters close to the strait of Hormuz as strain builds on Iran to free a South Korean tanker it seized together with its crew on Monday.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards stated they’d taken management of the South Korean vessel, the Hankuk Chemi, and its 20 crew as a result of it was “polluting the Persian Gulf with chemical compounds”. The tanker is being held at Iran’s Bandar Abbas port metropolis.

The Choi Younger, a destroyer carrying members of the Cheonghae anti-piracy unit, arrived within the strategically necessary space on Tuesday, as officers in Seoul sought a diplomatic answer to the standoff.

Officers burdened there have been no plans to conduct a navy operation to free the crew of 5 South Koreans, 11 Myanmarese, two Indonesians and two Vietnamese, in keeping with the Yonhap information company.

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“[The destroyer] is finishing up missions to make sure the protection of our nationals,” overseas ministry spokesperson Boo Seung-chan stated on Tuesday.

An unnamed official advised Yonhap: “The difficulty ought to be resolved by way of diplomacy. The unit is targeted on the protection of our individuals who use the waterway after the seizure.”

The Hankuk Chemi’s proprietor stated on Tuesday that Revolutionary Guard troops had stormed the vessel and compelled it to alter course and journey to Iran. That account contradicts Iranian claims that the ship had been stopped for polluting the waters of the Persian Gulf and the strait of Hormuz.

The South Korean overseas minister, Kang Kyung-wha, didn’t remark straight on hypothesis that Tehran had seized the vessel to strain Seoul into releasing billions of {dollars} of Iranian belongings frozen in South Korea as a part of US sanctions towards the regime.

Kang stated her precedence was to “confirm the information and make sure the security of the crew members”.

She added: “We have now been making an attempt to determine what occurred by way of the Iranian embassy in South Korea and the South Korean embassy in Iran and are persevering with to make efforts to handle the state of affairs.”

There was confusion over plans to ship a senior South Korean official to Iran this weekend to barter the vessel’s launch.

Iranian state TV cited a Tehran authorities official as saying that the vice overseas minister, Choi Jong-kun, had been as a result of talk about Iran’s demand that $7bn in frozen funds be launched.

Nevertheless, a overseas ministry official in Seoul advised Reuters that Choi’s go to was “unclear as of now”.

Final Sunday, the Tehran Instances newspaper reported Iran hoped to barter an settlement to make use of the frozen funds to “barter” for coronavirus vaccine doses and different commodities.

The Revolutionary Guards stated on Monday the Hankuk Chemi, which was carrying 7,200 tonnes of ethanol, “was seized by our pressure’s [navy] this morning”.

They added: “This tanker was headed from Saudi Arabia’s Al Jubail port and was seized as a result of repeated infringement of maritime environmental legal guidelines.”

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