South Korea will participate in a multinational mine removal exercise that's designed to protect commerce and maritime infrastructure in the Western Pacific region with 13 other nations in New Zealand, the Navy said Monday.
The International Mine Counter Measures Exercise, the largest of its kind in the region, practices a wide spectrum of defense operations aimed at protecting international commerce and trade, including mine countermeasures and maritime security operations.
This year's exercise will be held from Feb. 17-March 7 in waters off New Zealand, involving 127 explosive disposal technicians and five warships from 14 nations, including the United States, China, Canada and Australia.
On Monday, South Korea's 3,500-ton minelayer carrying 160 soldiers and 20 explosive ordnance disposal technicians departed from Jinhae Naval Base, 410 km south of Seoul, to head for Devonport in Auckland, New Zealand, the Navy said. The contingent will return to the nation in late March.
It is the fourth time for the South Korean Navy to take part in the international maritime drill, which was first held in 2001 in Singapore. (Yonhap News)