S Korea to launch 3,000-strong peacekeeping unit in 2010
Seoul: South Korea has plans to launch a 3,000-strong military unit by next year that can be deployed overseas readily for peacekeeping operations, a Defence Ministry official has said.
The unit will consist of a dedicated 1,000-strong special forces unit from the country`s Special Warfare Command, along with additional troops who can be deployed as back-ups. Air force, Navy and engineering troops will also serve as support elements, the official said on condition of anonymity.
The Defence Ministry is seeking a law revision to enable the prompt global deployment of South Korean soldiers for peacekeeping purposes at the request of the United Nations.
Troops are hastily recruited from different units of the military under the current system, a time-consuming process that also causes administrative problems, officials said.
The plan comes as South Korea has moved to increase its role in multinational and UN security operations. Hundreds of South Korean soldiers are serving in such places as Lebanon, where 360 troops have been deployed since 2007.
The country also sent a destroyer with a 300-person crew to join a US-led anti-piracy campaign in Somali waters earlier this year.
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