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Korea navy ships on goodwill visit to Kuwait
October 21, 2017, 3:29 pm

Naval vessels from the Republic of Korea, the Destroyer ROKS Kang Gam Chan and the combat support ship ROKS Hwacheon paid a four-day goodwill visit to Kuwait that began on 15 October. The ships were welcomed on arrival at Shuwaikh Port by the South Korean Ambassador to Kuwait, H.E. Yoo Yeonchul, officers from Kuwait Navy and South Korean citizens in Kuwait. 

The visit, which commemorated the 38th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the State of Kuwait, was the first of its kind since the start of bilateral relations between the two countries in June 1979.

The Korean naval contingent of 630 crew members onboard the two ships, was headed by Rear-Admiral Yang Yong-mo and included 138 midshipmen who were participating in a Cruise Training Task Group (CTTG) exercise.

The mission of the trip is to provide on the job training and leadership skills to the midshipmen, while sending a message of peace and harmony to the port of call countries, said Rear-Admiral Yong-mo. He added that the visit to Kuwait provides a wonderful opportunity to further strengthen the friendship and promote mutual understanding between the two countries.

The commander further noted that, “Since the friendship treaty in 1979 between South Korea and Kuwait, our focus has been on improving our economic ties; military wise, we were not very close, geographically speaking. But with this visit, we are hoping to strengthen our military ties. We hope the visit will open a new chapter, or perhaps become a stepping stone towards building a relationship on a new level so as to serve our common interests.”

Following the welcome ceremony the two ships were opened to visits by the general public later in the afternoon. A defense exhibition promoting South Korea’s cutting-edge defense technology also took place on the ROKS Hwacheon on 15 October, where various booths introduced the diversity of Korean culture with elements of Hallyu or the Korean Wave of films, drams, K-pop music, as well as highlighted the various events to be held in Korea in the upcoming year, including the 2018 ROK Navy International Fleet Review and the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.

Speaking about the defense exhibition, Ambassador Yeonchul said, “Taking this opportunity, it is my wish that the most advanced military technology of South Korea will be well introduced to Kuwait, which will lead to further military cooperation between our two countries. In relation to this, International Tri-Service Defense Exhibition in Kuwait will be held from the 12 to 14 December this year. The Korean side will participate in this event, promoting further ways for more military cooperation between our two countries.”

During their visit, the Korean naval crew members were taken to visit various tourist destinations in Kuwait such as the Grand Mosque, Kuwait Towers and the Tareq Rajab Museum.

On Monday, 16 October, the CTTG contingent visited Kuwait Naval Headquarters, and later that evening, the Korean navy hosted an onboard reception on the flight deck of ROKS Kang Gam Chan.

Cultural events planned for the third day of the visit, started off with a soccer match between the ROK midshipmen and Kuwaiti servicemen. Later in the day, the concert hall at the Jaber Al Ahmad Culture Center was witness to joint cultural performances that were open to all citizens. The Korean cultural extravaganza featured performances by the Korean Orchestra, the first participation of the B-boys music troupe, a Naval band, honor guards, Navy entertainment Group that included a Korean traditional quartet, magic show, singing performances, midshipmen choir, as well as a taekwondo performance.
On 18 October, the ROK Navy CTTG bid farewell to Kuwait and set sail for its next destination.

The ROKS Kang Gam Chan, a modern destroyer warship built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Company, and its sister ship Hwacheon are on a 98-day goodwill voyage that began on 11 September. During the course of this trip the two ships have already called at ports in Vietnam, India and the UAE, and will set sail from Kuwait to ports in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Guam and Japan before returning home.


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