Amid North Korean tensions, South Korean Navy conducts mission in Hawaii

Amid North Korean tensions, South Korean Navy conducts mission in Hawaii
Published: Nov. 26, 2022 at 8:40 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 27, 2022 at 1:28 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than 600 members of the South Korean Navy’s Cruise Training Task Group are in Honolulu for a goodwill and training mission.

Among them, naval academy cadets who are learning on the country’s first training ship, the ROKS Hansando. The ship features a high-tech simulator that allows young midshipmen to get hands-on training of the ship’s equipment through various scenarios.

With lecture halls, surgery rooms and 60 patient beds, the Hansando is both a floating university and hospital.

It’s only been in service for about two years, but the South Korean Navy is touting its vital role in strengthening its naval forces as part of a more robust Indo-Pacific strategy.

And with North Korea ramping up missile tests, the task group’s commander says ensuring peace is the mission.

“We are well recognized the provocations of the North Koreans. and also we’re understanding the importance of security these days,” said Rear Admiral Dong-goo Kang, commander of ROK Navy Cruise Training Task Group, through a translator.

The mission is also about diplomacy. The Korean government is celebrating the 120th anniversary of Korean immigration to Hawaii.

“These two cruise training groups’ visit means that not only the Korean Korean Americans who live in Hawaii but also the Korean government, we are ready to be part of the development of Hawaii as well as the U.S.,” said Seok-In Hong, South Korea’s consul general in Honolulu.

Together with the combat support ship ROKS Daecheong, the group is visiting 9 countries.

The Hawaii mission runs through Nov. 30.

While in the islands sailors will visit cultural landmarks, hold a wreath laying ceremony for Korean War veterans at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, and participate in military lectures, an environmental cleanup, and social events.