Monday, December 26, 2011

South Korea Up-date

South Korea announced in the week before Christmas that it has extended its anti-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia for one more year. Cheonghae, the name of the mission, was the first ever over-seas deployment of South Korean navy forces.

It is also interesting to note that one of Cheonghae's first roles in May 2009 involved the 'rescuing' of a North Korean ship. It is also interesting that despite the growing tensions in the South China Sea and the accusations by South Korea that China is aiding piracy there, China and South Korea continue to work together in the waters off the Horn of Africa.

And in the same week that the mission was extended, the South Korean Supreme Court heard the appeal against sentencing by a group of Somali men. The five were convicted of hi-jacking a South Korean ship in January 2011, one man was sentenced to life and the other four were sentenced to between 12 to 15 years each. The appeal was denied and the sentences were upheld.

It would have been an interesting court case, the South Korean courts were unable to find a Somali / Korean translator - instead there were four translators: one Somali (Somali/English), two Koreans (English/Korean) and one Korean University Professor to translate Arabian into Korean.