For the first time since becoming a full participant of the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative after North Korea's second nuclear test in May of last year, South Korea will host the PSI's multinational maritime interdiction exercises in its southeastern waters next week.
Seoul's Defense Ministry announced Wednesday, that 15 countries are scheduled to take part in the drills dubbed "Eastern Endeavor 10" off the coast of the port city of Busan from October 13th to the 14th.
Military personnel and equipment from South Korea, the United States, Japan and Australia will be marshaled for the actual training above sea, and the other 10 members including France and Canada are preparing to send their teams of observers.
The South Korean Navy's 4,500-ton destroyers and other vessels will be joined by additional destroyers, helicopters and patrol aircrafts from the other countries.
And aside from the exercises, there will also be seminars attended by experts in many areas such as diplomacy, intelligence, law enforcement and maritime laws to talk about the Initiative's decision-making processes.
The PSI is a 95-member multinational anti-proliferation campaign against weapons of mass destruction, which aims to stop the expansion of these weapons by intercepting and inspecting ships suspected of transporting nuclear arms and materials in international waters.
Officials here in Seoul hope that the upcoming exercises will display South Korea's efforts and aid in the prevention of WMD proliferation helping the country fulfill its responsibilities as a PSI member, as well as a member of the international community.
When asked if the latest training would target North Korea for its sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan earlier this year and its illicit trade of nuclear-related materials, the defense ministry turned down such speculations, adding it would go against the spirit of the PSI.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.