The Republic of Korea’s Navy Cruise Training Task Group docked in Apra Harbor yesterday morning. Guam is the visiting naval crew’s ninth stop as part of a series of training activities across the Asia-Pacific region.
Welcomed by U.S. military members at U.S. Naval Base Guam, this trip marks the Navy Cruise Training Task Group’s 24th visit to Guam since its naval training program began in 1954.
The program provides Korean sailors who are first-class midshipmen an opportunity to gain experience aboard a naval vessel and abroad wide seas as they prepare to become officers.
Approximately 630 crew members, including 138 training midshipmen, are on board the task group’s destroyer and fast combat support ship, which has sailed as far as the middle east in recent months.
The naval group departed its port in Jinhae, South Korea, on Sept. 11, docking in other ports since, including in Vietnam, India, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and now Guam.
The Korean crew will remain on island until Dec. 6 before leaving for their last stop, Yokosuka, Japan, and then home.
Over the course of the 98-day voyage, the traveling task group has accumulated over 22,800 miles.
According to Rear Adm. Yong-mo Yang, commander of the Cruise Training Task Group, his crew will be partaking in “navy-to-navy interactions” with the U.S. Navy during their time on Guam.
They will also be cleaning up Ypao Beach, visiting Guam museums, paying respects to Korean War veterans and performing cultural arts at the Micronesia Mall.
“During our short stay here in Guam, we will try our best to strengthen our relationship with the U.S. Navy,” Yang said.
However, the visit to Guam, a territory of the U.S., also has national implications.
“Our biggest purpose of visiting Guam is to provide our shipmen an opportunity to recognize the importance of the U.S. alliance and also to provide insight to the capability of the U.S. Navy.”
Grateful to US, Guam
Though the naval group has been simply participating in training exercises across the Asia-Pacific region, Yang said he understands political ramifications are possible. However, his officers’ training and education come first.
“In Korea, they really emphasize education. Although our security tension is very high back in the Korean peninsula, we are trying our best to provide education for future officers first,” Yang said.
“Trainings like this are for ship members’ education and the future, not necessarily for generating power.”
Nonetheless, the visiting naval commander is confident in South Korea’s alliances in the region. He attributes what he believes are toned-down tensions to a stronger military presence in Guam and the region.
“The relationship between Korean peninsula security and the U.S. assets in Guam are very close. We believe that assets in Guam are the ones that are really deterring North Korean threats right now, so we are ultimately thankful,” Yang said.
“I believe that North Korea is very advanced in their missile and nuclear assets, but between the R.K. and U.S., I think we can stabilize and safely banish their threats.”
Source: Google News : https://www.postguam.com/news/local/skorea-navy-stops-in-guam/article_b3ee4a1e-d801-11e7-b654-73223b8353ab.html