South Korea has asked Iran to back it up for the country to regain its ship and crew held captive by Iran.
According to Seoul’s foreign ministry on Thursday, First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun has called for Qatar’s support during his meetings with key Doha officials this week.
The ministry said Choi personally asked Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, deputy prime minister and foreign minister, and Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, minister of state for foreign affairs in separate meetings. The officials were convened to talk on bilateral concerns in Doha on Wednesday.
Choi’s visit to Qatar was followed by a visit to Iran.
South Korea-flagged oil tanker was seized by Iran on January 4 over alleged environmental law violations. Aboard the tanker are 20 crew members, five of whom are South Korean nationals.
Talks were made between Iran and South Korea but to no avail.
“Vice Minister Choi … requested the maximum support possible from the Qatari side to resolve the matter concerning Iran’s recent seizure of the South Korean vessel,” the ministry stated in its official press release.
Apart from the seized ship concern, Choi also tackled a series of bilateral issues with Qatari officials.
They specifically touched the topic on expanding cooperation in the energy advancement and sectors of shipping.
South Korea and Qatar concurred to boost economic ties, as a product of Choi’s meeting with Qatari Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi.
The strong trust between Qatar and South Korea is backed with its 2019 deal on Korean shipbuilders and Qatar Petroleum for liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The first vice foreign minister also commended the new summit announcement adopted by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states in a push to rebuild relations with Qatar, the ministry added.
Choi, upon his arrival in the country, aired his hopes of the “swift” measure to be done by Iran on the tanker and its crew.
“Though this visit to Iran has not produced the outcome of the early release (of the ship), South Korea and Iran have taken a big step toward that result,” Choi told reporters in an interview at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul.
The foreign minister also stressed that the country’s delegation
Choi also pointed out that during his talks with Iranian officials, he attended to Iran’s disappointment about the US-led sanctions.
In return, Choi said the delegation left a clear call to Iran for the release of the vessel.
He added that Iran produced a suggestion to utilize its frozen funds in South Korea to procure ambulances.
This came out when the two representatives exchanged ideas to expand humanitarian trades.