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International relations

South Korean vice minister to seek tanker's release on Iran visit

Seoul sends special forces to Strait of Hormuz amid tensions over frozen billions

The South Korean-flagged tanker seized by Iran is seen on Jan. 4 in this picture supplied by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps via Iran's West Asia News Agency.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- South Korea's vice foreign minister intends to discuss the release of a chemical tanker and crew seized by Iran when he visits Tehran on Sunday, as tensions rise over billions of dollars in Iranian funds frozen in Korean banks due to U.S. sanctions.

Vice Minister Choi Jong-kun's three-day visit was scheduled before Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps took control of the South Korean-flagged vessel on Monday in Gulf waters off Oman. "Vice Minister Choi will discuss many topics widely. Of course, he will talk about the seized vessel," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Choi Young-sam told reporters on Tuesday. "Iran told us that there is no problem."

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