TWO Republic of Korea warships are set to arrive in Portsmouth next week as part of a round-the-world training deployment for hundreds of their navy cadets.
The destroyer Kang Gam Chan and the logistics ship Dae Cheong will arrive at the city’s naval base on Tuesday.
They will spend three days on the base and will be welcomed by Korean officials and dozens of UK-based Korean residents.
Among guests from the Korean Embassy in London welcoming the ships to Portsmouth will be Acting Ambassador Kim Chang-mo.
He said: ‘The United Kingdom and the Republic of Korea have enjoyed a long history of friendship and cooperation.
‘This partnership extends to the political, economic and defence realms.
‘The Korean people are particularly thankful for the role the UK had in the defence of our nation during the Korean War.
‘This sacrifice helped to build the Korea we know today and the current artnership between our militaries serves to build on this.
‘We hope that the visit of Korean naval vessels to Portsmouth will further enhance the relationship between our two navies and, in doing so, strengthen the links between our two nations.’
As part of the tour, some of the 633 Korean sailors will visit HMS Collingwood, in Fareham, to see how their UK counterparts are trained in weapon engineering.
Others will travel to HMS Excellent in Portsmouth to get an update on the progress of the Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Also on the itinerary are tours of HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, the Mary Rose Museum, the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport and a football match against a team from Portsmouth Naval Base.
The visitors will also have a tour of Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster which is nearing the end of a significant upgrade.
Portsmouth Naval Base commander, Commodore Jeremy Rigby, is looking forward to welcoming the Koreans.
‘As with our ship visits abroad, these events are not only of great diplomatic significance, but also very useful militarily given that we share similar global challenges including counter-piracy, preventing conflict, protecting our citizens overseas and supporting UN peacekeeping efforts,’ he said.
The Kang Gam Chan will fire a 21-gun salute as she arrives in Portsmouth and Fort Blockhouse at Gosport will fire a response.
The ships are due to leave Portsmouth on Friday morning.