Ministry holds consular meeting in Jordan to discuss Mideast tensions

SEOUL-- The foreign ministry said Friday it held a meeting of consular representatives in the Middle East and discussed measures to protect South Korean nationals amid tensions between the United States and Iran.

Lee Sang-jin, deputy foreign minister for overseas Koreans and consular affairs, presided over the meeting in Amman on Thursday, attended by officials from 18 South Korean consulates across the region, the ministry said in a release.

Also taking part were embassy officials in Iraq and Iran, who spoke through video conferencing, the ministry said.

The officials exchanged analyses on the security situation in the region and discussed security measures that have been taken so far and those that will be taken to ensure the safety of South Koreans.

During the meeting, Lee highlighted the need for close observation and analysis of various aspects of the Middle East situation that may affect the safety of overseas Koreans. He also stressed that officials review the viability of contingency plans for the worst-case scenario.

South Korea has been working to secure the safety of its citizens there after Iran launched revenge attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq in retaliation for last week's U.S. killing of an Iranian general.

The foreign ministry set up a task force team Sunday and held interagency meetings with related ministries to watch and handle the situation. No harm to South Koreans has been reported so far.

Some 1,570 South Koreans, mostly working in construction, live in Iraq. There are about 250 South Korean nationals in Iran, 700 in Israel, 10,930 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 150 in Lebanon.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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