South Korea is to send at least 1,000 soldiers on UN peacekeeping operations, the Yonhap news agency reported Thursday.
South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade told President
Lee Myung Bak of its plan to increase its contingent from the current 401 to more than 1,000, dpa reported.
"Considering the approved budget size for the PKO (peacekeeping operations) and South Korea's position in the international community, it is desirable for us to dispatch more than 1,000 peacekeepers overseas," an unnamed official of the Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying by Yonhap.
South Korea ranks 39th among all UN member states in terms of the number of peacekeepers. At present it has personnel in Lebanon, India, Pakistan, Liberia, Afghanistan, Sudan and Nepal.
The initiative comes after the Seoul government decided in early December to send about 350 soldiers and a 140-member reconstruction team to Afghanistan. Its deployment is due to start on July 1, 2010 and end on December 31, 2012.