South Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun (L) meets with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani in Doha on Jan. 13, 2021. (Photo: Yonhap News)
First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun has asked for Qatar's support for the swift release of a South Korean oil tanker seized by Iran earlier this month.
Seoul's foreign ministry said Choi made the request during meetings with senior officials in Doha on Wednesday.
The Korean envoy traveled to Qatar after visiting Iran, where the vessel, the MT Hankuk Chemi, and its 20 crew members have been held at a port since January 4 on marine pollution allegations.
Negotiations for the early release of the ship were said to have made little progress.
Tehran has claimed the seizure was solely due to "technical issues."
But some observers have raised speculation that that the move is aimed at pressuring Seoul to release more than 7 billion dollars in Iranian assets frozen in South Korean banks under U.S. sanctions.
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