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UK and South Korea strengthen ties with joint military exercise

Over 120 service personnel from C Company, the 1st Battalion Scots Guards, have deployed to South Korea on Exercise Imjin Warrior 23. This joint military exercise aims to develop relationships between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Korea.

The exercise takes its name from the Battle of the Imjin River, a decisive battle in the Korean War that remains a significant event in British military history. Over 2,000 personnel from both countries participated in Exercise Imjin Warrior 23, working together to improve the partnership between the two militaries.

Major Teasdale, Company Commander C Company ‘The Rabbits’, 1st Battalion Scots Guards, said:

“The past two years have been a whirlwind for C Company, from the global ceremonial stage to the tunnels of Gibraltar, the gales of the South Atlantic, and the deserts of the Middle East. Korea has presented its own unique challenges."

"In addition to facing an enemy with a completely different doctrine, the mountainous terrain, dense jungle-like forests, and unique urban interfaces are unlike anything the Company has seen before."

"However, the Company has taken it in stride, demonstrating incredible resilience, adaptability, and professionalism. I am immensely proud of them!”

The mountainous terrain, dense jungle-like forests, and unique urban interfaces are unlike anything the Company has seen before." Maj Teasdale,
Ist Bn Scots Gds

2023 marks 70 years since the end of the Korean War and 140 years of UK-Korea relations. The exercise demonstrates the UK's enduring commitment to enhancing Indo-Pacific security by shifting greater resources to the region.

The exercise coincided with Baroness Goldie's ministerial visit to Seoul for the UK-Korea Strategic Defence Dialogue, providing an opportunity to identify new avenues for cooperation.

Ex Imjin Warrior forms part of the UK's persistent engagement strategy which is outlined in the 2022 'Future Soldier' publication. This strategy aims to have the British Army conduct longer-term deployed unit training, partnered exercises, and provide a regionally forward-based persistent engagement force.

At the end of the exercise, C Company had the opportunity to conduct a number of cultural visits, including a tour of the DMZ and a visit to the Gloster Hill War Memorial at the exercise's namesake in Imjin. This was particularly poignant for a number of the soldiers in C Company whose relatives had fought in the battle.

Over the past 18 months, C Company, also known as 'The Rabbits', has been deployed around the globe, including the Falklands, Gibraltar, and Oman. The company has also performed ceremonial duties including the Queen's funeral and the King's coronation.