Seoul is considering sending about 150 soldiers to the United Arab Emirates to protect South Korean companies and workers who will be building nuclear power plants there, an official said on Wednesday.
An international consortium led by the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp last December won a 20.4-billion-dollar deal to build four nuclear power plants in the Middle Eastern country.
Under the biggest single contract Seoul has ever won abroad, South Korean firms including Samsung, Hyundai and Doosan Heavy Industries will build four 1,400-megawatt reactors, the first of which will begin production in 2017.
Defence minister Kim Tae-Young and senior military officials met lawmakers of the National Defence Committee on Wednesday and sought their support for the UAE mission, said an aide to committee chairman Won Yoo-Chul.
"The troops will also be helping the UAE's military training programmes and conducting joint military drills," he said, adding UAE military officials requested the troop deployment after a visit to Seoul earlier 2010.
"They were impressed by the performance of South Korea's special military units back then... and asked us to help train their own troops," he said.
The official said Seoul would likely deploy commandos or marines.
Suspected Al-Qaeda militants Tuesday sabotaged an oil pipeline in Yemen operated by the state-run Korea National Oil Corporation.