NZ frigate heading to Korean trouble zone

02:12, Mar 31 2013

One of New Zealand's two fighting ships is sailing into harm's way - the South China Sea and Korea.

Anzac frigate HMNZS Te Mana and its company of about 160 left Auckland in February to take part in an exercise in the South China Sea with China and South Korea among the participants.

Following that they are scheduled to head to South Korea, a navy spokeswoman said.

She said the mission would continue despite the deepening tensions last night, as North Korea announced it was in a "state of war" with its southern neighbour and also threatened the United States with a nuclear attack.

Last night Te Mana, which has just undergone a weapons and computer systems upgrade, was north of Australia and preparing to transit Indonesian waters.

It will take part in the ASEAN+8 drills held off Brunei with the naval arm of China's Peoples Liberation Army along with ships from Australia, India, Russia and the US.

New Zealand forces took part in the Korean War, losing 45 men. One of them was a sailor killed during a shore bombardment. Seven New Zealand warships served in the Korean War.

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Sunday Star Times