South Korea’s military will send an independent contingent to the Middle East to help guard oil tankers amid rising regional tensions rather than participating in a U.S.-led coalition, the Defense Ministry in Seoul announced Tuesday, taking a page out of the Self-Defense Forces’ playbook.

The decision by U.S. ally South Korea will "temporarily expand" the deployment off the coast of Somalia to include the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, which are linked by the Strait of Hormuz, starting Tuesday. The mission would not be part of the U.S. naval coalition in the area, the South's Defense Ministry said in a statement — although two liaison officers would be sent to the U.S. headquarters for "information sharing."

The South Korean unit has been stationed in the Gulf of Aden since 2009, working to tackle piracy in partnership with African countries as well as the United States and the European Union. The 300-strong unit consists of a 4,400-ton destroyer, a Lynx anti-submarine helicopter and three speed boats, according to South Korea's 2018 defense white paper.