South Korea performs its first major military parade in 10 years.
The parade is a stark contrast to North Korea’s displays of military power.
Yoon Suk Yeol issued a warning to Pyongyang against the use of nuclear weapons.
South Korea marked Armed Forces Day with its first major military parade in a decade, showcasing a range of weaponry, including ballistic missiles and attack helicopters, as a demonstration of strength and determination in the face of North Korea’s provocations.
The parade, which comes after a decade of more modest events, is a stark contrast to North Korea’s grand displays of military power under Kim Jong Un’s leadership, often featuring advanced weapons like intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
President Yoon Suk Yeol, addressing troops at Seoul Air Base, issued a warning to Pyongyang against the use of nuclear weapons and pledged increased support for the military and defense industry.
Yoon stated, “If North Korea uses nuclear weapons, its regime will be brought to an end by an overwhelming response from the ROK-US alliance.”
The event, spanning a full day, involved thousands of troops, South Korean tanks, self-propelled artillery, attack aircraft, drones, and 300 of the 28,500 US soldiers stationed in South Korea.
The parade’s highlight was a 2 km procession through Seoul’s primary commercial district to the Gwanghwamun area, the entrance to a vast palace.
South Korea’s previous military street parade occurred in 2013, and this year, the Armed Forces Day event and parade were scheduled ahead of the actual day on October 1 due to a significant national holiday overlap.
President Yoon Suk Yeol has maintained a firm stance on North Korea, emphasizing weapon displays and military exercises to counter its nuclear and missile programs.
He has pledged a swift response to any aggression from Pyongyang and strengthened the military alliance with Washington and Tokyo since taking office last year.
The parade at Seongnam Airbase exhibited South Korea’s military hardware, including Hyunmoo missiles, L-SAM missile interceptors, and reconnaissance drones.
Hyunmoo missiles are part of South Korea’s strategy to target North Korea in the event of conflict, while L-SAM missile interceptors are designed to intercept incoming missiles at altitudes of 50-60 km.
The event also featured a joint flyover by South Korean and US military aircraft, showcasing an “upgraded” combined defense posture.
This military display follows Kim Jong Un’s recent visit to Russia, where he and Putin agreed to enhance military cooperation.
President Yoon criticized Russia for supporting North Korea in its conflict in Ukraine, viewing such assistance as a direct provocation.