South Korea to hold first massive military parade in 10 years to show off strategic weapons

Western ally’s parade will be more than just a commemoration amid North Korea cementing ties with Russia

Shweta Sharma
Thursday 14 September 2023 13:05
<p>File photo: South Korean Marine’s armour vehicles showcased in a parade during the 65th South Korea Armed Forces Day ceremony in 2013</p>

File photo: South Korean Marine’s armour vehicles showcased in a parade during the 65th South Korea Armed Forces Day ceremony in 2013

South Korea will hold a mega military parade for the first time in a decade to show off its military muscle.

Such a display of military might was last staged by South Korea in 2013 to mark the 65th Armed Forces Day when Park Geun-hye was president.

That ceremony had drawn a strong response from neighbour North Korea that holds such military events every year without fail. It had continued to hold parades during the Covid pandemic as well, featuring marching soldiers and workers in hazmat suits.

This year, the North held its third military parade just last week to mark the 75th anniversary of the country’s founding, in the presence of leader Kim Jong-un along with his daughter. Delegations from allies Russia and China were also present.

South Korea’s own parade after a decade will showcase its homegrown weapons. Military tanks and homegrown long-range surface-to-air missiles are expected to roll down the streets of downtown Seoul as KF-21 fighter jets and Light Armed Helicopters fighter jets will take to the sky.

The parade will be held on 26 September and will begin from the Seoul Air Base in Gyeonggi province’s Seongnam, a satellite city of Seoul.

The display will mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the country’s armed forces, four days ahead of the actual anniversary on 1 October.

In the afternoon, the parade will move to Gwanghwamun in central Seoul for a large-scale military procession with the Air Force’s Black Eagles aerobatic team and Apache attack helicopters performing flyovers above the troops.

South Korean Marine's armour vehicles parade during the 65th South Korea Armed Forces Day ceremony at Seongnam Military Airbase in 2013

South Korea typically staged a military parade every five years to mark its Armed Forces Day but the event was halted during the liberal administration of Moon Jae-in,?who pushed for inter-Korean reconciliation.

The current ceremony, however, will be more than just a commemoration as current president Yoon Suk-yeol had promised to take a hardline stance on North Korea when he came to power.

The decision to hold the parade comes amid increasing tensions in the Korean peninsula and as North Korea aims to cement its diplomatic and military ties with Russia.

Mr Kim left North Korea for the first time in four years days ago and travelled to Russia in a heavily armoured train to meet Vladimir Putin.

The two leaders could ink an arms deal that could have North Korea supply Moscow with munitions for its war in Ukraine in exchange for Russian support in developing its reconnaissance satellite technology.

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un attend a meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome

The North made two attempts this year to launch spy satellites, but both tries ended in failure.

A South Korean official said the country’s parade will be held under the theme of “a strong military, strong security and peace through strength”.

It will be to demonstrate the country’s firepower to defend its borders and will send a message to North Korea in the face of its increasing provocations, the official said.

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