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South Korea holds 1st major military parade in a decade

September 26, 2023

Seoul has showcased its military strength amid growing tensions with North Korea, and has warned its neighbor any nuclear attack would be met with an "overwhelming response."

South Korean armored vehicles take part in a parade during the 75th South Korea Armed Forces Day ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023.
Tuesday's military parade in Seoul marked the first one since 2013Image: Ahn Young-joon/AP Photo/picture alliance

South Korea held a rare military parade on Tuesday, as the country marked the 75th anniversary of its armed forces.

Some 4,000 South Korean troops marched across the capital, Seoul, showcasing weapons systems such as tanks, drones and ballistic missiles capable of hitting North Korea.

The demonstration of military power comes at a time of increased concerns that North Korea is turning to Russia to grow its nuclear arsenal.

US troops take part in parade

Tuesday's parade was the first since 2013 and signals the increasingly tense relationship between the two Koreas.

Responding to threats from the nuclear-armed North, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has been trying to bolster his country's defense capabilities.

He also deepened military cooperation with the United States. Signaling Seoul's commitment towards Washington, around 300 US soldiers marched alongside South Korean troops on Tuesday.

Speaking at an airbase, President Yoon promised retaliation in case of an attack.

"If North Korea uses nuclear weapons, its regime will be brought to an end by an overwhelming response from the ROK-US alliance," he said.

Growing threat from North Korea

Pyongyang has carried out a record number of ballistic missile tests this year which are seen as a security threat in the West.

The country also simulated a nuclear strike against its Southern neighbor just as US and South Korean forces were engaging in a joint military exercise earlier this year.

Most recently, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with Russia's Vladimir Putin, reportedly to secure advanced military technology.

fg/jcg (AFP, AP, Reuters)