South Korea Displays Might Amid Growing Security Caution
'Peace Through Power' Parade Shows Country's Resolve
SEOUL -- South Korea showcased its military capabilities in a rare parade in the heart of Seoul on Tuesday, September 26, emphasizing its security-focused stance and its emerging status as an arms exporter.
The country celebrated its 75th annual Armed Forces Day with a parade featuring tanks, thousands of troops marching in unison, and patriotic slogans.
A two-kilometer stretch of road near Gwanghwamun Square was blocked off for the parade, which marked the first such event in a decade. Despite the rain, members of the public lined the sidewalks, waving flags and cheering as the military procession passed. Due to inclement weather, the scheduled airshow had to be canceled.
The timing of the parade is significant, as it comes shortly after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visits Russia, during which he viewed Moscow's strategic bombers and hypersonic missiles. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol issued a warning to North Korea in a speech at an airbase before the parade began, indicating that any use of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang would lead to the end of the regime.
President Yoon, who took office last year, has been vocal about the threat posed by North Korea and the need for South Korea to enhance its military capabilities for self-defense. The parade carried the theme "Peace Through Power."
Under the previous administration of President Moon Jae-in, Armed Forces Day events were more subdued, reflecting a desire to avoid actions that could be interpreted as aggressive or escalate tensions with the North. However, President Yoon's administration adopted a different approach, manifesting in the grand scale of this year's parade.
Approximately 6,700 troops and 340 military vehicles participated in the parade, showcasing the most advanced equipment South Korea has to offer. Some of the highlighted weapons included Hyunmoo missiles, L-SAM missile interceptors, and light-armed helicopters.
President Yoon also emphasized South Korea's growing status as an arms exporter, with the parade serving as a display of the country's technological advancements in the defense industry.
As of 2021, South Korea ranked as the eighth-largest defense exporter globally, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The South Korean government has pledged to promote arms exports as a means of boosting economic growth and ensuring national security. This strategy aligns with the country's history of identifying and investing in sectors it can excel in. The defense industry has become one of South Korea's focus areas, allowing it to move up the value chain.
President Yoon expressed pride in the growth and reputation of South Korea's military, calling it a force that instills fear in enemies and earns the trust of the public. The parade served as a reminder of the nation's commitment to its defense capabilities and its expanding role in the arms industry.
South Korea's rare military parade showcased the country's commitment to its security and its growing status as an arms exporter. With thousands of troops and advanced military equipment on display, the event highlighted South Korea's strides in the defense industry and its determination to protect itself in an increasingly uncertain global landscape.