Go Search Go Contents Go to bottom site map

(LEAD) S. Korea shows off latest missiles on Armed Forces Day

2013/10/01 17:25

(ATTN: UPDATES with Park's remarks in paras 3-4, street parade in paras 13-14; ADDS photo)

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Oct. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea paid tribute to fallen soldiers and staged the largest military parade in a decade with the latest indigenous missiles and weapons on Tuesday to celebrate the 65th Armed Forces Day, which was attended by visiting U.S. defense chief and top commander.

The defense ministry mobilized 11,000 soldiers at Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, south of Seoul, as well as 190 kinds of ground equipment and 120 aircraft to commemorate the establishment of the nation's armed forces in 1948. The military parade was the biggest in a decade.

President Park Geun-hye said in a speech at the ceremony that South Korea will build strong missile defense and pre-emptive strike capabilities to deter threats from North Korea and render its nuclear weapons useless.

"We have to build strong deterrence against North Korea until the North abandons its nuclear program and makes the right choice for the people of North Korea and peace on the Korean Peninsula," Park said at the Seongnam air base.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, who were in Seoul for military talks, attended the event for the first time to show their commitment to bilateral alliance with South Korea.

American forces fought in the 1950-53 Korean War alongside South Korean and United Nations Allied forces, and Washington forged a military alliance with Seoul at the end of the conflict, which is outlined in the Mutual Defense Treaty.

Ahead of the event, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and Dempsey visited the national cemetery in Seoul to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers.

Among the equipment were indigenously developed cruise missiles capable of striking key locales in North Korea.

It was the first time 500 kilometer-range Hyunmoo 2 and 1,000 kilometer-range Hyunmoo 3, both loaded on mobile launchers, were unveiled to the public.

The South Korean Navy presented a series of homemade torpedoes, which can be launched from warships and submarines, as well as anti-ship missiles and ship-to-air missiles.

It also unveiled Israeli-made Spike missiles deployed in the western border islands, which are capable of striking North Korea's underground facilities with satellite-guidance system.

The Air Force staged F-15K, KF-16 and other combat jets, and Black Eagle aerobatic team put up an air show with T-50 trainer jets built by Korea Aerospace Industries.

Following the official ceremony attended by Park and top military commanders, soldiers and ground forces equipment moved to Seoul to stage a parade in the downtown area with a variety of events for citizens.

The first military parade in five years showcased 105 armed vehicles of 37 kinds, including tanks and armored vehicles. Some 4,500 soldiers from all military units walked down the street, surrounded by spectators gathered to see the rare display of South Korea's latest military equipment.

About 28,500 American forces are stationed in the Asian nation to support South Korea's 650,000 armed forces to counter threat posed by North Korea's 1.2 million standing forces. The two Koreas are still technically at war as the three-year conflict ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

ejkim@yna.co.kr

(END)

Related Photos

  • Armed Forces Day marked

    Armed Forces Day marked

  • Armed Forces Day marked

    Armed Forces Day marked

  • Armed Forces Day marked

    Armed Forces Day marked

  • Armed Forces Day marked

    Armed Forces Day marked

  • Armed Forces Day marked

    Armed Forces Day marked