South Korea has flexed its military muscles by parading some of its major weapon systems to celebrate the country’s 69th Armed Forces Day in the face of North Korea’s brinkmanship.
President Moon Jae-in inspected the weapons and troops at the headquarters of the Navy’s Second Fleet in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, and his defence minister Song Young-moo delivered a speech.
In it, he pledged a defence reform and said: ‘It is the calling of the time to nurture a strong military as agile as a leopard that is capable of overwhelming any enemy threats and defending ourselves through defense reform.’
Among the weapons on display were Hyunmoo-2 ballistic missiles and Hyunmoo-3 cruise missiles. The military put its latest Hyunmoo-2C missile, which has a range of 800 kilometers, on public show for the first time.
The missiles are key elements of South Korea’s ongoing ‘three-axis’ defense platform, which consists of the Kill Chain pre-emptive strike system, the Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) scheme.
South Korean soldiers stand near the PAC-2 launching station and an M-SAM during the media day for the 69th anniversary of Armed Forces Day on October 1 at Navy’s 2nd Fleet Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. The South’s Armed Forces Day commemorates the day in 1950 when the South’s forces broke through the 38th parallel border line during the war against the invading North. But this year’s ceremony took place early, with Koreans scheduled to enjoy the Chuseok holidays next week
South Korean Special Army soldiers with their faces decorated with menacing face paints hold out small knives during a display of martial arts during the South Korea’s Armed Forces Day
A South Korean Special Army female soldier performs Teukgong martial arts by slamming her forearm through 15 slabs of concrete in a show of strength
The Taurus long-range air-to-surface missile is paraded during the ceremony. The missiles are key elements of South Korea’s ongoing ‘three-axis’ defense platform, which consists of the Kill Chain pre-emptive strike system, the Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) scheme
Two South Korean paratroopers perform a formation jump during a commemoration ceremony marking South Korea’s Armed Forces Day
South Korean cadets standing in front of a Hyunmoo-3 cruise missile system at the Second Fleet Command of Navy in Pyeongtaek
It was the first time for the country’s official Armed Forces Day ceremony to be held at a naval base, as it is usually staged at the Gyeryongdae military complex in South Chungcheong Province.
For the celebration of the 65th anniversary in 2013, a massive military parade was held at the Air Force’s Seoul Airport.
The Second Fleet is in charge of defending South Korea’s western waters just south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto inter-Korean sea border.
The two Koreas have engaged in several deadly naval skirmishes in waters close to the NLL.
South Korean President Moon Jae-In (left, in suit and blue tie) inspects an assault amphibious vehicle (AAV) with journalists around him
South Korean Air Force Black Eagles aerobatic team perform during a commemoration ceremony marking South Korea’s Armed Forces Day
South Korean Special Army soldiers performing martial arts, kicking through a stack of concrete slabs in their impressive uniforms
South Korean soldiers sitting on a K-9 155mm self-propelled howitzer at the Second Fleet Command of Navy in Pyeongtaek
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, and Defense Minister Song Young-moo, left, review the troops during a commemoration ceremony marking South Korea’s Armed Forces Day
This picture taken on September 25, 2017 shows a South Korean RF-16 fighter jet firing flares during a media day presentation of the commemoration event
ASouth Korean soldier sitting on a Chunma self-propelled short range air defense missile system during a the presentation
South Korean president Moon Jae-In salutes from the official car as he inspects the South Korean soldiers during the parade
South Korean Special Army soldiers stage a parachute performance leaving a trail of red smoke in the sky over Pyeongtaek
Air demonstration group ‘Black Eagles’ from the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) performs during the anniversary celebrations
The choice of venue for this year’s event reflects the Moon administration’s resolve to deal sternly with the North’s provocations, defense officials said.
The government used the day as a chance to display a show of force against the North by parading a set of high-profile defense assets.
Also shown were the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), the Hyungung anti-tank guided weapon, Patriot PAC-II air defense missiles and M-SAM surface-to-air missiles, as well as Taurus and SLAM-ER air-to-ground missiles.
The Navy’s 14,500-ton helicopter carrier, the Dokdo, and the 1,800-ton Kim Jwa Jin submarine were docking at the fleet’s port.
A total of 53 warplanes and choppers, including eight F-15K fighters and seven AH-64E Apaches, were mobilized for flight demonstration.
The Air Force’s Black Eagles aerobatic team performed in the sky above the venue following a group parachuting of airborne troops and fight skill demonstrations by more than 380 male and female commandos.
South Korean cadets attend the media day of the 65th South Korea Armed Forces Day ceremony on September 25, 2017
A South Korean Army soldier lies on the ground seemingly in pain clutching his rifle. One of his comrades leans down to help him but the rest stay in line as part of the parade
South Korean RF-16 jet fighters perform during the 69th anniversary of Armed Forces Day at the 2nd Fleet Parade Ground in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, September 28, 2017
This piSouth Korean soldiers sitting on a K-21 Infantry fighting vehicle as the nation flexed its military muscles at a parade
South Korean soldiers sitting on a K30 Biho twin 30 mm self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon during a media day presentation of a commemoration event marking South Korea’s Armed Forces Day
Moon, the South Korean president, awarded General Vincent K Brooks, the commander of US Forces Korea (USFK), the Tongil Medal, South Korea’s top national security merit, for his dedicated service.
It is unprecedented for a US commander to receive the medal during the anniversary ceremony.
Moon also presented the US Naval Forces Korea the Presidential Unit Citation (PUC), which is the highest unit-level award given by the South Korean government.
It was awarded to the unit, formally named Commander, US Naval Forces Korea (CNFK), in recognition of its 60-year-long contribution to the defence of the nation.
The South’s Armed Forces Day falls on October 1 and commemorates the day in 1950 when the South’s forces broke through the 38th parallel border line during the war against the invading North.
But this year’s ceremony took place early, with Koreans scheduled to enjoy the Chuseok holidays next week.