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South Korea shows off military hardware in Armed Forces Day ceremony... with one eye on North Korea Updated: 2017-09-28 20:01:05 KST


South Korea's military strength was once again on display, as the country celebrated its 69th Armed Forces Day.
It commemorates the day when South Korean and UN forces reclaimed the 38th parallel, the line that divided the two Koreas before the Korean War.
This year the ceremony took place a little earlier than usual, as the October 1st date of the anniversary falls during the Chuseok national holiday.

35-hundred people attend the ceremony, staged at the Navy's Second Fleet in Pyeongtaek, the first time it's been held at a naval base.

It's also near the location of several deadly clashes with the North over the years, a reminder that the Koreas technically remain at war.

The ceremony is seen as a chance to show-off South Korea's military hardware to the world, and especially to North Korea.
In light of Pyongyang's recent provocations, Seoul was also keen to emphasize its own ballistic missile capabilities.
On show were several weapons from the Kill Chain deterrence plan, which targets North Korea's key nuclear bases in the case of an attack.
It includes the Hyunmoo-3 cruise missile, and Hyunmoo-2 ballistic missile, which recently had its range extended to 800 kilometers and was tested last month in a show of force after Pyongyang's ballistic missile test.

To display the strong alliance with the U.S. military, General Vincent Brooks of the U.S. Forces Korea was awarded the Tongil Medal, South Korea's top national security merit, for his dedicated servicethe first time a U.S. commander in Korea has been recognized for Armed Forces Day.

Moon Jae-in has emphasized his priority is pursuing a peaceful solution, but with the current tensions on the peninsula, the president recognized the importance of Armed Forces Day as a show of the country's military readiness.
Kwon Jang-ho, Arirang News.
Reporter : kwon@arirang.com
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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