The Latest “Monster” Missiles On Display During South Korea’s First Military Parade in 10 Years Sending a Strong Message to North Korea | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Latest “Monster” Missiles On Display During South Korea’s First Military Parade in 10 Years Sending a Strong Message to North Korea

For the first time, the U.S. Forces in South Korea participated in the parade, and state-of-the-art drone units and surface-to-air missiles traversed the city of Seoul.

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Shortly after the parade began, the crowds along the route cheered loudly when the main tank “K2” made its appearance.

About 4,000 soldiers, 330 U.S. generals, and 170 state-of-the-art weapons of 46 different types marched through the center of Seoul, South Korea, under a drizzling rain. The spectacle was spectacular, filling the 1.2-kilometer stretch of Sejong Boulevard from Namdaemun to Gwanghwamun.

On September 26, the Korean military held its first large-scale military parade in 10 years prior to National Armed Forces Day (October 1). President Yun Sook-yeol (62), in his speech at the ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the military’s founding on that day, made clear his hard-line stance toward North Korea.

“In the event North Korea uses nuclear weapons, we will end the North Korean regime through the overwhelming response of the South Korea-U.S. alliance.”

Koichi Yamamoto, a photojournalist who photographed and covered the parade on site, said, “Despite the rain, the parade was a great success.”

Despite the rain, many citizens rushed to the parade, and the crowds were so long that it was impossible to take pictures in the front rows. I have the impression that the administration has sent out an unprecedentedly strong message to the North.

The parade, which had been postponed under the previous administration of President Moon Jae-in, who had adopted a conciliatory policy toward North Korea, was now held on the largest scale in history.

“The parade featured the Hyunmu missile, which has a range that covers all of North Korea, and the L-SAM missile defense system, as well as drones for reconnaissance and attack and an unmanned submarine. This is thought to be an awareness of the incident last December in which five small North Korean drones entered South Korean airspace,” Yamamoto said.

The “Genbu” missile, which was unveiled for the first time, drew particular attention from those involved in the parade. In the “three-axis system” of preemptive, defensive, and retaliatory weapons of the ROK, the role of the Genbu is to counterattack and retaliate. Because of its capabilities, it has been rumored to be a monster missile.

If multiple missiles are launched simultaneously, they are said to be as powerful as tactical nuclear weapons and capable of directly destroying military structures 100 meters underground. This is no doubt a check on North Korea, which is rapidly moving closer to Russia. Due to the war in Ukraine, South Korea’s overall defense industry exports in 2010 more than doubled from the previous year, and I think the parade was effective in appealing the latest weapons to the world,” said Yamamoto.

In contrast to the armed Korean soldiers in the parade, the U.S. troops in Korea were unarmed. Yamamoto explains the reason for this as a message from South Korea implicitly calling on China and North Korea that there is still room for dialogue.

In August, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (66), US President Joe Biden (80), and President Yun met for a trilateral summit outside Washington. Meanwhile, the three countries are also seeking to hold a summit meeting by the end of the year, with South Korea as the chairing country.

China, for its part, hopes to somehow create a windbreak in the Taiwan-North Korea issue, which is being nipped in the bud by Japan, the U.S., and South Korea. The reason why China is so keenly aware of the U.S. military presence in South Korea, and why it appealed to China that it has diplomatic cards to play other than hard-line measures, is probably aimed at softening North Korea’s attitude through China.

The parade is said to be an attempt to restrain North Korea from two fronts, military power and diplomacy.

Seventy years have passed since the armistice agreement was signed for the Korean War. Military tensions in East Asia are now at an all-time high following the war in Ukraine, the future of which is unclear.

The 330 U.S. generals of the 8th U.S. Army in Korea stationed in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, also participated in the parade for the first time. They marched 1.2 km without weapons and wearing camouflage uniforms.
Several types of small unmanned aerial vehicles (reconnaissance drones), which have attracted attention for their great success in the war in Ukraine, were on display.

From the October 27, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • Photo by Koichi Yamamoto


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