South Korea parades military hardware through the streets of Seoul

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By Webdesk

South Korea has held its first army parade since 2013, with tanks, armoured vehicles and advanced missiles rolling through the streets of Seoul in a display of military might.

The parade comes amid worsening ties with nuclear-armed North Korea.

About 4,000 troops, including a few hundred soldiers from the United States, marched along a 2km (1.24 mile) route through the rain-soaked streets of central Seoul, cheered by umbrella-bearing crowds waving South Korean flags.

They were accompanied by military bands and 170 pieces of weaponry, including drones and cruise missiles.

Cho Kyu-bok, a 75-year-old resident of Goyang, northwest of Seoul, said he came to Gwanghwamun hours before the event to get a front-row view of the new weapons.

“Weapons like the unmanned drones show how much our country has developed,” Cho told the Reuters news agency.

Fewer troops and pieces of equipment were involved than planned because of the poor weather and a flight display by South Korean military aircraft, including US-made F-35 stealth fighters, was also cancelled.

The event comes as President Yoon Suk-yeol, a conservative who took office last year, takes a more hawkish stance on North Korea, deepening security ties with the US and Japan, and making displays of weapons and military drills a cornerstone of his strategy to counter Pyongyang’s evolving nuclear and missile programmes.

Yoon began the day by reiterating that any aggression on the part of North Korea would be met with a swift response and has actively reinforced a military alliance with Washington and Tokyo since taking office last year.

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