US soldiers take part in Seoul's first military parade in a decade
Plans for a US-made F-35 to take part in an aerial show were canceled at the last minute due to rainy weather conditions.
South Korea conducted its inaugural military parade in ten years on Wednesday, highlighting its modern weaponry as tensions with the DPRK grow over increased provocations sponsored by the United States and joined by Japan, who recently formed a trilateral security alliance in the region.
Seoul typically holds the event every half-decade to commemorate South Korea's Armed Forces Day.
But while its prior parade was in 2013, ex-President Moon Jae-in opted in 2018 for a festive event over a military showcase as Washington under former US President Donald Trump aimed to break the icy ties with Pyongyang.
To emphasize Seoul's strong ties with the US, around 300 American military members marched alongside 4,000 South Korean soldiers through the downtown of the country's capital. Joining the parade were 170 military hardware, encompassing air and maritime drones, tanks, and missiles.
Due to inclement weather, an aerial show, featuring US-built F-35 stealth aircraft, was called off.
President Yoon Suk Yeol has worked since taking office in 2022 to bring the East Asian country closer to the US. In recent months, the historical partners have intensified military collaborations, most notably in integrating American nuclear weapons into South Korea's war strategy.
At a preceding Armed Forces Day event at an air base south of Seoul, Yoon praised the deepening defense relationship between the US and South Korea.
"If North Korea uses nuclear weapons, its regime will be brought to an end by an overwhelming response from the ROK-US alliance," he said then, repeating a warning the partners have issued in the past.
China to pull tensions
Chinese and Japanese senior officials were hosted in South Korea earlier this week, holding a trilateral meeting aimed at reassuring Beijing about the increased cooperation between Japan, South Korea, and the US.
The meeting was also intended to pave the way for the resumption of three-way summits among the leaders of the three countries, which had been put on hold since 2019 due to a complex web of legal, diplomatic, and trade disputes.
Experts forecasted that Beijing might try to leverage trilateral trade ties to counter US incitement against the world's second-largest economy. Additionally, reports suggested China plans to promote people-to-people exchanges and enhance communication and dialogue on security and defense matters with Seoul and Tokyo.
Earlier this week, President Xi Jinping communicated his willingness to cooperate with South Korea in advancing a contemporary strategic partnership amid escalating tensions involving Russia, the US, and the DPRK.
Xi also said he is seriously considering the possibility of visiting South Korea.