In the past year the government of South Korea has increased its defence spending by more than 25 per cent, and on Saturday (1 October) it displayed some of its new military might in a big armed forces parade at Seoul.
In the past year the government of South Korea has increased its defence spending by more than 25 per cent, and on Saturday (1 October) it displayed some of its new military might in a big armed forces parade at Seoul. The occasion was the 29th anniversary of the founding of the South Korean Army.
The government of South Korea has been building up its armed forces in view of uncertainty about the long-term durability of the American military commitment there. Last year's increase in defence spending brought the country's defence budget up to almost two thousand million dollars (about GBP1,200 million sterling).
Big crowds turned out for Saturday's massive parade, and balloons and music lent a festive air to it.
Total strength of South Korea's armed forces is more than 625,000 men. These include Army, Air Force, Navy, Home Reserves and student forces, all of which were represented in the parade. South Korea still conscripts all men between the ages of 17 and 20 for its so-called Civil Defence Corps, with the aim of making the country self-reliant in defence.
In a speech he made at the parade President Park Chung Hee told the people they should never forget the North Korean Communists' "fantasy" of trying to bring South Korea under Communist control, and that the parade should reassure them of the progress being made in their defence.
Most of the military hardware displayed in the parade was imported, but South Korea now makes some of its own weapons.