SEOUL (AFP) – South Korea will show off a cruise missile capable of surgical strikes on the North Korean leadership when it stages a military parade in Seoul next month, the defence ministry said Wednesday.
The parade on October 1 marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of South Korea's armed forces and is held every five years.
Around 11,000 troops will take part along with picks from the South's military arsenal, including tanks, artillery and rockets and a fly-over involving air force helicopters and jet fighters, a ministry official said.
Also on display will be the Hyeonmu 3, an indigenously developed cruise missile that was first deployed on naval destroyers in November last year.
Two days after North Korea carried out its third nuclear test on February 12, the South's defence ministry called in the media for a video presentation of the Hyeonmu's capabilities.
"It is a precision-guided weapon that can identify and strike the office window of the North's command headquarters," ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok told reporters at the time.
The North's nuclear test triggered two months of heightened military tensions on the Korean peninsula that witnessed almost daily threats of strikes and counter-strikes.
The tensions have since eased and the two Koreas are currently making progress on resuming a series of suspended cross-border projects and programmes.
Yang Moo-Jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said South Korea should be wary of antagonising the North at such a sensitive time.
"In light of the current situation, a low-key event is more desirable than a large scale parade which is likely to irritate the North," Yang said.
But the event in Seoul will be nowhere near the scale of the mass display of military might the North put on in July to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice.