SEOUL, Oct. 1 (UPI) — South Korea celebrated its 70th Armed Forces Day with martial arts and K-Pop performances and a display of high-tech military drones and vehicles on Monday, instead of a conventional military parade and display of missiles.
The ceremony featured a massive Taekwondo performance by 130 soldiers and a presentation of the Army’s high-tech battle gear “Warrior Platform” by K-Pop star Ok Taecyeon of the boy group 2PM, who is currently serving in the Army as part of the country’s mandatory conscription.
Another K-Pop star Psy appeared on stage to boost the festive mood for the annual military celebration.
“Now we are moving toward the era of peace. The path to become an honorable serviceperson will open up a new chapter in the history of the Korean Peninsula,” said South Korean president Moon Jae-in, in a speech.
“Now is the time for our military to stand at the forefront of peace on the Korean Peninsula. Peace through strength is the mission of our Armed Forces, and a genuine protagonist in an era of peace is none other than a strong military,” he said.
The Monday’s event was attended by some 3,500 participants, including South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo, war veterans and citizens at the War Memorial Hall in Seoul.
“This year’s celebration reflects the changing mood in the North-South relations for reconciliation and peace, following summits between North and South Korean leaders, which is a contrast to last year’s event, held amid heightened tensions due to the North’s nuclear and missile provocations,” a defense ministry official was quoted as saying in a DongA Ilbo report.
Last year’s celebration featured a display of major strategic weapons, including ballistic missiles that are capable of striking North Korea‘s key nuclear facilities and central command, according to the report.