SEOUL – South Korea has staged its largest military display for a decade as President Park Geun-hye warned of the "very grave" threat to national security.
Some 11,000 troops and 120 aircraft took part in the event at an air base south of Seoul, which showed off the military's most advanced weaponry, including a cruise missile.
The guest of honour was US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel – on a visit to underscore US commitment to its military alliance with South Korea where 28,500 US troops are currently stationed.
Park warned of a grave situation for the nation in her speech at the event marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of South Korea's armed forces.
She specifically cited the development of sophisticated missile interceptor systems.
Among the hardware on display was the Hyeonmu 3, an indigenously developed cruise missile that was first deployed on naval destroyers in November last year.
South Korea is scheduled to take over wartime operational command in 2015, but defence policymakers now say they need more time to prepare for the transition.
Hagel will discuss the issue with his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin on Wednesday.
Tuesday's display at the air base was to be repeated later in the day with a mass military parade in downtown Seoul – the largest since 2003. AFP