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Seoul gears up for first military parade in a decade

ANN/THE KOREA HERALD – Seoul residents in South Korea will see a large-scale military parade for the first time in a decade today, with tanks and armed personnel moving through the city centre.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency stated on September 20 that major thoroughfares will be blocked throughout the day to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Korean Armed Forces’ foundation.

The march will commence at the Seoul Air Base at 1.30pm following a memorial ceremony.

From there, a force of approximately 3,700 infantry troops and 170 heavy artillery units, including K2 tanks, will split into two routes before converging for a parade in downtown Seoul.

Infantry units will enter the city centre through the city’s eastern outskirts on buses, leading to partial traffic restrictions from approximately 1.40pm to 2.50 pm stretching from Dongbu expressway to Gangbyeon expressway.

Meanwhile, tanks and armoured vehicles are expected to cut through Seoul’s southern outskirts, moving through Bangbae-dong and Dongjak-dong before crossing the Hangang Bridge to reach downtown Seoul. Traffic along this route will be restricted in both directions, from 1.30pm to 3.23pm. A joint march will take place in downtown Seoul from 4pm, covering a 1.5-kilometre stretch from Namdaemun to Gwanghwamun. Roads between these two landmarks will remain closed from 2pm until 6pm.

While some streets are expected to reopen by 4.40pm, others could be closed until the next morning, according to the police.

Given that the parade is taking place in the run-up to the Chuseok holiday period, drivers are advised to detour or use public transport to avoid congestion.

South Korean armoured vehicles at a military parade in Seoul on October 1, 2013. PHOTO: THE KOREA HERALD