The first major military parade since 2013 is being held in Seoul today in a show of strength by South Korea, which is taking a tougher stance against threats posed by the North Korean regime.

The parade marks Armed Forces Day in South Korea, which has usually been celebrated with low-key events – in contrast to North Korea’s flamboyant displays of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) held by Kim Jong Un.

The hours-long events in Seoul include a parade of thousands of soldiers, missiles, tanks, anti-aircraft defense systems, self-propelled guns, warplanes and helicopters, according to the defense ministry. The parade will also feature 300 of the 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea.

The events kicked off at Songnam Air Base on the outskirts of Seoul, with a display of Hyunmoo missiles, L-SAM missile defense systems, F-35s and South Korean-made KF-21 fighter jets.

During his speech today, President Yun again warned North Korea that if it uses nuclear weapons, the “overwhelming response” from Seoul and Washington will end the Pyongyang regime.

Commenting on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s recent visit to Russia, South Korea’s president said on Wednesday that if Moscow helps Pyongyang upgrade its arsenal in exchange for its help in its offensive in Ukraine, it would be “direct challenge”. In such a case, he warned, Seoul and its allies are not going to stand idly by.

Officials in Washington and Seoul believe that Russia is seeking to acquire munitions from North Korea to make up for losses in the Ukraine war, while Pyongyang is also seeking advanced technology to develop its arsenal.