China bared its military teeth displaying a wide array of impressive missiles during a massive parade in Beijing on Thursday.
It was “a day that will forever be etched in the memory of people all over the world“, President Xi Jinping declared ahead of an unprecedented military spectacle celebrating the 70th anniversary of the victory over Japan in 1945.
“For decades, when people in Western countries talk about World War II, they usually refer to the battles on the European continent and have little knowledge about China’s role as the major oriental theatre of the war“, state news agency Xinhua said in an English-language commentary this week.
The supreme representative of the world’s second biggest economy would be the first Chinese head of state to visit the CzechRepublic.
Among those also present was the Unite Nations’ Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, the president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, and the Sudanese president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who is wanted by the worldwide Criminal Court. “No matter how much stronger it may become,
China will never seek hegemony or expansion”,
he said. “Looking at it helps us better appreciate the value of peace”.
He stressed that China is committed to peaceful development and announced that Chinese troops would be reduced by 300,000.
“I see that more as China showing what it has achieved so far in the last 70 years in line with the progress it has made economically since the opening up”, said former Singapore deputy prime minister Wong Kan Seng.
While few may object to an event commemorating a war in which many lives were lost, it appears that more than a few countries were not happy with a parade that showcased China’s expanding military might.
A ruling Kuomintang lawmaker, Mr Lin Yu-fang, said the move could make China an even greater threat to Taiwan and the Asia-Pacific as it could redirect its resources towards strengthening its air force, navy and strategic missile forces.
On the Tian’anmen Rostrum where late Chinese leader Mao Zedong pronounced the birth of New China 66 years ago, Xi, dressed in a sharply cut, high-collared Mao suit, highlighted China’s aspiration of peace.
United States officials have been tracking the movements of three Chinese combat ships, a replenishment vessel and an amphibious landing ship through worldwide waters after observing them moving toward the Aleutian Islands, which are split between USA and Russian control.
The BBC’s China editor, Carrie Gracie, says that reducing troop numbers by 300,000 will not weaken China. Early-warning planes with a flying range of more than 5,000 kilometers were also displayed. The parade also sent out important signals to India, Japan and other Asian countries about China’s technology backed military power.