Flaunting its strength under such circumstances will naturally intimidate neighboring countries, and China appears aware of that – which is why at the ceremony, Xi pledged to cut military personnel by 300,000 troops and repeatedly mentioned the importance of “peace”.
The mixed messages drew a rebuke from Japan, which said it was “disappointed” by Xi’s speech for focusing too much on the past and for its lack of “rapprochement” between the Asian powers, the world’s second and third-largest economies.
Xi insisted that China is committed to peace.
“Prejudice and discrimination, hatred and war can only cause disaster and pain”, Xi addressed the nation just before thousands of tanks and soldiers marched by Tiananmen Square.
China has taken an increasingly assertive role on the global stage, and Beijing has become embroiled in a series of territorial disputes with its neighbours.
In a sign of that emerging capability, five Chinese navy ships are sailing in worldwide waters in the Bering Sea off Alaska, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, at a time when US President Barack Obama is touring the state.
China unveiled a host of new military equipment at the country’s military parade Thursday in celebration of the 70 anniversary of Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II.
The formation, led by 56-year-old Major General Tian Ou, is named after Norman Bethune, a household name in China due to his contribution and sacrifice during World War II.
Xi informed that China will cut the number of its troops by 300,000.
China regards the Sino-Japanese War as “a main battlefield for anti-fascism in the East” and calls itself “a victor country”, as a way to promote its legitimacy in shaping the worldwide order.
The event on Thursday was shunned by many Western leaders but underscored Beijing’s growing confidence in its armed forces.
“We must learn the lessons of history and dedicate ourselves to peace”, said Xi.
“A Chinese ability to attack reinforcing U.S. naval forces with precision strikes out to Guam clearly undermines USA security guarantees”.
Also featured in the military parade was the Dongfeng 21-D “carrier-killer” missile, the Financial Times reported.
The propaganda campaign has also focused on the resistance of “the entire Chinese nation” against Japan, obscuring the Communist Party’s rivalry with the then-governing Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek, who was defeated in the ensuing civil war and fled to Taiwan.
Allen Larsen, a former member of the Flying Tigers, a group of USA airmen who piloted fighters to combat Japanese invaders, said on Wednesday in Beijing: “I arrived in China 71 years ago yesterday….”