The various ballistic missiles displayed by mainland China at a massive military parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan’s World War II defeat fully demonstrated Beijing’s strategic ambitions, experts said Thursday. In his speech on the occasion, President Xi Jinping thanked the people from foreign countries that helped China fight the Japanese aggressors.
Yesterday was also a day for him to announce the People’s Liberation Army will be cut by 300,000 personnel and to talk a lot about peace.
Apart from becoming an economic giant over the last few decades, China has been pumping up its military strength too.
Many observers saw it symbolising China’s assertive posture in the region as territorial disputes have flared, prompting the United States to underline its military dominance of Asian seas.
Ban rejected this criticism by stating that “China’s contribution and sacrifice during the Second World War is very much recognized, [and China] is appreciated for all such sufferings, and sympathized [with] by the world’s people“, the Guardian reported.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was not at the event and did not comment on the parade itself.
After a 70-gun salute, thousands of troops marched in formation through the square, with tanks and missiles following, while almost 200 aircraft performed a flypast in blue skies overhead.
“[We] absolutely support the decision made by the Communist Party and Central Military Commission chairman Xi and promise to learn unswerving adherence to the principle that the party controls the armed forces“, said the commentary, citing party heads of the seven key military commands in Beijing, Shenyang, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu.
While the announcement didn’t come with a time-frame, Xi insisted that China was committed to peaceful development.
Xi also emphasized that China will not take hegemonic and expansionist acts, and declared it will cooperate to promote global peace. “It will never inflict its past suffering on any other nation”, Xi observed. For example, Japanese products remain popular in China and many Chinese school and university students are still learning the Japanese language. This is the first time the USA military has seen Chinese warships in the area, Washington officials said.
“So your coming has sent a clear signal to the worldwide community that China and India have and will continue to be together”, he said.
Premier Li Keqiang has pledged that China will pump more resources into development of high-tech weaponry, and the country’s defense budget has expanded by double-digit growth rates for five consecutive years. “I would like (China) to take into account cooperation and confidence Japan and China have achieved over 70 years after the war“, Okada said.
Xi’s announcement of troop reductions was widely expected and comes after about 2 million personnel have been cut from the PLA since the 1980s.