China flaunts military might, says will cut forces by 300,000

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Sep 03, 2015 22:30 IST
Military band sing and salute at the Tiananmen Square at the beginning of the military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, China. (Reuters Photo)

China put on a mighty display of military power in a parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War 2.

Speaking from the rostrum of the Forbidden City, Jinping inaugurated the military parade talking about China’s path of peaceful development and announced a troop cut of 300000 soldiers to streamline its armed forces.

Xi, however, did not give a time-frame for reducing the numbers.

“Here, I announce that China will cut the number of its troops by 300000,” Xi said, after urging the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to be loyal to nation and its people.

“All its officers, men and women must bear in mind their responsibility of serving the people whole-heartedly, faithfully fulfill the sacred duty of protecting the nation's security and people's well-being, and carry out the noble mission of upholding world peace,” he said.

Among the 30 heads of states who attended the function were President Vladimir Putin, and South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

Also making rare appearances were former Chinese Presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao from who Xi took over the reins of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the government 2012-13.

Minister for external affairs, VK Singh, represented India at the function.

It was not the first time that a Chinese leader was announcing a troop cut.

“It's a common practice for Chinese leaders to pledge disarmament after big parades ... China downsized its army by one million in 1985, after the 1984 parade,” Song Xiaojun, a military commentator, told the China Daily newspaper, adding that both Jiang and Hu had also announced disarmament by 500,000 and 200,000.

Xi’s speech was rich in anti-Japanese rhetoric but in the same breath he talked about peace.

“In the interest of peace, China will remain committed to peaceful development. We Chinese love peace. No matter how much stronger it may become, China will never seek hegemony or expansion. It will never inflict its past suffering on any other nation,” the Chinese President said.

Among China’s latest weaponry displayed at the parade on Thursday were the Dongfeng-21D missile, anti-ship ballistic missile described by some as the "aircraft carrier killer”, Dongfeng-26 missile, a ballistic missile that can fitted with nuclear warhead and the Dongfeng-5B missile, China's intercontinental strategic missile also designed to carry nuclear warheads.

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