China flaunts its military might, says will cut force by 300,000

news
03 September 2015

China on Thursday commemorated the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Japan in World War II, in a huge military parade, participating 12,000 troops and a display of its smart weapons, including the YJ ant-ship cruise missiles.

The display of military might, aimed at sending a strong message to the rest of the world about the scale, depth and sophistication of its military deterrent, comes ahead of President Xi Jinping's proposed visit to the United States.

The proposed troop reduction, however, is not an olive branch, but a sign of the growing technological sophistication of its armed forces.

Thursday's spectacle held in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, involved more than 12,000 troops, 500 pieces of military hardware and 200 aircraft of various types, representing what military officials say is the Chinese military's most cutting-edge technology.

China showed off the J-11 multirole fighter jets - an adaptation of Russia's highly capable Su-27 fighters - the J-15 newly developed aircraft-carrier borne planes and the KJ-500 early warning command post in the sky.

Most of the weaponry demonstrating China's full-spectrum fighting skills, was indigenous, including the Beidu satellite navigation system, which is set to compete with US-owned Global Positioning System (GPS), following a recent alliance between Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma's Alibaba group and Norinco, a state-run military enterprise.

Despite the show of strength, the Chinese President Xi Jinping softened the tone of the power show by announcing that the size of the PLA would be reduced by 300,000. He, however, did not give a time line.

This will be the fourth reduction of forces in the 2.3 million-strong armed forces since the start of a modernization process that commenced in the eighties.

"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," Xi observed.

Japan, meanwhile, said it was ''disappointed'' as there were no signs of rapprochement in Xi's speech to mark the 70th anniversary of Tokyo's WWII defeat, while Beijing opted to show off its growing might with a huge military parade.

''Tokyo had requested that Beijing make sure that the event was not so anti-Japanese, but instead contain elements of rapprochement between Japan and China,'' top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said. ''It was disappointing that such elements were not in President Xi Jinping's speech today.''

Suga also hit out at China's soaring military spending and reiterated Tokyo's objection to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's attendance at the highly choreographed commemoration events in Beijing.





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