China rehearses for September 3 military parade-Sino-US

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China rehearses for September 3 military parade

Aircraft perform during a rehearsal on Sunday for a military parade in Beijing to mark China’s victory over Japan in World War II. Photo: Reuters 

Beijing on Sunday turned into a garrison city as thousands of soldiers with fighter jets, missiles and tanks rehearsed for a huge military parade next month commemorating 70th anniversary of victory over Japan in World War II.

As a part of a series of high-level events organized to mark Japan's defeat 70 years ago, the September 3 parade will showcase the People's Liberation Army's rapidly growing capabilities at a time when Beijing is asserting territorial claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

Although Beijing closed major roads, key subway stations and a number of shopping districts for the full dress rehearsal, photos on social media showed Chinese missile carriers rolling through Tiananmen Square and troops carrying the flags of Cuba, Fiji, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Pakistan. Military helicopters flew over forming the figure "70".

More than 10,000 Chinese military personnel with more than 500 vehicles and some 200 aircraft took part in the rehearsal, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The Chinese military plans to show seven types of long-, intermediate- and short-range missiles at the parade, Xinhua said. It cited a military official as saying that 84 percent of armaments to be displayed have not been shown in public previously.

"The scale and number of the missiles will surpass any previous outing," a military official said.

Beijing has mobilized 850,000 residents to patrol Beijing to ensure security ahead of the military parade.

Grand military parades were initially held each year, on National Day, until the late 1950s. There were others in 1984 and 1999, while the most recent was 2009, to mark the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic.

World leaders to attend

China said that several world leaders and over 10 foreign military forces will participate in its World War II memorial parade.

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj of Mongolia, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and Milos Zeman of the Czech Republic have accepted invitations to attend.

Belarus, Kazakhstan and Mexico are also likely to participate in the parade, according to state media.

China has not provided a full list of the countries and only said that "countries that will send formations and representative teams to the parade are from all the continents of Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania and America".

India, however, will have a low-key participation in the event.

Indian officials said that while Indian troops will not take part in the parade, an Indian delegation headed by Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen (Retd) V K Singh is expected to attend the parade and the reception to be held on the occasion.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has said that she will attend a ceremony marking the anniversary of victory over Japan in World War II, but aides say that she has yet to decide whether to attend the military parade.

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