About 1,000 foreign troops from Pakistan and 16 other countries will participate in a massive military parade here next month to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, highlighting China’s growing clout. Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan, Mexico, Mongolia, Pakistan, Serbia, Tajikistan and Russia have dispatched formations to march in the parade on September 3, said Qu Rui, deputy chief of the Operations Department of the General Staff Headquarters of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Each formation consists of around 75 people. Another six countries — Afghanistan, Cambodia, Fiji, Laos, Vanuatu and Venezuela — sent teams of around seven people each, state-run Xinhua news agency reported today. Thirty-one countries, including France and Republic of Korea, have also promised to send high-level military delegations, Rui said. China has invited large number of countries including India to take part in the parade. The foreign troops will be grouped alphabetically according to their country names, and will follow PLA foot formations in the parade.
While India will not take part in the parade, officials say that Minister of State for External Affairs, General (Retd) V K Singh will join along with other dignitaries to watch the parade and participate in the reception.
Although China has so far held 14 military parades to mark National Day, the parade next month will be the first commemorating the anniversary of the end of WWII as Beijing seeks to nail Japan to highlight the excesses of the Japanese troops. The political significance of the event made a number of countries to adopt a guarded approach considering their relations with Japan.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed “deepest remorse” and “sincere condolences” to Japan’s wartime victims but China says that it falls short of apology. Japanese government has scorched rumours that Abe may be visiting China on September 3. A Japanese official said in Tokyo that there is no such proposal.
“Victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression was not only a victory for the Chinese people, but also for people from around the world,” Rui said. “The participation of foreign formations, representative teams and military delegations manifests the international nature of the war. We firmly believe that the commemoration activities will cement trust between the PLA and foreign
troops participating in the parade,” he added.
All foreign troops have already arrived at the parade training base and are training with their Chinese counterparts. They participated in parade rehearsals on Thursday and Saturday last week. Rui shrugged off concern over the absence of troops from the US, Japan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, saying that “history would not be changed by the attitude of certain countries.”
“We respect countries’ choices over whether to come or not, and we will extend our warmest welcome for all foreign troops and delegations that have decided to come,” he said. The parade will include more than 10,000 Chinese troops, who will pass the giant rostrum in central Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, either on foot or in vehicles, while close to 200 military aircraft fly in formations overhead. China will also showcase its military sophistication by rolling out 27 armament formations. Most of the weaponry and equipment has never been shown to the public before.