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President Xi Makes Peace Appeal at World War II Commemoration

Sept. 3, 2015 (NSIPS)—China exhibited an impressive display of its military hardware today, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the victory over Japan. This was the first military parade to be held by China on the occasion of this anniversary, and was obviously meant to send a message regarding the state of affairs in the world today. For the first time, the Chinese exhibited most of their modern equipment, including parts of their nuclear arsenal. At the same time they—again for the first time—invited units of other nations to send their own military units to march in the parade. Sixteen nations had sent units to march, and more than 20 nations were represented by their heads of state. These heads of state included the presidents of Serbia, South Africa, Venezuela, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, Papua-New Guinea, Myanmar, Vietnam, South Korea, Mongolia, Laos, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Egypt, the Republic of Congo, the Czech Republic, Cambodia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Belarus, Russia, and Sudan.

On the podium, President Putin stood next to Chinese President Xi, and at various points in the parade, they exchanged comments. When Putin rose to salute the Russian contingent as they passed by, the crowd also applauded, indicating the importance of the Russian presence at this event. South Korean President Park Geun-hye was standing next to Putin. Ban Ki Moon was also in the reviewing stand.

Veterans from World War II, all in their 90s, were paraded by the reviewing stands in specially designed buses. They included both veterans of the KMT armies as well as the CPC armies. Also participating was General Mahmoud Gareev, a veteran of the China front in Manchuria and a major military theorist during the Soviet period. Prior to the event, President Xi had issued an amnesty for those in prison who had served in the Second World War.

President Xi addressed the crowd prior to the start of the parade with a message of peace and development. Referring to the political arrangements put into place after the last great world war, Xi said, "We must learn the lessons of history and dedicate ourselves to peace. Mutual respect, equality and peaceful development is the path to take." The world must "uphold the international order and adhere to the principles of the UN Charter," he said. "China is resolved to establish friendly relations with all people." With that message, he announced that China would reduce its military forces by 300,000. "The Chinese nation will usher in an even brighter future," Xi said. "Justice will prevail. Peace will prevail. The people will prevail." He then conducted a review of the troops, travelling in an open van the length of the parade formations, greeting each unit as he passed and being greeted by them in turn. He then returned to the podium, and the troops and equipment passed in review. In total there were 12,000 troops involved in the parade, including units of military women. This included 11 foot formations, 27 armament formations, 10 air echelons flying overhead, and 500 pieces of equipment. At the end of the parade, 70,000 doves were released over Tiananmen Square, followed by the release of thousands of colored balloons into the air.