China holds massive military parade, to cut troop levels by 300,000

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China Had a Massive Military Parade to Celebrate 70th V-Day


President Xi Jinping announced on Thursday he would cut troop levels by 300,000 as China held its biggest display of military might in a parade to commemorate victory overJapan in World War Two, an event shunned by most Western leaders.

China's confidence in its armed forces and growing military assertiveness, especially in the disputed South China Sea, has rattled the region and drawn criticism from Washington.

Xi, speaking on a rostrum overlooking Beijing's Tiananmen Square before the parade began, said China would cut by 13 percent one of the world's biggest militaries, currently 2.3-million strong.

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China holds massive military parade, to cut troop levels by 300,000
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 03: Chinese soldiers march past Tiananmen Square before a military parade on September 3, 2015 in Beijing, China. China is marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and its role in defeating Japan with a new national holiday and a military parade in Beijing. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 22: (CHINA OUT) A female soldier from the Chinese People's Liberation Army attends a training session for the September 3 military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression at a military base on August 22, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
Military vehicles carrying cruise missiles participate in a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 3, 2015, to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II. China kicked off a huge military ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II on September 3, as major Western leaders stayed away. AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese People's Liberation Army personnel participate in a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 3, 2015, to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II. China kicked off a huge military ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II on September 3, as major Western leaders stayed away. AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese soldiers conduct a practice at dawn ahead of a military parade later in the morning at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 3, 2015, to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II. A huge military parade rolls through Tiananmen Square as Beijing commemorates the 70th anniversary of Japan's WWII defeat, but major Western leaders are staying away from the show of strength. AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese soldiers conduct a practice at dawn ahead of a military parade later in the morning at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 3, 2015, to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II. A huge military parade rolls through Tiananmen Square as Beijing commemorates the 70th anniversary of Japan's WWII defeat, but major Western leaders are staying away from the show of strength. AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 03: Chinese president and leader of the Communist Party rides in an open top car as he greets soldiers and others in front of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City during a military parade on September 3, 2015 in Beijing, China. China is marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and its role in defeating Japan with a new national holiday and a military parade in Beijing. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 03: Chinese soldiers ride on armoured missile carriers as they pass in front of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City during a military parade on September 3, 2015 in Beijing, China. China is marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and its role in defeating Japan with a new national holiday and a military parade in Beijing. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Birds are released as a crowd looks up during a parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender during World War II held in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. The spectacle 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.(Rolex Dela Pena/Pool Photo via AP)
Chinese soldiers march in formation during a military parade in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 3, 2015, to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II. China kicked off a huge military ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II on September 3, as major Western leaders stayed away. AFP PHOTO / POOL / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 03: Paramilitary policemen carrying flags prepare in front of the Tiananmen Gate ahead of the military parade to mark the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War Two on September 3, 2015 in Beijing, China. Today marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. China's President Xi Jinping and thousands of soldiers are to march in a military parade to celebrate the occasion. (Photo by Jason Lee - Pool/Getty Images)
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) wipes his face as Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) looks on during a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 3, 2015, to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II. China kicked off a huge military ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II on September 3, as major Western leaders stayed away. AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 03: Chinese soldiers march past Tiananmen Square before a military parade on September 3, 2015 in Beijing, China. Today marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. China's President Xi Jinping and thousands of soldiers are to march in a military parade to celebrate the occasion. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
A member of Chinese People's Liberation Army waves as his comrades look out from a bus as they arrive at Tiananmen Gate to take part in a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II in Beijing Thursday Sept. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A Chinese KJ-2000 (C) flies in formation with eight J-10 jets over a military parade in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 3, 2015, to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II. China kicked off a huge military ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II on September 3, as major Western leaders stayed away. AFP PHOTO / POOL / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese President Xi Jinping stands in a car to review the army during a parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender during World War II held in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. The spectacle 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. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 03: An honor guest with medals on his coat arrives to his seat to watch a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on September 3, 2015 in Beijing, China. China is marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and its role in defeating Japan with a new national holiday and a military parade in Beijing. (Photo by Andy Wong - Pool/Getty Images)
Chinese female soldiers march into position ahead of a military parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender during World War II held in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A Chinese military vehicle is pictured during a military parade in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 3, 2015, to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II. China kicked off a huge military ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II on September 3, as major Western leaders stayed away. AFP PHOTO / POOL / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese Harbin Z-9 (top half) and Z-19 (bottom half) military helicopters fly in formation during a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 3, 2015, to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II. A huge military parade rolls through Tiananmen Square as Beijing commemorates the 70th anniversary of Japan's WWII defeat, but major Western leaders are staying away from the show of strength. AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR (Photo credit should read FRED DUFOUR,FRED DEFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Soldiers of China's People Liberation Army (PLA) prepare in front of the Tiananmen Gate ahead of a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Beijing Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. (Jason Lee/Pool Photo via AP)
Chinese soldiers march into position ahead of a military parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender during World War II held in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Military planes fly in formation during a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, in Beijing Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. (Rolex Dela Pena/Pool Photo via AP)
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 02: Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Tajikistan President Emomali Rakhmon (L) during the signing ceremony at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on September 2, 2015 in Beijing, China. Emomali Rakhmon will attend the Chinese People's Anti-Japanese War and the World Anti-Fascist War 70th anniversary victory parade on September 3.
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 02: (CHINA OUT) Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) arrives at Beijing International Airport ahead of attending the V-Day parade for the 70th anniversary of the victories of World War II on September 2, 2015 in Beijing, China.
TT Chen poses for a picture at his bakery in Beijing on September 2, 2015. The pastry maker's family played a key role in China's 20th-century struggle against Japanese invaders. The undoubted star of China's giant military parade marking 70 years since Japan's World War II defeat -- and countless television shows on the conflict -- will be the ruling Communist Party, celebrating a victory historians say was largely won by others. AFP PHOTO / WANG XHAO 
A woman sells an ice cream in the shape of executed Japanese war criminal Hideki Tojo at an ice cream store in Shanghai on September 2, 2015. An ice cream chain in China's commercial hub Shanghai is offering a lickable likeness of the head of executed Japanese war criminal Hideki Tojo to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
A woman sells an ice cream in the shape of executed Japanese war criminal Hideki Tojo at an ice cream store in Shanghai on September 2, 2015. An ice cream chain in China's commercial hub Shanghai is offering a lickable likeness of the head of executed Japanese war criminal Hideki Tojo to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. 
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 02: Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shankes hands with South Korean President Park Geun-hye (L) at The Great Hall Of The People on September 2, 2015 in Beijing, China. South Korean President Park Geun-hye will attend the Chinese People's Anti-Japanese War and the World Anti-Fascist War 70th anniversary victory parade on September 3. 
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 02: Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shankes hands with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi (L) during the signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People on September 2, 2015 in Beijing, China. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi will attend the Chinese People's Anti-Japanese War and the World Anti-Fascist War 70th anniversary victory parade on September 3. 
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 01: Chinese visitors looks at a display showing the five leaders of Communist China during a visit to the Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression on September 1, 2015 in Beijing, China. The museum is dedicated to Chinese people's resistance against Japanese aggression in the Second World War during Japan's brutal occupation of parts of China and the rise of the Communist Party in the post-war era. China is marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and its role in defeating Japan with a new national holiday and a military parade in Beijing on Thursday. Some critics say the holiday foments anti-Japan sentiment in mainland China and helps to fuel regional tension.
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 01: A Chinese girls walks passed a skull said to be that of a villager killed by Japanese troops in the Second World War during a visit to the Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression on September 1, 2015 in Beijing, China. The museum is dedicated to Chinese people's resistance against Japanese aggression in the Second World War during Japan's brutal occupation of parts of China and the rise of the Communist Party in the post-war era. China is marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and its role in defeating Japan with a new national holiday and a military parade in Beijing on Thursday. Some critics say the holiday foments anti-Japan sentiment in mainland China and helps to fuel regional tension.
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 01: Chinese visitors visit a display showing a painting of Chinese soldiers in battle againstg Japanese troops in the Second World War during a visit to the Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression on September 1, 2015 in Beijing, China. The museum is dedicated to Chinese people's resistance against Japanese aggression in the Second World War during Japan's brutal occupation of parts of China and the rise of the Communist Party in the post-war era. China is marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and its role in defeating Japan with a new national holiday and a military parade in Beijing on Thursday. Some critics say the holiday foments anti-Japan sentiment in mainland China and helps to fuel regional tension. 
A Chinese policewoman is pictured in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 1, 2015, prior to a military parade on September 3 to mark the victory over Japan and the end of World War II. 
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 01: Red flags decorate around an old building located at southwest of Tiananmen Square ahead of China's 9.3 V-Day military parade on September 1, 2015 in Beijing, China. A military parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be held in Tiananmen on September 3 in Beijing. 
This photo taken on August 31, 2015 shows egg sculptures themed in China's WWII anniversary created by elderly farmer Li Aimin in Zouping, east China's Shandong province. Soldiers will march, gleaming hardware will roll, and warplanes will fly above Tiananmen Square at China's WWII anniversary parade, but major Western leaders are shunning the show as Beijing assumes an increasingly assertive role on the global stage. 
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 01: The five-starred red flag hangs on a house of Hutong near Tiananmen square to welcome the Sep.3 military parade on September 1, 2015 in Beijing, China. China will hold a military parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the victory of Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-fascist War on September 3 in Beijing.
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 31: Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shankes hands with Laos' President Choummaly Sayasone during the signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People on August 31, 2015 in Beijing, China. Laos' President Choummaly Sayasone will attend the September 3, 2015 Chinese People's Anti-Japanese War and the World Anti-Fascist War 70th anniversary victory parade. 
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 31: Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) accompanies Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev (R) to view an honour guard during a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People on August 31, 2015 in Beijing, China. Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev will attend the September 3, 2015 Chinese People's Anti-Japanese War and the World Anti-Fascist War 70th anniversary victory parade. 
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 30: BEIJING, CHINA - August 30: (CHINA OUT) Venezuelan troops get train for the 9.3 military parade on August 30, 2015 in Beijing, China. China will hold a military parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the victory of Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-fascist War on September 3 in Beijing. 
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 29: A female Soldier of The Military Band of the Chinese People's Liberation Army practices for the 9.3 military parade at Tiananmen on August 29, 2015 in Beijing, China. A military parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the victories of World War II would be held at Tiananmen on September 3 in Beijing. 
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 29: Female Soldiers of The Military Band of the Chinese People's Liberation Army talk about their rehearsal of the 9.3 military parade at Tiananmen on August 29, 2015 in Beijing, China. A military parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the victories of World War II would be held at Tiananmen on September 3 in Beijing. 
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 29: The five-starred red flags hang on houses near Andingmen Subdistrict to welcome the Sep.3 military parade on August 29, 2015 in Beijing, China. China will hold a military parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the victory of Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-fascist War on September 3 in Beijing.
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The Defence Ministry said the cuts would be mostly complete by the end of 2017. The move is likely part of long-mooted military rationalization plans, which have included spending more money on high-tech weapons for the navy and air force. Troop numbers have been cut three times already since the 1980s.

"Prejudice and discrimination, hatred and war can only cause disaster and pain," Xi said under a clear blue sky. "China will always uphold the path of peaceful development."

He then descended to Beijing's main thoroughfare and inspected rows of troops, riding past them in a black limousine and bellowing repeatedly: "Hello comrades, hard-working comrades!"

More than 12,000 soldiers, mostly Chinese but with contingents from Russia and elsewhere, then marched down Changan Avenue, led by veterans of World War Two carried in vehicles.

They were followed by ballistic missiles, tanks and armored vehicles, many never seen in public before. Advanced fighter jets and bombers flew overhead in a highly choreographed spectacle that lasted around 90 minutes.

Among the weapons China unveiled for the first time was an anti-ship ballistic missile, the Dongfeng-21D, which is reportedly capable of destroying an aircraft carrier with one hit.

Also shown were several intercontinental ballistic missiles such as the DF-5B and the DF-31A as well as the DF-26 intermediate range ballistic missile, dubbed the "Guam killer" in reference to a U.S. Pacific Ocean base.

President Xi Jinping announced on Thursday he would cut troop levels by 300,000 asChina held its biggest display of military might in a parade to commemorate victory overJapan in World War Two, an event shunned by most Western leaders.

China's confidence in its armed forces and growing military assertiveness, especially in the disputed South China Sea, has rattled the region and drawn criticism from Washington.

Xi, speaking on a rostrum overlooking Beijing's Tiananmen Square before the parade began, said China would cut by 13 percent one of the world's biggest militaries, currently 2.3-million strong.

The Defence Ministry said the cuts would be mostly complete by the end of 2017. The move is likely part of long-mooted military rationalization plans, which have included spending more money on high-tech weapons for the navy and air force. Troop numbers have been cut three times already since the 1980s.

"Prejudice and discrimination, hatred and war can only cause disaster and pain," Xi said under a clear blue sky. "China will always uphold the path of peaceful development."

He then descended to Beijing's main thoroughfare and inspected rows of troops, riding past them in a black limousine and bellowing repeatedly: "Hello comrades, hard-working comrades!"

More than 12,000 soldiers, mostly Chinese but with contingents from Russia and elsewhere, then marched down Changan Avenue, led by veterans of World War Two carried in vehicles.

They were followed by ballistic missiles, tanks and armored vehicles, many never seen in public before. Advanced fighter jets and bombers flew overhead in a highly choreographed spectacle that lasted around 90 minutes.

Among the weapons China unveiled for the first time was an anti-ship ballistic missile, the Dongfeng-21D, which is reportedly capable of destroying an aircraft carrier with one hit.

Also shown were several intercontinental ballistic missiles such as the DF-5B and the DF-31A as well as the DF-26 intermediate range ballistic missile, dubbed the "Guam killer" in reference to a U.S. Pacific Ocean base.

CHINESE NAVY IN BERING SEA

Xi has set great store on China's military modernization, including developing an ocean-going "blue water" navy capable of defending the country's growing global interests.

In a sign of that emerging capability, five Chinese Navy ships were sailing in international waters in the Bering Sea off Alaska, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, at a time when U.S. President Barack Obama is touring the state.

China's Defence Ministry said the ships were there as part of routine drills not aimed at any particular country.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said it was the first time the United States had seen Chinese navy ships in the Bering Sea.

"It is living up to what the Chinese have been saying, 'We are now a blue water navy. We will operate in the far seas and we are a global presence'," said Dean Cheng, a Chinaexpert at the Heritage Foundation think-tank in Washington.

Xi will meet Obama in Washington for talks later this month that will be dominated by a host of issues, including China's growing military reach.

Beijing was locked down to ensure nothing went wrong at the parade, with much of the downtown off-limits, a three-day holiday declared and ordinary people kept well away.

"This parade and patriotism are two separate things," said Mi Guoxian, who had come to Beijing for a wedding, standing on a nearly deserted street behind a line of police.

"This is for the national leaders."

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