Beijing, Sep 3 (IANS) China on Thursday held a grand parade with 12,000 troops, 200 fighter jets and 500 drones and missiles rolling through Beijing under clear, smog-free skies, marking the 70th anniversary of its victory over Japan and end of the Second World War.
It was the first Chinese military parade marking any anniversary of the war and the first with foreign military participation, Xinhua news agency reported.
Presiding over the extravaganza at Tiananmen Square, President Xi Jinping said that China would remain committed to “the path of peaceful development” and unexpectedly pledged to cut 300,000 troops from its 2.3-million strong military.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, South Korean President Park Geun-hye, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain, former British prime minister Tony Blair and former German chancellor Gerhard Schroede also attended the parade.
Nearly 1,000 foreign troops from 17 countries also participated, including a 75-member formation dispatched by Russia.
Ten foot formations of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were named after the most famous anti-Japanese army units. This was the first time that the PLA had organised a parade in such a way.
Veterans of both the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Kuomintang (KMT) who fought the Japanese participated.
About 84 percent of armaments displayed in the parade had never been viewed by the public previously.
Some 40,000 people were present in Tiananmen Square, which could be the largest live audience to watch any parade in China.