China put on its biggest display of military might Thursday in a parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War Two, an event shunned by most Western leaders but which underscored Beijing’s growing confidence in its armed forces.
President Xi Jinping, speaking on a rostrum overlooking Beijing’s Tiananmen Square before the parade began, offered an unexpected olive branch by saying China would cut its troop levels by 300,000. That would streamline one of the world’s biggest militaries, currently around 2.3-million strong.
Xi gave no timeframe for the troop cut, adding China would always “walk down 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!” Read More