‘Sensitive’ arms exhibited in parade rehearsal
(Source: Global Times) 2015-08-24
Troops from at least 10 foreign countries among parade formations
A formation of military helicopters flies over Tiananmen Square on Sunday during a rehearsal of a parade to mark the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II. Photo: Xinhua
The showcasing of China's most advanced weaponry, including what is known as the aircraft carrier-killer missile, at the rehearsal for a major military parade in Beijing indicates greater transparency and confidence in China's military issues, experts said Sunday.
More than 10,000 servicemen and women, about 500 military vehicles and nearly 200 aircraft participated in the full-dress rehearsal for the military parade, which will be staged on September 3 in Tiananmen Square and along Chang'an Avenue in downtown Beijing, the Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday. The rehearsal attracted nationwide attention.
The parade will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.
Despite sealed-off roads, a large number of local residents lined the streets or watched from buildings the display of China's state-of-the-art armament, as fighter jets with colored vapor trails flew overhead.
During the rehearsal that took place from Saturday night to Sunday morning, all the new weapons and equipment from the army, navy, air force and Second Artillery Force debuted in stunning fashion, Song Zhongping, a military affairs commentator, told the Global Times.
Citing V-type air echelons as an example, he said that the graceful shape of the aircraft formations symbolizes victory.
Song pointed out that one highlight of the parade that could be told from the rehearsal is the large-scale showcase for missiles, since there would be as many as six formations to display them.
Seven types of missiles will be paraded, marking the largest ever demonstration, according to Xinhua.
"The latest weaponry - the DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile that could reach a major US base in Guam in the western Pacific, and the most potent missile, the DF-5 intercontinental ballistic missile, were seen in the rehearsal," Shao Yongling, a senior colonel from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Second Artillery Command College, told the Global Times on Sunday.
Shao noted that the "DF-21D anti-aircraft carrier ballistic missile that the US believes is targeting it, also was seen for the first time, without concealing its model number."
Previous military parades avoided showcasing "sensitive" weaponry, and this surprisingly transparent rehearsal would present China's greater confidence in its military strength this time and project the image of a responsible world power, she said.
Fu Qianshao, a Beijing-based air defense expert, told the Global Times Sunday that the latest J-15 fighter jet, which is deployed on aircraft carriers, appeared at the rehearsal. Its combat ability has reached world-class levels, he said.
This is the first time that China has commemorated the hard-fought war with a military parade, and also the first time foreign troops have been invited to participate in a Chinese parade.
All formations, including troops from at least 10 nations in Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania and the Americas, as well as WWII veterans, were present while about 35,000 guests observed the parade.
The veterans, who rode in minibuses in two formations, represent the counter-Japanese forces led by both the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Kuomintang (KMT).
The two formations also included the sons and daughters of fallen soldiers from the two parties.
The veterans' average age is 90 and they all live on the Chinese mainland, said Qu Rui, deputy director of the Office of the Parade Leading Team and deputy chief of the Operations Department of the General Staff Headquarters, told a Friday press conference.
Taiwan's Central News Agency reported in June that the Veterans Affairs Council had dissuaded veterans who received an invitation from the mainland from attending the parade.
"This is the first time that the Chinese mainland invited KMT veterans to the military parade, indicating that the CPC, which put aside divided political views with the KMT, has attempted to seek common ground magnanimously," Major General Luo Yuan, a vice-president of the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association, told the Global Times.
"Working together to combat Japanese forces some 70 years ago could serve as a paradigm for future cooperation," Luo noted.
Active units of heroic and model Chinese troops, including the Eighth Route Army, the New Fourth Army, the Northeast China Anti-Japanese United Forces and the South China Guerrillas, will march in the parade, Qu said.