China's first military parade marking the end of World War II will not be an exercise in "muscle-flexing", the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
"The goal is to show that China and the people of the world have the capability and determination to defend peace," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news conference in Beijing.
The parade was one of several activities announced by Beijing late on Monday to mark the 70th anniversary of victory in WWII and the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).
President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders will attend the parade and other events including a rally, a reception and an evening gala in Beijing, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, without giving specific dates.
Hua said China will invite leaders of "all countries relevant to the commemoration" and international bodies to attend the events.
The parade, which will probably be held in September, will be the first such event in the capital since Xi took office and will mark a rare departure from the practice of staging parades every five or 10 years on Oct 1, China's National Day.
National political adviser Yin Zhuo said this year's parade may be smaller than those held on National Day, but it may showcase key military equipment and will honor special delegations, including those of military veterans.
Yin, also director of the Expert Consultation Committee of the People's Liberation Army navy, said it is vital to show the world through the parade that China is a staunch supporter of the current world order, and is not seeking to challenge or destroy it.
Dong Manyuan, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said it is common practice for countries to stage parades marking key days, and the Chinese one aims to demonstrate the nation’s capability and desire to work with the international community to uphold the postwar order.
The decision to hold the parade comes as people in some countries want to blur their wartime history and destroy the world order that has ensured 70 years of peace, Dong said.
China was a main battlefield in Asia and engaged the bulk of Japanese ground troops from 1937. In the next eight years, allied forces killed and wounded about 1.95 million Japanese soldiers, with about 70 percent of these casualties occurring in China.