BEIJING – Nearly 1,000 foreign troops from 17 countries will participate in China’s military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on Sept. 03, a military official said on Friday.
Although China has so far held 14 military parades to mark National Day, the parade next month will be the first commemorating the anniversary of the end of WWII and the victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. It is also the first time that foreign armies will participate in a military parade in China.
Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan, Mexico, Mongolia, Pakistan, Serbia, Tajikistan and Russia have dispatched formations to march in the parade, said Qu Rui, deputy chief of the Operations Department of the General Staff Headquarters of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Each formation consists of around 75 people.
Another six countries — Afghanistan, Cambodia, Fiji, Laos, Vanuatu and Venezuela — sent teams of around seven people each, he said.
The troops will be grouped alphabetically according to their country names, and will follow PLA foot formations in the parade.
Thirty-one countries, including France and Republic of Korea, have also promised to send high-level military delegations.
“Victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression was not only a victory for the Chinese people, but also for people from around the world,” according to Qu.
“The participation of foreign formations, representative teams and military delegations manifests the international nature of the war. We firmly believe that the commemoration activities will cement trust between the PLA and foreign troops participating in the parade,” h said.
All foreign troops have already arrived at the parade training base and are training with their Chinese counterparts. They participated in parade rehearsals on Thursday and Saturday last week.
Qu shrugged off concern over the absence of troops from the United States, Japan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, saying that “history would not be changed by the attitude of certain countries.”
“We respect countries’ choices over whether to come or not, and we will extend our warmest welcome for all foreign troops and delegations that have decided to come,” he said.
The Sept. 3 parade will include more than 10,000 Chinese troops, who will pass the giant rostrum in central Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, either on foot or in vehicles, while close to 200 military aircraft fly in formations overhead.
China will also showcase its military sophistication by rolling out 27 armament formations. Most of the weaponry and equipment has never been shown to the public before.