Chinese president oversees military parade in show of might

BEIJING (AP) — China’s military has the “confidence and capability” to bolster the country’s rise into a world power, President Xi Jinping said Sunday as he oversaw a large-scale military parade meant to show off the forces at his command to foreign and domestic audiences.

Live state television broadcasts showed Xi, dressed in fatigues and speaking from an open-top jeep, telling his troops that China needed a strong military “more than ever” as it moved “closer to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

Xi, who commands the People’s Liberation Army as chairman of the Central Military Commission, has frequently spoken of his “China Dream” to restore China to a leadership position in international affairs with a modern, far-reaching military force to match.

The parade at the Zhurihe military training base in China’s Inner Mongolia region was also a sign domestically of how Xi has enhanced his control over the PLA, just as he has over every other political power base within the sprawling Communist Party, ahead of a pivotal party congress this autumn.

A Communist Party “princeling” fond of deploying revolutionary lore and nationalistic rhetoric, Xi declared the PLA ready to defeat all “invading enemies” as he celebrated the 90th anniversary of the PLA’s founding. It was the first time a parade has been held to mark the occasion.

“The PLA has the confidence and capability to defeat all invading enemies and safeguard China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests,” Xi said as he inspected troops, armored vehicles, missiles and aircraft, hailing each formation by shouting “Comrades, you’ve worked hard!”

“We need to build a strong people’s military more than any other time in history,” Xi said, who served briefly in the military as an aide to the defense minister and last year assumed the title of commander in chief of the military’s Joint Operations Command Center, whose insignia he wore on the camouflage battle dress.

The forces addressed him as “Chairman Xi” as they rumbled past. The parade was blanketed by state media coverage and streamed for foreign audiences on YouTube, which is blocked inside China.

On display were advanced weaponry including a new Dongfeng-31AG variant of the nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile and the Dongfeng-21D “carrier killer.” Several H-6K bombers, the long-range aircraft recently involved in exercises near Japan and the South China Sea, were shown flying by overhead.

Xi has emphasized…

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