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Commitment to peace, not to conflicts

By Li Daguang | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-09-25 15:21

Militia women train on Sept 17 for a massive parade on Tuesday in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. KUANG LINHUA/CHINA DAILY

Five-year and 10-year anniversaries have always been of great importance to the Chinese people. No wonder a grand parade has been planned for Oct 1 to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The parade, the biggest ever, according to the organizers, apart from highlighting China’s achievements in other fields, will also showcase some advanced weapons for the first time.

As is the international practice, a parade acts as a platform for a country to demonstrate its military strength, which could act as deterrence to belligerent foreign powers and reassurance to the Chinese that the country can defend itself against any attacks.

The parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the PRC is the first big parade since China enters into the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics. And the parade will, in a way, review the achievements of the past 10 years in the defense and military sector as well as present the aspirations for the new era.

With 59 formations and a joint military band, about 15,000 people, 160 aircraft and 580 pieces of weaponry and equipment, the parade will be the largest in scale and richest in substance. That’s why people are looking forward to it.

The parade will also showcase the achievements of the military reforms, particularly the military command system reform, and the optimization of size, structure and force composition, apart from highlighting the high level of the military's informatization and its capability in real combat.

The organizers have used an innovative design and form, complete with historical elements, to create a ceremonial atmosphere for the parade, which will present China’s military construction through soldiers, armaments and aircraft formations.

The soldier formation will reflect the transformation of the command system and composition of the forces. Not only the main military branches — People’s Liberation Army Ground Force, PLA Navy, PLA Air Force, PLA Rocket Force, the People’s Armed Police Force — but also the newly established PLA Strategic Support Force and PLA Joint Logistic Support Force will participate in the parade.

The armament formation will showcase the achievements of independent innovation, and the research and development of the military science and technology industry. Accordingly, self-developed in-service weapons and those with advanced combat capabilities will be in focus, and many of them will be on show for the first time, including airborne early warning and control, new radars, unmanned aerial vehicles and communications satellites.

As for the aircraft formation, they will reflect China's systematic air combat capabilities.

Besides, other formations will be equipped with new combat weapons instead of traditional weapons, with more new armed police, and high-tech and special forces taking the place of some PLA Ground Force’s formations.

The National Day military parade will see the debut of PLA forces since their comprehensive reforms, adhering to the general principle of "the Central Military Commission exercising overall leadership, the Theater Commands responsible for military operations, and the services focusing on developing capabilities".

Following the parade to mark the 70the anniversary of the victory of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45) on Sept 3, 2015, the parade at the Zhurihe Training Base in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region on July 30, 2017, and the PLA Navy parade on April 23, 2019, the Oct 1 parade will show the steady progress China has made in building a world-class military.

Some have claimed the military parade is a “waste of money” or “show of military muscle to the world”, but the parade is being held based on the principle of reasonable expenditure and to inspire both the PLA and the Chinese people to endeavor to achieve the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

And to those in other countries speculating about the purpose of the military parade suffice it to say there is nothing untoward in the display of China’s military power, as it is not intended as a threat to any country.

A country as vast as China needs a strong military in order to safeguard its territorial integrity and national interests. And as Chinese leaders have emphasized on many occasions, China’s rise will be peaceful because it is committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind.

The author is a researcher at the National Defense University of the People’s Liberation Army. The views don’t necessarily represent those of China Daily.

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