49 nations to attend ceremony
Senior Chinese officials have confirmed that representatives of 49 countries and 30 foreign leaders will attend China’s V-Day celebrations on Sept 3. Seventeen countries will join the morning military parade, with participants from six continents.
Chinese and European analysts pinned high hopes on the message of peace to be delivered because the September gathering is representative and the contributions made by the Chinese people to end the war should not be forgotten.
In addition to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Republic of Korea President Park Geun-hye, attending heads of state will include Myanmar President Thein Sein and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Britain will send former justice minister Kenneth Clarke, France will be represented by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and the United States will be represented by its ambassador to China.
“Whoever comes here are all our guests and are all welcome,” Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Ming told a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday, after being asked if China is satisfied with the number and scale of the foreign guests.
Choe Ryonghae, a member of the Politburo Presidium and the secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, will lead a delegation from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the ceremonies, Zhang confirmed. Choe visited China in 2013 as a special envoy of DPRK leader Kim Jong-un.
The events, including a military parade, a reception and a gala, will commemorate the 70th anniversary of victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (193745) and the end of World War II.
Guo Weimin, vice-minister of the State Council Information Office, said President Xi Jinping will participate in an event on Sept 2 to present commemorative medals to Chinese veterans.
They include those from forces led by both the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang, according to Guo.
Qiao Liang, a professor with the National Defense University of the People’s Liberation Army, said the events honor veterans of all forces and send the signal that “anyone who stood up at the critical moment of the country deserves our respect”.
Peter van Tuijl, executive director of Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, said “the Chinese people suffered tremendously during World War II and contributed significantly to the victory of the Allied Forces”.
Van Tuijl appreciates the parade of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army “as a sign that the growing Chinese military capacities will operate within internationally agreed frameworks as a force for peace”.
Adam Cathcart, a lecturer in Chinese history at the University of Leeds in the UK, said the parade “has obviously been the focus of fastidious preparations and careful planning”.