Philippine Daily Inquirer - - WORLD -

BEI­JING— Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping stressed the need to build a world-class mil­i­tary ca­pa­ble of “de­feat­ing all in­vad­ing en­e­mies” and loyal to the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party, at a ma­jor pa­rade on Sun­day.

The event—fea­tur­ing 12,000 ser­vice per­son­nel and about 700 air­craft and pieces of ground equip­ment—marked the 90th an­niver­sary of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (PLA), now the world’s largest mil­i­tary.

It was the first time Xi has ob­served a pa­rade of this size staged in the field, ac­cord­ing to the de­fense min­istry.

Since com­ing to power in 2012, the pres­i­dent has trum­peted the need to build a stronger com­bat-ready mil­i­tary, while lead­ing ef­forts to cen­tral­ize the Com­mu­nist Party’s con­trol over it.

“The world is not all at peace. Peace must be safe­guarded,” Xi, wear­ing a cam­ou­flage mil­i­tary uni­form, said in a speech at the ex­pan­sive Zhurihe train­ing base in the In­ner Mon­go­lia Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion.

“To­day we are closer than ever be­fore to the goal of the great re­ju­ve­na­tion of the Chi­nese na­tion, and—more than any other time in his­tory—we need to build a strong peo­ple’s mil­i­tary,” he said.

“I be­lieve that our heroic Army has the con­fi­dence and ca­pa­bil­ity to de­feat all in­vad­ing en­e­mies.”

Xi also or­dered the PLA to “unswerv­ingly stick to ... the party’s ab­so­lute lead­er­ship,” say­ing the mil­i­tary should “march to wher­ever the party is point­ing.”

De­fense min­istry spokesper­son Ren Guo­qiang said in a state­ment that the pa­rade was in­tended to cre­ate a “good at­mos­phere” be­fore a cru­cial party congress later this year, at which Xi is ex­pected to fur­ther con­sol­i­date his grip on power.

At Zhurihe, a base ex­tend­ing more than 1,000 square kilo­me­ters, rows upon rows of sol­diers marched in per­fect uni­son and he­li­copters flew over­head in a “90” for­ma­tion.


SHOWOFF DAY Troops of China’s Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army raise the col­ors dur­ing a mil­i­tary pa­rade to com­mem­o­rate its 90th an­niver­sary on Aug. 1.

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