China puts growing military might on full display at 70th anniversary
BEIJING: China put its growing military might on full display yesterday with a parade of new ballistic missiles, supersonic drones and more.
The procession across Tiananmen Square underscored a level of material and technological innovation increasingly viewed as a threat to US dominance.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who reviewed the troops before the parade marking 70 years of Communist Party rule, has pushed for the People's Liberation Army to become a "world-class" military by mid-century.
Mr Xi, in a slate grey Mao suit and accompanied by his predecessors Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, said China would pursue a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up. The military should safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests, and uphold world peace, Mr Xi told a handpicked crowd, in comments carried live on state TV.
"No force can ever shake the status of China, or stop the Chinese people and nation from marching forward," he said from the Gate of Heavenly Peace, where Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
China must maintain lasting prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macau, promote the peaceful development of relations with self-ruled Taiwan and "continue to strive for the motherland's complete reunification", he added.
One of the standout new additions on display was the intercontinental ballistic missile DF-41, which can possibly carry up to 10 nuclear warheads and reach any point in the US.
State news agency Xinhua said the Dongfeng-41 missiles are "the mainstay of China's strategic nuclear strength".
Another star was the ballistic missile JL-2, which can be fired from a submarine and is equipped with a nuclear charge.
Its supposed 8,000km range would allow it to reach Alaska and parts of the western US, according to military information company Jane's.
A new cruise missile, the DF-100, is reputed to travel beyond the speed of sound and can neutralise aircraft carriers.
The short-to-medium-range DF-17 missile made its public debut. It is believed to be capable of releasing a "hypersonic glider" from the edge of space, with a tough-to-predict trajectory.
For the first time, Beijing showed off its WZ-8 drone, a supersonic reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle that could be deployed by aircraft.
Anti-terrorist assault vehicles and armoured anti-riot vehicles also rolled through the square, which Xinhua said was "mainly used to crack down on terrorism and violence" and used for "dealing with emergencies and fighting riots".
Xinhua said 40 per cent of the weaponry displayed was new and all the armaments were made domestically. - AFP, REUTERS