Parade display of might 'not a threat'

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The nation's newest nuclear missiles will be among weapons on display during the military parade on Oct 1 that will mark the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.

The missiles will be on show along with an arsenal of other modern weaponry and equipment, 90 percent of which will be paraded for the first time, said General Gao Jianguo, executive deputy director of the office of the National Day Military Parade Joint Command.

"A total of 52 types of weapon will be on display in the parade, and all weapons and equipment were developed and made in China," he said.

Ten years ago, new fighter jets and a model of an intercontinental ballistic missile were shown in the military parade held to celebrate New China's 50th anniversary.

Gao said the display of military might is not about intimidating China's neighbors but a celebration of the country's achievements, something that is widely done around the world on such occasions.

"Also, a country's military ability is not a threat to anyone, what is important is its military policy," he said.

The comments echoed what President Hu Jintao said during a meeting with foreign naval commanders in April - that China would not seek an arms race or military expansion, now or in the future. Hu said the country was committed to a defensive strategy for nuclear weapons.

The Oct 1 parade will highlight China's economic and technological progress, hopefully boosting self-esteem and national pride, Gao said.

Peng Guangqian, a Beijing military strategist, said the parade will demonstrate to the public that China can defend itself.

Gao said troops and equipment were ready for the final showcase following four months of rehearsal.

He said a dress rehearsal Friday night, in which soldiers marched past Tian'anmen Square, assured him the ground formations were well prepared for the 66-minute parade.

On the big day, 14 blocks, each comprising 352 soldiers, will march past the country's leaders. Then, 30 blocks of weapons will pass, each comprising 18 vehicles.

Many aircraft will also fly over Tian'anmen Square during the celebration.

The military display is held on National Day once every 10 years and involves about 5,000 people as well as tanks, missile-carrying vehicles and more than 150 aircraft.

Those taking part began preparing in May.

This year's parade will feature fewer marching blocks than the 1999 parade but more blocks of weapons.

There will also be more representation this time from the navy, air force and artillery to showcase the modernized military to the world.

(China Daily September 24, 2009)


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