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Military set for National Day parade: spokesman
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All the troops and equipment for China's massive National Day celebrations on Oct. 1 in Beijing were ready for the final showcase after four months of preparations and rehearsals, a spokesman at the joint headquarters for the military parade said Wednesday.

Maj.-Gen. Gao Jianguo said at a press conference that all the weapon systems to be shown in the parade were domestically produced hardware.

The once-in-a-decade military display involving about 5,000 personnel, tanks, missile-carrying vehicles and more than 150 aircraft began preparations and training in several military bases on Beijing's outskirts in May.

The spokesman said that after a dress rehearsal last Friday night in which the soldiers marched in front of Tian'anmen Square on Chang'an Avenue, the ground formations were ready for the 66-minute parade.

At 11:00 a.m. Monday, 151 aircraft, some trailing colorful smoke, roared through the air over the square in the only rehearsal for the parade's aircraft formations, attracting the attention of residents.

Although not giving a specific amount for the parade's total cost, Gao said that its organization and operation have been conducted in a cost-effective way.

"The designing and planning of the parade are realized by computer simulation with the aid of three-dimensional software to improve efficiency and reduce costs," Gao said.

"All the uniforms and weapons used in training and the final parade are in active service," he added.

Gao also dismissed the allegation that a powerful military capacity shown by the high-profile parade might worry China's neighboring countries, saying that holding a military parade on major festivals is an international practice.

"The parade will embody China's economic and technological progress with new achievements in the modernization of its national defense," Gao said.

"Whether a country's military power would raise threats to other nations depends on the nature of the country's defense policies," he explained.

This echoes what President Hu Jintao said in a meeting with foreign naval commanders this April that China would never seek hegemony, an arms race or military expansion now and in the future, and would adhere to its long-claimed defensive strategy on nuclear weapons, the spokesman added.

(Xinhua News Agency September 23, 2009)

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