Location China China

China Focus: Landmark V-Day parade with wide foreign presence

BEIJING, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) — With participation of countries from Oriental, European and Pacific battlefields during World War II (WWII), a military parade in downtown Beijing on Thursday was a landmark jubilee among the world’s Victory Day commemorations.

Unlike a few commemorations in Europe that mostly involved countries on a specific warfare or battleground such as the Normandy Invasion, China’s military parade boasts much wider participation.

Twenty-three heads of state, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as a number of government representatives and heads of international organizations watched the parade that was joined by nearly 1,000 foreign troops from 17 countries.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said ahead of his China trip that the international community recognizes China’s contribution and sacrifice in WWII, and it is very important now for the world to learn from the past lessons and look forward in order to build a better world.

A number of WWII allied countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States and France, sent former Secretary of State for Justice, ambassador to China and Minister of Foreign Affairs as their representatives to the event respectively.

Prior to the military parade, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with the foreign guests.

Notably enough, former and incumbent leaders and officials from Germany and Italy, the two major Axis powers during WWII, were present in the events.

The presence of former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, although in personal capacity, showed that he faces up to history and has a vision for the future, said Chen Mingming, a member of the Public Diplomacy Advisory Panel under China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In a written interview with Xinhua, Schroeder said China made a very important contribution to the victory in WWII, which was little known to Europeans.

Italy sent the incumbent Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Paolo Gentiloni to witness the V-Day celebrations.

The broad participation of foreign countries in the events shows their recognition of China’s crucial role in WWII and their common aspiration for peace, Chen said.

China was the first country in the world to fight against Fascist forces when Japanese troops began invasion of northeast China on September 18, 1931.

Japan began its full-scale aggression of China in 1937. By the end of WWII, more than 35 million Chinese soldiers and civilians were killed or wounded.

A war memorial parade would be the best way to help the world gain a better understanding of China’s constructive role in WWII, said Chen.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-09/03/c_134583913.htm

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