July 30 (UPI) — Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday presided over a military parade of 12,000 combat troops and hundreds of weapons and jets overhead, warning they will “defeat all enemies who dare to offend” the nation.
The event, held at the Zhurihe Combined Tactics Training Base — China’s largest military base and in the middle of a desert in Inner Mongolia — was the first to mark the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary. Past military parades have been held in Beijing, the capital.
Xi, wearing a camouflage uniform, told participating soldiers in battledress: “You shall be unswervingly loyal to the absolute leadership that the party has over the army, heed the call of the party, follow the party. You shall extend the battleground to wherever the party points towards.”
China remains in border stand-off with India and amid an escalating crisis involving North Korea‘s nuclear efforts.
“The world under heaven is not at peace, and peace needs safeguarding,” Xi said.
“I firmly believe that our heroic army has the confidence and capability to defeat all enemies who dare to offend [China].”
China’s defense ministry spokesperson, Ren Guoqiang, said in a statement that the parade was not targeted at China’s “surrounding situation,” but part of the yearly training schedule.
During the parade, more than 100 planes flew overhead and almost 600 types of weaponry were on display.
About 40 percent of the weapons on display had never before been seen by the public, including the J-20, China’s newest-generation stealth fighter, similar to the F-22 or F-35 in the U.S. military.
The last weapons rolled out were China’s nuclear warhead-capable ICBMs, which state TV announcers proudly called “symbols of a major power.” The DF-31AG mobile intercontinental ballistic missile are an upgrade to the DF-31A, introduced in 2009.
On Friday, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile, claiming it could reach all of the United States.
“I am very disappointed in China,” Trump said in a two-part post on Twitter on Saturday night. “Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”
The Chinese leader made no mention of Trump’s tweets, but Xi alluded to an increasingly important role for the 2 million members of the PLA,
“The world is not peaceful and peace needs to be defended,” he said. “Our heroic military has the confidence and capabilities to preserve national sovereignty, security and interests… and to contribute more to maintaining world peace.”