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China WWII 'Victory' Parade Showcases Military Strength

People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft and vehicles drive in formation past the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing. 
China has put on its biggest display of military might in a parade to commemorate the defeat of Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by many Western leaders but underscored Beijing's growing confidence in its armed forces. In his opening speech, President Xi Jinping paid tribute to the Chinese people who "unwaveringly fought hard and defeated aggression" from Japan. He also announced that China would cut 300,000 personnel from the People's Liberation Army, but he did not give a time frame for the troop reduction. 

More than 12,000 troops, mostly Chinese but with contingents from Russia and elsewhere, marched through Beijing's central Tiananmen Square. They were accompanied by a range of ballistic missiles, tanks and armoured vehicles, many never seen in public before, as advanced fighter jets and bombers flew overhead. For Xi, who presided over China's biggest event of the year, the parade was a welcome distraction from the country's plunging stock markets, slowing economy and recent blasts at a chemical warehouse that killed 145 people.

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