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Troops gather for parade

Zhao Lei
Updated: Aug 22,2015 10:33 AM     China Daily

Female honor guards train at a camp in Beijing ahead of the military parade in the capital city on Sept 3.[Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

Most of the weapons shown in the event to be on public display for the first time.

More than 10 countries will send armed service members to march in Tian’anmen Square to mark the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II, said a senior officer from the People’s Liberation Army.

“Their participation is a clear indication of the hope of jointly commemorating the victory of the world anti-fascist war, and a symbol of the pursuit and aspiration for enduring world peace,” Major General Qu Rui, deputy director of the PLA General Staff Headquarters’ Combat Operations Department and deputy head of the PLA Parade Leading Team, said at a news conference in Beijing on Aug 21 afternoon.

Most of the foreign units have arrived at parade training bases in Beijing and are conducting training and joint drills with the Chinese units, according to Qu.

Major General Wang Shun, deputy chief of staff of the PLA Beijing Military Command and deputy director of the Office of the PLA Parade Joint Command, said the PLA dispatched liaison officers and interpreters to each of the foreign units and would ensure they have a nice stay in Beijing.

“We offer them buffets in Chinese and Western styles so they can choose foods that suit their tastes. There are laundries, clinics, supermarkets, bathhouses, bank counters, as well as football fields and swimming pools in their barracks,” Wang said.

According to earlier reports, at least four foreign military units have arrived in Beijing. The earliest guests from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan arrived in Beijing on Aug 16 night.

More than 100 honor guards from Kazakhstan flew to Beijing on Aug 17. They were followed by 85 Russian soldiers who arrived in Beijing on Aug 18 morning, Russian media said.

In addition to the appearance of foreign military representatives, the PLA will also highlight a large number of new weapons, aiming to display achievements in the PLA’s modernization drive, according to Qu.

Eighty-four percent of the weapons appearing in the parade will be displayed for the first time, he said, including the PLA navy’s aircraft carrier-based fighter jets.

Qu also said veterans who fought in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45) will take part in the parade in two vehicle formations. Their average age is 90.

Lieutenant Hao Weijian of the PLA Guards of Honor, who participated in the parade in Moscow on May 9, said he is looking forward to communicating with his foreign counterparts.

“All of us will march in Tian’anmen Square. We Chinese soldiers are determined to be at our best. I believe our foreign counterparts have the same aspiration, so the parade will be a perfect occasion for us to learn from each other and deepen our friendship,” he said.