BEIJING — Thirty heads of state, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Republic of Korea President Park Geun-hye, will attend China’s V-Day celebrations on Sept 3, a senior official announced on Aug 25.
Zhang Ming, vice minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a press conference that attendees of the events, including a military parade, will also include government representatives from 19 countries and heads of 10 international organizations, including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Six former politicians, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, will also attend.
Other heads of state and government leaders coming to Beijing include President of Myanmar Thein Sein, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang and Choe Ryong-hae, a senior official of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Ambassadors and envoys to China will also be present, said Zhang.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is not on the list. Asked about Abe’s absence, Zhang said, “We have stressed several times that the celebrations are not targeting specific countries, not Japan, nor the Japanese people. It has no direct link to current Sino-Japanese relations.”
The vice minister said China has always advocated improving Sino-Japanese relations.
Commenting on top leaders of the United States, Britain and France not attending China’s celebrations, he said, “We have invited leaders of relevant countries to join the Chinese people to celebrate this great day. But it is their own decision. For us, we respect and welcome all guests.”
Dismissing concerns that China is flexing its muscles through the parade, Zhang said the country is only demonstrating its aspiration for peace and a firm will to defend it. “I believe China’s peaceful development will continue to win the world’s support, understanding and blessing.”