DIPLOMACY

Xi Jinping leads PLA in Moscow war victory parade

President makes PLA 'debut' as Moscow marks 70th anniversary of victory in second world war

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 May, 2015, 4:20pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 May, 2015, 12:44pm

President Xi Jinping has for the first time led the PLA in an official debut at yesterday's Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square, marking closer bilateral ties with Russia while China extends moral support amid a Western boycott, say experts.

Xinhua reported that the 112-member guard of honour of the three services of the Chinese People's Liberation Army marched on the Red Square yesterday on the 70th anniversary of victory in the second world war.

It is the fifth time the PLA guard of honour has marched on foreign soil but the first to be led by the top leader. Xi is also chairman of the PLA's powerful Central Military Commission.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, with Xi sitting on his right-hand side, was joined by some 20 other leaders of nations and international organisations in the commemorative event under the Kremlin's walls, including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Western leaders boycotted the parade over Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis.

Addressing the thousands of foreign guests and veterans, Putin said: "Our fathers and grandfathers went through unbearable suffering, deprivation and loss," praising the country's war heroes and the "grandeur of victory over Nazism".

In an apparent dig at the United States, Putin also criticised attempts to establish a "unipolar" world order and stressed the need to develop a "system of equal security for all states".

Watch: Putin hosts huge World War II victory parade amid Western snub

Thousands of Russian troops marched across Red Square, tanks rumbled through the streets and jets screamed overhead, marking the anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany.

Tian Chunsheng, an analyst at State Council's Russian Development Research Centre, said the parade carried remarkable historical values as China and Russia were two major battlefields in the second world war while both have made historical contributions in defeating fascist forces.

"It sends a message to the world that China stands by Russia at a challenging time, extending moral support amid Western leaders' isolation," Tian said.

"It is also an opportunity for Russia to tell the world that if it could overcome world war two battles, it would also not be threatened by ongoing Western economic sanctions," she added.

Ni Lexiong, a Shanghai-based military commentator, said the parade is also a diplomatic gesture in response to recent military moves by the US and Japan.

"This is a counter-measure in light of recent moves by the United States relaxing military activity restrictions on Japan by allowing it to have a more active role in the South China Sea and other world affairs," Ni said.

The event came a day after Russia and China signed a plethora of deals, including billions in infrastructure loans for Moscow.