World leaders and citizens watch as China displays military might during a parade to mark 70 years of victory over Japan in World War Two. Julie Noce reports.
In a display of military might, China held a massive parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War Two. Before the parade began President Xi Jinping said China would cut their military by 13 percent and touted efforts towards a more peaceful role on the world stage. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE PRESIDENT, XI JINPING, SAYING (PARTLY OVERLAID WITH SHOT 28): "Prejudice and discrimination, hatred and war can only cause disaster and pain. Mutual respect and building relationships with each other on equal terms, peaceful development, (and) joint prosperity are the only ways (this can be done) in the world." The event was attended by some world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, and North Korean Envoy Choe Ryong-hae. Diplomats said many Western leaders rebuffed invitations to attend because they were unhappy with the guest list and wary of the message China would send with the show of strength. But for Chinese citizens, the parade evoked a sense of national pride. With the sounds of military planes flying overhead, residents watching the parade at home ran outdoors to catch a glimpse of the action. I feel really excited because our country is flourishing, this woman said. I feel really happy to see the country like this. For the government, the event is a welcomed distraction from the country's plunging stock markets, slowing economy and recent blasts at a chemical warehouse that killed at least 160 people.