Chinese President Xi Jinping touted the need to build a “world-class” army capable of “defeating all invading enemies” at a military parade held on Sunday to mark the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Since coming to power in 2012, the president has trumpeted building a stronger, combat-ready army, while leading efforts to centralise the ruling Communist Party’s control over the PLA, the world’s largest standing military.
Sunday’s procession — including 12,000 service personnel and about 700 aircraft and pieces of ground equipment — marked the first time Xi has observed a parade of this size staged in the field, according to the ministry of defence.
“The world is not all at peace. Peace must be safeguarded,” Xi, wearing a camouflage military suit, said in a speech at the expansive Zhurihe training base in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous region.
“Today we are closer than ever before to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and — more than any other time in history — we need to build a strong people’s military.”