China has revealed the list of world leaders who have confirmed their upcoming attendance of the grand Victory Day military parade to mark China’s resistance against Japanese aggression and the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.
Thirty heads of state and government leaders will attend China’s V-Day celebrations on Sept. 3, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, South Korean President Park Geun-Hye, and South African President Jacob Zuma, according to a press conference held by China’s State Council Information Office on Tuesday.
Other foreign leaders include Myanmar President Thein Sein, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will also attend.
Six former politicians including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama will also be attending the celebrations.
Reporters at the news conference showed interest about the leaders who will not attend the celebration, and how China’s leaders viewed that.
When asked about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s absence, Zhang Ming, vice minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made China’s stance on the matter clear.
“China has noticed that Abe will be skipping the event because of his parliamentary schedule. We have stressed several times that the celebrations are not targeting specific countries, not Japan or its people. It has no direct link to current Sino-Japanese relations.”
Zhang also said that China respects each country’s own decision and welcomes all guests when certain countries do not plan to send their top leaders to the parade.
“History would not be changed by the attitude of certain countries.”
The vice foreign minister also dismissed concerns that China will be flexing its military muscles through the parade.
“The country is only demonstrating its aspiration for peace and a firm will to defend it.”
Zhang reiterated that the celebration is to “remember history, pay tribute to the martyrs, cherish peace, and open up to the future.”
“I believe China’s peaceful development will continue to win the support, understanding and blessing of the world.”
This year’s parade marks the first non-National Day military parade, with nearly 1,000 foreign troops from 17 countries participating. The troops have been training with their Chinese counterparts at the parade training base and will be grouped alphabetically by country name.
DEC 29, 2013 @ 4:52 PM 122,489 VIEWS
Dozens of foreign war heroes will be acknowledged for their contributions, including veterans of the “Flying Tigers,” who will attend in person or send representatives. More than 100 foreign VIPs or relatives of wartime heroes from 15 countries will attend, such as relatives of Canadian doctor Norman Bethune, and Japanese veterans who served in the Eighth Route Army, a counter-Japanese force.