China is holding an enormous parade in Beijing today to mark Japan’s defeat in World War II. This year marks the 70th anniversary.
Chinese markets are closed for two days as part of a national holiday and in Tiananmen Square 12,000 troops from People’s Liberation Army, the world’s largest military, with 2.3 million active frontline personnel and an additional 2,300,000 in the reserves, are taking part in the march past in a massive show of the country’s military strength.
In addition 200 aircraft took to the skies, which were cleared of all commercial flights.
This gif from Flightradar shows airline routes at the time of the march.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) September 3, 2015
Passenger flights will recommence once 70,000 doves and balloons disperse.
Last year the National People’s Congress in China announced a defence budget of $US132 billion for the year, a 12.2% increase on the year before.
That’s the official figure. The true cost is expected to be 40% higher.
To put this into perspective, Australia’s defence budget for 2015–16 is $31.9 billion.
However Chinese president Xi Jinping announced today a cut of 300,000 troops.
This could be seen as a response to alarm from neighbouring countries concerned by the relentless growth in China’s military. Some speculate it could be to divert attention from the recent economic turmoil in China’s stock market.
No matter the reason, China’s military power is still impressive.
World leaders attended, including Russian president Vladimir Putin, as well as Australian veteran affairs minister Michael Ronaldson.
President Xi Jinping cited an ancient Chinese proverb: 'After making a good start, we should ensure that the cause achieves fruition.'
Adding:'Having created a splendid civilisation of over 5,000 years, the Chinese nation will certainly usher in an even brighter future.'
Now read: The 11 Most Powerful Militaries In The World.