See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Politics

China to show off advanced weapons at 70th birthday bash

Celebrations set against sobering backdrop of deepening trade war with the US and political crisis in Hong Kong.


Written by

Updated: August 30, 2019

China will put its military might on show in the biggest parade of its weaponry on Oct 1, when the country celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party taking power.

The occasion will be an opportunity for President Xi Jinping to flaunt his military modernisation efforts and send a message to the world, particularly the US, that it should not be trifled with.

The celebrations will be held against a sobering backdrop of a deepening trade war with the US which has shaken the Chinese economy, and the worst political crisis in Hong Kong since it was handed back to China in 1997.

At a press conference yesterday, General Cai Zhijun, the deputy head in charge of organising the parade, was quick to point out that the weaponry display “does not target any country or region and does not target any specific situation”.

“The Chinese military has always been a staunch force for safeguarding world peace and regional stability,” he said. “At the same time, we have the determination and ability to resolutely safeguard our national sovereignty, security and development interests.”

Gen Cai would not confirm if next-generation made-in-China military hardware such as the world’s longest-range missile Dongfeng-41 would be showcased, but did say the parade will feature some advanced weapons for the first time.

President Xi is also slated to address the nation in what will be a keenly-watched speech that may provide clues to how he intends to navigate challenges from the trade war and unrest in Hong Kong to reunification with Taiwan.

Since coming to power in 2012, President Xi, who also chairs the Central Military Commission, has prioritised the transformation of the People’s Liberation Army into a world-class fighting force.

China is used to marking anniversaries with large military parades, including the biggest in 2015 commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

That show of force featured more than 12,000 troops marching through Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, over 200 aircraft in a flypast and 500 armoured vehicles.

Military expert Collin Koh of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies at Nanyang Technological University said the type of weapons systems that China chooses to showcase will point to the signals it wants to send, not only to the US but also closer to home.

“On the one hand, China wants to showcase its military muscle and send a message to its adversaries but, on the other hand, it is trying not to be too showy. There will likely be some balance,” said Dr Koh, adding that Beijing would not want to provide any ammunition to hawks in the Trump administration prone to fanning accusations of an arms race.

While there will be a display of strategic weapons, Dr Koh believes conventional weapons systems will likely be the dominant attraction.

“Taking into account what’s happening in Hong Kong and tensions in the Taiwan Strait, the People’s Liberation Army also needs to be shown to be ready to undertake conventional war-fighting operations,” he said.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Politics

10 US senators criticise Suu Kyi for representing military’s interest

Suu Kyi is in the Hague defending Myanmar from genocide accusations. Ten US Senators have severely criticized Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi for representing the military’s interest before the International Court of Justice and defending the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingyas and other ethnic minorities. “Representing the Burmese military’s interest before The Hague and defending the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities would undermine what remaining credibility you have before the international community, including in the US Congress,” said a letter to Suu Kyi issued on December 9. The Senators said a defense of the Burmese military at this high-profile international forum is also an affront to the inclusive, multi-cultural and democratic Burma that she claims to champion. They said when Buddhist nationalism is on the rise in


By Daily Star
December 13, 2019

Diplomacy, Politics

India under Modi is moving systematically with a supremacist agenda, says PM Imran

Imran Khan made the comments after India passed a controversial citizenship requirement. Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been moving systematically with a Hindu supremacist agenda. The prime minister was referencing the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill passed by India’s upper house amid protests on Wednesday. The bill will let the Indian government grant citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants who entered India from three neighbouring countries before 2015 — but not if they are Muslim. Modi’s government — re-elected in May and under pressure over a slowing economy — says Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are excluded from the legislation because they do not face discrimination in those countries. Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister I


By Dawn
December 13, 2019

Diplomacy, Politics

China, US in constant touch to resolve trade issues

China and the United States are in constant touch to resolve pending trade and economic issues, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday. The comment came ahead of Sunday’s US deadline for another scheduled round of tariff increases on Chinese imports worth almost $160 billion. If a trade deal is not struck by Sunday, computer monitors and toys will be among the Chinese export items likely to be affected. Gao Feng, a ministry spokesman, said the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council has already worked out tariff exemptions on some soybean, pork and other products shipped from the US — the latest sign of tensions easing in the protracted trade conflict. The US seems to resort to brinkmanship by using a tariff deadline to pressure China in the ongoing trade talks for a phase one, preliminary deal, said Chen Wenling, chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges


By China Daily
December 13, 2019

Diplomacy, Politics

Japan: Koizumi offers no concrete plan on coal

The new environment minister needs to offer better ways to tackle climate change.  During a ministerial meeting of the U.N. climate summit in Madrid on Wednesday, Shinjiro Koizumi, the Environment Minister did not express concrete steps for reducing coal-fired thermal power generation. Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi did not express concrete steps for reducing coal-fired thermal power generation, for which construction of new plants is currently underway in Japan, during a ministerial meeting of the U.N. climate summit in Madrid on Wednesday. “I am afraid I cannot share new development on our coal policy today,” Koizumi said at the ongoing 25th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate


By The Japan News
December 13, 2019

Diplomacy, Politics

US warns N. Korea against ‘ill-advised’ action

North Korean threats unlikely to succeed in bringing the US to the table. A top US diplomat warned North Korea on Thursday against taking any “ill-advised” action in light of its veiled threats to resume nuclear and long-range missile tests. David Stilwell, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, made the remark as North Korea has threatened to take a “new way” unless the US offers concessions in their stalled denuclearization negotiations before the end of the year. Washington has urged Pyongyang to stick to its commitment to cease nuclear and long-range missile tests, saying they would be count


By The Korea Herald
December 13, 2019

Diplomacy, Politics

Trump urges passage of defense bill with provision against troop drawdown in S. Korea

Trump has previously asked Korea to pay its fair share to keep US troops on the peninsula. US President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Congress to pass a defense bill containing a provision restricting the drawdown of American troops in South Korea. On Monday, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees agreed on the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense. According to the accompanying conference report, the new bill restricts the use of funds for removing troops from South Korea, an issue that has drawn intense scrutiny amid contentious cost-sharing negotiations between Seoul and Washington.


By The Korea Herald
December 12, 2019