Monday 14 October 2019

Beijing to show off military might at anniversary parade

The parade will mark 70 years of the Communist Party being in power in China.

Soldiers practice marching in formation ahead of the military parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (Naochiko Hatta/AP)
Soldiers practice marching in formation ahead of the military parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (Naochiko Hatta/AP)

By Joe McDonald, Associated Press

China will offer a rare look at its rapidly developing arsenal during the parade marking the ruling Communist Party’s 70th anniversary in power.

It is thought a nuclear-armed missile that could reach the United States in 30 minutes – the Dongfeng 41 – will be among the weapons on display as Beijing gets closer to matching Washington and other powers in arms technology.

The parade will highlight Beijing’s ambition to enforce claims to Taiwan, the South China Sea and other disputed territories — and to challenge Washington as the region’s dominant force.

The People’s Liberation Army, the world’s biggest military with two million men and women in uniform and the second-highest annual spending after the United States, also is working on fighter planes, the first Chinese-built aircraft carrier and nuclear-powered submarines.

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Troops take part in marching drills for the upcoming 1 parade (Wang Zhao/AP)

“There are quite a lot of observers, including the US military, who say, ‘This is getting close to what we do,’ and they are starting to worry,” said Siemon Wezeman of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Tuesday’s parade will include 15,000 troops, more than 160 aircraft and 580 pieces of military equipment, according to Ministry of Defence spokesman Major General Cai Zhijun.

Many new weapons “will be shown for the first time,” Mr Cai told reporters last week.

The ability to project power is increasingly urgent for Chinese leaders who want to control shipping lanes and waters also claimed by Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and other governments.

“China has developed nuclear, space, cyberspace and other capabilities that can reach potential adversaries across the globe,” the US Defence Intelligence Agency said in a report in January.

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The parade will take place on October 1 (Wang Zhao/Pool Photo/AP)

No details of the Dongfeng 41 have been released, but the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington says it may have the world’s longest range at 15,000 kilometres (9,400 miles).

Analysts say the DF-41, flying at 25 times the speed of sound, might be able to reach the United States in 30 minutes with up to 10 warheads for separate targets — a technology known as MIRV, or multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles.

China’s current mainstay missile, the Dongfeng 31, has a range of more than 11,200 kilometres (6,990 miles) that puts most of the continental United States within reach.

PA Media

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