China denies 'flexing muscles' in military parade

Beijing (AFP) –


Beijing denied Tuesday that a huge military parade planned for China's 70th anniversary was a sign of the country "flexing its muscles".

The country is ramping up preparations for a week's holiday from October 1, marking the day the Chinese Communist Party seized control and established the People's Republic of China.

At a press conference in Beijing, a defence ministry spokesman unveiled more details about the upcoming parade and said that the strength of the Chinese military was a chance to provide "more positive energy" for world peace.

Tuesday's military procession through the centre of the capital will last 80 minutes and showcase the army's most advanced weaponry.

"If the Chinese army displays weapons and equipment, then it is 'flexing its muscles', but if it doesn't display them, then it is 'opaque', said senior Colonel Wu Qian, defence spokesman.

"In the past 70 years, the development and growth of the Chinese military has been obvious to all. We have neither intentions nor the need to "flex our muscles" through military parades."

Around 15,000 members of the armed forces will march in the display, which will showcase around 580 pieces of military hardware, all domestically made.

More than 160 aircraft will take to the skies, Wu said, with 188 military officials from 97 countries watching the parade.

There will also be an anniversary show on Beijing's Tiananmen Square.