CHINA-_XI_PARADE_1 Saskatoon Asian Newsweek  Beijing  – In an unprecedented show of military power, Chinese President Xi Jinping has addressed his troops to say that China has “the confidence and the ability to defeat all the armies who dare to offend.” And following in the footsteps of Maoist tradition, he also reiterated that the military should be “unswervingly loyal” to the ruling Communist Party and “extend the battleground to wherever the party points towards”.

According to Xinhua, Xi spoke in front of a deployment of 12,000 ready-to-battle assault soldiers during the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The anniversary falls tomorrow, August 1, but the great parade was held yesterday in Zhurihe military base (Inner Mongolia), unlike other parades held almost always in Tiananmen Square.

Observers point out that the armaments exhibited – from combat jets to missiles – are all “made in China”. 40% of weapons were an absolute novelty, shown for the first time.

President Xi is also the director of the Central Military Commission, the highest authority governing the world’s largest army. In these five years of his government, he has pushed for the modernization of the army, reducing the number of soldiers, but raising their professional level. “Be ready,” he said, “to rally on command and be able to fight and win every battle.”

Over the past five years, thanks to an anti-corruption campaign, Xi has deposed hundreds of military leaders belonging to other Politburo, and promoting his friends to leadership.

Yesterday’s chief instructor of the parade was rising star Han Weiguo, commander of the Central Theatre Command. Han, who is seen as an ally to Xi, was promoted to the rank of general just two days before the event.

China has several fronts of tension outside its borders: from frontier tensions with India to disputes over the sovereignty of islands in the South China Sea and the East. But for some years now, the internal security budget for population control has far exceeded that of external security.  (AsiaNews)  by Wang Zhicheng