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China, Russia to stage WWII victory events

By Zhao Shengnan
Updated: Feb 7,2015 10:32 AM     China Daily

State leaders from China and Russia are to attend commemorations in both countries marking victory in World War II, Beijing confirmed on Feb 6.

Russia’s top envoy to China said on Feb 5 that the leaders would attend military parades in the two countries later this year.

Russian Ambassador Andrey Denisov made the remarks to a Hong Kong newspaper after earlier reports said China would stage a rare military parade this year to mark the 70th anniversary of victory in the war.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Feb 6 that China and Russia, two main battlefields in Asia and Europe during the war, will hold a series of events to mark the anniversary, with state leaders attending commemorations in each country.

President Xi Jinping has given preliminary confirmation of his attendance at events in Moscow on Russia’s Victory Day on May 9, the Ta Kung Pao newspaper quoted Denisov as saying.

The envoy said a 60-member Chinese military delegation will take part in the annual parade in Red Square, adding that Russia is also willing to invite Chinese veterans who fought in the war.

He told the newspaper he believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit China in September for events to commemorate the anniversary.

Earlier reports said China will probably hold a major military parade in Beijing to commemorate the anniversary on Sept 3, which also marks victory day in the Chinese people’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).

It would be the first such parade in the capital since Xi took office and would mark a rare departure from Beijing’s practice of staging such events once a decade on Oct 1, China’s National Day.

Feng Yujun, an expert on Russian studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the commemorations will highlight China’s contribution on eastern battlefields to securing victory in World War II.

They will also put pressure on some Japanese who have not fully faced up to their nation’s wartime crimes, Feng said.

Close exchanges between Beijing and Moscow over the anniversary highlight their deep trust and shared concerns about some countries distorting historical facts and attempting to break the postwar order, Feng added.

China was involved in engagements with the bulk of Japanese ground troops from 1937. In the next eight years, allied forces killed and wounded about 1.95 million Japanese soldiers, with about 70 percent of these casualties occurring in China.

Former president Hu Jintao was among the guests invited to Russia’s Victory Day parades in 2005 and 2010, when troops from the United States, Britain and France joined the march through Red Square for the first time.