China put on a show of massive military might just hours after US president Donald Trump launched another tirade at Beijing for doing nothing to rein in North Korea’s nuclear missile programme.
The Chinese military has the “confidence and capability” to bolster the country’s rise into a world power, President Xi Jinping said as he oversaw a huge parade meant to show off China’s fighting prowess.
Earlier President Trump slated the Chinese government in a Twitter tirade over its lack of action on North Korea.
He tweeted that past American leaders have allowed China to make hundreds of billions a year in trade but “they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk”.
He added: “We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”
The US said it had carried out a successful test of its controversial anti-missile system and has flown B-1 bombers over the Korean peninsula in a direct response to recent North Korean missile tests.
A projectile fired by the US Air Force was intercepted over the Pacific by a Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) unit in Alaska.
B-1 bombers also conducted exercises over the Korean peninsula with South Korean and Japanese planes.
North Korea conducted a second flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile last Friday.
Live state television broadcasts yesterday showed Mr Xi telling his troops that China needs a strong military “more than ever” as it moves “closer to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”.
Mr Xi has frequently spoken of his “China Dream” to make the nation a leader in international affairs with a modern, far-reaching military force to match.
He inspected troops, armoured vehicles and conventional and nuclear missiles, hailing each formation by shouting “Comrades, you have worked hard”.
The parade at the Zhurihe military training base in China’s Inner Mongolia region marked the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.
Long criticised as a corrupt bureaucracy with scant combat experience, the army has been modernised to make it a leaner force capable of projecting power over- seas.
Hundreds of thousands of troops have been cut from the world’s largest standing army while the PLA has invested heavily in aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and stealth fighters with the goal of surpassing the United States in regional and even global influence.
Although China has described its growing military as a force for stability and peace, its expanding influence and assertive posture in contested regions such as the South China Sea has worried small neighbouring nations.
Domestically, Mr Xi has taken steps to enhance his control over the PLA, just as he has over every other political power base within the sprawling Communist Party.
Despite the military establishment’s clout, he has not shied from ordering anti- corruption campaigns that took down top generals and creating battle theatres that placed trusted officers in command and shunted aside others.
Mr Xi again issued a demand for loyalty yesterday, instructing his amassed troops to “unswervingly stick to the fundamental principle and system of the party’s absolute leadership over the army”.
In other tweets Mr Trump expressed dissatisfaction with Republican senators and their failure to repeal former president Barack Obama’s healthcare law.
He said that, unless they are “total quitters,” the effort isn’t dead and concludes: “Demand another vote before voting on any other bill!”