Chinese President Xi Jinping tells his troops 'a strong army is needed now more than ever' as he shows off new missile launcher in huge military parade

31 Jul 2017, 23:35 ( 16 days ago)

online desk
Up to 12,000 troops, 570 vehicles and 129 jets participated in the parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping has told his troops 'a strong army is needed now more than ever' during a huge military paradeXI, wearing military clothing, warned the 'world isn't safe at this moment' as he watched the display at Zhurihe Training Base in China's remote Inner Mongolia region.Among the terrifying weapons on display was China's Chengdu J-20 stealth jet fighter as well as its new DF-31AG intercontinental ballistic missile. The rocket is mounted on an all-terrain vehicle to make it harder to track. The event, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army, was at Asia's largest military training centre which features life-size mock-up targets, including Taiwan's presidential palace.It came as a number of the world's superpowers flexed their muscles in massive parades to showcase their military strength.  Troops shouted back: 'Serve the people!', 'Follow the Party!', 'Fight to win!' and 'Forge exemplary conduct!'In a live address Xi, who commands the People's Liberation Army, called on the Chinese military to transform itself into an elite fighting force to bolster the country's rise into a world power. He said the Chinese military had the capabilities to 'preserve national sovereignty, security and interests' and demanded the troops' show 'absolute loyalty' to the partyThe PLA has undergone an extensive modernisation programme with the strategic aim of competing with the US for regional dominance.

Hundreds of thousands of troops have been cut, and an anti-corruption purge has removed dozens of officers, while also investing heavily in aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and stealth fighters. Some 50 warships and submarines were on show along the Neva River and in the Gulf of Finland off the country's second city of Saint Petersburg after Putin ordered the navy to hold its first ever parade on such a grand scale.Putin told servicemen: 'Today much is being done to develop and modernise the navy. The navy is not only dealing with its traditional tasks but also responding with merit to new challenges, making a significant contribution to the fight against terrorism and piracy.'The showcase event to mark Russia's annual Navy Day is the latest to be beefed up by Putin, with the Kremlin strongman also bolstering the traditional WWII victory parade in Moscow as he looks to flex the country's military muscles.

Russia has ramped up its military manoeuvres as ties with the West have slumped over Moscow's meddling in Ukraine, unnerving NATO and its members in Eastern Europe.It came as Putin on Sunday said the United States would have to cut 755 diplomatic staff in Russia and warned of a prolonged gridlock in its ties after the US Congress backed new sanctions against the Kremlin.Putin added bluntly that Russia was able to raise the stakes with America even further, although he hoped this would be unnecessaryThe start of the drills comes a day ahead of a two-day visit to Tbilisi by US Vice President Mike Pence during which he is expected to reiterate Washington's backing for Georgia's wish to join NATO.Some 800 Georgian and 1600 US troops are taking part in the Noble Partner 2017 drills - the largest ever in the Caucasus nation since it fought a brief war with Russia in 2008.

Georgia's Defence Minister Levan Izoria called the scale of exercises 'unprecedented', insisting they will 'make clear the support for Georgia by the NATO member states, especially the US.'The US has sent some of its M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks and M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles across the Black Sea for the drills, which will last until August 12.The exercises also included 400 servicemen from Armenia, Germany, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.It comes a day after North Korea tested a ballistic missile that it claims can reach all of the United States, US President Donald Trump criticised China for not reining in Kim Jong Un and his missile program.I am very disappointed in China,' Trump wrote in a pair of Twitter posts. '...they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!'North Korea's test Friday of an intercontinental ballistic missile was its second of the long-range weapon in a month. The first on July 4 showed the missile had the range to reach Alaska. Friday's test was designed to show the Hwasong-14 missile's maximum range with a 'large-sized heavy nuclear warhead,' a statement from Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency said.

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