Newspaper article International New York Times

XI Is Putting His Alliances on Parade

Newspaper article International New York Times

XI Is Putting His Alliances on Parade

Article excerpt

Vladimir V. Putin is likely to be a featured guest at a military parade to underscore the anti-Japanese theme of China's foreign poicy under Xi Jinping.

Last year the National People's Congress set Sept. 3 as a new Chinese holiday to commemorate the defeat of Japan in World War II. At the time people here took notice, but there was little debate.

Then came news last month that a major military parade would be held on Tiananmen Square to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory this year. Chinese commentators immediately asked why a parade was being staged four years earlier than the once-in-a- decade routine on National Day, Oct. 1. (The last was in 2009.) The explanation: to underscore the anti-Japanese theme of China's foreign policy under President Xi Jinping as well as his control of the People's Liberation Army.

Now the guessing centers on who will be on the reviewing stand overlooking Tiananmen Square, and what alliances might be forged as the jets and tanks roll by. There seems to be as much curiosity about the interplay between Mr. Xi and his guests as about the display of weapons.

The Beijing police chief, Fu Zhenghua, broke the news in January that foreign guests would be present at the military parade. The Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, had already said that Mr. Xi would be at a May 9 parade in Moscow celebrating the war's end in Europe.

(Mr. Lavrov also dropped that the North Korean leader, Kim Jong- un, would attend the parade. That raised the question of whether Mr. Xi would meet Mr. Kim in Moscow, an encounter Mr. Xi seems to have been avoiding as a way to drive home his disapproval of Mr. Kim's nuclear arsenal.)

With Mr. Xi confirmed for Moscow in May, it appeared obvious that President Vladimir V. Putin would be a prized guest in Beijing in September.

The Russian ambassador in Beijing, Andrey I. Denisov, confirmed as much last month. And even though China's Foreign Ministry, in its usual fashion of not commenting on events far in advance, has declined to give official confirmation, it is widely assumed that Mr. Putin will be in Tiananmen Square.

Even if another valued guest, and Washington's ally, the South Korean leader, Park Geun-hye, accepts China's invitation -- she gets along well with Mr. …

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