EU leaders `unlikely` to attend China military parade: Ambassador
China`s huge military parade to mark the World War II victory over Japan risks stirring resentment, the European Union`s ambassador to Beijing said on Friday, adding it was "unlikely" top EU institution leaders would attend.
Beijing: China`s huge military parade to mark the World War II victory over Japan risks stirring resentment, the European Union`s ambassador to Beijing said on Friday, adding it was "unlikely" top EU institution leaders would attend.
The September display will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Chinese People`s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War, as Beijing calls the global conflict.
But relations with Tokyo have plunged in recent years, as Beijing aggressively asserts its claims to disputed islands in the East China Sea and accuses Japan of failing to fully acknowledge wartime atrocities.
There have been attempts to improve ties between the Asian neighbours, the world`s second and third-largest economies, but history still overshadows them.
"Given the situation in this region, in East Asia as a whole, which is quite different from both post-war Europe and present day Europe, we think it would be a good occasion to send a message of reconciliation," ambassador Hans Dietmar Schweisgut told journalists.
A number of European leaders have been invited to attend, he said, but so far "no decisions or very few have been taken".
"I cannot speak for others, but I think it is unlikely that top leaders from European EU institutions are going to attend," he added.
China`s defence ministry has confirmed Russian troops will take part in the event on September 3, the day after the anniversary of Japanese forces formally surrendering, which has been declared a public holiday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin -- whose relations with the West have plunged over the crisis in Ukraine -- has also said he will attend.
Other leaders from "relevant countries" have been invited but Beijing has not given specific details.
Nonetheless, Japanese reports say the country`s nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is unlikely to go.
The Asahi Shimbun newspaper quoted a senior government official saying in March: "There is no way the prime minister would attend the anti-Japan military parade."
The event will see soldiers marching through Tiananmen Square, where in 1989 student-led protestors demanded democratic reforms before the Communist Party sent in troops to crush the demonstrations, with hundreds killed, by some estimates more than 1,000.
China normally holds such parades -- which feature personnel from different branches of the military and displays of equipment -- only once every 10 years to mark the anniversary of the founding of the People`s Republic.
Chinese officials have said the display is intended to promote peace, but the Communist Party mouthpiece People`s Daily said on a social media account earlier this year that the parade would demonstrate Beijing`s military capabilities to Tokyo.
"China will absolutely not allow Japan to challenge the post-war order concerning China," it added.