Wendell Minnick
Wendell Minnick

If the big military parade in Beijing proved one thing, it is Xi Jinping is firmly in charge, writes defense analyst Wendell Minnick in Defense News. “Instead of party members, Russian President Vladimir Putin stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Xi.”

Wendell Minnick:

China demonstrated more than just its growing military capability during a celebratory parade this week commemorating the 70th anniversary of its victory over imperialist Japan.

The leadership review stand left no guesswork about who is in charge of China’s military, with President Xi Jinping not sharing the stand with anyone within the party leadership, except former Presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. Instead of party members, Russian President Vladimir Putin stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Xi.

“It was all eyes on Xi,” said Mark Stokes, a former senior country director for the Pentagon’s China desk in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense. “Definitely put an end to the idea of collective leadership. Xi was firmly in charge, and only Xi.”

Stokes is now executive director of the Project 2049 Institute.

Xi’s parade speech included the announcement that force levels would be reduced by 300,000 personnel from the current 2.3 million. Xi further stated that China is a nation interested in peace and committed to peaceful development.

“We Chinese love peace,” Xi said. “No matter how much stronger it may become, China will never seek hegemony or expansion.”

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