April 30, 2015 / 10:44 AM / 4 years ago

China rebuffs U.S. criticism of military parade to mark end of war

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Defence Ministry on Thursday rebuffed a senior U.S. official who cast doubt on China’s plans to hold a military parade in September to mark the end of the World War Two.

China has been coy about which countries it plans to invite to the September parade, but says it will likely invite representatives from the Western Allies who fought with China during the war.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s top Asia adviser, Evan Medeiros, told Asian media in Washington this week that he had questions about whether a large military parade would really send a signal of reconciliation or promote healing.

“We want for the region to get past it so the region can realize its full potential as a driver of global growth, for example,” Medeiros said, according to a transcript provided by the State Department.

“So when we think about these history questions and when we think about this ceremony in China, these are the kinds of considerations that we’re looking at.”

Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said that history must be remembered if it was not to be repeated.

“The remarks by the relevant U.S. official are wrong. If we don’t face up to history, then we may end up repeating the mistakes of the past and replaying the tragedies of history,” Geng told a regular monthly news briefing.

There was nothing unusual about holding a military parade to mark the anniversary, and no reason to criticize it, he added.

“Our aim is to always remember history, cherish the memory of the martyrs, value peace and look to the future, to show the determination and ability of China and all other peoples to defend world peace.”

The parade will be President Xi Jinping’s first since he took over as Communist Party leader and military chief in late 2012 and as state president in early 2013.

Sino-Japan relations have long been poisoned by what China sees as Japan’s failure to atone for its occupation of parts of the country before and during the war, and Beijing rarely misses an opportunity to remind its people and the world of this.

Diplomats have told Reuters that Xi could be left standing on the stage in September with few top Western officials, with governments concerned about a range of issues, including the expected presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie

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