At least nine foreign national leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, have confirmed they will attend Beijing’s military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45), media reports say. South Korean President Park Geun-hye will announce her decision no later than next week, her spokesman said.
The leaders of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – all members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – have confirmed they will come to Beijing for the celebration, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Czech Republic President Milos Zeman was the first European Union leader to accept President Xi Jinping’s invitation to attend the celebration, according to Russia’s Sputnik News Agency.
Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj will come to the parade with 75 Mongolian soldiers to pay tribute to the victory, which their country contributed to, according to China.org.cn, an online news portal.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has also promised to be at the parade, according to Egypt’s Middle East News Agency. Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, along with members of the Serbian Armed Forces and one unit of the National Guard, will attend, according to the Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti.
Jia Xiudong, a senior international affairs researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, said a joint celebration across different nations of the victory in World War II is a tradition.
“China is taking the opportunity to invite leaders of other nations to seek two things – peace and cooperation,” Jia said.
“In the past, China and some other countries fought fascism together. Now is the time for these countries to focus on cooperation to better cope with the challenges in a changed world.”
Park will make an announcement late this week or early next week on whether she will come to Beijing, Yonhap News Agency reported. Both Seoul and Washington have denied a Japanese media report that the US has sent messages via diplomatic channels telling Park not to attend.
Yang Yixi contributed to this story