China inviting Japan to events marking 70th anniversary of end of WWII

Lu Baoping, a 97-year-old Chinese veteran who fought against Japan during WWII, shaking hands with a Russian diplomat as he receives a commemorative medal marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING - China has revealed for the first time that it is inviting Japan to commemorative events marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The invitation was sent three weeks ago by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping was quoted as saying by Chinese media on Saturday.

Mr Cheng did not specify if this included an invitation to the military parade, which is potentially the most sensitive of the commemorative events.

China had previously refrained from revealing which countries had been invited or accepted invitations to the military parade, beyond saying that it would welcome all national leaders to the parade.

Other countries, on the other hand, have been wary that China would use the parade to flex its military muscle while bashing Japan for its wartime atrocities.

Mr Cheng made the comments at the end of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Russia, adding that the leaders of SCO member states - which include Russia and other central Asian states - would attend the military parade.

He added that the militaries of SCO member states would take part in the parade as well.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.