China has marked the defeat of Japan in World War Two with a huge military parade in Beijing, showcasing its military might on an unprecedented scale.
President Xi Jinping in his opening speech paid tribute to “the Chinese people who unwaveringly fought hard and defeated aggression” from Japan.
He also said the People’s Liberation Army would be reduced by 300,000 personnel, but gave no timeframe.
The country’s growing military power is being keenly watched amid regional tensions.
China has several territorial disputes with neighbors in the South China Sea, as well as with Japan in the East China Sea.
Ahead of the parade, the US said five Chinese ships had been spotted in the Bering Sea off Alaska for the first time.
More than 30 foreign government officials and heads of state including Russian President Vladimir Putin and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon attended the event.
However, many Western leaders and Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe have stayed away.
Some 12,000 troops and 200 aircraft, as well as tanks and missiles, were on display in Tiananmen Square, including the anti-ship “carrier killer” missile Dongfeng-21D.
More than 80% of the machinery on display was being shown to the general public for the first time, according to state media.
President Xi Jinping, also the commander of the armed forces, was centre stage at the parade’s proceedings.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is the world’s largest military, with 2.3 million members. China also has the second biggest defense budget after the US.
In the build-up to the event, state media have published commentaries reinforcing Chinese patriotism and views on historical events.
Entertainment shows were also suspended on television to make way for the coverage.
Beijing’s normally smoggy skies were unusually blue, after factories were closed, barbecues banned and cars stopped from travelling to reduce pollution.
Concerns about China’s growing military assertiveness and the tone of the parade meant many Western and Asian leaders stayed away from the event.