Watch 12,000 troops, 500 pieces of military hardware and 200 aircraft roar through Beijing in a 60-second condensed version of Thursday’s military parade. Photo: European Press Agency.

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Jeremy Page and

Jeremy Page
The Wall Street Journal

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Chun Han Wong

Chun Han Wong
The Wall Street Journal

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Sept. 3, 2015 8:16 a.m. ET

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BEIJING—With an extravagant parade, President Xi Jinping made the most forceful display yet of China’s expanding military muscle and his own grip on power, after weeks of rising concern about economic challenges and disunity at the top. The spectacle featuring some of China’s newest fighter jets, missiles, drones and helicopters achieved its principal goal, offering a domestic audience a carefully choreographed show of national strength and Communist Party unity. But the parade marking the surrender of Japanese forces at the end of World War II also cast a spotlight on China’s deepening divisions with the U.S. and its allies: No major Western nations sent leaders or troops to an event that appeared designed to discredit modern-day Japan and showcase Chinese firepower. In further evidence of China’s growing military capabilities and ambitions, Pentagon officials said on the eve of the parade that five Chinese navy ships were operating off the coast of Alaska, where President Barack Obama has been visiting this week and where such activity hadn’t been seen before.

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Mr. Xi tried to strike a conciliatory note in a speech before the parade, which comes three weeks before he heads to the U.S. on a visit already clouded by differences on alleged cyberattacks on the U.S., and China’s island-building in the South China Sea. “We Chinese love peace,” Mr. Xi said from a stand atop the Gate of Heavenly Peace, overlooking Tiananmen Square. “ …Read More