China has held a lavish parade in Beijing to mark the defeat of Japan in World War Two, 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. China's growing military power is being keenly watched amid regional tensions. China has several territorial disputes with neighbours 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 Russia's President Vladimir Putin, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro attended the event. But many Western leaders and Japan's Prime Minister 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.
Xi Jinping also the commander of the armed forces, was centre stage at the parade's proceedings.
Xi Jinping made the troop reduction announcement in a speech where he reassured the global community that China will remain committed to peaceful development.
No matter how strong it becomes, China will never seek hegemony or expansion. It will never inflict its past suffering on any nation, he said.
Alexander Neill from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in Singapore, says the move shows China's determination to have a modern fighting force.
China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the world's largest military, with 2.3 million members. China also has the second biggest defence budget after the US
China's victory parade is designed to be a grandiose demonstration of the country's military prowess. But it's also a useful opportunity for the Chinese military to showcase its wares.
A few months ago, China surpassed Germany to become the world's third largest arms supplier, according to the Stockholm Peace Institute.
Arms sales from China have soared 150% in the past five years. For the first time, all of the armaments shown during the parade will be Chinese-made, with no Russian-made weapons on display.
In April, the Chinese signed a deal to supply eight new submarines to Pakistan - the most expensive arms deal in Chinese history. There is also a possible deal in the works to sell Chinese submarines to Thailand.
Japan launched a full-scale invasion of China in 1937 and, according to Beijing, eight years of fighting claimed 14 million Chinese lives. China also claims that it is the forgotten ally and that its role in defeating Japan has been underplayed in the post-war narrative. Nationalist forces led the fight against Japan in China. They were defeated by Mao Zedong's Communists who proclaimed a people's republic in 1949.