Japan has called Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech during China’s World War II victory day celebrations “extremely regrettable.”

china military parade
Xi Jinping delivers a speech before the military parade on Thursday. Photo: CCTV.

Xi’s speech was anti-Japan and failed to mention the two neighbours’ reconciliation after the Sino-Japanese war in 1939-1945, said Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Thursday, according to Kyodo news agency.

“We had requested that this [Thursday’s] event [to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II] include elements of reconciliation between Japan and China, not a so-called anti-Japan feature,” Suga said at a press conference, Kyodo reported.

Photo: Lukas Messmer
Photo: Lukas Messmer.

Xi delivered the speech on the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing before a picture-perfect military parade on Thursday morning.

In the speech, Xi said China’s resistance against Japanese aggression was “a decisive battle between justice and evil, between light and darkness, and between progress and reaction.”

Photo: Lukas Messmer
Photo: Lukas Messmer.

“In defiance of aggression, the unyielding Chinese people fought gallantly and finally won total victory against the Japanese militarist aggressors, thus preserving China’s 5,000-year-old civilization and upholding the cause of peace of mankind. This remarkable feat made by the Chinese nation was rare in the history of war.” Xi said, according to the official translation of the speech.

Japan also said it “regrets” United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s decision to attend the parade. Suga pointed out in the press conference that the venue for the parade, Tiananmen Square, was where the 1989 bloody crackdown on pro-democracy student protesters occurred. Ban, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, were among the more prominent world leaders at the parade while most Western heads of states shunned the event.

Photo: Lukas Messmer
Photo: Lukas Messmer.

Beijing also invited Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide, to its celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.

The foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said at a press conference on Tuesday that it’s “reasonable and fair” for China to invite al-Bashir to attend ceremonies commemorating the world’s anti-fascist victory because the African people—including the Sudanese—made contributions to that victory,

Photo: Martin H.
Sundanese President Omar al-Bashir. Photo: Martin H.

Al-Bashir is the only sitting head of state in the world to be wanted by the ICC for allegedly being responsible for atrocities during the War in Darfur which began in 2003. He is charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.