BEIJING — A parade Tuesday by China's secretive military will offer a rare look at its rapidly developing arsenal, possibly including a nuclear-capable missile that could reach the United States in 30 minutes, as Beijing gets closer to matching Washington and other powers in weapons technology.
The Dongfeng 41 is one of a series of new weapons Chinese media say might be unveiled during the parade marking the ruling Communist Party's 70th anniversary in power. Others include a supersonic drone and a robot submarine.
The parade will highlight Beijing's ambition to enforce claims to Taiwan, the South China Sea and other disputed territories — and to challenge Washington as the region's dominant force.
The People's Liberation Army, the world's biggest military with 2 million men and women in uniform and the second-highest annual spending after the United States, also is working on fighter planes, the first Chinese-built aircraft carrier and nuclear-powered submarines.
"There are quite a lot of observers, including the U.S. military, who say, 'This is getting close to what we do,' and they are starting to worry," said Siemon Wezeman of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
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Tuesday's parade will include 15,000 troops, more than 160 aircraft and 580 pieces of military equipment, according to Ministry of Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Cai Zhijun.
Many new weapons "will be shown for the first time," Cai told reporters last week. Asked whether that would include the Dongfeng 41, Cai said, "Please wait and see."
The ability to project power is increasingly urgent for Chinese leaders who want to control shipping lanes and waters also claimed by Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and other governments.
"China has developed nuclear, space, cyberspace and other capabilities that can reach potential adversaries across the globe," the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency said in a report in January.
Last year's spending on the Chinese army rose 5% to $250 billion, or about 10 times its 1994 level, according to SIPRI. The United States, with a force of 1.3 million, was far ahead at $650 billion, or more than 2½ times China's level.