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Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) march during a rehearsal for a military parade in Beijing, August 23, 2015. Troops from at least 10 countries including Russia and Kazakhstan will join an unprecedented military parade in Beijing next month to commemorate China's victory over Japan during World War Two, Chinese officials said. The parade on Sept. 3 will involve about 12,000 Chinese troops and 200 aircraft, Qi Rui, deputy director of the government office organizing the parade, told reporters in Beijing on Friday.
Reuters/Stringer
Chinese soldiers prepare for a massive military parade.
BUILD IT BUT THEY WON'T COME

The attendees to China’s military parade: leaders of the world’s least-powerful countries

By Nikhil Sonnad

Chinese state-run media released Tuesday (link in Chinese) a list of the 30 world leaders confirmed to be attending its massive World War Two victory parade, otherwise known as “Commemoration of 70th Anniversary of Victory of Chinese People’s Resistance against Japanese Aggression and World Anti-Fascist War.”

Unlike that title, the list is pretty unimpressive.

There has been a lot of speculation about which heads of state would actually show up. Will Japan’s Shinzo Abe brave domestic opposition in a show of good faith? How about Western leaders, like invitee Tony Blair? Or countries, like South Korea, that were allies in the war but are now worried that the parade is more about nationalist showboating than “anti-fascist victory.”

The list does include South Korean president Park Geun-hye, as well as Russia’s Vladimir Putin. But other than those two, there is not much in the name of geopolitical or diplomatic clout. No Western countries will be sending a head of state: Poland is sending a head legislator while Argentina and Cuba will be represented by vice presidents. Also missing are Asian neighbors like Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia, all of which were invited.

Here’s the full list of attendees:

Name Country Title
Abdelkader Bensalah Algeria Chair of the Council of the Nation
Amado Boudou Argentina Vice President
Alexander Lukashenko Belarus President
Dragan Čović Bosnia-Herzegovina Chair of the Presidency
Norodom Sihamoni Cambodia King
Miguel Díaz-Canel Cuba Vice President
Miloš Zeman Czech Republic President
Joseph Kabila DR Congo President
Taur Matan Ruak East Timor President
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi Egypt President
Hailemariam Desalegn Ethiopia President
Nursultan Nazarbayev Kazakhstan President
Almazbek Atambayev Kyrgyzstan President
Choummaly Sayasone Laos General Secretary, Lao People’s Revolutionary Party
Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj Mongolia President
Thein Sein Myanmar President
Choe Ryong-hae North Korea Vice Marshal, Politburo member
Mamnoon Hussain Pakistan President
Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska Poland Chair of Sejm (lower house)
Vladimir Putin Russia President
Tomislav Nikolić Serbia President
Jacob Zuma South Africa President
Park Geun-hye South Korea President
Omar al-Bashir Sudan President
Emomali Rahmon Tajikistan President
Prawit Wongsuwan Thailand Deputy chair of Thai junta
Islam Karimov Uzbekistan President
Sato Kilman Vanuatu Prime Minister
Nicolás Maduro Venezuela President
Trương Tấn Sang Vietnam President

In addition to these 30 leaders—which comprise both heads of state and people in executive office or high legislative positions—the announcement said that 19 “high-level representatives” would be attending. It’s not clear who exactly that refers to, but the Global Times, a state-run tabloid, for example suggested that Brazil and India would be sending “special envoys” and a few western countries “foreign ministers or minister-level officials.”

But if you just look at the top-level leaders, that leaves a world map with a lot of gray.

These individuals will also join the militaries of over 10 countries—including Kazakhstan, Mexico, Mongolia, and Russia—that will take part in the pomp and circumstance.