President Xi Jinping donned camouflage fatigues to review a huge military parade showing off China's new class of ICBMs and growing power to exert influence across the globe.
"Wherever the (communist) party points, march there," Xi told the estimated 12,000 troops of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) who participated in the parade and review Sunday at the Zhurihe training base in northern China.
"The world is not peaceful," Xi said. "Today, we are closer than any other period in history to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and we need more than any period in history to build a strong people's military," Xi said, according to Beijing state TV and the official Xinhua news agency.
Xi, who has no record of military service, stood in an open military vehicle to review the troops wearing the camouflage uniform for the event which marked the anniversary of the creation of the PLA in 1949. It was the first time since 1949 that there had been a parade to mark the occasion, according to state media.
The parade and review included China's new J-20 stealth fighters and about 16 of the DF-31AG Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles which were mounted on huge all-terrain vehicles.
As he rode by, Xi shouted to the troops "Salute to you, comrades." They roared back "Hail to you, chairman," Xinhua reported. Again, Xi called out "Comrades, thanks for your hard work," and the soldiers replied "Serve the people."
China's display of its new class of ICBMs came two days after North Korea last Friday test launched an ICBM with the range to hit the U.S. mainland for the second time in July.
At the White House, President Donald Trump indicated that the U.S. may have given up on attempts to enlist China, North Korea's only major trading partner, to rein in the North's nuclear ambitions.
At a Cabinet meeting, Trump said Monday that "We'll handle North Korea. We'll be able to handle North Korea. It will be handled. We handle everything."
On Saturday, Trump said on Twitter that "Our foolish past leaders have allowed (Beijing) to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk."
On Saturday, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and former Republican governor of South Carolina, also indicated that the U.S. had given up on going to the Security Council for more sanctions on North Korea, which would only face a possible veto by China and Russia.
The Security Council has approved four sets of economic sanctions on North Korea in the past. Haley said on Twitter: "Nobody likes to bring it up. But regime change is the only way to stop North Korea from its global aggressions. Done talking about NKorea."
At a rare on-camera press briefing Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked if the U.S. was considering a preemptive strike to counter North Korea's missile threat. Sanders gave the usual response of this and past administrations on options. She said that Trump would not discuss possible actions but "all options are on the table."