China's National Day military parade culminated in the final staging of giant nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles Thursday.
The camouflage nuclear missiles, riding on 18 launch vehicles, rumbled past Tian'anmen Square and were reviewed by Chinese leaders and foreign guests.
The parade, marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, reached a crescendo of excitement when the gigantic vehicles, each had 20 wheels, came to the center stage, carrying "remarkable symbols" of China's defense muscle.
Glorious tradition of the paraded brigade included conducting the country's first-generation nuclear weapon live firing tasks when it was stationed in a rough plateau area with awful weather conditions.
Senior Colonel Zhang Guangzhong, head of the nuclear missile formation of the parade, said the nuclear missiles, delivered to his troop in 2007, were upgraded and boasted quicker response, longer range and enhanced maneuverability.
Zhang said the research and development of strategic nuclear missiles "represents the highest level of the country's homegrown weapons."
"Many of our domestically-made arms have been produced on the basis of technologies and experience of developed countries, but China had chosen a completely independent way in developing strategic nuclear weapons," Zhang said.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) headquarters praised the nuclear missile as a "trump card."
"With the development of the PLA's strategic armament, the army's capability in maintaining world peace and containing war crisis has been enhanced," the PLA says.
Maj.-Gen. Gao Jianguo, spokesman at the joint headquarters for the military parade, said a week ago that China would "show restraint" in developing nuclear weapons.
"China has never deployed nuke weaponry outside its territory. It has not joined the nuclear race and will never in the future," Gao said.
A white paper on national defense released by the Chinese government in January clarified its longstanding policy of "no first use of nuclear weapons" and reaffirmed its will to implement "a self-defensive nuclear strategy."
"In peacetime, the nuclear missile weapons of the Second Artillery Force are not aimed at any country," the white paper said.
"But if China comes under a nuclear threat, the nuclear missile force will go into a state of alert, and get ready for a nuclear counterattack to deter the enemy from using nuclear weapons against China," it said.
It would use nuclear missiles to "launch a resolute counterattack against the enemy" in case of a nuclear attack, it said, adding it could perform nuclear attack either independently or together with the nuclear forces of other services.