Chinese President Xi Jinping lauded his country as a major power and a force for world peace Thursday as he presided over a spectacular military parade marking the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II. With concerns rife over China's rise, Xi announced that the People's Liberation Army would be cut by 300,000 personnel, a move analysts say is actually designed to make the world's largest standing military more modern and efficient. "We must learn the lessons of history and dedicate ourselves to peace." Moments later however, new missiles dubbed "carrier-killers" that experts say could change the balance of power with the United States rolled through the square, in an unmistakable show of strength. With disquiet growing over China's growing assertiveness in territorial disputes, most Western leaders stayed away from the extravaganza in Tiananmen Square, where Chinese troops crushed democracy protests in 1989.