China says it will invite foreign armed forces to take part in a lavish military parade in Beijing this fall marking the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan in World War II.

Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng told reporters on Thursday that foreign government and military leaders would be invited as observers, and members of their armed forces would be welcome to march in the event.

Geng's comments were the Defense Ministry's first official remarks on the long-expected parade.

Geng said the parade will take place on or around the Sept. 2 anniversary of Japan's formal surrender, but said plans were still being drawn up.

He said invitations will go out to countries that fought in the conflict as well as some with no direct connection.