Balloons are released into the air during a ceremony to mark the 69th anniversary of China's victory over Japan at the Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, in Beijing Wednesday. Pic: AP.

BEIJING (AP) — Top leaders have commemorated China’s World War II victory over Japan as Beijing ramps up its reminders to the world of Japan’s historical aggression as relations worsen between the two.

President Xi Jinping and other leaders attended a ceremony to mark the end of an 8-year war following a Japanese invasion in 1937.

Soldiers carried large wreaths into a Beijing museum as a military band played.

Inside, Xi tidied up the ribbons on the wreaths laid to represent the “martyrs” who fought against Japan. Then Xi led the applause as 6,000 doves of peace were released intended to show China’s wish for world peace.

Wednesday’s events are the first since China’s leaders ratified Sept. 3 as one of three days in which the country will hold annual memorial activities.