China will develop the offensive and defensive capabilities of its air force in space and air operations in the future, according to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force commander Xu Qiliang.

Qiliang was quoted by China View as saying that militarisation in space and air is a threat to mankind and China must develop its force in the two arenas to face challenges and threats.

The PLA Air Force commander said that superiority in space and in air would mean, to a certain extent, superiority over the land and the oceans.

The air force intends to raise its detection and early warning, air striking, anti-missile air defence, strategic delivery capabilities to protect China and help maintain regional and world peace, according to Qiliang.

China will exhibit advanced Chinese warplanes including Kongjing-2000 airborne early warning and control (AEWC) aircraft, J-11 fighters, H-6 bomber jets and HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles in November to mark the PLA’s founding anniversary.

Inspite of the air force commander’s assurance that China’s air force will not pose a threat to other countries, the US has expressed the need for deeper dialogue on the nation’s defensive space programmes.