BEIJING, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- China will develop an air force with integrated capabilities for both offensive and defensive operations in space as well as in air, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force Commander Xu Qiliang said Sunday.
Xu Qiliang, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force Commander, gestures during an interview with Xinhua. (Xinhuanet Photo) Photo Gallery>>>
Calling militarization in the space and in air "a threat to the mankind," Xu said China must develop a strong force in the two arenas in order to face challenges of that threat.
"Only power could protect peace," the 59-year-old air force commander said in an interview with Xinhua, 10 days ahead of 60th anniversary of the founding of the PLA air force.
Superiority in space and in air would mean, to a certain extent, superiority over the land and the oceans, Xu said.
"As the air force of a peace-loving country, we must forge our swords and shields in order to protect peace," he said.
According to Xu, not only major air force powers in the world were currently eyeing space and air superiority, some developing countries were also changing their military strategies to gain upper ground in the two arenas.
A country without adequate power would have no say when faced with challenges posed by the militarization in the space and air, he said.
The PLA air force would improve its detection and early warning, air striking, anti-missile air defense, strategic delivery capabilities in order to effectively protect China's interests and help maintain regional and world peace, Xu said.
Xu meanwhile stressed that the PLA air force was peace-oriented.
"The Chinese people is a peace-loving people, and China is a responsible developing country which upholds a national defense policy that is defensive in nature," he said.
A powerful PLA air force would protect China's sovereignty, safety and territorial integrity, and would play a major part in maintaining regional stability and world peace, he said.
"The PLA air force will pose no threat to any other country," Xu said.
This year marks the 60th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China. Its naval force was founded on April 23, 1949, and its air force on Nov. 11 that year.
Previous report said the PLA air force would put its most advanced warplanes on display in the suburbs of Beijing in November, to mark its 60th founding anniversary.
All the aircraft to be exhibited, including Kongjing-2000 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEWC) aircraft, J-11 fighters,H-6 bomber jets, and HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles, were made by China.
Most of them were already included in the aircraft fly past during the National Day military parade on Oct. 1 this year in Beijing.
In addition to aircraft display, an international military forum themed "harmonious skies" would also be held in Beijing later this month.
More than 300 senior air force officers from China and more than 30 other countries are expected to attend the forum to mark the PLA air force's 60th anniversary
"The PLA air force will continue to deepen exchanges and cooperation with its foreign counterparts on an opener, more transparent, confident and practical basis," said Xu Qiliang.