• Reuters

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In what state media Tuesday called a response to the increasing military use of space by the United States and others, President Xi Jinping urged the air force to adopt an integrated air and space defense capability.

While Beijing insists its space program is for peaceful purposes, a Pentagon report last year highlighted China’s increasing space capabilities and said Beijing is pursuing a variety of activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis.

Fears of a space arms race with the U.S. and other powers mounted after China blew up one of its own weather satellites with a ground-based missile in January 2007.

Visiting air force headquarters in Beijing, Xi, who is also head of the military, told officers “to speed up air and space integration and sharpen their offensive and defensive capabilities,” the official Xinhua News Agency said Monday.

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