The Chinese Air Force intends to expand its presence into space as part of its plan to become a "world-class force," state-run media reported Tuesday, quoting top military officers.

The China Daily newspaper said senior Col. Wang Zhonghua, head of the Planning Bureau of the air force's Equipment Department, had told a news conference Sunday in the city of Zhuhai that the branch "spares no efforts in handling all threats, and is gearing up to extend its reach beyond the clouds and into space."

Wang's news conference coincided with the 69th anniversary of the air force's founding, and was part of the six-day 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition that wrapped up Sunday in the city.