China is planning to beef up its combat capability by increasing resources in a "new-type combat force," which includes integrating air and space capability in reaction to the international development of space weapons, local media reported.
Visiting the People's Liberation Army Air Force headquarters in Beijing on Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that the air force plays a decisive role in national security as well as military strategy, stating that it should have balanced strength in defensive and offensive operations, Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.
Xi ordered the allocation of more resources in a "new-type combat force" to make sure the country’s army can "swiftly and effectively" deal with possible emergencies.
"The United States has paid considerable attention and resources to the integration of capabilities in both air and space, and other powers have also moved progressively toward space militarization," Xi said. "Though China has stated that it sticks to the peaceful use of space, we must make sure that we have the ability to cope with others' operations in space.”
Following the visit, Xi held China’s first meeting of a new national security commission on Tuesday. The leader stressed that China requires a way to coordinate domestic and foreign threats, such as social unrest. He added that China is living through "the most complex time in history,” Xinhua quoted him as saying.
The commission was announced in November and is loosely based on the National Security Council in the US. The idea behind the commission is to improve cooperation between different parts of China’s security apparatus – including police, military, intelligence, and diplomatic services, Reuters reported.
Xi argued that China needs to "implement and put into practice an overall national security view, paying attention to external as well as internal security.”
He said the security areas that need to be incorporated range from economic to nuclear security. "Security is the condition for development. We can only make the country rich by building up military power, and only with military power can we protect the country," Xi stated.
China’s move comes after new revelations from former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden that the agency has spied on Chinese leaders and businesses, Der Spiegel and The New York Times reported. China’s telecom giant, Huawei, was the core target for the NSA campaign in China.
Huawei Technologies is the world’s largest network equipment supplier and one of the leading mobile phone handset vendors.
In response, Beijing has demanded that the US stop the NSA's snooping activities against Chinese officials and companies.